All Things World Cup Soccer


Full Speed Ahead

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A "what to watch" primer for tomorrow's game, for those of you that don't watch soccer a lot but are tuning into the World Cup games.
  • We need to win to advance, Iran just needs the tie. As such, Iran will most likely start the game in a low block, meaning they'll try to keep us from scoring the entire game -- almost total defense.
When we have the ball, which will be a majority of time:
  • Iran will line up in front of their net in two four-person rows - basically a zone defense. They'll let our back four keep possession, we'll easily get to the midfield, and they'll let us pass it around in that area. The other two Iranian players will pressure our back four, but not really hard, mostly they'll let our back four pass it around from side-to-side.
  • Iran will be happy to let us take as many 40-yard shots as we want, what they want to prevent us from doing is (a) dribbling through the middle to get a shot closer to the goal and (b) making crossing balls from deep in their zone. For (a) they'll just clog up the middle with players and for (b) that's where it gets interesting...
  • If you're just watching the ball, you'll see our four defenders plus a dropping midfielder just pass the ball back and forth from side-to-side of the field. What you should watch instead is the movement of our forward players and our two outside backs. Our forward players are making movements to try to pull the Iran defenders into a weaker position. The Iranian defenders have to match our movements, and if we can overload one side of the field (meaning the Iranian defenders are also weighted to one side) that leaves the other side open, and that's when the "attack" happens. Typically for the US that means one of our outside defenders (usually Dest who plays right-back) will push all the way up to the front in a full-out sprint. With that, we have an extra player on offense and we can get the ball close to the Iranian touchline (the far line, where their goal is located) and make a cross that comes back across the field. (side note: the closer the ball can get to the touchline before you make the cross, the better the odds of it becoming a goal - first if it's a backwards pass then it'll most likely be an on-sides play, and second is that it's much easier for an offensive player to head a pass that is coming "backwards" than it is a ball that's moving towards their goal - for the former you can put power behind the header, for the latter you can just flick it on). As that cross is being set up, our offensive players will shift to "zones" to be in position for the header. For example, someone taking an angle towards the near post, another the far post, others in the center for rebounds and such. It all results in a mash of people in front of the net where each has a zone they're covering. We hope to get a header towards the net, Iran is hoping to get a header away from the net.
  • In this "mash of people" our defenders will crash towards the net, leaving the backside of the field open. This is Iran's chance to score. If they can get a quick counter going we will have few defenders to stop it, sort of like a hockey 3 vs 2 rush. It can easily become a foot race between their forwards and our defense and midfielders. This is where Adams, our defensive midfielder, plays a critical role in trying to stop the counters. You'll see Adams doing 60 yard sprints to try to shut it down.
  • Then, the cycle starts over again, with the U.S. trying to build up to that cross and Iran trying to stop it. It's a chess match that'll play out until we score.
When we score (positive thoughts here), then everything changes:
  • Now Iran will have to start pressing, what's called "chasing the ball". We will slow the game down as much as we can, with our midfielders clogging up any movement. Our coach should make subs where we put in players that are good at possession (meaning they may not be fast, or tall, but are excellent at dribbling and passing) - someone like Luca Delatorre. We're trying to run out the clock, and if they don't have the ball they can't score. Note that we could go into a low-block as well to keep them from scoring, but that's not what our coach does, we instead try to keep possession using something called a "double-pivot" formation, where two midfielders will move to take the pass from our goalie and then "pivot" to the open person (look it up on Google I guess if you want to learn more about the double-pivot formation).
Of course, that's all a guess on my part, we'll see how the game actually unfolds. Win and we're in, tie and we're out.
 

Full Speed Ahead

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Just for the record, my mood for the next three and half years or so is going to be based on how well we do in this game. Some buddies of mine have rented a bar for the game (normally closed on Tuesdays), hope we don't end up tossing chairs at the TVs... This is going to be a very physical game, look for Pulisic to get hacked early and hacked often.
 





From the Parkinglot

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Does the US score today and if so who is it?

I just have a very bad feeling it’s gonna be a defensive clinic put on by Iran along with lots of “gamesmanship” that is going to frustrate the heck out of the US. I also thought England would score 4 against the US, so what the heck do I know.
 


Spaulding!No!

