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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 6:15 pm 
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On Penalties and Pirlo

By James Tyler, ESPN Soccer

On Monday, Italy's Andrea Pirlo confirmed what everyone suspected about his penalty kick. "It put pressure on them," said the ageless midfielder of his insouciant spot-kick, and he was right. England's Ashley Cole limply side-footed his penalty into Gianluigi Buffon's welcoming arms, while Ashley Young thundered his against the crossbar with angry force, desperate to smash the psychological aftereffects of Pirlo's casually dismissive strike.

We know that England doesn't handle penalties well. The weight and pressure of the Three Lions' historic despair from 12 yards out is enough to convert coal to diamonds in a matter of seconds. As Andrew Anthony wrote in his little-known 2000 book "On Penalties" (I can see why England fans might not flock to such a frightening title) about the mystique of the shootout, "England has yet to develop a system of training to deal with it." But when faced with such a confidence-destroying effort as Pirlo's, it becomes clear that it's not about the training, but about handling the emotional rigor better than your opponent. The shot is, in theory, the easy bit. It's the run-up and the follow-through, aftershocks and all, that counts.

What I think makes penalties so difficult is that it's the one element of the game in which a player is completely alone. When you're so used to the complex interplay of teammates, reading their off-the-ball runs and making the right anticipatory choices to best fit their movement, there is no such interaction from the spot. It's man, ball and another man between some posts. Anthony notes correctly that soccer, like all sports, is "largely an intuitive endeavor" that "rewards honed instinct." But in such situations as a penalty, where choices can be second-guessed (and third-, fourth- and fifth-guessed) to the point of indecision, instinct is overruled by rationality. The very act of thinking in search of clarity only brings further confusion.

Which makes Pirlo's "Panenka" that humbled Joe Hart all the more extraordinary -- because he clearly thought it through. Pirlo's reasoning was razor-sharp. His theory verging on the psychotic. "At the moment I saw the goalkeeper making strange movements, so I waited for him to move and hit it like that," Pirlo told Football Italia. Where each English penalty was struck with force of will -- whether the ball goes in or not is up to my shot -- Pirlo's was as reactive as England's tactics throughout the game: He waited for his opponent to decide, and then acted accordingly.

This happens in shootouts more than you'd think. Everyone points to Antonin Panenka's effort at Euro 1976, a stunningly cheeky and brazen move that I'm not sure Mario Balotelli could bring himself to duplicate. Panenka's shot was decisive in that it secured the Euro title for Czechoslovakia over West Germany, and since then it has been lovingly recreated by modern-day iconoclasts like Zinedine Zidane and Alessandro Del Piero, two irascible soccer showmen. Then you get a guy like Yann Kermorgant, who felt he had the confidence to chip one in for Leicester City in the 2009 Football Championship playoff semifinal against Cardiff City. Goalkeeper Dave Marshall blocked it with ease, and Kermorgant never played for the Foxes again.

With the tension between England and Italy at an unbearable level, Pirlo's chip not only decimated the English spirit but relaxed any anxiety on the part of his teammates. Through his kick, Pirlo communicated everything his teammates needed to know: We can win this, we're better than them. Look what I can do. Remember that this can be fun. No need to be consumed by fear, lads.

It was a masterful stroke in a massive moment at Euro 2012.

And moments like these should push Pirlo to the front of the player-of-the-tournament conversation. He'll inevitably make UEFA's short list for the Best XI, but what Pirlo has done in the Italian midfield should vault him higher. We expect such metronomic brilliance from Xavi and Andres Iniesta. We anticipate Cristiano Ronaldo's explosiveness in the attacking third, though he has surprised many in finally transposing his prodigious skills to the international level. Yet Pirlo is supposed to be on the downward trajectory of his career. At 33, Pirlo is not supposed to be mentoring Juventus to an undefeated Serie A season or single-handedly guiding the Azzurri to a semifinal date with Germany.

The chip was the cherry on top of a brilliant Euro 2012 for Andrea Pirlo, no matter what happens against Die Mannschaft. Let's hope it's adequately recognized when the tournament concludes and awards are dished out. One thing's for certain: The English won't forget about Pirlo. Not for a long time.

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:22 pm 
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Serbinator wrote:
(well, everyone except for the eternally miserable c**t that is Steven Gerrard)

Wants to stay on as captain. What say you all to that? Whilst he played well I think there are better options to retain posession and support attack from his position. Any thoughts?

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:38 pm 
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the nut's named eric wrote:
Wants to stay on as captain. What say you all to that? Whilst he played well I think there are better options to retain posession and support attack from his position. Any thoughts?


I don't think you can get rid of all the old guard the young players will need some experience of the 30+ club I'd be looking to keep him & cole around. The others should be used when young players are injured to help out.

If he wants to stay on it has to be a proper captains role that means not ducking out on friendly matches.

