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Mar 25 17 10:31 PM

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Interpret the title how you like, but to start off with it's inspired by this state of an article.

Found myself disagreeing with almost all of it (except, for most of his until the end, Jonathan Liew), although the guy who suggested interest will go up with increased xenophobia / WW3 makes an interesting but scary point.

Of course though, as Liew points out this view of international breaks might just be an English 'problem', I can only apologise on behalf of the ones that think that. But maybe I have it wrong about the rest of the world, anywhere else have such an anti-internationals stance? I wouldn't have thought so on basic glance, but at the same time someone could look at England getting over 80,000 attendance for a match against Malta and wonder how there's some kind of problem here...



And just to counter-balance the article's negativity:


Last Edited By: mattsanger92 Mar 25 17 10:34 PM. Edited 1 time

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#1 [url]

Mar 26 17 1:42 AM

I disagree with them all except Rob Bagchi. Their comments are mostly parochial Anglo-centric drivel and indeed many of them seem to display a deep dislike for the concept of international football in general. Which makes them rather unqualified to comment. It would much like me going to (say) Glastonbury and saying "Hey, there's nothing here that I like - this is rubbish and should be completely changed," ignoring everybody else enjoying themselves.

For anybody who says there is something wrong generally with international football - watch the South American qualifiers. Every game important and competitive. High quality, entertaining.

But these English journalists would rather watch Hull vs Middlesbrough.

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#3 [url]

Mar 26 17 9:20 PM

nfm24 wrote:
I disagree with them all except Rob Bagchi.
My mistake, Bagchi's the one I was agreeing with too, Liew is the one with the WW3 analogies. Stupid formatting...

nfm24 wrote:
Their comments are mostly parochial Anglo-centric drivel and indeed many of them seem to display a deep dislike for the concept of international football in general. Which makes them rather unqualified to comment. It would much like me going to (say) Glastonbury and saying "Hey, there's nothing here that I like - this is rubbish and should be completely changed," ignoring everybody else enjoying themselves.
That's why I posted the video, makes a nice contrast. And the presenters made an obvious but important point in it, that if they were back home all they'd be hearing about is the hooligan story, actually being there you just see 99% of people are there to have a good time*.

Even the large majority of English people are there for that reason. But of course you get the Little Englander groups chanting 12 German Bombers and throwing plastic furniture that give the country a bad name, which of course ends up making the news the next morning over "Fans have fun".

*To be fair, the Russian hooligan groups were carrying out their idea of a 'good time', so let's just class 'good time' as 'having a good time while not going out your way to offend or cause GBH on others'.

nfm24 wrote:
But these English journalists would rather watch Hull vs Middlesbrough.
The whole anti-internationals thing just seems to be a long-running media hatchet job in England (especially from the channels that have the rights to show Hull v Middlesbrough), the more they say these things the more it chips away at the national psyche and the easier it is to convince people in power that change is needed, and easier to convince fans to go along with it. Either that or I'm just a paranoid conspiracy nut on this. The club game at the highest level is undoubtedly better quality but there's much more to the sport than that.

The fact that only one, maybe two journalists in that piece had the mindset to even acknowledge the opinions other countries might have of international football says a lot regardless of any possible mass campaign.

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#4 [url]

Mar 27 17 1:30 AM

mattsanger92 wrote:
The club game at the highest level is undoubtedly better quality but there's much more to the sport than that.
Yes.  And what is the "highest level"?  It sure isn't Hull vs Middlesbrough, and it also probably isn't a league won last year by a kick & chase Leicester and whose other top teams have made little impact in the ECL.   The "highest level" is really just a handful of big derbies in a handful of countries, combined with the last few rounds of the ECL recently.  The highest level in internationals is about the same.

It's important to have games that mean something, and international football will always have the upper hand in that respect.

Better quality comes in many forms.  The entertainment of say, Man City 6-6 Monaco, or Barcelona 6-5 PSG might be very exciting, and there was undoubtedly great attacking quality but equally there were absolutely rank amateur exhibitions of defending, goalkeeping, refereeing and managerial tactics in those games.  They were not exhibitions of high quality football as a whole, just aspects of it.

