Friday, August 17, 2007

What’s So Special about South American Football?

If you don’t play yourself, you are not likely to get it. It’s about football esthetics. Have you ever wondered what you like football for?

Argentinean (Brazilian, Uruguayan) football stands out for: (1) having strong traditions; (2) being a part of a unique, highly spirited and personable cultural environment; (3) being an art-like form of expression. The most important technical difference can be described in few plain words: the Americans dedicate much more time to handling the ball.

Latin school is very impressive and very special. From a very early age boys play in the leagues that replicate main adult leagues, thus gaining experience that other nations don’t have. By their 16-17 they are perfect from technical and tactical points of view, as well as have courage for playing creative football which they have always been stimulated to by their coaches.

When I watch Argentinean (Brazilian, Uruguayan) leagues I’m afraid to blink, because at every playing moment all 22 players are doing everything right. Clever positioning, clever offering, clever passing, clever ball handling (two-touch play tendency over one-touch), clever crossing (always to the farther post), clever marking (standing on the feet). It’s not like they are doing it in a robot-like mechanical manner. Vice versa. At every moment they see a gorgeous variety of options to choose from, and are choosing the best (the most interesting). While Europeans see different (less interesting) options to choose from, and choose mainly those that make me fall asleep.

Want a simple example? Count the passes that have forward and backward vectors in South America and in Europe. And compare the results.

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