Olympic Soccer - Japan 2020 (2021) and Copa Libertadores

Discussion in 'Sports' started by CenterField, Jul 22, 2021.

  1. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2020
    Messages:
    8,572
    Likes Received:
    7,439
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Given that some of us had fun discussing soccer in another recent thread, I'll be starting a new one, and will invite my buddies to join, if they are watching thes tournaents.

    So, this won't be the gorgeous football we just consumed in Copa America and the Euro 2020, but maybe it will be moderately entertaining.

    Today I watched 3 of the opening games of the Olympics, and yesterday, 3 of the Copa Libertadores matches.

    Olympics:

    Mexico 2 - 0 France
    The Mexicans came to Tokyo in full strength. Virtually all their players in this Olympic team have had caps for their Men's Senior National Team. France on the other hand had trouble getting the clubs to release players, and had to call up 11 lesser players to replace the ones they would have liked to have but weren't released by their clubs. The Mexicans were much better; dominated possession, were much more dangerous, and looked very comfortable, winning 2-0 which is a score that doesn't fully reflect their superiority. It could have been more.

    Australia 2-0 Argentina
    I don't know what's the situation regarding ideal versus non-ideal strength of these squads but again, the Socceroos were clearly superior, surprisingly. Yes, Argentina played with 10 men for the entire second half, but even in first half when they were complete, Australia dominated the action and got ahead 1-0. Second half, more of the same, Australia scored again and could have scored more (they missed some incredible opportunities). Disappointing Argentina, impressive Australia.

    Brazil 4-2 Germany
    This was an incredibly lopsided game. The Brazilians called up a good team, and did take advantage of the rule that allows an Olympic team to include up to 3 older players. Brazil called up Richarlison and Daniel Alves; the first to beef up the offense, the latter to be the captain and orchestrate the youngsters. Well, it worked. With 30 minutes of the first half, Richarlison had already scored a hat trick, Brazil 3-0. They were vastly superior to Germany; fast, overwhelming, with beautiful and dangerous attacks. First half could have ended 4-0 as Brazil squandered a penalty kick (one of the youngsters took it and did very poorly, enabling the German goalie to stop it; I'm sure if they had allowed Dani Alves to take it, Brazil could be sitting at 4-0 by the end of first half). Actually it could have been 6-0... Brazil squandered two other incredible opportunities with the German goalie already dribbled out and an open goal in front of the striker but they managed to miss. And the goalie did make some two or three other amazing saves. This is a game that could have ended 7-0 for Brazil in first half... Then, second half was totally different. Brazil came back looking bored and uninterested... likely thinking, it's the first game of the tournament, we got this, why should we kill ourselves here trying to run up the score? The sloppy and uninterested style encouraged Germany and they scored two goals, at which point Brazil woke up again and scored the fourth and final goal to put the game away.

    This German squad doesn't indicate anything about the state of youth soccer in Germany and the potential for their young crop, because much worse than France, Germany had to call up no fewer then 100 players to get 16 to be released by their clubs, to the point that they brought just a 16-player contingent because they couldn't get anybody else. Which showed in the first half... it looked like a senior team playing against an elementary school team... they are to be commended for still scoring two goals on Brazil, in second half.

    I find it a bit disgraceful that French and especially German clubs feel so detached of the idea of earning an Olympic gold medal for the country, and won't release their players. It feels unpatriotic.

    The only entertaining game of these three was Australia - Argentina where things were a bit more even (even though Australia were clearly superior). The other two games, Mexico was so much better than France and Brazil so much better than Germany that it wasn't really a lot of fun to watch.

    The group stage will likely get even less entertaining from now on, as the best teams will play against even weaker opposition, but the quarterfinals, semi, and final, maybe will be entertaining.

    -------------

    I was already sorely missing soccer after the hugely engaging summer of soccer we had with Copa America and Euro 2020, so the Olympics and Copa Libertadores will at least minimize a bit the withdrawal, while I wait for the Italian Serie A to restart on August 21.