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Vikes bites! Posted here because the vikes thread went missing
 










Full Speed Ahead

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Just for the record, my mood for the next three and half years or so is going to be based on how well we do in this game. Some buddies of mine have rented a bar for the game (normally closed on Tuesdays), hope we don't end up tossing chairs at the TVs... This is going to be a very physical game, look for Pulisic to get hacked early and hacked often.
Movement off the ball pulls Iran out of position, Dest sprints up from his full-back slot to go on the offense, gets the pass out wide from Weston, and makes the cross to Captain America who gives up his body to score. Sweet!!!

He had to watch the second half from the hosptial, but the boys held on for the win. Here's to you Christian Pulisic
:cool03::clap::rockon:

 

short ornery norwegian

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I have already seen tweets stating that Pulisic "is probably out" of the next round due to his injury.

but that is apparently based on something they heard on the TV broadcast.

Sargent also didn't look good after his injury.

Something to watch for the next match.
 

Full Speed Ahead

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A "what to watch" primer for tomorrow's game, for those of you that don't watch soccer a lot but are tuning into the World Cup games.
  • ...
  • ... Typically for the US that means one of our outside defenders (usually Dest who plays right-back) will push all the way up to the front in a full-out sprint. With that, we have an extra player on offense and we can get the ball close to the Iranian touchline (the far line, where their goal is located) and make a cross that comes back across the field.
Here's to you Dest for making that deep run and finishing it with the sweet cross to Captain America.
 

Full Speed Ahead

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Just for the record, my mood for the next three and half years or so is going to be based on how well we do in this game. Some buddies of mine have rented a bar for the game (normally closed on Tuesdays), hope we don't end up tossing chairs at the TVs... This is going to be a very physical game, look for Pulisic to get hacked early and hacked often.
Mood for the next three and half years is set...

1669765203525.png
 


mnsportsgeek

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I have already seen tweets stating that Pulisic "is probably out" of the next round due to his injury.

but that is apparently based on something they heard on the TV broadcast.

Sargent also didn't look good after his injury.

Something to watch for the next match.
I’m more worried about Sargent than Pulisic. I think Pulisic is ready to go Saturday.
 


mnsportsgeek

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I think Pulisic is more important than Sargent, even though Pulisic's set pieces have been terrible.
Definitely. Although Sargent was great today IMO. Think it's time to give Jesus some run if Sargent is out. I have been unimpressed by Haji.
 


Full Speed Ahead

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Nice overhead view of the 11-pass build-up to our goal. Note that about two-thirds of the way through the video how our entire group of forwards and midfielders slides to the right side of the field pulling the Iranian defenders with them. That gives Dest, our fullback, the opportunity to make an un-marked sprint down the side where he's open for the deep pass. It just took that split-second lapse on the Iranian defender that should have been covering that side for Dest to get open. He heads it back into the middle where our forwards are now collapsing towards the goal with each taking a "zone". Pulisic is there first and scores. If a rebound happened, with the rest of the forwards and midfield crashing the net we were in position to bash it home. The key was the movement to draw the Iranian defenders away from the side, resulting in Dest having that open run.

 
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mnsportsgeek

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Too bad Poland couldn’t hold off Argentina to top the group. Would have set up a very winnable quarterfinal should we beat the Dutch.

But lovely to see Mexico and Canada ousted in the group stage. Only Costa Rica left to go.
 



denguegopher

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Again, help me. So even though the "bottom" of the ball was only touching grass on the OB side of the line, the entire ball had not crossed the vertical of the OB line, so it is "in"? So that would be akin to the entire ball having to be across the line to be a goal. If that's the case, I think that they got it right.
 

Full Speed Ahead

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Again, help me. So even though the "bottom" of the ball was only touching grass on the OB side of the line, the entire ball had not crossed the vertical of the OB line, so it is "in"? So that would be akin to the entire ball having to be across the line to be a goal. If that's the case, I think that they got it right.
Yep, you got it right. He passed it back in front of the net for the score, and Germany goes home.
 

Full Speed Ahead

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That was an exciting game to watch on Tuesday, but Pulisic's goal celebration was the worst I've seen.
It's catching on - the new "balls of steel" celebration. I had a game tonight and the first guy that scored did the "balls of steel" celebration in honor of Pulisic.

1669950812214.png
 




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