Auf Wiedersehen World Cup

With an extra time goal by Mario Götze, Germany has a new World Cup hero and another World Cup title to add to their storied fussball history. It also means the World Cup is over and although Brazil has thrown one heck of a party it is time to Read more

What Is The Way Forward For US Soccer?

On the heels of US Soccer being bounced from the World Cup by Belgium in the round of 16, there has been much talk about how US Soccer can develop a better player pool that can compete with the top teams in the world. The Two Daft Yanks are Read more

USMNT Group Review and Belgium Look Ahead

With knockout round qualification fron the 'Group of Death' secure there is just one goal left for Jurgen Klinsmann's USMNT: survive and advance. The Two Daft Yanks are here to break it all down to provide a USMNT group review as the knockout stages begin for the 2014 World Read more

Auf Wiedersehen World Cup

Posted on by Chad in FIFA, Podcast, World Cup | Leave a comment

With an extra time goal by Mario Götze, Germany has a new World Cup hero and another World Cup title to add to their storied fussball history. It also means the World Cup is over and although Brazil has thrown one heck of a party it is time to say auf wiedersehen World Cup. The Two Daft Yanks are back to break it all down. On this week’s episode:

-Germany World Cup facts.

- UEFA and CONMEBOL have a strangle hold on World Cup superiority.

- World Cup Final TV ratings and the end of the ESPN era.

- Was this the most physical World Cup ever? and much more!

Listen to or download the podcast below, or listen on your mobile device via StitcherTuneIn or iTunes

AUF WIEDERSEHEN WORLD CUP

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Argentina v Germany World Cup Final History

Posted on by Chad in Blog, World Cup | Leave a comment

Argentina and Germany will meet in a World Cup Final for a record breaking third time on Sunday in Rio de Janeiro at the Maracanã. The two sides have split their two head to head finals thus far and this third final will act as the rubber match of the series. Both sides are looking to make history, a German win would mark the first time a non South American country has won the World Cup on South American soil and an Argentina win would give them a world title on the soil of their bitter rivals Brazil. Here is a quick look at the past two finals these countries have contested:

1986, Estadio Azteca, Mexico City

Argentina 3 West Germany 2

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Manager Carlos Bilardo set out Argentina in a 3-5-2 formation featuring some guy named Maradona as captain and a second striker. Germany also utilized a 3-5-2 formation (the hot formation at the time) under the direction of manager Franz Beckenbauer. The star player at the time for Germany was striker Karl-Heinz Rummenigge the current chairman at Bayern Munich.

Argentina took the lead in the first half on a goal in the twenty-third minute from sweeper Jose Luis Brown on a free-kick to the right of goal. That goal held until halftime and Argentina doubled their lead in the fifty-sixth minute courtesy of a Jorge Valdano side-footed strike. Germany made things interesting though scoring two goals off corners in the seventy-fourth minute and in the eighty-first minute from Rummenigge and Voller. The score did not stay level for long though and Argentina scored the third and winning goal just minutes later at the eighty-four minute mark off the boot of Jorge Burruchaga from a pass into open space from Diego Maradona.

The German loss was a history making moment as Franz Beckenbauer became the first person to lose a World Cup final as a player and a manager.

Watch highlights of this match here: Argentina v Germany World Cup Final

 

1990, Stadio Olimpico, Rome

West Germany 1 Argentina 0

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Germany got revenge against Argentina for the loss in the previous World Cup final in Mexico. Bilardo and Beckenbauer were still the managers for each side and they both set-up (again) in a 3-5-2 formation. The 1990 final was the first World Cup final for current USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann who started the game at striker.

This match ended up being a more cagey affair than the previous final with just one goal scored and featured the first red cards in World Cup final history with two Argentine players being sent off at the sixty-fifth and eighty-seventh minute marks. The lone goal of the match was scored via penalty in the eighty-fifth minute by Andreas Brehme who was a defender for Inter Milan at the time. 

This World Cup win was Germany’s third World Cup title, a number they haven’t added to since.

Watch highlights of this match here: 1990 Argentina v Germany World Cup Final

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Even The Big Boys Are Naive At Times

Posted on by Corey in Blog, World Cup | Leave a comment

There’s been a lot of talk since the US’ elimination from the World Cup in every corner of US soccer circles it seems about how we should progress further in the future. Every excuse has been mentioned from the same old ones such as “need to work harder; need better athletes; if only our best athletes played; etc.” to the more subtle and insightful such as “need more technical players; need to be more tactically astute; less situational naivete, etc.”