    -------------

    Copa Libertadores, the equivalent of the Champions League for South America, is also going on (presently, round of 16, second leg) and I watched 3 games, all 3 featuring Brazilian clubs versus Argentine clubs. These were decent games and the Brazilians prevailed in all 3. The Atletico Mineiro - Boca Juniors game was good and ended up 0-0 aggregate, resulting in a penalty shootout, won by the Brazilians. Sao Paulo prevailed easily against their opponents Racing, 3-1, 4-2 aggregate. I also watched Flamengo destroy the weak Defensa y Justicia, a team I had never head of, 4-1, 5-1 aggregate. While I didn't watch the game, I'm happy that Brazilian club Palmeiras also prevailed over Universidad Catolica de Chile, 1-0, 2-0 aggregate. I root for Palmeiras because it's the club founded by the Italian community in the city of São Paulo, previously named Palestra Italia.

    One of the matchups for the quarterfinals will be Atletico Mineiro vs. River Plate, which should be fun, featuring two of the strongest teams respectively in Brazil and Argentina, big rivalry.
     
  2. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2020
    Messages:
    8,572
    Likes Received:
    7,439
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Other Olympics results today in addition to the 3 commented upon, above:

    Romania 1-0 Honduras
    Ivory Coast 2-1 Saudi Arabia
    New Zealand 1-0 South Korea
    Japan 1-0 South Africa
    Egypt 0-0 Spain

    Other Libertadores R16 results in addition to the 4 commented upon, above:

    River Plate 2-0 Argentinos Juniors, River advances on 3-1 aggregate
    Barcelona SC 3-1 Velez Sarsfield, Barcelona advances on 3-2 aggregate

    Tonight, the 7th R16 match happens between Internacional (Brazil) and Olimpia (Paraguay). First leg score, 0-0
    Then, the 8th and last R16 match only happens on August 3rd (no clue why so far), between Fluminense (Brazil) and Cerro Porteño (Paraguay); Fluminense leads 2-0 in first leg.

    Two match-ups are already set for the quarterfinals and they are very compelling:

    São Paulo (Brazil) will face Palmeiras (Brazil) on August 12 and 19 in São Paulo. This is a city derby, with both teams hailing from the city of São Paulo and being traditional rivals.
    River Plate (Argentina) will face Atlético Mineiro (Brazil) on August 12 in Buenos Aires and August 19 in Belo Horizonte.
     
  3. gnoib

    gnoib Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2019
    Messages:
    4,194
    Likes Received:
    2,998
    Trophy Points:
    113
    A lot of the German football players refused. Some because they just got new clubs and others because of covid in Japan. Especially the U21 EU champions were not to much interested.
    The team has never played together and had only 1 week of preparations.
    Same happened last Olympics in Brazil, were they made it into the final.
    US women team got their butt kicked by Sweden, 0:3.
     
  4. Montegriffo

    Montegriffo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2017
    Messages:
    7,830
    Likes Received:
    6,429
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    I haven't worked out where to watch the Olympics football yet but I hear our girls beat Chile 2-0.
    Don't think the men are playing as GB since FIFA are waiting for any excuse to disallow England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland from fielding teams in the major international competitions.
    I'm not even sure football should be included in the Olympics since Olympic gold should be the pinnacle of achievement in a sport and it clearly isn't for football. Same goes for tennis, golf and a host of other sports.
    I favour throwing out Association football and introducing 5 a side football in its place.
    An Olympic gold in 5 a side would surely be the pinnacle of that sport and it would elevate it to a higher position and bring it to the attention of a much wider audience which IMO is one of the great things about the games.
    Field hockey in ice hockey out, after all no one is swapping their Stanley Cup medal for an Olympic gold. Same goes for swapping a World Cup medal for an Olympics one.
    That's why Rugby 7s is played at the Olympics and not 15 a side Rugby Union.
     
  5. gnoib

    gnoib Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2019
    Messages:
    4,194
    Likes Received:
    2,998
    Trophy Points:
    113
    I don't know. I understand that the young professionals are not so eager. The very long and grueling European season is just around the corner.
    They played a full season in their clubs, than the Euro tournaments
    The pre season trainings camps are going. Olympia is just bad timing.
     
