What is the most important space on a soccer field?Some suggest that it is the zone directly in front of the penalty area – referred to as Zone 14 – where the largest percentage of goal scoring opportunities originate. Others suggest that the penalty area is the most important, as it is where the largest percentage of goals are scored. Still others suggest that the midfield is the most crucial area of the pitch, as it is often where games are "won and lost".I disagree with all three suggestions. For me, the most important space on a football pitch is the space between a players ears.For me, football is simply a game of decisions. The ability to make the correct decisions consistently is what is often referred to as a players "football IQ" or "football intelligence". You will often hear analysts refer to a player having a good "football brain", which is simply a way of saying that a player consistently makes the correct decisions on a football pitch.Does he pass the ball or does he dribble? If he passes the ball, whom does he pass it to? When he passes the ball, how hard does he pass it? Does he pass it to the left side or to the right side of the receiver? Does he pass it on the ground, or does he have to lift the ball in order to get it to its intended target?Players make thousands of these decisions during a 90-minute game, yet the difference between glory and failure can often rest on just one or two. For defenders, the wrong decision often results in conceding a goal.Consider Spains humiliating 5-1 loss to the Netherlands.Just one minute after Spains David Villa had a one-on-one with Dutch goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen – which would have put Spain in front 2-0 just before the halftime break had Silva scored - the Netherlands scored a fabulous equalizing goal through Robin van Persie. The goal completely changed the course of the game, as the momentum heading into the break turned 180 degrees in favour of the Netherlands.As wonderful as the goal was for the Netherlands, from Spains perspective it was a defensive calamity.When Dutch defender Bruno Martins Indi passed the ball to wingback Daley Blind, the assessment of the situation from Spanish defender Sergio Ramos was that there was no imminent danger.However, Ramos failed to correctly assess the situation because he got caught ball-watching. Ramos focused his attention on Blind, rather than on Robin van Persies position in relation to the ball at Blinds feet. Had he seen van Persies positioning on his back shoulder, Ramos would have realized that there was a genuine threat. Had Ramos then decided to run just three or four yards to get back into the correct defensive position, Blind would have opted to retain possession with a safer pass, rather than sending the ball forward for van Persie to attack.The ball in behind Spains back line from Blind was inch perfect, matched in quality only by the diving header from van Persie. The goal completely changed the course of the game, as the momentum swung in favour of the Netherlands – who went on to score four unanswered goals in the second half to pull off one of the results of the tournament.Consider Italys shocking 1-0 defeat at the hands of Costa Rica.Usually one of the most consistent defensive teams at the international level, Italy was badly caught out for Bryan Ruizs game-winning goal.When Costa Ricas Júnior Díaz picked up the ball on the left flank and shaped to cross, Italys Giorgio Chiellini (arguably one of the best defenders in the world) never spotted the run of Ruiz off his back shoulder. Why? Because Chiellini never took his eyes off the ball.Yes, it was clever movement from Ruiz. But Chiellinis decision to focus solely on the ball, rather than on Ruizs movement in relation to the ball, resulted in a devastating outcome for Italy. A tremendous cross from Diaz and a clinical finish from Ruiz was all Costa Rica needed to separate the two sides, clinching the minnows passage to the knockout stage.Consider Ecuadors winning goal in their 2-1 victory over Honduras.One of the key principles of good defensive play is "see the ball, see the man". A good defender always puts himself in a position where he can see both the ball and the player he is marking. Generally speaking, this is a position that is ball-side and closer to the goal that is being defended than the attacker.On Ecuadors free kick, Honduran defender Juan Carlos García committed the cardinal sin of turning his back on the ball when marking Ecuadorian striker Enner Valencia. Garcia had no idea that the ball had been kicked, as he was trying to wrestle with Valencia instead. This left Valencia the easy task of wriggling away from Garcias clutches to head the ensuing cross into the back of the net.While there have been some examples of very good defensive play at the World Cup – Iran, Greece and Costa Rica have all put on excellent defensive performances in various games – I have been surprised at how many individual defenders are making fundamental defensive mistakes.As the game changes – fullbacks are now more coveted for their ability to get forward in attack than they are for their one on one defensive abilities – the characteristics of the next generation of defenders will also change. Speed, comfort on the ball and a wide passing range are all characteristics that the modern game seeks in its defenders.But those characteristics should never come at the expense of situational and positional awareness, tackling, heading, organization and communication. The young players - like Frances Raphael Varane and Uruguays José Giménez – who can marry all of these traits together will go on to be the next "defensive artists" of the modern game. John Lynch Jersey
