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Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Jabulani + Mourinho Tactics = Boring World Cup

I wish I could conclude differently. I agree with Rob Smyth. The ball is off. And the tactics are over defensive in this World Cup so far.

Too many passes and shots are off target. Too many hard passes hit the recipients' foot and balloon up out of control. Too many great players have no touch and howlers outbalance successful executions of finesse.

On top of which, it seems every manager has studied Barcelona vs. Inter Milan and have put not just "men behind the ball" but disciplined formations organized to meet and thwart all attacks a la Mourinho.

And, given the Adidas Jabulani ball, there's no easy way to unlock the bus that's parked, more often than not, in front of the goal.

With this ball so far, there's no real threat from shots and free kicks from long distance and crosses often sail over the intended targets.

The teams I'm enjoying watching pass the ball on the ground and run incessantly in the attack. Ivory Coast, South Africa, for two, have been fun to watch but have scored one goal in three games between them.

Given the ball's unreliability in flight, I don't know why more teams don't try to take it to the byline and pass it back into the box. That's where a ball passed on the ground can be redirected into the goal...or if you're Maicon, you can skip that step and send the ball straight to the back of the net.

We all love the World Cup, but the often boring tactics and lack of finesse in this one so far are hard to miss. Wish it wasn't so, but it seems to be for now.

The plastic ball and negative tactics mean it will take something special to lift this cup.

Let's hope we get it.

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