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decapitated

Revisiting the Soccernomic chapter on the Englands teams lack of success in light of reaching the semi finals

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In the book ‘Soccernomics’ (originally titled ‘why England always lose’ before it was realised this would put off English purchasers) There’s a long chapter on why England underperform internationally. To summarize that chapter, there’s two main reasons why this happens

The first is that both English footballers and coaches have traditionally had little exposure to foreign footballing traditions. When the updated version of the book was published in January this year, it was noted than only Nepal and Burma have less of their players with experience of playing abroad. English coaches who have enough prestige to get the England job have very rarely managed abroad (McClaren and Robson did after leaving the job). English football until recently was a monoculture whereas other European and South American nations were exposed to each other’s style of play regularly.

The second is a smaller talent pool from which to recruit from. The book focuses on the exclusion of middle class youngsters from the game with some who played for Englands youth teams in the 1990s being bullied out of the game for being ‘posh’ by coaches and fellow trainee’s alike (one player had deep heat put into his slips for the crime of reading that famously ‘posh’ newspaper, the daily mail) and due to footballs association as a working class sport, there is a prevailing anti-intellectualism in the sport towards innovation and thinking intellectually about football a la Cruyff and Guardiola. As the middle class gets bigger and the working class gets smaller, so the talent pool decreases the book argues. I would also add from personal experience, we miss out on a lot of Pakistani/Bangladeshi/Indian-British youth talent as neither their family or their coaches, scouts or teammates think being a footballer is what a British South Asian should do so they eventually get forced out. Again, this reduces the talent pool.

Is England reaching the semi final a blip of success or is it a sign England are finally moving to overcome these barriers? Where these barriers as suggested in the book, even there in the first place?
 

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English players playing abroad still feels pretty rare, I know Dier played in Portugal but it feels like he's the exception. I'd love for more players to have experience playing abroad.

Something that's been noted in the press though is just how many of this group have come up through the ranks, playing League 1, League 2 and below in some cases. I don't know if this is just a coincidence or something that's the result of some concerted effort but it's interesting and I think it shows a bit of the diversity that's in the group. 

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Should probably wait at least one more tournament before declaring a new dawn for England's team

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1 hour ago, decapitated said:

English football until recently was a monoculture whereas other European and South American nations were exposed to each other’s style of play regularly.

I don't think having players in several different leagues is an advantage at all. You end up like Brazil or Argentina, teams that lack any identity as players are too used to different league styles and too far away from their home countries.

If anything, the best is having as many players coming from as few clubs as possible, like Spain with their Barcelona players some years ago, or Germany with their Bayern players.

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There's some truth in English football being a monoculture, but our foreign coaches stuck more rigidly to direct 4-4-2s than most of our British coaches, and our players have had a lot of foreign teammates and coaches and some exposure to foreign opposition at club level for most of the time international player movement has been a big thing.

The idea middle class kids are being scared out the game by 1990s witty banter involving Graeme Le Saux is a bit weird frankly, as is the implication that the middle classes have grown faster than football fandom has become middle class in recent years or that class divides are an uniquely English phenomenon. The point about South Asians being underrepresented is a slightly better one, but realising they're not underrepresented in cricket leads to another more obvious observation: the UK has more competing sports than most countries.

Can't believe we can talk about British exceptionalism without mentioning the weather either :D 

More generally there's a question of whether only a handful of semi final appearances is actually something needing explanation. There haven't been many World Cups and there are several other national sides England has no reason to expect to outperform (including sides like Mexico we're actually doing much better than...)  Exits have often been by relatively narrow margins to good teams, and/or involved obvious brainfarts or tactical shortcomings which have little to do with culture, class or player pools.

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Croatia is in the semi final with population of less than 5mil.

Been to 10 out of 12 tournaments since then indenpendence, missing the other two by 1 point both times.

Infrastructure is terrible, FA and domestic leagues are ran by a criminal organization, some players never played senior football in domestic league, there's a few players from diaspora in every generation, players are scattered across Europe and play in different styles.
And yet, qualifying to WC/EURO is a bare minimum.

That's just one example.

Those things you mentioned probably aren't the reason for current success and previous failures.

 

In my opinion, reasons why England failed since forever are simple.

  • Top class players becoming mental midgets as soon as they put on England shirt on big competitions. That probably happened due to enormous, unrealistic expectations.
  • Your bloody egos and constant thinking that you're entitled to something and that you never have to adapt to opposition and current footballing trends. Same goes for players, not just the supporters.
  • Lack of proper coaching (Continued from previous point). You can't just stick Capello on the bench and tell him to make you play as Italy because it was obviously never going to work.

