Tuesday, June 29, 2010

El fracaso Bielsa

I must admit that what I knew about Chile before the World Cup was from the international news, and only two matches had I seen with them, where they had nevertheless impressed against poor opposition (Denmark and Venezuela). That said, I knew their coach, Marcelo Bielsa: a wanna-be intellectual and Menotista who insisted on offensive football. He was a flop as Argentinean coach in the 2002 World Cup, but his apparent results with Chile were notable, and Chile was highly rated before entering the World Cup.
I was not impressed by Chile finally seeing them in South Africa: a lot of possession; yes, and offensive football; yes; but in all other facets Chile were outright second-rate: they hardly had any quality shots on goal besides their possession, and nice little touches were nothing to handle against defensive teams like Honduras or Switzerland. Against a tougher team like an unconvincing Spain they committed grave mistakes and posed no real threat. And finally, today against one of the best teams in the world, all weaknesses of Chile's and Bielsa's style were simply exposed to the world: Brazil were far superior without even trying, and with a simple organised defence, two outstanding backs and a strong midfield, hardly had to try their best to defeat Chile 3-0.
I don't think it is as much Chile's lack of quality as Bielsa's that has been exposed, just as with Argentina in 2002: he is too focused on the tactics, never adapting it to the team he is playing or his available players. In spite of his positive attitude to the game, football is not a philosophy or way of life, it is a game, and the objective is to win. It is better to win nicely, but still, it is to win, so if you cannot win nicely....
Bielsa was a flop for Argentina, and although he has done more for Chile than most would have expected, his football philosophy has proved a flop in today's modern football, and that is the only conclusion one can draw from Chile's exit of the tournament today!

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