Friday, July 14, 2006

Another manager in the unemployement line

No surprise, Bruce Arena leaves the world of international football. He joins the likes of Lippi, Klinsman, Janas, Kranjcar, Hiddink, Ericksson, and Pekerman in the unemployed line. Such is the world of international football, for many of us (myself included) thought that Domenech would be joining these names had the French not reached the finals.

I think that in defeat, Arena gets too much blame just as he received too much credit for their 2002 world cup run.

The US was drawn in a very difficult group, and after the 2002 world cup, the expectations were irrational. Listening to talking heads like Balboa and Wynalda a few months ago, you would think that semi-finalists France and Germany were "frauds" while the USA was for "real." It was irrational expectations that put Arena square in the target. Had the US emerged from their group, they would have most likely faced Brazil (as bad as Brazil was, they probably would have still beaten the US), would the pundits still come down hard on Arena?

Granted, Arena must assume some of the blame. How could he leave Twellman at home but bring Ching? How can he not get his team motivated for a first round game of the World Cup? His over reliance on Donovan was also questionable. Playing with one striker, McBride, he placed too much pressure on Donovan, who has yet to show can produce on the highest stage (and no the MLS finals is not that stage). His playing of Beasley out of position was also questionable. But looking back, the US was one questionable PK away from maybe sneaking into the second round. They played Italy decently, surviving all the referee's questionable calls.

The US has a chance to infuse some new blood into its national team, question is who would really want to take the role? As long as the US plays in CONCACAF they will stand a good chance to qualify for the world cup, but going much further will always be a stretch.

Other Thoughts: I think Argentina need to grab a solid tactician as their next coach, Hiddink? They have a world of talent built around Tevez and Messi. I think if they had a coach that had the ability to take chances and make the right decision they could emerge as the World Cup Champion in 2010 (I am still baffled as to how Pekerman could leave Messi on the bench in the finals......). Brazil needs to bring in a hard nosed coach, one that is not in awe of the collection of superstars they have at their disposal, someone that will play the right system not just throw out a bunch of players (granted all world class) and hope something works. Klinsman leaving is not surprising, I think that Germany played over their heads this year, showing how valuable the home crowd can be.

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