You absolutely wasted that amazing generation from 2000-2010 on nothing, when much worse teams accomplished a lot more.
And now, suddenly, a team that's individually a lot weaker actually looks like a team and there's a proper gameplan.
And the nation doesn't have expectations that everyone will sh** their pants when they see they're up against England.

 

Edit:

Forgot to mention that I believe genetics play a huge part.
Some nations are just more talented for sports than others.

Edited by GunmaN1905

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9 minutes ago, GunmaN1905 said:

Forgot to mention that I believe genetics play a huge part.
Some nations are just more talented for sports than others.

I doubt there is much difference. The UK is an Olympic superpower, while Brazil for instance is not, Yet Brazil are traditionally great in football and volleyball.

It seems more a matter of which sport picks the most talented players and how a country develops them.

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2 minutes ago, PMLF said:

I doubt there is much difference. The UK is an Olympic superpower, while Brazil for instance is not, Yet Brazil are traditionally great in football and volleyball.

It seems more a matter of which sport picks the most talented players and how a country develops them. 

I didn't mean in England's case for football, but in general.

And of course it will be based on which sports are more popular.
Most Olympic powers are countries with higher standard and better facilities.

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@GunmaN1905

Speaking as an inhabitant of a country of slightly over 5 million, you should think yourself lucky you only have a bunch of criminals running the Croatian FA.  In Scotland we have complete incompetents who sometimes could be taken for criminals they are so inept. At least your team punches above it's weight. Considering the money and resources in Scottish football, compared to those in Croatia, Denmark, Uruguay for example, we're perpetually futile and produce next to no footballers of any sort of standard at all. Baffles me how tiny countries with tinpot league structures can still produce the odd world class player who will eventually end up at Real, Man City etc, yet ours seem to top out as the squad filling clodders at West Brom etc. 

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Some guy at work read a fancy article and told me that the UK actually over achieves in sport. Considering the amount of different sports we are alright at. Apparently Germany are the biggest underachievers considering their population and infrastructure etc. 

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Just now, GunmaN1905 said:

I didn't mean in England's case for football, but in general.

And of course it will be based on which sports are more popular.
Most Olympic powers are countries with higher standard and better facilities.

I think given the size of the pool, any country can be good in any sport with time and investment.

Brazil for instance may be good in football nowadays but in the past we were clearly behind Argentina and Uruguay.

China improved a lot in Olympic sports over the years, etc

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6 minutes ago, Boltman said:

Speaking as an inhabitant of a country of slightly over 5 million, you should think yourself lucky you only have a bunch of criminals running the Croatian FA.  In Scotland we have complete incompetents who sometimes could be taken for criminals they are so inept. At least your team punches above it's weight. Considering the money and resources in Scottish football, compared to those in Croatia, Denmark, Uruguay for example, we're perpetually futile and produce next to no footballers of any sort of standard at all. Baffles me how tiny countries with tinpot league structures can still produce the odd world class player who will eventually end up at Real, Man City etc, yet ours seem to top out as the squad filling clodders at West Brom etc. 

But that won't last forever.

Just from this WC, FA will get around 30mil€ and NT still has no real training camp. Stadium where NT plays is an embarrasment.
And I guarantee you none of that money will be used for anything remotely useful.

And right now, your league is at it's lowest point ever?
Aside from Celtic, everyone else is pretty bad.

For example, Osijek-Rangers will probably happen in the second round of EL qualifiers. And I think Rangers will get handily eliminated.

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If you think about it do English players need to play abroad? Our own leagues the best in the world. We’ve got all the top managers here and most of the best players playing here. It’s not like they’d be gaining much more playing in France or Italy for example.

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12 minutes ago, GunmaN1905 said:

But that won't last forever.

Just from this WC, FA will get around 30mil€ and NT still has no real training camp. Stadium where NT plays is an embarrasment.
And I guarantee you none of that money will be used for anything remotely useful.

And right now, your league is at it's lowest point ever?
Aside from Celtic, everyone else is pretty bad.

For example, Osijek-Rangers will probably happen in the second round of EL qualifiers. And I think Rangers will get handily eliminated.

Scotland hasn't had an indisputably world class player since the 70's/80's, and an arguably world class player since the 1990's if you want to go down the rocky road of including goalies. That's not an anomaly, that's a long-standing absence of success that isn't simply going to change provided we just do what we're doing and wait a bit longer. 

It's a fallacy that Scotland doesn't produce because of a lack of resources. The common whine is that we need more resources in order to produce better players. That seems logical enough, until you realise that other nations with far fewer resources than we currently have at our disposal are still vastly out-producing us in terms of quality. If you gave Scottish teams more money, they'd just produce a greater quantity of mediocrity. It's a question of what we're doing with the resources we currently have, not a defacto lack of resources.

