They cost more than they are worth | Columnists | Sports

They cost more than they are worth | Columnists | Sports
They cost more than they are worth | Columnists | Sports

There is a criticism that is clearly intended to undermine. “Conmebol has paved the way for Argentina to reach the final,” it was said. Because in the lower bracket are Colombia, Brazil and Uruguay together, and they must eliminate each other. But the route of each one was determined by the draw. Each one fell into the group they fell into. With good logic it was determined that the four top seeds were Argentina (for champion), Brazil (for champion) and Uruguay (for champion). ranking World Cup), Mexico (for Concacaf champion) and the United States (for home-field advantage). The balls did the rest. In the Euro Cup, the top grid was occupied by Germany, France, Spain, Belgium, Portugal and Denmark. And the bottom grid was occupied by England, Italy and Holland. Much more uneven than in the Copa America. Was it also an arrangement by Conmebol…?

  • Given. France is the first team in the history of the European Championship to play five games without scoring a single goal from play. It may reach the final of this edition as well, but it simply does not play well. We are not talking about playing beautifully, which is a different, additional topic. Playing well means doing so with harmony, with an offensive criterion, with accurate passes, with intelligence, mobility, technique, defending efficiently. Also scoring goals and winning (scoring and frequent victory are included in the concept of “playing well”). If it were possible, winning by pleasing the public. France has not fallen into any of these concepts for a long time. One of the best compliments that could be given to the France that won the 2018 World Cup is that it was “a practical, effective team.” Not much more. But for some reason it passes the phases, it advances.

  • Incomprehensible. The penalty committed by Spanish defender Cucurella against Germany. A clear handball that the world saw, facing the referee, cutting off a shot that had a chance of going in and with his arm completely separated from his body. There could not have been a more obvious penalty. It was not called. That conditioned the final result and Germany was eliminated. Then there are penalties called for minimal contacts that do not deviate the trajectory of the ball or goals disallowed for imperceptible and casual touches. Nobody knows when it is a penalty and when it is not. It depends on the personal criteria of each referee. In this case, the Englishman Anthony Taylor. There is always an explanation to justify everything.

  • Incomprehensible II. The serious foul by Toni Kroos on Pedri in the third minute and 45 seconds of the same Germany 1 – Spain 2. Terrible. It took Pedri out of the match and the Euro Cup. He will be out for the rest of the tournament. It was a straight red card and Germany would have played the entire match with ten men. For Taylor, he did not even deserve a yellow card and the VAR did not indicate the seriousness of the foul. One thought that with the implementation of the VAR the problems of refereeing would end. It was not so. We defend the possibility of technological help to reduce errors, but there is still a long way to go to reach a broad level of satisfaction.
  • Distortion. There is an overvaluation of players based on the market. The football business has taken on such colossal economic dimensions that many discreet footballers are worth 100 or 150 million. This leads us to think that they are phenomenal, and then we realise that it is full of Camavingas and Tchouamenis, decent midfielders both valued at 100 million euros, or Enzos Fernández, imprudently signed by Chelsea for 127 million euros. Or Phil Foden, valued at 150 million euros, a moderate element without the ability to change anything in the dull and monotonous English game.

  • Unacceptable. After a very good game and a remarkable effort against England, Switzerland had to go to penalties to see if they could qualify for the semi-final. They started by shooting. The first penalty was awarded to Akanji, the Manchester City defender. He barely ran, was slow towards the ball and took a weak shot, expected and in the middle. The goalkeeper Pickford almost had to wait for the ball to reach him. It was not a Panenka, which one practices to fool the goalkeeper. It was an Akanji. It is not right for someone to take a shot like that, out of respect for his teammates, who left their souls on the pitch. It was the only shot missed. England scored all five of their goals and Switzerland the other three (the shootout ended 5-3).
  • Unacceptable II. That Cristiano Ronaldo continues to insist on playing international tournaments for Portugal when he no longer has the level to do so. “Cristiano ruined the competition for Portugal,” said Daniel Riolo, a commentator for RMCfrom Paris. “I understand that Cristiano Ronaldo is a legend, but for years he has been cutting off the projection of other players, he doesn’t contribute anything to this team. I don’t like to see him like that,” he said at length. And he said a phrase that all of Europe repeats: “Portugal plays with ten.” The same thing had happened in the World Cup in Qatar, which was thought to be his farewell, but the new coach Roberto Martínez insisted on him. He played every game, he looked desperate to score his goal and couldn’t. And what many think: “Who knows when Portugal will have another generation of footballers as good, and they haven’t taken advantage of it.”
  • Alargues. In the event of a draw in the knockout stages, the Euro Cup allows for extra time; Conmebol goes straight to penalties. What is each team’s opinion? In South America, it is thought that the matches are too long for players who are already “used” excessively throughout the year, with fifty or sixty matches per season. In Europe, they prefer a more sporting criterion for the final result. There is also the other thing: extra time is a kind of “punishment” for those who have not been able to win during the 90 minutes or who have speculated on a draw: fatigue. Both positions are acceptable.
  • Canada. “In the evening we watched Belgium-Canada. We were enraptured by the Canadian game. Fast, dynamic, enthusiastic, super offensive, with skill and power. With amazing physical performance. They were wrong in the definition. They missed a penalty, the referee did not grant them two other very clear chances. They had many opportunities, but different reasons denied them the goal. They are machines, they overwhelmed the Belgians throughout the game. They deserved to win and… they lost. It is difficult to explain. But the result does not change our opinion: fantastic. Better even than Japan and Saudi Arabia. We would love to see the Argentine national team play like that one day.”
  • Textual from our column of November 23, 2022, from the Qatar World Cup. Canada confirms everything, in its debut it is in the semifinals of the Copa América. (O)

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