It's in the game

it does the soul good to invest in something you have no control over

Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Mueller

Technology, Tevez and Thomas Mueller

leave a comment »

The debate over video technology exploded into full bloom on Sunday as both Argentina and Germany advanced in controversial circumstances to set up a mouth-watering quarterfinal clash for next Saturday.

For Argentina, Carlos Tevez headed in a Lionel Messi pass when he was almost three yards offside, while England’s denial of clear goal from a Frank Lampard volley was even more damning. It is quite inexplicable why FIFA continues to insist on living in the Stone Age when technology to make such a decision is readily available to them.  Sepp Blatter’s assurance that, it will slow down the game holds little weight, but even if it does, what is the excuse for not having a referee behind the goal? UEFA’s successful experiment in the Europa League with two extra men behind the goal would have prevented both incidents yesterday. And in games of such magnitude as yesterday, it is impossible to see FIFA’s logic and rationale.

But decisions aside, England will have little to complain about. A team packed full of Premier League stars were dismantled piece by piece by a German side full of youthful vigour and swift interplay.

England’s first mistake was to play a 4-4-2, which meant that Germany playing their usual 4-2-3-1 automatically had a man up in midfield. And crucially for England, that man was often Mesut Oezil. The German playmaker is a captivating youngster, full of intelligent movement and imaginative passing. Given room to exploit, he did not disappoint, consistently proving the thorn in the English side. But he was still not the best German on show.

That honour belonged to Thomas Mueller. The Bayern Munich talent has had a meteoric rise to fame. Just last season he was playing in the lower echelons of the German third division. And on Sunday night his two goals knocked England out of the World Cup. Stratospheric.

Mueller was Germany's spark

Alongside Mueller and Oezil, Bastian Schweinsteiger also turned in an imperious display and Germany completely played England off the park in a vintage performance. The only time England had their foot in the game was for 10 minutes before the end of the first half, and to their credit they might have pulled themselves level at that time, had it not been for the dubious linesman call.

At the end though, despite the could haves, most in England were united in their belief, that they had been thoroughly outplayed.  Inquests for Fabio Capello are forthcoming, after a listless England showing devoid of any cohesion.

Tevez's bomb

In the day’s last game, Carlos Tevez’s illegitimate goal seemed to knock the stuffing out of Mexico who then proceeded to gift the Argetineans a goal with a shocking error by Ricardo Osorio.

To their credit, Mexico kept Lionel Messi well in check, but this Argentina side is packed with talent and when Carlos Tevez bombed in his second, there was little doubt as to the winner despite Manchester United recruit Javi Martinez’s late strike.

Argentina though, did not play as well as they had in their last two games and a last eight clash with Germany now gives them a chance to avenge the defeat at the same phase four years ago.

It will be a fascinating clash as both sides are packed with attacking talent but look somewhat suspect in defence, Germany slightly more so than Argentina. Goals are likely to be on the menu; which probably means it will end an insipid draw.


Written by quazi zulquarnain

June 28, 2010 at 3:44 pm

Germany are tactically mobile, but is Loew?

leave a comment »

On paper, this Germany side has six forwards and two central midfielders. Four center-backs but just one specialist left back. Madness is what immediately comes to mind.

But Joachim Loew might just have some method in his thinking. Modern football is all about multi-functional players, operating in a system that is dynamic and can easily shift from one to another. And in that regard, Loew’s Germany side are a highly efficient bunch.

The point is best illustrated with the case of Thomas Mueller.

The Bayern Munich man can challenge Miroslav Klose/Mario Gomez/Cacau to play up front, Stefan Kiessling/Piotr Trochowoski to play on the right and Lukas Podolski/Marko Marin for a spot on the left. Mueller has been used in all of those positions this season by club coach Louis van Gaal, and he was even used as an advanced player in a midfield three, a role that does not exist in Germany’s current tactical setup.

Mueller is the jack of all trades

Despite this ability to fit in almost anywhere, Mueller will probably be on the bench for Germany’s first game against Australia on Sunday. Which begs the question, as to why?

This is because most of the other players in the Germany squad are almost as multi-functional. Toni Kroos for example, is the ideal replacement for Mesut Oezil in the central playmaking role, but he is a more likely replacement for either of the two central midfielders if they get injured/suspended. He can also play on the left.

Staying in midfield, while Schweinsteiger is a lock for the midfield spot, he has played the vast majority of his games for Germany either on the left or on the right. Podolski can play as the central striker but looks set for the left.

And in defence, this multi-position capability is even more evident. Phillip Lahm can play right or left back, Friedrich right or center back. Boateng mirrors the latter, while Badstuber is the inverse – he plays center and left back.

But Denis Aogo is the most interesting. The Hamburg man, will probably be Loew’s fall-back solution for the central midfield spot, and the fact that he has Kroos to share that burden with is why Loew, probably did not call up a replacement for his several injuries.

The questions that remains is whether having such squad flexibility is really helpful? Most coaches would tell you that such an option is an ace-in-the-hole. Each person brings unique qualities to the position they play and this adds to the overall unpredictability of the team, making them harder to plan and play against.

Having such an option greatly increases the chance of making swift, but subtle tactical changes that can affect the result of a game.

But in order to do that, you need a tactically astute manager, who is quick on his feet and brave.

And while Loew is certainly the former, he is yet to convince most that he possess either of the latter two qualities.

is Loew fast enough on his feet?

Written by quazi zulquarnain

June 10, 2010 at 7:54 pm