  6. Montegriffo

    Montegriffo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2017
    Messages:
    7,830
    Likes Received:
    6,429
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Also an Olympic medal just doesn't carry the same value as being a Champion's League winner or even qualification for European football in the following season. Very few players are going to risk an injury or fatigue for the chance of Olympic glory.
     
  7. gnoib

    gnoib Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2019
    Messages:
    4,194
    Likes Received:
    2,998
    Trophy Points:
    113
    And those are young players, they have to make their mark in their clubs, that's were they earn their money.
    Get injured during the Olympics and or missing the pre season training camps and games, could make or break a carrier.
     
  8. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2020
    Messages:
    8,572
    Likes Received:
    7,439
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Your men are not playing because they didn't qualify.
    The tournament has 16 teams. The 8 games I mentioned the results for, involve all 16; there are no others.
    Yes, our women got badly beaten.
    I watched a few highlights from the women's games, and oh boy, it's pathetic. Especially the goalkeepers, such incredible blunders... I don't have a lot of patience for women's soccer because the skill level is so incredibly bad!
    Please do not take this as a sexist comment. I enjoy many other sports where females excel (e.g. tennis, volleyball, gymnastics). Soccer is definitely not one of those.

    Yes, definitely, the prestige associated with an Olympic gold medal is not there for soccer. I don't understand why soccer is included; in the past they used to only have amateur players so that was fine. Now they allow professional players and not only that, but with up to 3 senior players. That was kind of unfair; Richarlison was going through that youth defense as if they didn't exist. If they want to have soccer in the Olympics then at least maybe it should be exclusively U-21 player, or even U-18, to avoid the issue of professional players who play for big clubs, refusing to participate.

    Then the kids would be highly motivated, in order to show off to scouts. And they wouldn't suffer from the competition with seasoned senior players.

    But anyway, in this lull with not a lot of soccer going on, I'll watch Olympic soccer (the male variety, at least).
     
  9. Montegriffo

    Montegriffo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2017
    Messages:
    7,830
    Likes Received:
    6,429
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    As far as I know the only time GB has entered a team for the Olympics football competition was for the London games in 2012. Even then Scotland refused to take part for fear of losing their status as a member of FIFA in their own right.
    So yeah, GB men didn't qualify but only because they didn't enter.
    I like watching the women's game though. Far less diving, feigning injury and cynical fouls. Women may not be able to match the men for skill or speed but they leave them far behind in good sportsmanship.
     
  10. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2020
    Messages:
    8,572
    Likes Received:
    7,439
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Sorry, my friend, but England did try. UEFA used the U21 championship to select the 4 European teams. England was there. Group C, with Romania, France, and Croatia. Placed third. Lost to France 1-2, to Romania 2-4, drew with Croatia 3-3. Ultimately the 4 finalists which then qualified for the Olympics, were France, Germany, Romania, and Spain.
    Yes, you are right that women have more sportsmanship. But again, I find it painful to watch, so bad the skill level is.
    ---------
    Oh, I see. You said "I don't think the men are playing as GB."
    I misinterpreted what you said.
    But what I'm saying is, they are not playing as GB (as an option), and not playing as England either, because England did not qualify.

    We didn't qualify either, by a hair. We beat Spain 3-1, and beat Belgium 3-1 but lost to Poland 0-1. We tied with Spain in points but lost in goal differential (they finished with 1 more) which is unfair because the first tie-breaking criterion in my opinion should always be head-to-head and we did beat Spain 3-1 so it's unfair that they qualified and we didn't...
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
  11. Montegriffo

    Montegriffo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2017
    Messages:
    7,830
    Likes Received:
    6,429
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    England can't enter a team for the Olympics.
    Only GB can so if they had placed high enough in the U21 championships they would have declined to take their position. The same goes for the other three home nation teams.
    We'd have only lost on bloody penalties after being unbeaten and conceding just two goals in the whole competition anyway.
    Bitter, me? No, not at all. I'm over it, honest. ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
  12. Montegriffo

    Montegriffo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2017
    Messages:
    7,830
    Likes Received:
    6,429
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Saying England didn't qualify is the equivalent of saying Sicily didn't qualify.
     
  13. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2020
    Messages:
    8,572
    Likes Received:
    7,439
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    OK, I understand it now. Thanks for clarifying.

