Lessons from London 2012 so far


In the early years of pressing football engineered by Italian football godfather, Arrigho Sacchi, there was much fascination about his basketball concept being so effective in football. It is normal that all the beautiful game coaches and wannabes are following the London 2012 with enthusiasm. I suggest you watch field hockey, especially ladies hockey due to its slower pace.

The benefits of matches involving weaker teams against strong teams include both psychological and tactical facets. One could the result of the other but it has been very clear when Australia, Argentina and New Zealand met relatively unknown teams like South Africa.

Things to look out for here is how the ball is won and lost, the passing and reception, how inferiority complexes lead to unforced errors and how easily the stronger sides manipulate their superiority to win dead-ball situations.

To understand this further, let me give you a clue of the rules. Goals must be scored from within the circle which looks like a D. A ball touching the feet in that area results in a short corner or they say penalty, I am not sure, but this is the most dangerous situation in the game and hard to defend, especially against top-notch professionals.

So far, my observations which I would transplant into my team, is the way these pros defend when playing novices. They basically harass them and give them no space. This intimidates the small teams to make numerous unforced errors and giving the ball away by wayward passing to tripping over the ball and hockey sticks. The do not let the small teams release the ball into the circle.

In attack, they pressed the team fast and hard, and forced the ball into the circle at every opportunity to get and exploit the short penalty corner, which they play very well and is easier to score. The more unforced errors the small teams make, the more nervous they become and open goal opportunity begin to rise thick and fast.

There is lots more to observe and it is a game where much learning can be derived. With a little creativity, these situations can be translated into the game of football very successfully. It may not be possible to directly employ everything, but the general understanding of how circumstances affect a team can through one a lifeline in understanding their own tactics.

It is getting the idea, the thinking and logic that may be more beneficial than trying to implement the philosophies directly into your situations. I hope to hear your views and observations.

Happy viewing.

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