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. This is an exercise I have undertaken a few times, starting in 2009, and hope that Ive refined my approach a little bit in that time to help paint a better picture.SAN FRANCISCO -- The San Francisco Giants have raced to the best record in the majors with few contributions from two of their biggest stars. Buster Posey and Matt Cain started to change that Friday night. Posey hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the eighth inning for his first long ball in more than a month, Cain made a successful return from the disabled list and the Giants won for the eighth time in 10 games by beating the New York Mets 4-2. "Hes a talented hitter," manager Bruce Bochy said of Posey. "We all have our ups and downs. We talk about that all the time. He saw the ball well tonight." The big blast off Carlos Torres (2-3) capped a three-hit day for Posey, who entered the game with only four hits in his past 42 at-bats at home and no homers since May 3. Angel Pagan started the rally with a leadoff walk against Torres and advanced to second on a groundout. Posey followed with a long drive to left-centre to snap a 93 at-bat homer drought as the Giants (40-21) became the first team in the majors to reach 40 wins. "In that situation youre just trying to get something you can stay in the middle of the field with and try to get that run in from second," Posey said. "Fortunately I got a good pitch I could handle and it went out." Jeremy Affeldt (1-1) pitched a scoreless eighth on his 35th birthday to get the win. Sergio Romo got three outs for his 19th save in 21 chances. Daniel Murphy hit a two-run homer for the Mets, who lost their fourth straight game. The bullpen has taken all four of the losses and has a major league-worst 15 losses on the season. "He was the perfect guy," manager Terry Collins said of Torres. "Hes had great numbers against the Giants. He doesnt hardly walk anybody. Busters made a career of getting big hits." Cain allowed two runs and three hits in seven innings in his first start back from a stint on the disabled list for a strained right hamstring. But he got a no-decision and still has only one win in nine starts in a rough seeason that has included two trips to the disabled list.dddddddddddd "We had the fastball working pretty well today," Cain said. "We were on both sides of the plate and tried to mix some off-speed stuff after that. The big key today was getting the fastball over for strikes." Cain was in complete control with a 1-0 lead having faced the minimum 18 batters through six innings before the Mets quickly turned the tide in the seventh. Matt den Dekker led off the inning with a double for New Yorks second hit of the game and Murphy followed with his fourth home run of the season to put the Mets ahead 2-1. The Giants tied it in the bottom half when Brandon Hicks and Brandon Crawford teamed up again to produce a run. Hicks drew a two-out walk from Jonathon Niese, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on Crawfords single to centre. The duo produced San Franciscos first run in the fifth when Hicks tripled and scored on Crawfords sacrifice fly to make it 1-0. Niese allowed two runs and five hits in seven innings, extending his streak of consecutive starts allowing three earned runs or fewer to 16 but still ended up with a no-decision. "Its tough," he said. "You go out there and battle and you want to see the win beside your name. But it is what it is, its part of the game. Itll come eventually. I have all the confidence in the offence we have here. Theyre going to put up runs." Cain retired the first 12 batters of the game before walking Curtis Granderson to lead off the fifth. Granderson was quickly erased when Andrew Brown hit into a double play. The Mets got the leadoff runner on again in the sixth when Ruben Tejada reached on an infield single. Cain once again followed that by inducing a double-play grounder by Travis dArnaud. NOTES: There was a pregame moment of silence for Don Zimmer, who coached for San Francisco and played for the Mets. Zimmer died Wednesday at age 83. ... Bartolo Colon (5-5) starts Saturday for the Mets against Tim Hudson (6-2). China Jerseys Cheap Cheap Jerseys Cheap NFL Jerseys Wholesale Discount NFL Jerseys Cheap Jerseys 2020 Wholesale Jerseys 2020 Wholesale NFL White Jerseys
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