Thursday, March 01, 2012

The good, the bad and the surprise

Jose Pekerman had his debut as Colombian coach with a good 0-2 away victory against Mexico in a friendly match yesterday. Colombia seemed to play with more discipline and were cool-headed in the most difficult situations, taking advantage of their stars, who played with heart, perhaps wanting to prove to the new coach what they were worth. They also took advantage of their strong striking power with goals by Atletico Madrid's Radamel Falcao and Lecce's Juan Guillermo Cuadrado.
Undoubtedly this victory will give Colombia an important boost of confidence as they begin a new interesting era under Pekerman.
Colombia were good last night!

Venezuela has over the last year had one of its best footballing periods ever, and in my view, it started with a match last June against Spain in Puerto la Cruz. In spite of the 0-3 defeat, Venezuela played a good match against the defending world champions, and when they corrected the silly mistakes that gave Spain the victory, Venezuela went on to surprise everyone at the Copa America, making it to their first semifinal ever. Since, they have also started the South American world cup qualifiers, giving the few Venezuelans justified hope that they can make it to Brazil in 2014.
They will not make it, nor will they be missed, if they play like they did last night against Spain. Spain won 5-0, without a sweat, with three goals by Roberto Soldado, who even missed a penalty! Venezuela was bad, in particular in defense, where they made basic mistakes and were continually outrun made to look by clowns on the flanks. If a match against the world champions cannot motivate a team, then nothing can, and I doubt after last night that Venezuela has the edge that will be necessary to take them to Brazil.
Venezuela were bad last night.

Jurgen Klinsmann is one of the most exciting, yet debatable, coaches in international football, and after he was made coach of the USA, with full control of all teams, many have wondered whether he was the right man to take the USA, with its enormous potential, to the next level of international football. Klinsmann did not start well, but the team has been getting steadily better as Klinsmann finds the right players. In January, I watched USA versus Venezuela, and found the way Klinsmann was trying to play quite intelligent and refreshing. Last night, Klinsmann played a friendly match against the four-times World Champions from Italy in Genoa, and Klinsmann got his first big scalp as USA coach; USA defeated Italy, 0-1 on a goal by Fulham's Clint Dempsey. Although one may say that Italy's coach, Cesare Prandelli, made a lot of experiments, one should not take away this historical result, the first time ever the USA has defeated Italy!
It will continue to be very exciting to follow Klinsmann in the USA.
USA's victory was the surprise.

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