This last excuse is something I’ve called the USMNT a lot recently (most notably at the end of the 2-2 draw against the Portuguese and our defensive effort versus Belgium) but after watching a soccer superpower such as Brazil  yesterday completely capitulate on home soil in a supposed effort to right the wrongs of 1950 (in their minds), I’d be remiss not to hammer Brazil for the same thing.

Let’s be clear about this, I’m not saying Brazil needs to reassess how they play soccer/football or that they necessarily should revamp their national team setup (though Germany did this very thing following their underachieving [in their eyes] sides of ’98 and ’02) but let’s be clear about Brazil’s performance yesterday- They played completely naively.

Signs were there from the opening kickoff that there were holes in Brazil’s defending lines and massive ones at that. Brazil’s setup yesterday looked all the world to me that they just felt that intangible things (such as home field and crowd advantage) and some misguided sense of destiny (revenge for 1950 and “do it for Neymar”) would be all that was needed to beat Germany, a country who historically has shown they are arguably the best in the world when it comes to the psychology of big matches. You can beat a German side but you’ll never be able to intimidate one, in my opinion.

But “Big Phil” Scolari’s setup yesterday was completely amateurish at the outset as Brazil’s midfield went seemingly on holiday for the entire first half leaving an overly aggressive central defense pairing (and arguably questionable pairing to begin with) isolated in two v ones and three v twos for seemingly the entire half. German goals two through five were variations on the same theme- Brazil loses ball deep in own territory; Brazilian centerback already out of position presses even higher trying to win the ball back, then leaves his partner exposed when Germany passes around him; Germany’s poise and patience picks apart Brazil’s remaining overloaded defenders.

It was both astonishing and embarrassing and for a nation that prides itself on being one of the high elders or “keepers of the game,” so to speak, it was utterly pathetic.

I only bring it up because it shows that the process to becoming successful on the world stage isn’t necessarily cyclical, it isn’t necessarily linear but all the pitfalls that can befall a team can happen to anyone and that the task ahead for the US is a partly daunting one. It won’t necessarily be able to easily measured in further progression in tournaments compared to previous ones Also, don’t mistake yesterday’s result compared to ours versus Germany as anything other than what they are- two totally different results against the same opponent that aren’t related at all. But if a country like Brazil can be amateurishly naive on the world stage you can bet the US has been and even will be again in the future.

Conversely, Germany’s recent success (though to be fair they have yet to win a major tournament since ’96) has come following a major soul-searching and revamping of the national team and youth national team setups following ’02. Brazil will likely do something similar (at least in part if not in whole) following this monumental defeat. Surely the US can look at ways to help overhaul their system beyond the tired old things like “run harder, run faster, be stronger” or the ignorantly clichéd and flat out wrong, “if only our best athletes played soccer.”

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An Outsider’s Perspective On The USMNT

Posted on by Chad in Blog, USMNT | Leave a comment

Its been nearly a week since US Soccer was eliminated from the knockout stages of the World Cup, the reactions to the team’s World Cup run to date has been highly varied by both the fans and media alike. Our own opinions on the progress of the USMNT can be perhaps too insulated at times for us to get an accurate view. So we here at Two Daft Yanks have brought in an outsider, the very thoughtful Premier League Owl (@PremLeagueOwl) to answer a few questions in order to get an outsider’s perspective on the USMNT. Here is our conversation:

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After getting out of a group that included Germany, Portugal and Ghana US Soccer received a lot of positive press from the British media. Why do you think that is? Is it a hold over perhaps from the last World Cup where the US won a group that included England?

No, I don’t think it’s really related to England.  Maybe, at a stretch, our own side’s elimination left us looking around for positivity, but that probably only accounts for a small percentage of the reaction.

In the group stages, the US played with a resilience that was impossible not to admire: they gave up an equaliser against Ghana and responded to it against the run of play, they went behind early to a more talented Portuguese and fought back to almost win the game.  There’s something about an underdog which resonates with the British psyche, and the US were that team in this competition.

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You summed up your thoughts pretty well in the article you published last week (Time for the USA to wake-up to their own progress) but what do you consider to be the strengths and weaknesses of the US team?

Beyond the merits of individual personnel, the great US strength is cohesion.  As a side, they add up to more than the sum of their parts.  Players like Kyle Beckerman, Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez are fairly generic within the context of a World Cup, but they were able to compete beyond the limitations of their abilities in Brazil.  That’s not to say that any of those three are inferior, merely that they were frequently overmatched in the group by more talented players – and yet they were still an integral part of a side who ultimately progressed.

