TODAY -

E-Pao! Essay - Goals from backs and centre field

Goals from backs and centre field

By: Donn Morgan Kipgen *


The FIFA World Cup is on the roll, but the marksmen/strikers are yet to tie up their rusty boots. Nevertheless goals are coming aplenty from unlikely sources. As vaguely predicted in the last column of this H&T last week, it is the attacking mid-fielders and adventurous defenders who did the bulk of goal-scoring in the first round league matches so far. If the out-and-out strikers and centre-forwards could find their touch and rhythm from the second phase onwards, there would certainly be goal galores.

Judging by the clueless touches of star strikers this far, it would be sufficed to say that they still don't know where to put the ball in, even from 5 to 10 yards distance. Most of the centre forwards itchingly failed to time their defence breaking runs and unbelie-veably mispositioned themselves much to the painful chagrin of friends and fans alike.

As we have had clearly seen on the screen, there are dangerous lapses and weak-links in all the teams' defences, but top strikers simply failed to exploit those rare lapses or mistakes made by the defenders. Since most of the teams used their hard charging skilful left-and-right backs as sweeper and extra-winger in swift offensive moves, the two full-backs i.e central defenders are naturally forced to play wide, thereby creating big gaps for the opponents during swift counter-attacks.

However, coaches/managers do keep defensive mid-fielders like Claude Makalele (France), del Rossi (Italy), etc, deep in their own half to win the ball before the opponents reach the goal-mouth.

It is a fact that managers usually start cautiously in the first round of league matches. This might be one of the reasons why the centre forwards did not receive enough passes and crosses to put one in as planned. With the managers and players knowing or seeing the playing patterns and the quality of their next opponents, things would surely change from now one.

And as predicted in the previous H&T column, the standard formation used by almost all managers is the fail-safe 4-4-2 system which is often switch on to the more attacking 4-3-3 in the latter part of the game in search of a goal. Tactically speaking, the playing formation is the 4-3-1-2, an attacking mid-fielders like Steven Gerrard (Eng) F Totti (Italy), Michal Ballack (Ger), Ronaldinho (Bra), Rocisky (Czech) Zidane (France) etc playing a goal-scoring role as laid-back strikers with maximum output.

The ultra defensive 3-4-2-1 boring formation of the 1990 and 1994 World Cups wherein the opposing teams fighting for mid-field domination packed with 5 mid-field players supporting a single striker is now a thing of the past. The pace, dribbling and superb ball control displayed in Deutschland- 2006 remind one of the Total Football dished out magnificently in, where else but, the Deutschland-1974!

However, what we seen now is a 'semi-Total Football' wherein 2 or 3 supremely gifted players prowling the entire football field with full authority in any position they choose.

In this enterprising formation, one of the half-backs operates as a sweeper whereas the other defender runs down the other flank as a pacy winger supporting the centre-halves. These left-and right-backs complemented the quality wingers and attacking midfielders by providing decisive crosses or passes left and right vice-versa from all angles to the well-knit defence's formation. Nowadays atleast two goal-scoring defenders take part in set-pieces, especially the corner kicks.

Even though many teams don't have all-round versatile player or two and regular sweeper, they more than made it up by switching positions and filling up the gaps with their best all-round players to good effects. Ordinary team playing ordinary set of games just cannot book a place in World Cup finals stage. More importantly, it's the goal that counts and not conceding which matters most.

The prediction that this particular World Cup would be dominated by attacking defenders and midfielders has perfectly summed up by the fact that the first goal of tournament was drove in to perfection by the German left-back, Lahm, and the match was rounded up by a stunning 25 yarder by the versatile German mid-fielder Torsten Fringe against Costa Rica.

The gifted Dutch winger Arjen Robben curled in a 20 yard breath-taking goal past the Serbian goalkeeper after opening the tight Serbian defence with deft touch and wily set up. The Roben Van Persie, positioning himself as centre forward, team up with another central mid-fielder to create the second goal with a deft chip after pulling in the two meanest Serbian full-backs in a swift counter-attack.

In another free-flowing game, the Czech Republic delightfully checked the attempted in-roads planned by the US as they did in Italia '90 (4-1 victory) by ambushing them in the early period with three goals to none. The first goal headed in by the tall lone classic centre forward, Jan Koller, a pin-pointed cross from the Czech right-back. But it was the young versatile laid back striker.

