sabato 31 maggio 2014

Van Gaal made tactical changes

Are you kidding me? Maybe not, as Holland’s manager Louis van Gaal is probable to field his side in a 5-3 2 system the Oranje never have seen before. It would mean that Netherlands will not play their usual Dutch-style 4-3-3 neither the classic Ajax 3-4-3 with a midfield diamond which Van Gaal utilized during his career. But it doesn’t mean his side will play more defensively in Brazil. The tactical switch was a result of the injury occurred to Kevin Strootman, according to Van Gaal: “He is the only player I have who is able to play box-to-box and still keeps the midfield in balance…so I am looking for a system that suits my best.” With Roma’s midfielder out of the tournament, Van Gaal is ready to opt for the 5-3-2 system which can easily be read as a 3-4-1-2. The new system seems structured to resurrect Wesley Sneijder’s fortune with the National team. The Galatasaray playmaker was a key part of Bert van Marwijk’s side that reached the 2010 World Cup final but his career hit up and downs ever since. After he won the treble with Inter in 2010, Sneijder to regain his past form. By the way, he showed some flashes of his past brilliance since he came to Turkey. Playing at the back could be Ron Vlaar as sweeper with two between Stefan de Vrij, Joel Veltman, Bruno Martins Indi and Terence Kongolo at his flanks.  Daryl Janmaat and Daley Blind would start as wing-backs while Nigel de Jong and Jordy Clasie would play in front of the 5-man backline. Both are defensive midfielders with the duty to protect the backline with the team out of possession. But they also will have to support Sneijder, the No. 10 placed behind the two forwards Robin Van Persieand Arjen Robben. Should 3-5-2- don’t work, Van Gaal could return to a 4 3-3 that could end Sneijder’s hopes to be this team’s playmaker once again. In fact, Van Gaal's thoughts are that Sneijder doesn’t work enough defensively which means he’s expendable in a more offensive formation. Obviously, a new system requires time and the Holland’s 3-5-2 make no exception. The first serious test ended in a 1-1 friendly game against Ecuador in which Van Gaal had some headache as both Clasie and Blind struggled through the game while the 3-man centre backs wasn’t so balanced defensively. By the way there is still time before the World Cup begin. Today friendly against Ghana could provide Van Gaal another inside look to his tactical experiment.

venerdì 23 maggio 2014

Klinsmann made controversial decisions

U.S. men's national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann announced his 23-man roster and it was a bit shocking. The most surprising pick was that Landon Donovan has been left off the squad for the World Cup. Honestly, it had been rumored for a while but Klinsmann’s move remains a stunning decision. Klinsmann knows what he's doing. Donovan will remain as a huge distraction for the team. Should things go bad, questions will be raised about what might have happened with Donovan part of the squad. Donovan is struggling with his club in term of shape but the same happened for Jozy Altidore, who has been included in the 23-man roster for Brazil. Donovan were overlooked in favor of Aron Johannsson and Chris Wondolowski. Also shocking was the fact that Klinsmann needed of just eight training camp days to made Donovan and other veterans expendable. Klinsmann selected an young team, passing over Donovan, Brad Evans, Clarence Goodson, Michael Parkhurst and Maurice Edu. Terrence Boyd also missed the cut while John Brooks, Julian Green and DeAndre Yedlin are in. The decision to cut both Goodson and Parkhurst also is a surprising one. The defence will be highly scrutinized and Klinsmann will have plenty to answer if the pair of Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez doesn’t work and things go south. Klinsmann’s approach raised a lot of questions: are the kids ready? Is this roster containing the best 23 players at Klinsmann’s disposal? Like or not, it’s a risky strategy to face a World Cup in this way. Some suggested that, with Klinsmann's contract running though the 2018 tournament, the German coach opted to sacrifice this World Cup for the next. But one has to wonder if it was Klinsmann’s thought. A thing is sure: as Doug McIntyre twitted last night, if things will go well this summer, Jurgen will look like a genius. If they don’t...