That’s the big argument for Jurgen Klinsmann.  While I’m aware that not every US supporter or pundit is completely sold on him, there has to be an appreciation of what he has done with what he has available to him.  When the World Cup draw was made, there wouldn’t have been one sensible person outside of America who didn’t see the USMNT finishing bottom of that qualifying group.  Why?  Because where was the talent?  Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Tim Howard and Jozy Altidore are all, to a certain degree, respected in Europe, but those other three teams were littered with match-winners.

In effect, then, the US’ strength is essentially also their biggest weakness.  Klinsmann had no real stars and he had no egos which, while making it easier for him to foster team-spirit, also put a ceiling on the side’s progress in this tournament.  Look at the four semi-finalists: they are all cohesive units, but they all have that individual quality, too.  When Argentina labour, Leo Messi digs them out of hole, if Germany are struggling they can rely on a Mesut Ozil, a Thomas Muller, or a Mario Gotze, and so on and so on.

The US only have one half of what they need to be successful.

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In terms of style you mention that the US was robotic, mechanical and clunky in the past but now looked like a “fully-functioning side of eleven players”. A great number of American media and supporters have disagreed with this saying we have regressed since the 2002 World Cup. What are they missing that you are seeing?

I don’t think the US public are missing anything, more that they just lack the perspective of an outsider.

It’s really easy to look back at past tournaments and judge progression on a ‘stage of elimination’ basis – it’s rational and I understand it. That being said, this was the first time I can remember seeing a US side play with fluidity and with the ability to react to certain situations within a game.  In 2002 – and before in 1994 and 1998 – the US were a blunt force who, on their day, could be successful but who ultimately relied on under-performance from their opponents.  Sure, they had some very notable performances in ’94 and ’02, but look beyond those results and at the state of the opponents – an ageing Portugese side in turmoil, a Mexican team who really weren’t up to all that much, a Colombian side (94) with all kinds of demons…a win is a win, but if you’re going to use those games as a barometer of progress you really need to apply some context.

Maybe the results don’t make this obvious, but the US really are a lot less naive than they have been at the past.  There’s less of a novelty feel to them and they competed this Summer as a footballing equal; they were, to us British snobs, no longer a group of Americans trying to play football, they were just a football team who happened to be American.  It was almost an intangible difference and that will perhaps make little sense to Americans, but to those who only watch the USMNT once every couple of years it was very clear.

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What do you see the eventual potential of US soccer being at the current pace of development?

It depends; soccer’s development in the US is at the mercy of your culture.

Americans don’t tolerate losing, and their patience for anything other than success is very limited – so, as long as their national team and the national leagues are viewed as inferior, any development will have a glass ceiling.

Soccer will never compete with the NFL, but if it can chip away at baseball’s audience and talent-pool – i.e. a sport which isn’t that appealing to young people – then it has a chance to become more prominent.  The key is grass-roots: the more 6, 7 and 8 year-olds that are juggling a soccer ball rather than swinging a baseball bat or dribbling a basketball, the more chance the country ultimately has of creating a star of the game – and that’s where the tipping-point would occur.

Think about golf before and after Tiger Woods.  Before he arrived, how many teenage Americans thought of it as anything other than ‘that sport their dad played’? But he came into the game, won, dominated, became a marketing phenomenon, and eventually playing golf became a viable option for aspiring athletes.

Would you rather be LeBron James or Michael Bradley?  Calvin Johnson or Clint Dempsey?  Tim Lincecum or Tim Howard?  It’s almost a catch-22, because how do you redress that balance without having that icon, but how do you create that magnetic star without first correcting the initial problem.

It’s tough, but that’s the challenge facing the USSF.

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What Is The Way Forward For US Soccer?

Posted on by Chad in Podcast, USMNT | Leave a comment

On the heels of US Soccer being bounced from the World Cup by Belgium in the round of 16, there has been much talk about how US Soccer can develop a better player pool that can compete with the top teams in the world. The Two Daft Yanks are back to provide their opinion on this matter and are pleased to be joined by soccer writer Jon Townsend of FarPostFooty.com to help answer the question: What is the way forward for US Soccer?

Listen to or download the podcast below, or listen on your mobile device via StitcherTuneIn or iTunes

US SOCCER THE WAY FORWARD

 

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