And yes, in terms of coefficient our standing is at a really low ebb, which just serves to emphasise my point - how can a nation with one of the best supported leagues in the world in terms of population/attendance, and resources far in excess of many of the European competitor nations, still spectacularly and consistently underachieve? It's a scandal. It's not helped by incompetence in governance, but the clubs are partly responsible too. You cant hide decades of ineptitude behind arguing you lack resources when that's palpably untrue and utterly ridiculous when compared side by side with your peers.

Edited by Boltman

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Honestly, it probably comes down to lack of talent in Scotlands case.
Pretty sad, considering the attendance and your passion for football.

I'm looking at the stats now, and you missed only one WC from 74-98.
It's probably that you never adapted to modern, more technical football, because you simply don't have the talent for that and Iceland route would be the only reasonable option.

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3 minutes ago, GunmaN1905 said:

Honestly, it probably comes down to lack of talent in Scotlands case.
Pretty sad, considering the attendance and your passion for football.

I'm looking at the stats now, and you missed only one WC from 74-98.
It's probably that you never adapted to modern, more technical football, because you simply don't have the talent for that and Iceland route would be the only reasonable option.

I broadly agree, in that Uruguay, Denmark, Iceland, and dare I say it, Ireland 'stuffiness' is probably what we should be aiming to emulate, but the thing that is frustrating as hell is that our players aren't even competent enough to play 'kick and rush/brutalise the opponent/bore the hell out of everyone' style garbage effectively! :D

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Some interesting points I guess, but ultimately nonsense imo as it implies that our problem has been not enough talent or top class players. The 'Golden Generation' were maybe a bit over-rated, but man for man, certainly our starting 11 on paper could go to toe with any of the top sides from that period that the likes of Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal etc had. 

The squad of players we had in 2002 for example was more than good enough to reach a World Cup Semi Final. People look back at that tournament and say "oh, well we had Brazil in the Quarter Finals, not more we could've done", well yes there was, because if we hadn't somehow contrived to not score against Nigeria in that final group game, we would have had a route to the Semi Final of Senegal and Turkey, no worse than Colombia and Sweden. 

You look at 2004 and think, well if we'd managed to beat a Portugal side we were better than (on paper) normal time or lucked out on penalties, then our path to a European Championship win could've been a Holland side that didn't even qualify for the last World Cup and Greece in the final. 

We were awful in 2010, but again, looking at the squad we had, if we hadn't somehow contrived to not top a group with USA, Slovakia and Algeria in it, our path to the Semi Final would've been Ghana and Uruguay. Not saying we have any right to beat either of those sides and they were both good sides back then, but that squad was more than good enough to get to a World Cup Semi Final. 

Ultimately I think, whatever Ferdinand and co might spaff of about "club rivalries", it's pretty obvious that it's always been about mentality and the squad's mental state. Sure, for sure, there's other things that have impacted that including poor tactics, media witch-hunts, shoving big name players in out of position for the sake of it, taking players who are obviously not fit, not dropping players who are out of form for players who are in form, calling up players to the squad purely based on what club they play for, shoving Scholes out wide, Lampard and Gerrard as a midfield 2 and of course - the players themselves not performing to a good enough standard or simply bottling it. 

For that, you have to give Southgate an immense amount of credit. You can only beat what's in-front of you and who's to say we couldn't have got past a Germany or a Spain if we'd needed to, but despite the wins in the last two games, I don't think we've looked thaaaat great. I don't think he's tactically an amazing manager. I think there's been some in-game tactical decisions that have been wrong and against better teams would've cost us. But what he has done to the mentality of the squad is second to none. It's incredible. The set-piece coaching they've done has obviously been absolutely first class and the system itself does work. 

But yeah, overall I find it hard to agree with those reasons as to why England have done "badly" in tournaments the last 10-15 years. 

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As a qualified semi-finalist we're now as good as Belgium, Uruguay, Turkey, South Korea and Croatia from the last 20 years. So the short answer is we don't need to re-evaluate it at all for now.

On the middle class aspect, I think they have a point, whether you agree would depend on whether you subscribe to the idea you see with minorities that not fitting in with a culture leads to significant differences in outcome down the line. However when someone like Le Saux talks about his career this is clearly more than something in a precious toff's imagination, and part of the culture.

My personal view is that it's somewhere in the mentality. Normally we easily get through qualifying and can match the best teams in friendlies but a bit like Mexico never beat one of the big sides in the knockouts, and we still don't know if that's changed yet. But unlike Mexico we have had the players to compete.