martedì 13 maggio 2014

USA World Cup 30-man squad

There were few surprises as USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann named his 30-men roster for the next month’s World Cup. Dropping veteran Eddie Johnson and calling up Julian Green were among those. Although Stoke City's Brek Shea too was dropped, Johnson remains the biggest name left off the 30-man list. Other notable names dropped out are been midfielder Sacha Kljestan and forwards Herculez Gomez and Juan Agudelo. Johnson were edged out by San Jose’s forward Chris Wondolowski and by Sunderland’s Jozy Altidore, despite his struggles in the English Premier League. Klinsmann told Johnson's omission wasn’t related to his recent comments about his DC United teammates. But Johson’s bad attitude surely had to do with his absence from the 30-men preliminary list. Johnson is the man that scored the key goal against Mexico last September that clinched USMNT’s World Cup berth. This drop is also field-related. Johnson's struggles with D.C. United ended his World Cup dream as he has yet to score into this MLS season while other forwards’ status raised up. Wondolowski is on fire for San Jose this term while Terrence Boyd flourished this season playing for Rapid Vienna. And Landon Donovan’s inclusion in the forwards list also contributed to make Johnson expendable. With Altidore, Clint Dempsey and Donovan as likely offensive threats and with Aron Johannsson, Wondolowski and Boyd as main backups, there was no room for Johnson. As pointed earlier, there was no place also for Gomez and Agudelo, who is enjoying a successful season since his European move. About Green, assuming  that his ticket to Brazil is already booked, questions floats around who will be cut to include Bayern Munich's teenager in the final list. Green’s designation as a midfielder maybe will have the effect of squeeze out one of the men in the middle. Joe Corona is a candidate as his inclusion in the final 23-men list could be a surprise. Something that wasn't a surprise, but worth noting is the exclusion of Luis Gil: the gifted RLS’s midfielder probably paid his recent lack of game shape. He probably had to take a lot of more work to get the call. In the back of the field Timmy Chandler did make the 30. Chandler, converted midfielder Brad Evans and Geoff Cameron will battle for the troubled right back spot. Due to his versatility, Michael Parkhurst is also an option. The final roster will be named after a June 1 match against Turkey in Harrison, N.J.

giovedì 8 maggio 2014

Park, Ki included in South Korea's World Cup squad

Korea Republic coach Hong Myungbo accepted the risk naming a youth-orientated side for next month's FIFA World Cup in Brazil. By the way there are few surprises among the 23 players who will try to advance from a group that also includes Belgium, Russia and Algeria. The list includes names familiar to European fans as Swansea City’s Ki Sung-Yueng, who flourished during his Premier League season loan at Sunderland, Cardiff City’s Kim Bo-Kyung, Bolton’s Lee Chung-Yong, Heung-Min of Bayer Leverkusen, Koo Ja-Cheol of Mainz, Hong Jeong-Ho and Ji Dong-Won both of Augsburg. Park Chu-young, loaned out to Watford from Arsenal this term, showed enough in the friendly game against Greece last March to get the call. Park, along to midfielders Ki Sung-yueng, Lee Chung-yong, Kim Bo-kyung and goalkeeper Jung Sung-ryong, was part of the 2010 World Cup squad. Midfielder Park Jong-woo, who lead South Korea to a bronze medal at the 2012 London Olympics and currently playing for Guangzhou R&F in China, also get the call despite the thigh injury he suffered. The spot that gave most issues was at left-back where Park Joo-ho of Mainz has been replaced by QPR's Yun Suk-young. Hong  also named  4 J-Leaguers in Kashiwa Reysol's Kim Chang Soo and Han Kook Young, Kim Jin Soo of Albirex Niigata and Hwang Seok Ho of Sanfrecce Hiroshima. Only three players have been selected from the K-League. Pohang Steelers attacking midfielder Lee Myung-joo, the best player of the 2014 domestic league, was surprisingly not included. Hon praised Lee but opted to pick more defensive minded midfielders as Park Jung-woo and Han Kook-young. "Brazil is going to be the biggest challenge," said Hong, "but we go as one team to give the best performance that we can. We have a team with a lot of international experience and we have the players who can show what they can do at the highest level."
Goalkeepers: Jung Sung-ryeong (Suwon Bluewings), Kim Seung-gyu (Ulsan Horang-i), Lee Bom-young (Busan I'Park)
Defenders: Kim Jin-soo (Albirex Niigata, Japan), Yun Suk-young (QPR, England), Kim Young-kwon (Guangzhou Evergrande, China), Hwang Seok-ho (Sanfrecce Hiroshima, Japan), Hong Jeong-ho (Augsburg, Germany), Kwak Tae-hwi (Al Hilal, Saudi Arabia), Lee Yong (Ulsan Horang-i), Kim Chang-soo (Kashiwa Reysol, Japan).
Midfielders: Ki Seung-yeung (Sunderland, England), Ha Dae-sung (Beijing Guoan, China), Han Kook-young (Kashiwa Reysol, Japan), Park Jung-woo (Guangzhou R&F, China), Son Heung-min (Bayer Leverkusen, Germany), Kim Bo-kyoung (Cardiff City, Wales), Lee Chung-yong (Bolton Wanderers, England), Ji Dong-won (Augusburg, Germany).
Forwards: Koo Ja-cheol (Mainz, Germany), Lee Keun-ho (Sangju Sangmu), Park Chu-young (Arsenal, England), Kim Shin-wook (Ulsan Horang-i).