Soccer is a simple game, made difficult by coaches and players. Create space and don't give the ball away. That is all. How many teams, even at this level have you seen do little of the first and to much of the second. US soccer must let its better prospects go overseas. A 6 month MLS season is not enough. Everyone was suprised but how the national team has gone backwards since 2002 in Asia and now is the time to start anew. Most players are overcoached and I am all for the saying I first heard many years ago-I think it was about the Green Bay Packers 'Run for Daylight'. Too many coaching courses in tactics abnd theory.
Let them play!! I think it was yesterday that Francisco Marcos respectfully disagreed with Sunil Gulati, and wants more players to go to Europe. Sunil is a very intelligent and respected President, an economist at Columbia Univ and has worked for the World Bank, and the federation should expect great things. We are all tired of the ticketing fiasco.
After the ITA-UKR match in Hamburg I went into one of the many sponsors tents outside the AOL Arena where Yahoo and other sponsors were wining and dining, and at the top of my voice shouted 'Yahoooooo', and said 'You are all scum-taking tickets away from the true fans'. There were a lot of suprised faces, including my companions who thought I was crazy-but someone had to say something. In fact the sponsors guests and those who had bought 'hospitality packages' were still coming back to their seats half way thru the 2nd half.
I have NO PROBLEM with hard working federation people from around the glöbe and from Germany, Hall of Famers,plus the Maradona's who have entertained, getting good free seats, but soccer is different than most big sports. IT'S THE PEOPLE'S GAME. even though it's the FIFA WORLD CUP (trophy). Only 6% of capacity was given to national federations to distribute. That's ridiculously low for stadiums with 41,000 seats. The rest you had to go into a lottery or buy from touts.
How many England, Holland, German, USA fans had to pay too much or watch from outside. QUESTIONS MUST BE ASKED by the public, even of US Soccer who are 'fan friendly' more than most. Let the people know!! How many tickets went to true fans and how many to US Soccer partners? How many to fan groups such as Sams Army and how were the others distributed?
Are you telling me that McDonalds, for example, wouldn't pay big sponsorships bucks if they got less tickets and sent kids on free trips to Disneyland instead? How many people went to Germany on a free ride, besides the team? How many went first class, business class and tourist class? What was the cost to US Soccer? While the FA in England can afford to take players wives and girl friends -THE WAGS, US Soccer can't and has more pressing problems. 'Soccer America'. Seek ye the truth. FIFA must also be brought to task. Never again should fans have to beg to get tickets to support their teams.
How many tickets going to certain nations-Paraguay has been mentioned as an example-were sold on to touts? Its the German organizing committee that does all the hard work. FIFA sits back and enjoys and counts the money. You can find out easily how much George Bush, Kofi Annan, Tony Blair, Alex Ferguson earns, BUT why won't Joseph S. Blatter say how much he earns? We don't want to know the details of each FIFA secretaries salary, days off sick or health details, but the amount spent on FIFA's top people should be in the public record. Anway on to the semi-finals. Neither Portugal nor England deserved to win their QF. Owen Hargreaves was man of the match and Aaron Lennon showed what he is capable of. Wayne the 20 year old acted like a 16 year old and got what he deserved.
Portugal were clueless against 10 men as were England 4 years ago against 10 man Brazil. The England coach must be considered a failure and the English, with 5 PK losses in recent tournaments, can only think what might have been. Brazil never got going all month and the skill of the French prevailed. I am hoping for a ticket for Wednesday's semi final in Munich, and tomorrow's blog you must read-an afternoon I spent with a legend. Ciao, Ron