Friday, April 30, 2010

Soccer Notes

I liked this part of the note about Juergen Klinsmann joining ESPN:
"What I can bring to the table in analyzing games and talking is to make people understand what goes on on a soccer field actually reflects a nation," he said. "I'd like to tell people why they're playing a certain way, what's in the back of their mind. It all goes back to roots of where they grew up and how they identify with their own nation."
My hope is that doesn't translate into the standard tropes about the organized Germans, the creative Brazilians, et cetera, but rather is used to explain mistakes teams make: "Unfortunately, they are known for stupid mistakes in [insert country here], and wow they just made another."

Also, as long as we're on the World Cup, it's fun to see Chicharito's name on the list of three potential breakout players composed by ESPN:
As accomplished in possession as El Tri is, the team has been desperately searching for a reliable goal scorer. During World Cup qualifying, the likes of Omar Bravo, Carlos Vela and Guillermo Franco were given opportunities to make one of the forward spots their own and couldn't provide the consistency needed. In Hernandez, Mexico may have found its man. The 21-year-old has been devastating for Chivas de Guadalajara during the Mexican Bicentenario, scoring 10 goals in 11 games. He's delivered the goods in Mexico's recent spate of friendlies, as well, netting four goals in as many appearances. Hernandez can also score in a variety of ways, with his ridiculous leaping ability making him a threat in the air as well as on the ground.

The only question for Hernandez is: Can he translate his form from friendly matches into games when the stakes are highest? With fellow breakout candidate Giovani Dos Santos by his side, Hernandez looks like a player who can do just that.
The more I think about Chicharito's transfer to Man U, the less sense it makes from Chivas' perspective. If they hold on to him for the rest of the year, they have a good shot at a historic (in Mexican soccer) double of the Mexican league title and Copa Libertadores trophy, which has never before been won by a Mexican club. Plus they get to see him in the World Cup, and if he scores a pile of goals against world-class defenses, then the price tag for him spikes enormously, and maybe you have Man U and Inter in a bidding war for him. As it happens, they sold him for the tidy sum of 6 million pounds (indeed, a record transfer for the Mexican league), but Chivas limped to the finish in Mexico and are now no one's favorite in the liguilla, and if Hernández goes wild in South Africa, it won't mean anything financially for his old Mexican club.

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