He needs a much fitter player alongside him though


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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 11:51 pm 
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England like united had no midfield .. Young was looking like championship player .. same for rooney and that half donkey - half horse carroll .. Welbeck was much better a threat than him ..

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 8:59 am 
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Papers this morning suggesting we'll go to the World Cup with the starting line-up:

Hart
Walker
Smalling
Cahill
Cole
Walcott
Wilshere
Cleverley
Oxlade-Chamberlain
Rooney
Welbeck

While it's a bit early for talk of starting line-ups for a tournament we've not even started the qualifying campaign for it's positive to see the media championing a move towards younger players.

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idontfeardeath wrote:
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But James and Pak both said they were voting JSP


:doh:

You know what Paks like. He's probably voted JSP for woman of the year or something.


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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:13 am 
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Why Walcott in that team he's proven already he's not up to it at this level.

The press said the same last time but as long as the media put the manager under pressure to win every game and perform well it's hard for them to risk youngsters.


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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:22 am 
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Presumably because, at present, Downing and Young are cack and Johnson can't get a game.

Thing is I think this time the changes have to be made, because the older players have a few more miles on the clock, and the likes of Rio, Terry, Parker, Lampard, and Gerrard are unlikely to be able to play at a good enough level come the 2014 WC.

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idontfeardeath wrote:
Spawny wrote:
But James and Pak both said they were voting JSP


:doh:

You know what Paks like. He's probably voted JSP for woman of the year or something.


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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:23 am 
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I think Jones will certainly be in and around the team in 2 yrs time.

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:25 am 
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The thing with Jones is figuring out where he actually plays, whereas that team is pretty much everyone in their place. I could see Jones ahead of Cahill, if he sorts his positioning out.

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idontfeardeath wrote:
Spawny wrote:
But James and Pak both said they were voting JSP


:doh:

You know what Paks like. He's probably voted JSP for woman of the year or something.


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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 9:41 am 
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I'd like to see that team, would be exciting to see a whole batch of youngsters played.

Smalling :bow:

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:30 am 
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To be fair, Theo did alright in this tournament. As a sub.

I'm not a fan..but some players have their uses and international level.

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:33 am 
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As a sub I'm willing to accept he can bring something to the table. Unless he improves massively in the next few years I'd be disgusted if he was a starter.

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:54 am 
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borocooper wrote:
I don't think penalties are about luck..not for the strikers. You can make penalties unsaveable..hitting the bar isn't down to luck, it's down to bad technique at the time.




True, but I still think there's an element of luck. A penalty shootout brings the long, hard game to a conclusion with a single kick, with no room for errors be that momentary bad technique after playing well, bad nerves or simply your standing foot slipping out from under you when you take a swing at the ball and you land on your backside! Anything that comes down to a single action has an element of luck about it imo. But yes, skill, shot accuracy, keeper positioning, etc. still counts for a lot.

In the end strikers can make their own luck by hitting the four corners, but with goalkeepers they always have an element of luck about it, especially if they're trying to even the odds and diving before the ball is even hit. England just don't have the mental strength required unfortunately, hopefully something they'll work on at some point. :rolleyes:

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 10:59 am 
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JSP wrote:
the nut's named eric wrote:
Wants to stay on as captain. What say you all to that? Whilst he played well I think there are better options to retain posession and support attack from his position. Any thoughts?


I don't think you can get rid of all the old guard the young players will need some experience of the 30+ club I'd be looking to keep him & cole around.

If he wants to stay on it has to be a proper captains role that means not ducking out on friendly matches.

He needs a much fitter player alongside him though


Do we need Gerrard to stay on? It could be any of the old guard imo, if we're just looking to add a little experience, Gerrard isn't irreplaceable but I've seen worse. He'd do until we had someone better ready to take his place. Ash Cole too is still pretty good usually. As long as the core of the team is youth then we'll be in a good place for the next tournament and who knows, if one of the not-so-golden oldies plays well in this new team, they might even make it there with the next generation.

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:05 am 
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Believe it or not, The Sun manage to find a contributor more inane than chief foreign correspondent and friend of the Metropolitan Police Nick Parker this morning.

Yes, that's right. To comment on a nail-biting quarter-final of the European Championship, they call in...Nancy Dell'Olio, who qualifies because she went out with a former England manager for a bit.

The 'Queen of the WAGs' bon mots include:

'I'm disappointed. You might find this hard to understand, but I do feel more for England in football.

'And I care a lot about Andy Carroll, he's a very good-looking man.

'I wanted the country to wake up this morning happy and feeling positive.

'Terry's defence was good, Johnson and Gerrard were great. And, of course, Andy Carroll!'

Hopefully they'll keep her around for the semis and the final.

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:09 am 
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Andy Carroll will be sooo pleased. :lol: :bolt:

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 Post subject: Re: England v Italy
PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:11 am 
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Childish Giggle Of The Day

"Cassano, powering one into Ashley Cole's backside" - Guy Mowbray. No comment. :snigger:

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