    Haha, that's the advantage of having a truly unified country... we understood this advantage during the Risorgimento, despite our long tradition of separate kingdoms and city states.
    One poorly known strophe of our National Anthem talks about it (we only sing one strophe and the chorus during ceremonies, but the full Italian Anthem is much longer - and beautiful):

    Noi fummo da secoli
    calpesti, derisi,
    perché non siam popolo,
    perché siam divisi.
    Raccolgaci un'unica
    bandiera, una speme:
    di fonderci insieme
    già l'ora suonò.

    That is:

    We were for centuries
    downtrodden, derided,
    because we are not one people,
    because we are divided.
    Let one flag, one hope
    gather us all.
    The hour has struck
    for us to unite.

    You and your home nations... haha. You should have learned this lesson. In unity there is strength.

    I'll not be surprised if you lose Scotland, after having lost most of Ireland (and then eventually Northern Ireland might join Ireland although that's a lot more complicated).

    The Scots are still very mad at Brexit so it's not excluded that one day Scotland will break apart from the UK and rejoin the European Union.

    Anyway, that's my impression as an outsider but of course I don't pretend to know the ins and outs of your passion for having four home nations instead of one truly united country.
     
  14. Montegriffo

    Montegriffo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2017
    Messages:
    7,830
    Likes Received:
    6,429
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    We only do it to give everyone else a chance. If we combined with the Jocks, Taffs and Paddies we wouldn't have enough space to keep all the international trophies and medals.
    You're welcome.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
  15. Montegriffo

    Montegriffo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2017
    Messages:
    7,830
    Likes Received:
    6,429
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    ...also, Scotland doesn't have the GDP to national debt ratio required to join the EU so they can huff and puff all they like, the only way for them to re-join is as a part of the United Kingdom.
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
  16. Montegriffo

    Montegriffo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2017
    Messages:
    7,830
    Likes Received:
    6,429
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    We on the other hand have a verse in our national anthem that goes

    :roflol:
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
  17. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2020
    Messages:
    8,572
    Likes Received:
    7,439
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Talking about the Euro again?

    Well, yes, but then, you had an extremely easy group phase, then you got to the easy side of the bracket, and you avoided all 5 best teams until the final (the five best being Italy, Belgium, France, Spain, and Portugal). You had 6 out of 7 home games, and you counted on very favorable refereeing in the semi-final. We came out of a bruising bracket, we were exhausted, and facing injury problems (lost our best player Spinazzola, lost our second best player Chiesa during the final and Insigne got injured in the final, too; had our truly star player out of full physical form - Verratti), and we were playing against your 11 plus 65,000 people.

    Frankly, I think that in normal circumstances, in full force with all our players healthy, with everybody well-rested, in a neutral stadium and neutral refs, our current team would beat your current team at least 8 times out of 10.

    The problem with you is that you have no midfield, and midfield is key to winning tournaments. We have three world-class players as our starting midfielders (Jorginho, Verratti, Barella) and we are so deep that we have at least four other great midfielders (Locatelli, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Stefano Sensi, and Pessina).

    I may even be generous when I say 8 times out of 10... because our midfield will dominate yours 10 times out of 10...

    You have a good offense but if your midfield is overwhelmed by ours and the ball doesn't get to your offense, having those talented strikers won't matter much.

    The current Squadra Azzurra, provided that Spinazzola gets back (and provided that Bonucci and Chiellini can still play in Qatar and repeat their outstanding Euro 2020 performance, for one last hurrah), basically has only two problematic positions: right back, and center forward. If Mancini solves these two problems for Qatar, beware. We may be unstoppable.

    Yes, you finished undefeated and conceded only two goals... against inferior opposition. We were also undefeated, and conceded 4 goals, 1 of them should never have happened (soft penalty awarded to Belgium), but the difference is, we held this record against superior opposition.
     
  18. Montegriffo

    Montegriffo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2017
    Messages:
    7,830
    Likes Received:
    6,429
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Well you know what they say, if you torture statistics enough you can make them say whatever you want them to. ;)
     
  19. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2020
    Messages:
    8,572
    Likes Received:
    7,439
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    OH MY GOD you have a verse in your National Anthem that crushes one of your very Home Nations??? Darn... amazing...

