Your 5 a week – 5 things we have learned from the world cup

1. It can still be used as a scouting method by clubs

Repeatedly managers claim they have scouts in every corner of the globe and because of the internet and the rise of other technologies that they know everything about every player and pool. Yet still the amount of players who suddenly became linked with certain clubs after the world cup or who’s price increased again is surprising considering their supposed scouting knowledge is so thorough.James Rodriguez, the Golden Boot winner for example, was only partially linked to Real Madrid and is unlikely to have a bolstered such a large fee if he had had a poor World Cup.

'Jimmy Rodriguez is already a world class mad dog'

“Jimmy Rodriguez is already a world class mad dog”

Enner Valencia had no interest from any of the European sides before the world cup, despite being top scorer in his league. So it’s fair to say many clubs still used the World Cup to observe some of the most exciting talents in ways they may not of done.

2. Spain’s arrogance has finally over stepped the mark and they need to rebuild and adapt

Looking back at Confederations Cup and their recent friendlies it could be suggested their performances could of been predicted and for the average fan they were written off after that 3-0 loss against Brazil (Which is a ridiculous measure of a teams ability). Even the most cynical critics of the Spanish game would not of even dared to suggest they would go out at the group, most expected them to bow out in the Semi-Finals against the must fancied favourites of Brazil. The games themselves made the former champions looked old and dogged.The arrogance  to not ever change or adapt their game plan to the opposition, and to assume that maintaining their dominance on the ball would see them through was their downfall and unfortunately they just simply not as good as they were 4 years ago. The Netherlands game, demonstrated their downfall, playing against a team that was vulnerable to space in behind,  but also very good at exploiting it. Spain in this game, left themselves open and gave the old favourites of Alonso and Sliva starts, simply neither of them are good enough in their own tactical roles and are better left for the games when there is only the smallest of gaps to win. Despite the warnings signs, Del Bosque maintained the same shape till the end of the game.

Alcântara and co, will be ready to lead the next generation to success but every team must cycle through the last

Alcântara and co, will be ready to lead the next generation to success but every team must cycle through the last

Fortunately for Spain, they’re still a fantastic side and this golden generation is by no means an accident. The transition means that the team couldn’t go as arrogantly in to games, without plans suiting the opposition, without being pragmatic.  They do, as many seem to forget, have arguably the best U21’s team in the world (current European champions) and at least top 3 U20 and U19 sides. Unlike Germany for example who so many of their young players have already been promoted, Spain’s Senior side remains too strong for the youngsters to break into. 4 years comes around and Spain again may dominate the world with a side made up of the likes of De Gea, Thiago, Koke, Deulofeu and Isco, who already are fantastic players. Spain need to rebuild and unlike many other failing sides at this world cup they really have the means to.

3. Brazilian problems run deep

Brazil from the start usurped Germany’s throne of favorites and Germany’s revolution occurred in  most brutal of fashions. The Brazilian technical director Alberto Parreira claimed before the World Cup  “we already have one hand on the trophy”. This was a very bold statement to make but it really was the feeling among the fans and the players. As so often with Brazil, they fortunately cruised through the group stage with luck favouring them the whole way through. The knockout rounds provided again tough competition and again their was a lot of fortune in them going through (Pinalla’s 120th strike off the post one notable example). Losing their best two players, then facing a team who was almost perfectly equipped to dispatch them, then caused a sensational meltdown, which is unlikely ever be repeated in Semi-final again. Although there was a sense of despair and humiliation, it has not shook up Brazilian football at it’s core like Germany’s Euro 2004 performance 10 years ago did.

Nothing but sentiment

Nothing but sentiment

The whole structure of Brazilian football needs to change, from grassroots to the league. The level of corruption is also rife, the culture of top-downism, and conservatism (tradition based), leaves all this in the same manner and not even a footballing earthquake can brake the rusty shackles that have plagued Brazilian football.

4. England have still done nothing worth talking about

(Self explanatory, sorry England fans)

5. Resurgence of 3 at the back

Although this perhaps has been a trend of club football in the past couple of seasons, it’s still interesting to see it has been transferred to the national game. Netherlands and Costa Rica were the notable proponents of the system. Van Gaal tried everything possible to have an extra man in defence and in the majority of these games this meant playing many players out of position to maintain a 3 back. (Blind, CB and Kuyt, WB in the latter stages of the competition). Most of the teams who have implemented this system have looked to get the best from their defensive side of their game, especially Costa Rica who repeatedly frustrated teams leaving no space in front or behind. It’s also meant that certain players have thrived with the additional freedom of being a CB in a 3, Vlaar and Marquez  are solid case’s of this. However calling it a ‘resurgence’ is perhaps an overshot as it never has been an overarching tactic nor has it become the latest revolution. It’s been brought into the mainstream as an acceptable tactic and no longer (hopefully at least.)

3 CB's provided an excellent performance for the Netherlands, especially in their first game

3 CB’s provided an excellent performance for the Netherlands, especially in their first game

Adrian Chiles and the other totally inept pundits, will comment on playing at 3 the back as the reason a team has lost, because “the wing-backs don’t get back in time” or whatever else indoctrinated garbage has been taken from the talk down the pub or from their U12’s coach. However else more teams in the future may find it a viable option, allowing for more tactical experimentation


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