Edit - I always find myself agreeing with Barney Ronay when it comes to England, I remember him having a go about media pressure by ranting about how all sides have their nation's media on them, it's just a lazy excuse. And for all that, the media would have been onto our likeable lads had they gone out to Colombia.

Edited by The_jagster

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43 minutes ago, ryan045 said:

If you think about it do English players need to play abroad?

Yes, it could be beneficial. 

45 minutes ago, ryan045 said:

Our own leagues the best in the world.

No, it isn't.

45 minutes ago, ryan045 said:

We’ve got all the top managers here and most of the best players playing here. 

No, not all. Only a few.

45 minutes ago, ryan045 said:

It’s not like they’d be gaining much more playing in France or Italy for example.

Why not? I wouldn't necessarily think of it as in gaining much more (because what is more in this context?) but other things, different perspectives on football. Yes, definitely. 

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I think it could be a while before you see any "regulars" playing abroad.

The majority of them seem quite happy where they're at and all things considered why would they leave a league that's competitive with some of the best players to go to either a club that has little to no chance of competing or go to a big club and risk not playing every week. 

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38 minutes ago, PaulHartman71 said:

For that, you have to give Southgate an immense amount of credit. You can only beat what's in-front of you and who's to say we couldn't have got past a Germany or a Spain if we'd needed to, but despite the wins in the last two games, I don't think we've looked thaaaat great. I don't think he's tactically an amazing manager. I think there's been some in-game tactical decisions that have been wrong and against better teams would've cost us. But what he has done to the mentality of the squad is second to none. It's incredible. The set-piece coaching they've done has obviously been absolutely first class and the system itself does work. 

The mentality has been key and I feel it's been something that's been glossed over by past managers. I'm sure they try and do something to counter the expectation, the ego etc but even before the world cup started it felt like Southgate was the first to put such a huge amount of effort into it. I like the tactical set up and I think it does a good job of getting as good as we can get out of the players and is actually fairly interesting (Henderson effectively being in midfield should be absolutely stupid but...works?) However, I don't think anyone can claim he's a tactical genius. 

I think Southgate knows he's not though, but he's not trying to be something he's not. What he's done instead is focus on the things he can do, he's looked at other sports like Basketball and NFL to see how he can use ideas from there on set pieces. He's used his own experience with penalty shoot outs to try and understand why we lost so many and the articles I've read about the approach to them have been fascinating. It's been great to hear him say they're not a lottery, there's so much you can to tilt the odds in your favour and I hope people realise it wasn't some miracle we won one, it was a lot of research and effort.

It's all added together to make the players feel confident. The players know what they're doing on the pitch, it's an odd yet relatively simple tactic that doesn't overcomplicate things but tries getting the best out of everyone and nobody is out of position like Scholes on left wing. He's got them all believing in themselves and that second goal against Tunisia is probably one of the biggest moments for us so far. We might not win it of course but every single player will feel 10ft tall and feel invincible and I feel we've improved as the tournament's gone on in terms of confidence. So many England teams of the past would have lost that Colombia game after the last minute goal, or felt the weight of expectation in the Sweden game, but it's damn good management that we came through the sticky patch against Colombia and finished stronger and won on penalties, then beat Sweden comfortably.

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56 minutes ago, Boltman said:

I broadly agree, in that Uruguay, Denmark, Iceland, and dare I say it, Ireland 'stuffiness' is probably what we should be aiming to emulate, but the thing that is frustrating as hell is that our players aren't even competent enough to play 'kick and rush/brutalise the opponent/bore the hell out of everyone' style garbage effectively! :D

Isn't the lack of professionalism among players an issue in Scotland? I say this because I remember an interview from Ryan Gauld when he moved to Portugal, where he said young players like him in Scotland used to go out and drink booze, and he was surprised that none of that happened in Portugal and players were a lot more strict with their diet etc.

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Southgate wanted to play a particular way, and picked players who have experienced the way of playing he wishes, we see passing from the back, the high press, players tracking back.. all influances of pep, Jose, Klopp and Poch.

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39 minutes ago, FaceCrusher said:

Isn't the lack of professionalism among players an issue in Scotland? I say this because I remember an interview from Ryan Gauld when he moved to Portugal, where he said young players like him in Scotland used to go out and drink booze, and he was surprised that none of that happened in Portugal and players were a lot more strict with their diet etc.

To an extent.

Like everywhere else, there are a lot of young Scots players who take their lifestyle very seriously, but even if you have a fully committed, dedicated, and professional teenager, he's not going to make the most of his abilities if the people teaching him and the methodology isn't/aren't on a par with elsewhere.

