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Has the Beautiful Game Become the Technical Game?
That dirty tackling World Cup Final between Holland and Spain has redefined the beautiful game of football. For those of us who grew up watching the films of Pele, we know that football is about passion, execution, and of course goals. Well, until you begin to understand the importance of formations; the rhyme and rhythm of 4-4-2 or 3-5-2. Or you watch a European side playing a South American team and begin to appreciate the difference between speedy technicians and talented dreamers.
I have discovered that a technically sound team can be both beautiful and efficient. The problem with football is that goals win matches. And as more and more teams use available technology to study their opponents the traditional target man with flair is unable to penetrate a well coached defence. So football has evolved, at least in my lifetime, from being a beautiful offensive game, to a defensive chess game.
FIFA World Cup 2010 in South Africa degenerated into a Coach’s World Cup.
With two technically superior teams, Netherlands and Spain, arriving at the final roll call at Soccer City Johannesburg. Netherlands perhaps over relied on Arjen Robben . But Spain with their multiple accurate passes played a great possession game. Possession football, if allowed to run its natural course will be beautiful to look at and will score goals. Unfortunately the Dutch decided to nullify the Spanish game with hard tackles that turned the game into an ugly spectacle.
Fourteen yellow cards were awarded, and John Heitinga of the Netherlands was sent off for a second yellow.
“This one is heading for a penalty shootout” I was thinking, still wishing for a Spanish victory. Then the humble genius Iniesta finally broke the deadlock in extra time, scoring a half-volleyed shot after receiving a pass from Cesc Fabregas.
I expect a return to the beautiful game in 2014…Brazil.