Thursday, July 14, 2011

Email on WWC Commentary

Hi AC-  I read your blog and enjoy your media criticisms and was wondering what you thought of their Women's World Cup coverage?
I think it's better than the men for a few simple reasons
1. No Lalas
2. Diciccio- great analyst, just wish they'd allow him more than just a few sentences a game. 
3. Foudy, Chastain, Darke- They all know their stuff, and Darke has much better chemistry with Foudy than he does with the men.  And Foudy actually has critical things to say.   
Japan and France have definitely played the most attractive style of technical and fluid soccer.  Brazil had their moments too.  Speaking of Brazil do you see an underlying anger or fear in their players  Individually they just projected like very unhappy people to me.  Unless that was just their game face. 
Dicicco and Foudy are right about their constant criticism of the US midfield.  Boxx and Lloyd have been very substandard and expect another massacre for the US at midfield against Japan if it's Lloyd and Boxx in the middle.  I expect Pia won't wait as long to make the move this time to Rapinoe at left and Cheney in the middle. 


Thanks for writing, JM. I hope you don't mind that I'm sharing your email with other blog readers. 
I agree with many of your observations, though I can't help wondering if ESPN's coverage would be as comprehensive and enthusiastic if the USA team wasn't contending to the very end. Also, as much as I admire and respect former USA players, especially the ladies of 1999, do we have to have so many of them on the broadcast? Markgraf, Chastain, Foudy, Scurry, etc. it's a bit much, and comes off as jingoistic, too. Frankly, it also still raises the question of how objective these ladies are, since they know many of the players personally. There's insider, and then there's too close to the whole thing. What's funny is I did complain for the men's World Cup coverage that there were so many foreigners commenting who didn't know the USA men's team well at all, and for the WWC, it seems like the the numerous Americans on the commentary can say a lot about team USA, but not that much about the other squads.
ESPN hasn't done justice yet, IMHO, to Japan's story of inspiring their country in the wake of the tsunami disaster. Instead, I keep getting updates on whether Pia's going to start Rapinoe or Cheney. 
Part of me feels like I'm griping about small potatoes, because in the main, the coverage is really excellent. That said, Darke and Foudy don't need to push good chemistry into "wait, I know there's a game on, but let me get the next teasing comment in" territory. If it wasn't for Healey's occasionally completely baffling asides, I'd probably prefer him and Markgraf on the call. 
I think your observations on Brazil are valid, and I feel sorry for their women's team. Germany, as a country, does a nice job supporting both their squads, but I get the feeling Brazil's women feel like they wouldn't get attention in their home country even if they won the WWC six times. I'm also wondering if the reason the women's jersey has the five stars of the WC is because Brazil was too cheap to buy their women's team separate jerseys and just got them small ones of the men's that they had in stock. Seriously, though, Brazil's biggest problem is that they've overdue to win a WWC, and that weighs on them. It's like Spain before they finally won. In some ways, Marta adds to that burden. You have the world's best player, of course you're supposed to win, except it's tougher than that in a team game. 
Japan and France on their best games are so great to watch. Their players are capable of fluid, flowing soccer that really takes the women's game to another level. Both teams have really been a revelation this tournament, and in some ways, I think the great untold story in this WWC is the changing of the guard in Europe (France stepping forward, Norway and Germany left behind) and in Asia ( China falling back while Japan advances). The reasons behind those changes deserve investigation. 
As for the USA midfield, I also agree, though I think Boxxy doesn't get enough credit for how strong her game is when she's had plenty of rest. Lloyd has been disappointing, but watch that all dissipate if she cracks a great shot from outside to win it like she did in the Olympics. It's been Lauren Cheney though, who has really impressed me. The kid who fell just a bit short in youth World Cup and on the college level wants this one badly, and she's worked like crazy to get it. 
It's going to be a difficult match, though. Japan is the team of the tournament in many ways. Their cohesion is amazing, their emotional motivation is unreal, and finally, they know the USA team very well. They know what they have to do to triumph. No surprises. Best team on the day wins. 


john said...

No problem AC, I enjoy talking soccer especially when there are crticial views. My favorite coaches and the ones I learned the most from were the ones that were hard on us. Eventhough, I may have disliked them at the time, their criticisms and tough love really made me and my teammates better players.

Maybe that is where my critical nature comes from, as well as my thirst for information that is critical. It's so hard to find in the US soccer media nowadays. Except here ;)

what'sgoingon said...

I have to agree with the comments about the US central Midfield. I knew they were going to have trouble with France after watching France dominate England. The French were fun to watch. The other issue that concerns me that really isn't being discussed is why these other countries such as France and Japan appear at least to be more technically proficient than the American women. As long as soccer has thrived in our country now why aren't we producing women, such as Cheney and Rapinoe who have the foot skils and flair the rest appear to be lacking. I think it has to do with our youth soccer system that does not favor long term development over short term results.

john said...

Have you seen this piece?

I think he's right on. There was a time when our women played total soccer and controlled the game at midfield from start to finish. Now, they pretty much bypass midfield altogether, and so the style suffers. We do rely on superior organization, goalkeeping, and Wambach to dominate in the air. That won't always win out, and some of those are areas where other countries can easily catch-up.

A-Rod, imo, is the player that has been most affected by the lack of midfield play. She makes good runs through the defense. Problem is, that no midfielders ever have posession in front of the defense with the ability to play the balls through to her. She would fit in much better on Japan or France.

what'sgoingon said...

I read the article you referred to John and I agree with the writer. This is not a new development. Nine or ten years ago I was coaching girl's youth soccer. I attempted to institute skill development such as the "Coerver Moves" for two years and failed miserably. There was no support for it. There are alot of parents who want the quickest path to winning and don't see the long term value of skill development at young ages. You can look at this Women's National Team and see the result. I really enjoyed watching France play the game. I at times i get very frustrated watching our women play the game. I see too many long balls out of the back to no one up front, bypassing the midfield. Where did this style of play come from. UGH!!!???

Joseph D'Hippolito said...

I will never support the WNT again until those Medusas from the 2007 squad -- Wambach, Rampone, Boxx, Wambach, O'Reilly and Wambach -- either publicly apologize to Hope Solo for the way they treated her or retire from international soccer. Yes, Solo over-reacted to Scurry being in goal for the 4-0 semifinal loss. But any competitive athlete worth his or her salt would feel that way, especially if that athlete had been playing as well as Solo had. Besides, Solo lost the most important person in her life, her father, just before that tournament.

The Medusas on that team should have known that. Instead, they ostracized Solo. They made her eat her meals by herself. They made her receive her third-place medal by herself. They made her fly home by herself. All except Carli Lloyd shunned her on the post-Cup national tour. Wambach was one of the ringleaders, as were Whitehill and Queen B. Lilly.

All for supporting a milquetoast like Greg Ryan and a has-been like Briana Scurry?

Those Medusa deliberately tried to destroy the spirit of an emotionally vulnerable human being. What they did was evil! They disgraced themselves and their country.

That's why I will shout from the rooftops, KUSO TARE WAMBACH!!