Conversely, alcohol and poor diet, idleness and poor general fitness/health are massive problems within Scottish society in general, so it stands to reason that as well as having a proportion of young players who are entirely professional and diligent, we're also bound to have a higher than is normal elsewhere proportion who are unfit, lazy, and generally poor when it comes to looking after themselves and understanding what constitutes an appropriate lifestyle for a young athlete.

The other thing that has always stood out to me is how physically inferior our full grown adult pros often are compared to European peers. This is the same with regards to wider general population, but it's not simply a question of genetics. Lifestyle and diet play a significant part too. It's an oft-repeated whine that our teams and coaches are only interested in the biggest, tallest, strongest children when selecting who to coach, and often overlook the smaller children even though they display more talent. Frankly, I have a hard time believing there's any truth to this at all, since our professionals are more often than not short-arse gits. If our coaches are only selecting the largest children, then why are we only producing diminutive, physical weaklings? Once again in Scottish football, the perception and whines don't marry with the empirical results. We have an abundance of short, tenacious midfielders of varying types, yet lack at Centre back, lack any decent physical forwards of any note, and generally lack physical presence throughout the team. I remember our national team walking out against Georgia a couple of years ago. Not only did they play technically superior football to us and win the match, but their players, to a man, were visibly taller, broader, and stronger. Georgia ffs.

Edited by Boltman

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3 hours ago, PMLF said:

I don't think having players in several different leagues is an advantage at all. You end up like Brazil or Argentina, teams that lack any identity as players are too used to different league styles and too far away from their home countries.

If anything, the best is having as many players coming from as few clubs as possible, like Spain with their Barcelona players some years ago, or Germany with their Bayern players.

I think you read that the wrong way around. There's no huge direct benefit from having lots of players playing abroad and those players immediately playing better for the national team. There is, however, a huge benefit on the football culture meshing with other footballing cultures and expanding their ideas. Up until recent years, despite the success of the Premier League, it seemed quite a closed shop in terms of ideas actually. I remember when Mourinho brought in the 4-5-1/4-3-3 (DM/MC/MC/AMR/AML/ST in FM) when he first arrived in England and it was like he had invented the wheel. :D There was just not enough crossover with foreign managers and foreign styles of play, players going abroad don't directly become better, but they bring in new ideas later when they become managers, or even if they play there for 1 or 2 seasons and return home with slightly different runs or habits on the pitch that are uncommon on their league etc.

I think England sounds much more forward thinking in recent years, as people woke up to just how the good old boys club and the anti-intellectualism running theme were hurting English football. You see the work done on England's youth teams and it's clearly great with trophies etc. You watch the Premier League and now it has finally caught up with the other leagues in terms of tactical versatility (it was always ahead of other leagues in spectacle and overall player quality and marketing and so many other things, but not on this IMO) - from Guardiola's tiki-taka transported to Manchester, to Klopp's crazy pressing, to Conte's incredibly successful bonkers 3-4-3 formation, to the Bournemouths trying to play passing football despite lower quality of players, to all the teams that still retain traditional English elements that resemble old 4-4-2 which is not completely rubbish and worthless! It's only rubbish and worthless if that's the only way to play and all others are mocked upon or seen with distrust. This is a league transformed, and an environment more inviting for progress. There's obviously still problems as I believe the quality of coaching is still low from what I hear, and there's too few opportunities for English players at the highest level (due to how many good foreign players are around), but I do genuinely think England has turned a little bit of a corner here, even if I don't think it's about to suddently turn into Brazil or Germany or modern Spain at international level.

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6 minutes ago, noikeee said:

I think you read that the wrong way around. There's no huge direct benefit from having lots of players playing abroad and those players immediately playing better for the national team. There is, however, a huge benefit on the football culture meshing with other footballing cultures and expanding their ideas. Up until recent years, despite the success of the Premier League, it seemed quite a closed shop in terms of ideas actually. I remember when Mourinho brought in the 4-5-1/4-3-3 (DM/MC/MC/AMR/AML/ST in FM) when he first arrived in England and it was like he had invented the wheel. :D There was just not enough crossover with foreign managers and foreign styles of play, players going abroad don't directly become better, but they bring in new ideas later when they become managers, or even if they play there for 1 or 2 seasons and return home with slightly different runs or habits on the pitch that are uncommon on their league etc.