The polarised people (particularly journalists) who lap up the EPL but appear to deride all other forms of the sport aren't actually fans of football, they are just latching on to a soap opera which is currently in fashion.  They aren't qualified to comment on international football because they know nothing about it beyond England's most recent tournament display.  They don't watch any international football except for England matches.

These journalists are nothing more than a little clique of old men sitting in a dingy pub eating stale pork pies and complaining about them, while there is a vibrant international food festival with all kinds of exciting cuisines going on outside.

Besides, if they are talking about the quality of what they have to watch, how about showing a little more quality in doing their own job.  The press coverage of England-Lithuania was abysmal. It can be summarised as "if we only win 1-0 or 2-0 we are crap, if we win 3-0 it is acceptable, and if we win 4-0 or 5-0 it is good but still meaningless."  That's it.  Zero mention of any Lithuanian player, tactics, previous results etc, except perhaps for a brief joke about pronouncing the long names of Lithuanians (Oxlade-Chamberlain irony lost?).  No actual analysis of the opponent beyond "they are place NNN in the rankings but they got a draw at Hampden" or "they play in yellow and green, like Norwich." 

Similarly, I recall the pre-match TV analysis of the Portugal-Iceland match at the Euros.  This can be summarised as "Portugal have Ronaldo" (cue montage of Ronaldo clips) and "Iceland is cold" (cue montage of geysers and rocky landscapes).  That was it.

And yet these media presenters, pundits and journos somehow imagine they are cerebral connoisseurs who have a right to be entertained by only the finest performances, and lambast everything that is less than top drawer, when their own work is about as effective as a Bolivian zebra crossing.


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#5 [url]

Mar 27 17 1:26 PM

Cannot agree more. If England were playing and performing than this would not even be an issue but the English international football is lacking and waiting for a Messieh (Gazza in 1990, Owen in 1998 and Rooney in 2004) rather than looking at how other nations develop their sides and players. Football can be played in many ways, but England play the same away. They should take a look at other nations. The Premier League is not England, the England manager and that of the past do not have the way of thinking of Guardiola (so heavily derided by the English press for actually have the gall to try and play the game differently, how dare he? and questioning why he dropped England's no.1 keeper for a Chilean sweeper, isn't it obvious, Joe Hart is no Peter Shilton!), the pressing of Klopp's sides and Pocchettino (Nor do I believe would the English media allow them to be). England's game is always seen wanting and this is going backing decades. England have the players but they try to put square pegs into round holes, they put Scholes on the left wing, and Joe Cole because they had no left footed player (so change the system, play a different formation, not 4-4-2 or 4-5-1, you don't have a natural footed player so play three in midfield or give a player the freedom to roam). Lampard and Gerrard can not play together they said? When were they ever played in their natural positions, Gerrard was a holding midfielder for England! You can go back further Le Tissier, Hoddle, Bowles, Currie, etc. There is no enjoyment in watching England and that is partly the problem, but no one is willing to change it, or try to re-invent it. And for decades English players have failed to understand how to play possession football, keep the ball and kill games off. A football game is 90 minutes, not 25 or 30 minutes. They have the players but maybe not the people to take a stepback and work out what they are doing wrong. There is a fear to try anything new and that is why England will always continue to do the same until the new trend comes along.

In conclusion there is nothing wrong with international football, just have a look at other nations, Germany, France, Belgium, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Australia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Iraq, Iran, etc their fans enjoy watching their nations play in tournaments and even friendlies. England fans are watching the excitement of the Premier League and asking why its not replicated at international level with England. Why not try and change things around? 

Last Edited By: HMIRAQ57 Mar 27 17 2:24 PM. Edited 3 times.