Rocisky, playing as attacking central mid-fielder who blasted the Americans. Already bought by Arsenal, Rocisky has the flair of David Beckham, Xavi Alonso, Steven Gerrard, Michal Ballack, etc. It would be a joy to watch Rocisky teaming up with Pires, Lahm, Van Persie and Thiery Henry playing up front. England has a real problem in finding the back of the net despite having the necessary fire-power.

Playing with a 4-3-1-2 formation, England failed to unlock the Paraguayan back four. Incredibly as it was, it took the midfield general David Beckham's bending ball to have a cruel deflection from the Paraguayan full back Gammara for an own goal to give rusty England undeserved three points. In the next match it took an agonising 83rd minute for striker Peter Crouch to score England's first real goal in 2006, from yet another Beckham bender, for a spot in pre-quarter finals.

Trinidal and Tobago thought they had earned a goalless draw. The most defining moment of the match came in the first minute of the injury time when the England centre-half Steven Gerrard exquisitely drove in past the diving 'keeper Saka Hislop from 22 yards which he did time and time again: an attacking midfielder goal. Italian midfielder Pirlo opened the Azzuris account in Deutschland - 2006 with a 21 yard drive past the Ghanian 'keeper.

Defending champion Brazil, with superstar strikers in Ronaldo and Adriano supported by laid back striker Ronaldinho, were rescued from disaster by a 44th min. pile-driver from central midfielder Kaka from 22 yard. Australians were pulled back to life from the jaws of death by super-sub Tim Cahill, a midfield player, with two late goals against Japan.

Tight marking is not an excuse for centre forwards since they have had plenty of space and time through out the whole matches. Moreover, most of the defences got awry repeatedly so far in this World Cup. Since classic centre forwards are supreme opportunists - they have to be - they need to pace and position themselves in front of the goal to make the decisive touches. A team cannot win any major title with just sweepers, winger and attacking midfielders, the strikers have to score on regular basis.

The French can kiss and make real wine but they just cannot score a goal in World Cup. The unbelievable French goal-drought started since the 83rd minute of the 1998 World Cup final match against Brazil, despite having the services of Thiery Henry, David Tregequet, Zidane, Wiltord, Pires, Cisse, etc. Well, what could be the real meaning of the term 'French Luck'? Perhaps, it means winning a lady luck's heart once in a while.

The problem with French football team is the fact that they simply don't know where to put the ball in, and they just forget to score a goal while displaying their skills in the field. Apart from being the first defending champions to be knocked out in the first round in World Cup history, the French now hold the embarrassing record of being the first nation to have played four consecutive World Cup matches without scoring any goal.

Compare that to the brilliant record of 51/2 matches without conceding a single goal held by the Italians in 1990 World Cup. Whether they like it or not, Les Bleus have to score a goal, more goals, to stay alive in this World Cup: The French defenders and midfielders must have something to say about this, like they triumphantly did in 1988 at home. Perhaps, they should ask the Spaniards and Ecuadorians for goal scoring tips.

From now, on managers are likely to experiment their attacking formations. One of the defenders would play along side with a winger and a midfield player would be pushed into inside-forward position. The 3-4-2-2 system is the likely key formation. However, only time can tell, and there is a long long way to go. Anything could and surely would happen as the tournament goes on.


Donn Morgan Kipgen wrote this article for The Sangai Express
This article was webcasted on June 18th, 2006

* Comments posted by users in this discussion thread and other parts of this site are opinions of the individuals posting them (whose user ID is displayed alongside) and not the views of e-pao.net. We strongly recommend that users exercise responsibility, sensitivity and caution over language while writing your opinions which will be seen and read by other users. Please read a complete Guideline on using comments on this website.