I think England sounds much more forward thinking in recent years, as people woke up to just how the good old boys club and the anti-intellectualism running theme were hurting English football. You see the work done on England's youth teams and it's clearly great with trophies etc. You watch the Premier League and now it has finally caught up with the other leagues in terms of tactical versatility (it was always ahead of other leagues in spectacle and overall player quality and marketing and so many other things, but not on this IMO) - from Guardiola's tiki-taka transported to Manchester, to Klopp's crazy pressing, to Conte's incredibly successful bonkers 3-4-3 formation, to the Bournemouths trying to play passing football despite lower quality of players, to all the teams that still retain traditional English elements that resemble old 4-4-2 which is not completely rubbish and worthless! It's only rubbish and worthless if that's the only way to play and all others are mocked upon or seen with distrust. This is a league transformed, and an environment more inviting for progress. There's obviously still problems as I believe the quality of coaching is still low from what I hear, and there's too few opportunities for English players at the highest level (due to how many good foreign players are around), but I do genuinely think England has turned a little bit of a corner here, even if I don't think it's about to suddently turn into Brazil or Germany or modern Spain at international level.

England (as in their football culture) is benefited because they bring talented people to their league, but Brazil for instance is harmed because the people we export don't bring any benefits to our football.

But time will tell if this English success is a one-off thing or if it will last.

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24 minutes ago, PMLF said:

England (as in their football culture) is benefited because they bring talented people to their league, but Brazil for instance is harmed because the people we export don't bring any benefits to our football.

I agree with the first part of the sentence but not with the second.

Bringing talented foreign people to the league is a serious benefit and it is true that this happens to a much much larger scale with England than with Brazil (although there needs to be a balance - England has SO MANY talented foreign people and so much money it's hard to justify taking a punt on an English kid than just buying a ready-made player; this is not true in lesser leagues that produce local players out of sheer financial necessity). I don't agree exporting players brings zero benefits to Brazil though. I find it very hard to believe some of your top stars would've become the players they became, had they not been exposed to football of higher standards. This is not the 1960s anymore where Pelé's could thrive just by playing in Brazil, because the league was as good as the top European leagues who didn't hire foreign players neither. The Brazilian league is now a serious step back behind England, Spain, Germany, Italy and even France.

I think there's deeper subtler problems with Brazil. It's striking to me that so many Brazilian players go play abroad, yet it seems very few came back to become managers with European ideas? I think Brazil has a problem at the moment that isn't that different from the problems England had/has, there seems to be a bit of a toxic environment about everything? Wildly high expectations that make the players turn to mush the second something starts going wrong in any match for the national team. Not much of a mentality of giving back to the game and expanding on the ideas you've learned, once you're done with playing. I think a lack of education is an issue, I'm obviously wildly speculating here and forgive me if I make wrong generalizations, but Brazilian players often sound like they come from very poor environments with poor education, and aren't easily drawn to studying the theoretical part of the game. This is slightly different from England where people in the game aren't anywhere near as financially disadvantaged, but were instilled with toxic anti-intellectualism that led them away from education anyway. End result in both cases is not a great atmosphere for progressive thinking and sharing of ideas.

Ultimately Brazil still produces great players though, and nobody would seriously argue that England are now permanently ahead of Brazil at international level just based on this World Cup - in fact I think Brazil were quite a bit unlucky to be knocked out that match! But I do think Brazil has got a bit of a problem which is holding them back a little step compared to the top European nations, and this is my opinion on it.

Edited by noikeee

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14 minutes ago, noikeee said:

I agree with the first part of the sentence but not with the second.

Bringing talented foreign people to the league is a serious benefit and it is true that this happens to a much much larger scale with England than with Brazil (although there needs to be a balance - England has SO MANY talented foreign people and so much money it's hard to justify taking a punt on an English kid than just buying a ready-made player; this is not true in lesser leagues that produce local players out of sheer financial necessity). I don't agree exporting players brings zero benefits to Brazil though. I find it very hard to believe some of your top stars would've become the players they became, had they not been exposed to football of higher standards. This is not the 1960s anymore where Pelé's could thrive just by playing in Brazil, because the league was as good as the top European leagues who didn't hire foreign players neither. The Brazilian league is now a serious step back behind England, Spain, Germany, Italy and even France.

I think there's deeper subtler problems with Brazil. It's striking to me that so many Brazilian players go play abroad, yet it seems very few came back to become managers with European ideas? I think Brazil has a problem at the moment that isn't that different from the problems England had/has, there seems to be a bit of a toxic environment about everything? Wildly high expectations that make the players turn to mush the second something starts going wrong in any match for the national team. Not much of a mentality of giving back to the game and expanding on the ideas you've learned, once you're done with playing. I think a lack of education is an issue, I'm obviously wildly speculating here and forgive me if I make wrong generalizations, but Brazilian players often sound like they come from very poor environments with poor education, and aren't easily drawn to studying the theoretical part of the game. This is slightly different from England where people in the game aren't anywhere near as financially disadvantaged, but were instilled with toxic anti-intellectualism that led them away from education anyway. End result in both cases is not a great atmosphere for progressive thinking and sharing of ideas.