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#6 [url]

Mar 27 17 7:37 PM

nfm24 wrote:
The entertainment of say, Man City 6-6 Monaco, or Barcelona 6-5 PSG might be very exciting, and there was undoubtedly great attacking quality but equally there were absolutely rank amateur exhibitions of defending, goalkeeping,

I agree. My heart literally bleeds when I see how bad the so-called "top teams" defend these days. Or maybe my football concepts are just obsolete.

HMIRAQ57 wrote:
just have a look at other nations, Germany, France, Belgium, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Australia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Iraq, Iran, etc their fans enjoy watching their nations play in tournaments and even friendlies. England fans are watching the excitement of the Premier League and asking why its not replicated at international level with England.
The fans of the English national team are still very passionate! The problem is that the English national team is not able to express the same passion and excitement, but the fans have nothing to envy to the warmest supporters' groups in Europe.

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#7 [url]

Mar 27 17 10:03 PM

Luca wrote:
nfm24 wrote:
The entertainment of say, Man City 6-6 Monaco, or Barcelona 6-5 PSG might be very exciting, and there was undoubtedly great attacking quality but equally there were absolutely rank amateur exhibitions of defending, goalkeeping,

I agree. My heart literally bleeds when I see how bad the so-called "top teams" defend these days. Or maybe my football concepts are just obsolete.

HMIRAQ57 wrote:
just have a look at other nations, Germany, France, Belgium, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Australia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Iraq, Iran, etc their fans enjoy watching their nations play in tournaments and even friendlies. England fans are watching the excitement of the Premier League and asking why its not replicated at international level with England.
The fans of the English national team are still very passionate! The problem is that the English national team is not able to express the same passion and excitement, but the fans have nothing to envy to the warmest supporters' groups in Europe.
 There will always be English fans passionate about the national team - but at the current time, there is not much to cheer about.

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#8 [url]

Mar 27 17 11:21 PM

nfm24 wrote:
mattsanger92 wrote:
The club game at the highest level is undoubtedly better quality but there's much more to the sport than that.
Yes.  And what is the "highest level"?  It sure isn't Hull vs Middlesbrough, and it also probably isn't a league won last year by a kick & chase Leicester and whose other top teams have made little impact in the ECL.   The "highest level" is really just a handful of big derbies in a handful of countries, combined with the last few rounds of the ECL recently.  The highest level in internationals is about the same.

It's important to have games that mean something, and international football will always have the upper hand in that respect.
Agree with that last part (especially as it brings more people together for the same team or even people who don't normally watch football), but defensive leakage aside club teams have the obvious advantage of having better chemistry and being able to buy anyone they want. International sides have a shorter time together, a limitation on the players they can use, and less matches to make mistakes in before they come under pressure, so teams are going to be more focused on not losing and organise themselves as such.

Last 15 minutes of Ireland v Wales the other day I was genuinely the most tense watching football than I have been for a while, even though Ireland didn't come that close to scoring the Welsh defence at least gave it the appearance of a brave backs-to-the-wall job...

nfm24 wrote:
mattsanger92 wrote:
The club game at the highest level is undoubtedly better quality but there's much more to the sport than that.
The polarised people (particularly journalists) who lap up the EPL but appear to deride all other forms of the sport aren't actually fans of football, they are just latching on to a soap opera which is currently in fashion.  They aren't qualified to comment on international football because they know nothing about it beyond England's most recent tournament display.  They don't watch any international football except for England matches.

These journalists are nothing more than a little clique of old men sitting in a dingy pub eating stale pork pies and complaining about them, while there is a vibrant international food festival with all kinds of exciting cuisines going on outside.
Welcome to England. Although that food thing probably works better as the stale pork pies being part of the food festival (tabloid betting's Wayne Shaw being the operator of the stand), and the clique huddling around it doing their moaning about all the foreign muck around them. Or that pork pies are club football and apple crumble is England's international offering, but that doesn't fit the clique's view of what 'proper food' should be - mass-produced processed meats only.