    We would NEVER have a verse in our National Anthem crushing the kingdoms of Sicilia, Naples, etc. We are all brothers. That's why our anthem starts with "Fratelli d'Italia."

    About Scotland's economic situation, these things change. Remember how Ireland used to be a poor country? Now it is one of the richest countries of the European Union.
     
  20. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2020
    Messages:
    8,572
    Likes Received:
    7,439
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    There's nothing statistical about a great midfield. Ours is great. Yours isn't. That's why we are the champs, and you aren't.
     
  21. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2020
    Messages:
    8,572
    Likes Received:
    7,439
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    While I always used this very idea to encourage you guys to unite at least as a FIFA team and an Olympic team, you wouldn't get that much of a boost given that Northern Ireland and Scotland are just not so good in soccer. Wales can be decent... still, when one sees them being crushed 0-4 by Denmark, tsk tsk...
     
    Last edited: Jul 23, 2021
  22. Montegriffo

    Montegriffo Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 22, 2017
    Messages:
    7,830
    Likes Received:
    6,429
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
     
  23. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2020
    Messages:
    8,572
    Likes Received:
    7,439
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Back to topic: I now know why Fluminense vs. Cerro Porteño got postponed to August 3rd. Cerro's manager Arce lost his son in a car accident and CONMEBOL postponed the game to give him time to grieve. Poor guy.

    So with the exception of the one open spot between Fluminense and Cerro, all others are set, after Olimpia beat Internacional yesterday on penalties after 0-0 on aggregate.

    So Flamengo's adversary in the quarterfinals will be Olimpia. Barcelona de Guayaquil awaits the winner of Fluminense vs. Cerro Porteño. On the other side of the bracket, like I said, are Atlético vs. River Plate, and São Paulo vs. Palmeiras.
     
  24. CenterField

    CenterField Well-Known Member Donor

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2020
    Messages:
    8,572
    Likes Received:
    7,439
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Gender:
    Male
    Second game day, main attraction, Brazil vs. Ivory Coast. Good game. Brazil was comfortable, dominating possession and actions until minute 13 when they collected a red card, and spent the rest of the game trying to catch-up and score, to no avail, given that Ivory Coast used the man advantage very well, always having solid defense, and making some dangerous counters saved by the Brazilian goalie. The last half hour Brazil played better and almost scored a few times; at minute 80 the Ivory Coast also had a man sent out and for the last 10 minutes + 5 stoppage time the two teams were even in number of players and Brazil had a couple of other good opportunities but they were stopped by the Ivory Coast goalie or went wide. Final result, 0-0.

    The red card for Brazil at minute 13 was one of those for a foul by the last man that denied a scoring opportunity. One would think: let them try; the shot might go wide or be stopped by the goalie and even if Ivory Coast scored, Brazil would have 80 minutes to tie and then win. By choosing to foul and getting sent out, the Brazilian defender doomed his team for most of the game.

    Argentina beat Egypt 1-0. I fast-forwarded this game.

    Favorites Mexico were surprised by Japan and lost 1-2, with the Mexicans also being a man down due to a red card.

    Spain beat Australia 1-0. Big domination by Spain but they struggled to score (similar to the senior team, huh?) but finally did at about minute 80.

    I didn't watch any of the following games:

    Honduras beat NZ 3-2.

    France beat South Africa 4-3; pity that I didn't watch this game, sounds like fun.

    South Korea crushed Romania 4-0

    Germany beat Saudi Arabia 3-2.

    A pet peeve observation: in flagrant disrespect to fans of the sport, NBC played commercials *during* play, full screen. Preposterous. Why not do a split screen at least? And I wonder what the businesses that contracted these ads were thinking, because the reaction is, "I won't patronize this stupid business that is interrupting the live action of the sport I'm watching and love. I'll make a point of avoiding giving them my business."
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2021
  25. gnoib

    gnoib Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 19, 2019
    Messages:
    4,194
    Likes Received:
    2,998
    Trophy Points:
    113
    What is it with the red cards in the Olympics ?
     

Share This Page