Ultimately Brazil still produces great players though, and nobody would seriously argue that England are now permanently ahead of Brazil at international level just based on this World Cup - in fact I think Brazil were quite a bit unlucky to be knocked out that match! But I do think Brazil has got a bit of a problem which is holding them back a little step compared to the top European nations, and this is my opinion on it.

The issue with the players is that promising ones go abroad, don't adapt and end up ruining their future, look at what happened to Gabigol, he was starting for the national team and doing well, then went abroad before he was ready and his development stalled. And when the players play abroad, it's harder to compare Brazilian players against each other. 

Brazil's last four World Cup squads were our most European ones ever and we couldn't even get past the QFs, apart from 2014 and the 1-7.

As for the players not becoming managers after returning from Europe, I doubt it would make a lot of difference, foreign ideas still come here and managers will always try to copy whoever is doing well abroad (like Guardiola or Mourinho).

 

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4 minutes ago, PMLF said:

The issue with the players is that promising ones go abroad, don't adapt and end up ruining their future, look at what happened to Gabigol, he was starting for the national team and doing well, then went abroad before he was ready and his development stalled. And when the players play abroad, it's harder to compare Brazilian players against each other. 

 Brazil's last four World Cup squads were our most European ones ever and we couldn't even get past the QFs, apart from 2014 and the 1-7.

 As for the players not becoming managers after returning from Europe, I doubt it would make a lot of difference, foreign ideas still come here and managers will always try to copy whoever is doing well abroad (like Guardiola or Mourinho).

Players leaving too young is indeed a problem but a bit of a new one that's only come up in later years and isn't exclusive to Brazil, see the Netherlands for example. It's happening more and more to every league that's not particularly wealthy.

Harder to compare players isn't a problem at all ffs, that's just the international manager's job. :D 

Just "copying foreign ideas" is **** compared to actually being there, witnessing those ideas first hand, and witnessing their secrets in depth. This is why meshing of footballing cultures results in progress.

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Just now, noikeee said:

Players leaving too young is indeed a problem but a bit of a new one that's only come up in later years and isn't exclusive to Brazil, see the Netherlands for example. It's happening more and more to every league that's not particularly wealthy.

Harder to compare players isn't a problem at all ffs, that's just the international manager's job. :D 

Just "copying foreign ideas" is **** compared to actually being there, witnessing those ideas first hand, and witnessing their secrets in depth. This is why meshing of footballing cultures results in progress.

Of course it's a problem, we don't know if say Willian José or Firmino who did nothing in Brazil are really good players now, or if they just fit the needs of foreign clubs better. It's also much harder to follow 100+ foreign clubs than say 20 in Brazil. No wonder so many foreign-based players end up choosing foreign national teams, like Jorginho, or Deco in the past etc. They are too off the radar here, no matter how talented they are.

Ideally rather than having our players going abroad, then becoming managers, we should bring foreign managers here, but foreign managers rarely succeed in Brazil, and the top ones won't come here.

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13 minutes ago, PMLF said:

Of course it's a problem, we don't know if say Willian José or Firmino who did nothing in Brazil are really good players now, or if they just fit the needs of foreign clubs better. It's also much harder to follow 100+ foreign clubs than say 20 in Brazil. No wonder so many foreign-based players end up choosing foreign national teams, like Jorginho, or Deco in the past etc. They are too off the radar here, no matter how talented they are.

I'm sorry but this is just plain stupid. It's the manager's job to call them up, watch them in training and in friendly matches and see who fits the manager's system better, regardless of how flattered or not they are by the context they play at. And Willian and Firmino are starters for some of the best clubs in the world, they aren't rubbish that "just fit the needs of foreign Europeans better" ffs. If they don't fit then either drop them or play the European way. That's all the manager's job and not unlike the issues every single other international manager has, unless they luck out to have half the starting 11 from a single club. Belgium had de Bruyne playing like **** in a terribly misfitting role before the quarter-final; Argentina couldn't fit in Dybala and ****** around with useless players like Meza on the side; France had to drop Dembelé since he didn't fit; Portugal dropped our 2nd best player Bernardo Silva at a point since he didn't fit the game plan. Excellent players that don't fit because they play better in different contexts are an extremely common issue at international level.

