Posts Tagged ‘soccer’

THE FIFA PRO XI OF 2012

Awards, accolades and acknowledgement for outstanding performance in any sphere in life are appreciated but when the award begins to lose credibility, there’s a need for a review.

The surprising FIFA Pro XI of 2012 comprised of players from just three football clubs based in Europe precisely Spain; a league where we have two gladiators and 18 other participants. Is football played in Spain alone? Well, Yes!! No!!!

It is the home of current World champions and back-to-back European champions. So why not?

My targets below are positions I think the technical team could have considered someone else.

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In goalIker Casillas of Real Madrid and Spain was picked. No doubt, Saint Iker had an outstanding first half of the year where his Real Madrid side ended Barcelona hegemony and won the league but it wasn’t his heroics that brought the title – rather, it was the ruthless attacking machines of Jose Mourinho side that secured the title. Iker also led Spain to an unprecedented triumph at the Euros and perhaps that could have pushed it his way but his poor form since the start of this season makes me question his inclusion.

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Right Back – Dani Alves. Undoubtedly the best attacking full back when in his element but he will certainly want to forget 2012 in a hurry. His below par performances for Barca and as well as his frequent visit to the treatment table ensured Copa del Rey title was Los Cules only title of 2012. The way fellow country man Ramires exposed him during the UEFA Champions League semi final match at Stamford Bridge summarizes his poor year.

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Centre Half – Gerard Pique. How in the world does he make it? As much as I rate Gerard, his performance last year does not come close to his personal best let alone make the pro team. His former coach Pep Guardiola confirmed Pique’s attention was elsewhere during the course of last season and he hasn’t hit the peak this term. Vincent Kompany, Matt Hummels and Giorgio Chiellini are guys that would challenge him effectively.

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Xavi Hernandez – Central Midfield. I can’t fault the orchestra but the music of 2012 was not exceptional. Everyone knows Xavi’s quality – precise pass accuracy, controlling the tempo of games and popping up with the goals but all this could not help the Blaugranas to either La Liga or UCL success. Juventus maestro Andrea Pirlo waved his magic in Turin and across Italy in serie A games. He was without a doubt the star for La Nazionale during the Euro 2012.

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Radamel Falcao – Forward. Who has got a natural striking instinct in the world that comes close to Falcao today? No one! We are blessed with a natural number 9 in the Colombian forward who terrorized defenses in La Liga and Europe last season enroute Los Colchoneros Europa league triumph but I’d argue that Ivorien striker Didier Drogba deserves a place in this XI because he rises to the big occasion. The Drog was the secret weapon behind Chelsea’s maiden European triumph last season which I feel was the biggest achievement in European football considering how their season panned out. Based on that, I will put Drogba slightly ahead of Falcao.

The whole list can be scrutinized hence the motive behind this article but above all, I would like to congratulate every member of the FIFA Pro XI 2012. I bet many people disagree with FIFA as well as my position. Please use the comment box beneath to express yourselves.

Thank you.

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NETHERLANDS TAG OF NEVERLAND BREATHES ON

StarStudded!

Many bookmakers predicted a Dutch and Deutschland progress from the “Group of Death” in the ongoing UEFA Euro 2012 tournament. There were reasons for the Oranje team and supporters to feel confident as they embarked on their European adventure.

Bert van Marwijk’s team qualified for the continental championship in comfortable style with nine wins out of ten, their consistent performance earned them the second position behind the current World and European champions Spain in the FIFA Coca-Cola monthly ranking for a significant period. Being runners-up at the last FIFA World Cup, the Dutch team was expected to at least match their performance at South Africa or go a step further.

However, the abundance of attacking talent has turned out to be a curse rather than a gift. A team blessed with two golden boot winners of two top European leagues (Robin Van Persie and Jan Klass-Huntelaar), mercurial playmakers (Wesley Sneijder and Rafael Van der Vaart) and the explosive Arjen Robben not to forget the workaholic Dirk Kuyt.

What went wrong?

For a team touted as one of the pre-tournament favorites but soon became the laughing stock by finishing bottom of their group without a point to their name. Major disaster.

It is the first time in more than a decade that the Dutch have failed to reach the second round at either the World Cup or the Euros. 

Chemistry‘ and bonding was a big problem. 

The likes of Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Klaas Jan Huntellar, who were coming after fantastic performances for their clubs in respective leagues, were all over the place.

It was a mix of playmakers of different minds, always operating in accordance with their own opinions. Playing nine months with different clubs was the major factor here. Most of these players are used to being the main man for their club’s team attack, but they never gelled together here. They were mostly confused while attacking.

Van Persie, who is one of the biggest transfer targets this summer for a number of clubs, missed opportunities after opportunities. His decision making was poor and apart from the one goal he scored against Germany, was poor throughout. Robben, on the other hand, can arguably be seen as the better performers but it was the same old story for the Bayern Munich winger. Robben moaned about the presence of too many big egos in the Dutch squad, yet he himself was too selfish while on the pitch. He forgot that football is a team game and you have to pass around the ball. He also was a problematic personality in the dressing room- storming off the pitch after being substituted against the Germans.

Petulant Robben. Egoistic player in a team full of Egos

For a team full of immense talent, ego was the biggest enemy for them and their coach – Bert van Marwijk could not deal with so-called ‘big name’ stars.

Holland have not only embarrassed themselves, their fans and their country with three rubbish performances, they have also shown that they need a major overhaul in their team and the style of their play if they want to banish the tag of Neverland which hangs over them like the Sword of Damocles.

Or, what do you think The Netherland need to do?