Wednesday, July 9, 2014
DUTCH LOSS, A CASE OF A COACH GONE ROGUE?
Icheoku must prefix this article by owning up and accepting defeat in the projection that Netherlands will go all the way to the finals and eventually win the cup. Events of the last few hours have proved Icheoku wrong that not always would our analytical crystal ball get it right. Icheoku is neither a voodoo doctor nor does he pretend to see visions and prophesies; we are just a bunch trying to employ empirical analysis to make certain pronouncements; some of which we get right and some, like today's FIFA World Cup semi-final match between Netherlands and Argentina, we got wrong. Icheoku apologizes and Icheoku accepts full responsibility for getting the projection off the mark; we were confidently hopeful in the projected outcome but things did not pan out as hoped. It is our bad, but the show must go on and we intend to line up in tandem and follow suit.
Now what went wrong with a Dutch side that outplayed and outperformed their Argentina opponent in virtually all departments of the match, one would ask? In one short terse answer Icheoku posits that it was a result of a "compromised" coach that fell victim to FIFA and their sponsors' inducement? They brought an overbearing pressure on Louis Van Gaal to help them spread the tournament final between the two continents that are their core disciples, with a view to harnessing the increased revenue potentials of the South American continent? Instead of South American fans abandoning the finals as an all European "dem, dem" affair, they will now seen it as a soccer WAR of supremacy between them and those Europeans; as a result of which many of them will show up to support their representative Argentina with Europeans doing same for Germany? In capitalism it is always about the bottom line and FIFA is an unapologetic savage corporation!
Although, Icheoku admits that we do not have any smoking gun hard evidence that trailed to this conclusion but circumstantial evidence aids our conclusion. Query, why was the penalty kick catching Dutch goalkeeper not brought in today, in keeping with the tradition and stated objective why he was introduced in the Quarter finals game against Costa Rica? Listen to Dutch coach Louis Van Gaal on why he had to bring in the taller Tim Kral during the Costa Rica penalty shootout. According to him, "Tim Krul's greater height and reach was the reason I sent the Newcastle keeper in for the World Cup quarter-final penalty shootout win over Costa Rica." So Icheoku asks what then changed that the same logic was not applied in today's penalty kick against Argentina or did the shorter Jasper Cillessen suddenly add two inches to his frame overnight to override the stated height advantage or did the differential not matter anymore to Van Gaal?
Continuing, Van Gaal said "I like all that gamesmanship from Tim Krul. I like my goalkeeper to do that, to try to put them off, it puts a bit of edge to it. Man United fans will be buzzing and thinking 'What a manager we have got'." Icheoku says but suddenly today, Van Gaal forgot about all these attributes of a penalty kick catching goalkeeper or does he no longer like his goalkeepers to be so upstaging of the opponents? Further, Van Gaal said "We all thought Tim was the best keeper to stop penalties. He is taller and has a longer reach. The tactic worked out. That was beautiful. I'm a bit proud of that." Icheoku lampoons Van Gaal that if "Tim was the best keeper to stop penalties", which was convincingly proved in the Dutch match against Costa Rica, what changed TODAY to make him now less desirable? Icheoku laments that anybody who watched today's penalty kicks would agree that were Tim Krul manning the post the outcome would certainly have been different, especially in view of the last Argentina kick that saw the shorter Dutch goalkeeper bounce back into the net a kick he had already apparently saved? Even the second kick that went under his arm was keep-able and so also was the other one that his short fingers could not reach. Lastly, Jasper Cillessen's reaction time was rather too slow compared to Tim Kruls much quicker reflexes.
Icheoku says what is done is done and there is no need crying over a spilled milk or trying to put back a genie that is already out of the bottle. But let truth be told, the penalty kicks looked rather fishy and atypical of a match fixing scandal prevalent in FIFA organised games where profit always drive decisions. In the final analysis it would appear that after Brazil's humiliating loss yesterday to Germany that FIFA hurriedly took a decision to avert the repercussion of an all European finals in a World Cup being hosted in South America; and decided to pull some strings in order not to lose the millions of fans and potential buyers of their sponsors' products that call that part of the world home?
Unfortunately, Icheoku has no way of irrefutably proving this BUT if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck it might as well be a duck; as millions of fans and soccer/football enthusiasts worldwide are asking and wondering out aloud, what happened and why did the Dutch coach not bring in his "best goalkeeper to stop Argentina penalties" when it mattered most? icheoku says then factor in the coach's choice of first penalty kicker in Vaal when Hauntleer was there or even Ian Robben; and then imagine Sneijder losing a PK? Please Icheoku is on the verge of losing it and wants to end this here before he is forced to jump. BUT hey it is FIFA and FIFA needs to clean its house and stop playing game with people in their game of football/soccer. As it stands now who even knows if the finals have also been predetermined? What a huge JOKE!