I can see why too many players to follow can make things a little harder, but that just means an immense depth of talent, which again, is not a problem but an advantage. If good players are poached that's because there were so many other good players that looked even better than them and at a point were ahead in the pecking order. If ALL those other players then turn out total **** and inferior to the poached player that's just terrible scouting.

Edited by noikeee

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2 minutes ago, noikeee said:

I'm sorry but this is just plain stupid. It's the manager's job to call them up, watch them in training and in friendly matches and see who fits the manager's system better, regardless of how flattered or not they are by the context they play at. And Willian and Firmino are starters for some of the best clubs in the world, they aren't rubbish that "just fit the needs of foreign Europeans better" ffs. If they don't fit then either drop them or play the European way. That's all the manager's job and not unlike the issues every single other international manager has, unless they luck out to have half the starting 11 from a single club.

I can see why too many players to follow can make things a little harder, but that just means an immense depth of talent, which again, is not a problem but an advantage. If good players are poached that's because there were so many other good players that looked even better than them and at a point were ahead in the pecking order. If ALL those other players then turn out total **** and inferior to the poached player that's just terrible scouting.

I didn't say they are rubbish, my point is that evaluating their talent is harder under those circumstances. These players will always raise suspicion in Brazil, no matter if they do well abroad, as some of such players in the past were poor, like Afonso Alves and Hulk.

The national team has a scouting system, but it doesn't seem very effective, even though it's supposed to follow dozens and dozens of players.

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6 minutes ago, PMLF said:

I didn't say they are rubbish, my point is that evaluating their talent is harder under those circumstances. These players will always raise suspicion in Brazil, no matter if they do well abroad, as some of such players in the past were poor, like Afonso Alves and Hulk.

The national team has a scouting system, but it doesn't seem very effective, even though it's supposed to follow dozens and dozens of players.

Compare to England, everyone plays in the Premier League, so they can be easily followed by the national team manager, and their development can be evaluated and controlled much more easily than Brazilian players.

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2 minutes ago, PMLF said:

I didn't say they are rubbish, my point is that evaluating their talent is harder under those circumstances. These players will always raise suspicion in Brazil, no matter if they do well abroad, as some of such players in the past were poor, like Afonso Alves and Hulk.

The national team has a scouting system, but it doesn't seem very effective, even though it's supposed to follow dozens and dozens of players.

Why should raising suspicions matter, it's the manager's job to pick players not the public. He's entitled to pick "suspicious" players.

... which is coming back to the mentality problem I mentioned that I suspect is at the core of Brazil's issues right now, paying too much attention to the wrong things, toxic mentality, too much expectations, too much catering for public opinion, not enough just letting the staff calmly to do their job in a progressive environment.

And Neymar-itis. Tbf not much different from Messi-itis, Ronaldo-itis, or all the other diseases of trying to build a playing style too much through a single star player, which affected so many teams in this World Cup. All these teams have gone home and the real collective sides have stayed, which shouldn't be particularly surprising.

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1 minute ago, noikeee said:

Why should raising suspicions matter, it's the manager's job to pick players not the public. He's entitled to pick "suspicious" players.

He won't if it + bad results ends up costing his job. The less criticism the manager can get, the better.

Quote

... which is coming back to the mentality problem I mentioned that I suspect is at the core of Brazil's issues right now, paying too much attention to the wrong things, toxic mentality, too much expectations, too much catering for public opinion, not enough just letting the staff calmly to do their job in a progressive environment.

All of this is true but it's not anything new.

Quote

And Neymar-itis. Tbf not much different from Messi-itis, Ronaldo-itis, or all the other diseases of trying to build a playing style too much through a single star player, which affected so many teams in this World Cup. All these teams have gone home and the real collective sides have stayed, which shouldn't be particularly surprising.

We went from having Ronaldo et al, to having no real stars to having Neymar, who is supposed to be the third best player in the world. It's a problem but Tite's Brazil doesn't depend that much on Neymar, despite the media focus on him.

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7 hours ago, noikeee said:

 

there's too few opportunities for English players at the highest level (due to how many good foreign players are around), 

The book touched on this and their point was the opposite. England acutually got consistently better results in the 20 years after the bosman ruling than the 20 years before. More competition for first team places, means constructive pressure to improve and exposure to different styles of playing (not as much as playing abroad, but more than the English league pre-Bosman). The argument about domestic restrictions is that it inflates transfer and wage costs for domestic players and leads to them being content to be middling rather strive to ever improve. I think the EPLs ideal plan after Brexit is to loosen restrictions on foreign players in your 25 man squad (i,e you can sign a South American with no International caps, which almost impossible now) but to outlaw English clubs loaning non-British players to stop foreign player stockpiling. I imagine that would lead to more opportunities for British young players.

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