Or that I'm bad at food analogies, I'm a terrible cook and a fussy eater, but it's more on the ingredients rather than a whole product, there's probably some symbolism in there somewhere, just need to pick out the tomatoes first...

nfm24 wrote:
Besides, if they are talking about the quality of what they have to watch, how about showing a little more quality in doing their own job.  The press coverage of England-Lithuania was abysmal. It can be summarised as "if we only win 1-0 or 2-0 we are crap, if we win 3-0 it is acceptable, and if we win 4-0 or 5-0 it is good but still meaningless."  That's it.  Zero mention of any Lithuanian player, tactics, previous results etc, except perhaps for a brief joke about pronouncing the long names of Lithuanians (Oxlade-Chamberlain irony lost?).  No actual analysis of the opponent beyond "they are place NNN in the rankings but they got a draw at Hampden" or "they play in yellow and green, like Norwich."
Lithuania play in yellow and black now, Borussia Dortmund is too exotic so let's just say 'like Watford'. And don't you dare say ITV don't do analysis, their re-doing of San Marino's formation proves they have the highest standards of tactical analysis cheeky banter. Lads lads lads lads lads....

But yes, I've said it before that you get out what you put in, and given what English media puts into international breaks...

nfm24 wrote:
Similarly, I recall the pre-match TV analysis of the Portugal-Iceland match at the Euros.  This can be summarised as "Portugal have Ronaldo" (cue montage of Ronaldo clips) and "Iceland is cold" (cue montage of geysers and rocky landscapes).  That was it.
I missed that one, watched from a fanzone. And to be honest for those tournament games I sometimes prefer just watching the world feed like they had on there, just a couple of radio commentators who are more likely to have done some proper research, and the images let the match build up naturally.

Gary Lineker's good but I guess he's got a 'script' to follow. Again it all plays into this lowest common denominator business, it's a shame BBC feel a need to justify their rights to show a tournament by dropping their standards, sometimes less [repetitive filler] is more and more [interesting facts/stories] is more. To be fair they pull that theory off a lot better than ITV but still could do better.

nfm24 wrote:
their own work is about as effective as a Bolivian zebra crossing.
So did you hear about that last week (tonight) as well? Because it looked like they're quite efficient once it's staffed:

http://ep00.epimg.net/elpais/imagenes/2016/06/01/planeta_futuro/1464781296_159819_1466077212_noticia_normal.jpg

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#9 [url]

Mar 28 17 1:01 AM

> Or that I'm bad at food analogies

The correct patented RoonBa formula is to follow bad pie analogies with equally bad pie puns, but sadly Mark is on holiday, so someone else will have to fill in.

> Lithuania play in yellow and black now

??? Yellow shirts, green shorts. Unless my ITV stream was tampered with by the FBI in some way.

> ITV don't do analysis, their re-doing of San Marino's formation proves they have the highest standards

A fun joke by ITV, but at least get the player positions correct. Defence right to left was 4 2 6 5 3. Midfield 11 9 8 7. Why is it that so many people seem to enjoy making these formation graphics while knowingly providing misinformation? Design-to-content ratio once again upside down. Bring back plain text + facts. No more glossy graphics + lies/guesses. Any formation graphics used from now on must be in ASCII only.

It's almost as if the TV people think "we need to put some kind of snazzy formation graphic here, otherwise people might realise we have no clue what we are doing."

> but defensive leakage aside club teams have the obvious advantage of having better chemistry and being able to buy anyone they want

These two things can't always be had simultaneously though. Bringing in big names often unsettles the existing chemistry. Besides, throwing money around doesn't always work. Premier League clubs, even the top ones, have plenty of donkeys or misfits. Few clubs can actually "buy anyone they want" really. Only Barcelona and Real Madrid in the last few years.

In contrast, there can be an advantage in making the best of what you have. Look at examples like Iceland, Uruguay, Croatia, (even Wales if you insist). Consistent selection, settled sides, feeling like they are on a mission and that they all know their roles in the "project". Big clubs, on the other hand, are always under pressure to spend money on new players whether they need/want them or not.