LATEST IN E-PAO.NET
  • Khongjom Day - April 23 #1 : Gallery
  • Dance competition @MANFETE #1 : Gallery
  • Benefits of Laboratory Information Systems
  • Cry of a Dying River #26 :: Poem
  • Highly venerated status of the bureaucrats
  • JRF at Department of Forestry, MU
  • Mr. & Miss. Tripura 2018 at Agartala
  • Five states' Ranji NE team likely
  • Playing last post on Khongjom is irrelevant
  • Rising cases of rapes across the country
  • Northeast Indian Guide to Thailand
  • Interaction with Steelheart @Imphal: Gallery
  • Khongjom Numit: Last battle of Manipur
  • International Mother Earth Day
  • Selected Candidates to Global Shapers
  • Assam Rifles Ex-servicemen Rally
  • Paying tribute to our martyred forefathers
  • Death penalty for child rapists
  • TRAU Vs Bengaluru FC #1 : Gallery
  • Battle of Khongjhom :: Read about it
  • Ending Plastic Pollution- Earth Day 2018
  • Interaction with Steelheart in Imphal
  • Yet I have hopes and dreams - fancy
  • Seminar @ DM College : Atomic Energy ..
  • Lai Haraoba at Loktak Power Station
  • Teinem Luira Phanit #2: Gallery
  • Governor's Polo (Men) : Gallery
  • World Earth Day 2018
  • Edge of self determination #2
  • Save Meetei & other indigenous people
  • Nirmala Chongtham @ Bamboo Congress
  • Public Relations Day at Loktak
  • Naga Peace Process :: News Timeline
  • Songs of the dark days
  • On cease work strike since March 22
  • Kang Amomgi Tentha : Funga Wari
  • Eyek Tamba :: Learn Manipuri script
  • Piulong khul & Bunning Wildlife Sanctuary
  • The guy in the waiting list
  • Turmeric in beauty care
  • Crisis ahead; this is more dangerous
  • Gearing up for Shirui Lily Fest
  • Do not gag voice of opposition: NPF
  • Garlic Festival @ Ukhrul #1 : Gallery
  • Misplaced Agenda of our CSOs
  • Aribam Devabrata's Mime Play "Kangla Gate"
  • Edge of self determination #1
  • Vardhaman Mahaveer, his life & Jainism
  • Annual General Body meeting of STDCM
  • Land of thousand heroes
  • Present lull before the storm ?
  • Naorem Kalimohon Singh : A Profile
  • Floral tributes to PLA members #2 : Gallery
  • May I tie the knot with a Muslim woman ?
  • Quiz Competition at DM College
  • Cyber warfare: Estonia attack
  • Discussion : South China Sea Disputes
  • The Readers :: Book Discount @MU
  • Democracy: Is the countrymen listening?
  • From Nobap to the top stage
  • Cheiraoba Thabal by LGBTQ #1 : Gallery
  • Cheiraoba @ Kolkata : Gallery
  • Manipuri speaking diaspora in Assam
  • Mangginlian, Lalromawi :: eMing
  • Lomba: best garnish for Yongchak iromba
  • Modern civilisation in Manipur revisited
  • Earning the real good time
  • Meghalaya to consider implementation of ILP
  • NE girls held in Raipur for alleged sex trade
  • Pushing NH-37 to the back burner
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa [14 Apr] : Gallery
  • Brajabashimayum Gopal : Akademi Award
  • EEVFAM vs UoI case at Supreme Court
  • Litmus test for Mizoram
  • The present trend of our educational system
  • The rift between parents & children
  • Everything to know about Dermaplaning
  • A heady affair
  • Raped and defiled : India's shame
  • Leima Jagoi @ JNMDA Day: Gallery
  • Right to Religion is a fundamental right
  • Who are Meeteis
  • Meeting of Manipur photography Club
  • Dynamic Manipur's committee for 2018-20
  • BJP's Booth Level Training at Patsoi
  • Sexual violence against women
  • Yaoshang Halankar #2 : Gallery
  • TRAU Vs Mohammedan #2 : Gallery
  • Black sheep in ILPS movement #2
  • SC / HC verdict on Merger Agreement
  • How to practice homoeopathy
  • Sonowal's gesture to Assam journalists
  • Floral tributes to PLA members #1 : Gallery
  • Sikkim University Prospectus : Download
  • Schools are fine, colleges are not
  • The Deceptive Appearance :: Poem
  • Sports for peace and development
  • On organizing Thabal Chongba in Delhi
  • People's bishop gets Bharat Gaurav Award
  • Inner Line Permit (ILP) Demand :: Timeline
  • Banning the Bandh
