The Atlantic’s blogging on soccer this World Cup has been odd, because their essays — from a variety of interesting writers, not always known for their soccer writing — always seem to arrive surprisingly appended below a rambling introduction by their columnist Hua Hsu. Which is fine, but you’ll have to scroll down a bit to find this thoughtful take on tactics and Chile’s coach Marcelo Bielsa by Chris Ryan. It’s worth it, though:
If the last few months of European club football have been, if you believe the Guardian and the Spanish sports dailies, a referendum on the soul of football. And, after Inter Milan’s bulldozing run to the Champions League crown (including a suffocation of holders Barcelona and their series of precise attacking movements), and the way teams like Spain, Germany, Brazil and Argentina have been stifled, block, stymied and frustrated, to varying degrees, during this World Cup, it looks like the might is making right.
Except Bielsa is staging a takeover, using numbers against the same teams that would defend en masse.
Three goals in three games does not exactly make you think you are watching ’70 Brazil YouTube videos, but the end product isn’t really the point with Bielsa’s Chile, the point is the creation of the possibility of end product.
Ryan’s piece is an uneven but thought-provoking take on an enigmatically interesting team to watch, which indirectly also alerted me to the existence of this site set-up by Chile’s fans as part of a campaign for the coach to stay, BIELSA NO SE VA!
No similar site has been found for Fabio Capello, and that’s all I’m going to say about England.