>> Man City 6-6 Monaco, or Barcelona 6-5 PSG
> My heart literally bleeds when I see how bad the so-called "top teams" defend these days. Or maybe my football concepts are just obsolete

Your concepts should be perfectly valid - to succeed it's surely better to try to avoid conceding 6 goals. I think particularly the way that Man City approached the second leg in Monaco was simply irresponsible. They seemed to assume they could just turn up and dictate matters in their own style, without having to pay thought to preserving the lead with bit more defensive outlook (not parking the bus exactly, just more basic pragmatism). Poor.

> Last 15 minutes of Ireland v Wales the other day

ROI were abysmal. They have gone downhill even since the Euros, where they were crap but at least had one or two footballers (Brady being the best). Really shockingly low quality. Not to be hypocritical of what I have written above, they did defend well in their own stodgy way. But they had to sacrifice any attacking prospect in order to do so, and they had no realistic ambition to play football. Utter rubbish that match. I would recommend watching it only as a sort of reference point by which to appreciate actual football.

I did enjoy the zebra crossing story, but not as much as I enjoyed this story:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-south-east-wales-39302001

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#10 [url]

Mar 29 17 5:55 PM

> The correct patented RoonBa formula is to follow bad pie analogies with equally bad pie puns, but sadly Mark is on holiday, so someone else will have to fill in.

That's a half-baked idea if I ever heard one.



> ??? Yellow shirts, green shorts. Unless my ITV stream was tampered with by the FBI in some way.

Oooh... I'll save some face and say I was just talking about their shirts...



> It's almost as if the TV people think "we need to put some kind of snazzy formation graphic here, otherwise people might realise we have no clue what we are doing."

To go back to my 'world feed' point, it's been a long-standing minor gripe of mine that BBC & ITV ditch the official tournament graphics (time & score, etc.) to use their own.

Some FIFA/UEFA marketing guy (or girl) designed that to a probably riduculously expensive fee, it seems a shame for it to go to waste just so it can be replaced (guessing that's extra work itself because the official graphics still pop up now and then) by the same look that they'll use for the FA Cup or something, especially with ITV who have no other major live football to build some kind of in-house 'brand' around. Do they think the viewers are too stupid to realise who 'ISL' are on the official scoreboard so must therefore use 'ICE' (or 'HOL'/'NED', 'ESP'/'SPA', etc.)?

Still, the European Qualifiers on ITV and Sky seem to be using the 'official' version, so maybe there's hope yet.



> These two things can't always be had simultaneously though. Bringing in big names often unsettles the existing chemistry. Besides, throwing money around doesn't always work. Premier League clubs, even the top ones, have plenty of donkeys or misfits. Few clubs can actually "buy anyone they want" really. Only Barcelona and Real Madrid in the last few years.

Maybe not simultaneously too often, but I just meant that those are two factors which the nature of the club game allows, things that can't be replicated in international sides (Qatari long games and a 'national pride boost' aside). And 'buying anyone' is more on how there's a much wider range of players you can recruit to a club than a nation (again barring any long games).



> In contrast, there can be an advantage in making the best of what you have. Look at examples like Iceland, Uruguay, Croatia, (even Wales if you insist). Consistent selection, settled sides, feeling like they are on a mission and that they all know their roles in the "project".

Absolutely, but that theory does apply to smaller clubs too. Although it is probably easier to buy into it as a national team, especially with less matches to play so an easier sight of the end goal (meaning an increase in belief/motivation), and the feeling of doing it for your country rather than a (usually smaller and less relatable) club fanbase.

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#11 [url]

Mar 30 17 9:43 AM

nfm24 wrote:
I think particularly the way that Man City approached the second leg in Monaco was simply irresponsible. They seemed to assume they could just turn up and dictate matters in their own style, without having to pay thought to preserving the lead with bit more defensive outlook (not parking the bus exactly, just more basic pragmatism). Poor.

Last season Pep Guardiola and Bayern threw away a Champions League final playing that way. See the goal in counterattack they conceded to Atlético in the semifinal. With Carlo Ancelotti that wouldn't have happened.

Last Edited By: Luca Mar 31 17 7:14 AM. Edited 1 time.

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