  • A strong Opposition is healthy
  • Yangkhulen (57 Km from Maram) : Gallery
  • Statehood Women's Polo #2 : Gallery
  • An autobiography of MK Priyobarta
  • Lamkoi Shirui Camp 2.0 at Ukhrul
  • RIST Talk -35 @MU : Thermal plasma
  • Police Harassment of Human Rights Activist
  • Favouritism of PDA Govt is shameful
  • Where the mind is without fear
  • End authoritarian rule call of Cong
  • 'HUN' Thadou Cultural Festival #1 : Gallery
  • Kabui Dance @JNMDA : Gallery
  • Gangmei Aluna Kabuini : Nrityabhusan
  • Good & bad of Nung hawai consumption
  • Sadar Hills District Demand :: Timeline
  • Meitei - Scheduled Tribe ?
  • Career options after graduation
  • Food safety concerns
  • Response to Rijiju: Stand off on sovereignty
  • Two Princes :: Funga Wari
  • Yaoshang Sport @Bamon Leikai: Gallery
  • Armed Force (Special Power) Act 1958 #3
  • Cry of a Dying River - 25 :: Poem
  • Centre for Vietnam Studies, New Delhi
  • Leingakki Firem Handoktriphaoba..
  • Seeking report on Thoungamba's death
  • 3rd Northeast Fiesta 2018 : Event Report
  • Traffic: Still yet to find a lasting solution
  • From Go to Hills to Go to Village
  • Md Awaysh Khan: Mr. India : Gallery
  • Horizon : An Exhaustive Review
  • Is Delhi serious to resolve Naga issue?
  • JRF position wanted at Manipur University
  • Dams & hydropower push in Himalayas
  • Can satan encourage hard work ?
  • DGP distributed DG Commendation Discs
  • Of attack and threat to common men
  • Ruling out sovereignty, integration
  • Folk Dance @Retreat ceremony #4: Gallery
  • The entry of Gorkha in Manipur
  • Khelen Thokchom, some fond memories
  • The Singing Stones :: Poem
  • 109 Bn, CRPF celebrated 28th Raising day
  • Swarajya Magazine tender apology
  • Cheiraoba Chak Katpa #2 : Gallery
  • Women Final: Governor Polo #2 : Gallery
  • Air pollution is an invisible killer
  • Manipur as part of India during Krishna
  • Global Shapers is calling for Application
  • Heart OPD & Free Echo Screening Camp
  • Winter School 2018 at NEHU concluded
  • On forged cheque issue: Pandora Box
  • Accounting for two of 4 won so far
  • Mahesh Thounaojam #2 : eRang Photos
  • TRAU Vs Mohammedan #1 : Gallery
  • Science of stink: Dealing with odour
  • Time lost cost in cyber crime: IGI Airport
  • BJP Patsoi : 38th Foundation Day
  • The making of sports powerhouse
  • Rape in the land of Meira Paibis
  • Kamo Hau Culturals @Kamjong: Gallery
  • Armed Force (Special Power) Act 1958 #2
  • Cry of a Dying River - 24 :: Poem
  • Tribute to Khelen Thokchom
  • Major Bob Ralengnao Khathing
  • Pung Chollom @JNMDA : Gallery
  • Mnipur Ima :: Seireng
  • Kou-kha : Wetland tuber cash crop
  • The Killing Fields (2013-17) :: Timeline
  • Mukna Khong Kangjei #2: Gallery
  • A requiem for Ta Khelen
  • Vegetables grown @Thanga #2: Gallery
  • Khaidem Tarubi :: Akademi Awards
  • Angaobi :: Poem
  • A cocktail of mythology, science & religion
  • Condolence message for Khelen Thokchom
  • RIP Tamo Khelen .. always in our heart
  • Tributes to Khelen Thokchom : Gallery
  • Men Final: Governor Polo #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Nakatheng Chatpa #3 : Gallery
  • April Calendar for Year 2018 :: Tools
  • Thangjiyen: Culinary item during Cheiraoba
  • Folk Dance @Retreat ceremony #3: Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chingkaba #3: Gallery
  • Women Final: Governor Polo #1 : Gallery
  • Ringui Luira Phanit @Ukhrul : Gallery
  • Landscape from Koubru #1 : Gallery
  • Yaoshang Sport - Marathon #2: Gallery
  • PM at Science Congress @MU #2: Gallery
  • Lui-Ngai-Ni @Longmai (TML) #5 : Gallery
  • Sanakhya Ebotombi Haorokcham: Biography
  • PM Narendra Modi @Imphal #2 : Gallery
  • Sajibu Cheiraoba Chingkaba #2: Gallery
  • Enakta Leiringei (Film) #2 :: eRang
  • Yaoshang Cooking Contest #2 : Gallery
  • Front Page Photo 2018 #1: Gallery
  • Temples of Manipur : Gallery
  • Recipients of Akademi Awards for 2014
  • Old Manipuri Movie #1 :: eRang Classic
  • SPONSORED ADS