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June 20, 1974 - Image 11

Resource type:
Michigan Daily, 1974-06-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Americans have a
strange fixation: they
play games unknown to
most of the rest of the
planet, and when the
season ends, the whining
teams are declared World
It's not just 800,000,000 Chi-
nese who could care less when
the land of the free and the
home of Big Mac shuts down
to snore away at the Super
Bowl - they are joined by
countless thousands of Irish,
Frenchmen, Spaniards, Ger-
mans, and maybe an occasion-
al Serbian, most of whom are
amazed at the notion that the
world's most powerful nation
could be worked to a frenzy by
such a silly game.
And so, when the rest of the
world sits down in front of the
tee-vee to stare at its quadren-
nial version of the Super Bowl
-the World Soccer Cup - those
few Yankee Schlitz -drinkers
who have any idea of what's
coming off, have all sorts of
trouble understanding why lit-
erally billions of people can
be transfixed by 22 men in ridi-
culous flannels kicking hell out
of a defenseless, speckled ball.
The answer to this is rela-
tively simple. America does
not care about soccer, and
the soccer-loving world does
not care about American
sport, precisely because soc-
cer is a far better game than
anything this continent has to
offer. For the Americans, it
is a case of inverted snob-
bery; for the Europeans, It
is a clear demonstration of
their sporting intelligence.
Soccer has the same relation-
ship to most ball games that
chess has to a midnight game
of craps. In no other sport is
tight teamwork and defensive
play so paramount. When two
teams of unequal ability go into
a soccer match, the 0-0 ties is a
quite legitimate objective for
the weaker side, and is often
achieved. The fans love it.
The typical soccer game is
a contest of wit, nerves, and
endrance. Since players can
not pick up and run with the
ball, one-on-one coverage is far
more effective than it is in U.S.
football, and when it breaks
down, most teams have the
eanivalent of the American free
s'fety to cover up for his team-
m'tes' blunders.
It is common to see one side
send a half-hour or forty min-
utes in a period of sustained
pressure, all coherently design-
ed to produce one clean shot at
goxl and, hopefully, a score. No
matter how talented an individ-
ual goaltender may be, he will
generally come out the loser in
any one - on - one confrontation
with a shooter. In fact, that's
how you judge the good goalies:
wide - open shots are the only
ones they let get by.
Since most soccer is low-
scoring, it's difficult to ab-
stract the minutiae of what a
team does when it passes the
ball around an opponent's de-
fensive periphery, tries to
penetrate, works the ball
around again, tries another
penetration, fals, and so on.
In a well-planned and well-
executed offense, pressure will
be exerted on every point:
from the wings, down the mid-
dle, basketball - like picks,
and a whole series of even
trickier maneuvers.
Soccer offense is probably
best understood in terms of the
teams which ARE able to put
points on the board, and the
example which comes most eas-
ily to mind is that of the 1970
Brazilian World Champions.

Brazil's 4 - 1 victory over
Italy's defense - crazy scuad-
dra azzuri was, to use a base-
ball analogy, roughly the equiv-
alent of the . Cincinnati Reds
shelling Tom Seaver in his
prime for 12 runs. Pele played
left-inside forward for Brazil,
and now that he's fed up with


rite sport


s. university ENDS TODAY
AF-D a 7 and 9snit
(noen at 6:45)


split wide to the left
-rclrke cogsdill --
being intentionally fouled and whenever the spirit moved
has retired, everyone is noting them
how severely his absence is In 1970, Brazil's devastating
hampering Brazil's title de- f i r e p o w e r was more
fense. than enough to compensate for
That's true, as far as it a rather mediocre defense and
goes, but what it doesn't note substandard goal tending. This
is that Pele's importance was year, the Brazilian defense is
not just because of the mar- noticeably better, but all but
velous things he could do with one of 1970s big guns are gone,
his feet and the ball, but also and their crown is in jeopardy.
because of what his talents- This year, if you pay any at-
and the means by which other tention to the soccer cup, don't
teams reacted to his presence waste your time worrying too
allowed the remainder of the much about the superstars like
Brazilian team to do. HIolland's Johan Cruyff and
One of the effects of double Yugoslavia's D r a g a n
and triple - teaming Pee was Dzajic. As Woody Hayes said in
to leave midfield relatively another context, any team can
open for the Brazilian midfield- take away any other team's star
er, Tostao and ersson. This player if it wants to take the
allowed them to freely retrieve trouble to do so. Instead, con-
balls the defenders had knocked centrate upon the lesser lights,
away from the goal-area, and the men who spend their time
gave them greater scope to set running around in circles and
up the Brazilian counterattack probing for openings. These are
One of the two, Tostan was by the people who make a team
far the least spectacular: al- succeed. A superstar can trans-
war the postiospethcur:al- form them from losers into
ways in position, methodically winners - as Cruyff did this
slmappng the ball to an open year with the Barcelona club -
man, never letting an opponent but without their efforts, the
get free in his sector for ab great players will make their
brea.kaway counter-thrust - alays into thin air.
totally effective job, and well-
anoreciated by the conneisseurs
of the sport.
But it was Gersson who
turned people on - GersonAM IT!
owith his magical passes fromSK
imoossible postures in impos- 9 Week SKILL
sible situations, directed pre-
cisely and brilliantly at the cram course
gaps in the opposition's zone.
Partially because Tostao was .T i
around to cover up, Gersson
was able to gamble, to range . S eedwriting
far upfield frop his black-
board position, directing, and Shorthand
inspiring his team's offen-
sive thrust.
And in the forward line, - and
Pele was not the only man
capable of finishing the play BusnssCourses
with a score when called upon. i
Two extremely talented for- Insure yourself of:
wards: Jairzinho - mentioned
in the latest dispatches as a more productive
"Brazil's lone attacker" - and year at college
Rivelhino were both men cap-or
able of snatching the ball in an a god paying full
instant, deking through infinites-
simal gaps in the defensive or part-time job
structure, and ramming it TAYLOR BUSINESS
home. Teams who concentrated INSTITUTE
over - much on Pele found the
remainder of the 'Brazilian 611 Church St.
squad playing merrily as ever 769-4507
to the attack, and scoring
Open 5 till 10 every day
Closed Tuesdays
free pa rking in rea r
241 a Michiaav
Ct two miles e o Y t t
imtedhot sae and Ypsldnbeer

485-3981 ##

2 Zany Comedies
From The Incomparable
Author of "Blazing Saddles"
"'The Twelve Chairs' is one of
the funniest films
in Vear5!'-'Show Magazine
Friday: "THE 12 CHAIRS"
at 7:30,
Sat. and Sun. continuous
from 1:15
Featurinq Dck Shawn
in the Hit Musical
603 east liberty
The Heart and Soul Comedy
Theatre Phone 665-6290 at 1, 3,5, 7, and 9 P.M.
Shell coax theebluSstrighteout
of your har8t
ao 1 :30, 4 P.M., 6:30, and 9 P.Ml
231 south stlae ENDS TODAY
Stella Stevens in
a "ARNO.D"
at 7 and 9 only
Theatre Phone 662-6264
Fri. O 7 and 9 only
Sat and Sun
and 9 PM
Robert Altman Gave You
The Hilarious "M*A*S*H," T h e


th'a "e

4 :

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