Spurs in Brazil: The report!
Well, seeming all the teams in the World Cup have played at least one game, I thought now would be a good time to reflect on how our Spurs lads have fared thus far.
With most on display in the Belgium vs Algeria fixture, seems the obvious place to start. Belgium line up in a 4-2-3-1 formation. LB saw Vertonghen, Dembele paired in the middle with Witsel and Chadli was afforded the hole in behind Lukaku. Algeria went 4-1-4-1, with our 19 year old Bentaleb lining up for Algeria.
Belgium...Dark Horses was the cry, a thought that a few had directed at Spurs prior to last seasons start after much spending. It seemed rather apt, for I saw many similarities to the way Belgium played in this match to as to what I witnessed last season from Spurs. However dark horse it was not, I'd suggest more an albino Shetland Pony. The similarities come from the slow, un-penetrative often clueless brand of attack. Add to this the defensive lapse, and speculative shots from range, people...am I jogging your memories?.
Dembele...Again once more gliding past players, then a release to a team mate or a scuffed half shot. However, what does usually happen after Dembele's surge forward and pass, is his continual belief that he should stop as soon as the pass is made. Why?, if he can glide past so easily with the ball, it should be a stroll in the park to continue the run without it. Please can you look to start playing some good one, twos with players?, you have all the skills required, but a lack of belief, far too often I witness this at Spurs, reaffirming my view in this game.
If we look at Bentaleb, he is different, he gives the pass, and many times, the first thing on his mind is to drive forward to receive it straight back, or at least stay on the move to present an option albeit from pretty much whence it came. On the point of Nabil...Loved that first time ball out to the wing for the cross that led to the penalty, and what about the forearm smash on Dembele...payback for a flailing arm by Moose. One looked accidental, the other...Have that!. Ah! yes, that brings me nicely on to the penalty.
Did anybody else notice prior to the penalty, a little time before there was a cross that went into the box from the Left, seemed in the area for an age, Vertonghen was nowhere to be seen. I know the TV cameras can make player positions seem worse than they actually are, but I sat thinking to myself, Vert's will be here to help with this, nope, nope, nope. In fact he never arrived, even the commentator mentioning that was almost trouble, but Vert's had left it for others to attend. At least he tried to get back for the penalty, but let's be honest, pretty shocking positioning from a ball that has travelled down the opposite flank prior?.
Chadli, not alot to say really, couple of bursts with no end result, same as Dembele. I do appreciate it was hard, Algeria defended deep, sat deep and basically said, break us down, heck even Lukaku had to be subbed, no service equals ineffective. Now who was involved with this argument before?...our #9?...Bet Lukaku will be forgiven though. After all, it was not his fault, was it...?
All in all, I thought Algeria played the best way they possibly could, and nearly got the rewards. Harsh result on them in the end, but to be honest, Belgium did not cover themselves in glory, partly because Algeria stuck to a good game plan in most part, and partly of their own making. A final thought on this match, my last similarity between Belgium and Spurs in this fixture...Belgium went a goal down, but fought hard to win. Go Spurs!.
Come on keep up!...Brazil vs Mexico... Well Paulinho kept his place, surprising really, I thought he was poor in the opener, this was just as bad. Here's the thing, most of the Brazil side have looked poor, so it may seem harsh picking out Paulinho, but I am only looking at his performance as he plays for Spurs, I do however understand he is not the only player guilty in this current Brazil team.
What is it with him?...He has a habit, bugging me the more I see it unfold before my eyes. He very often seems to run in the proximity of a player, but seldom to make the tackle, he's never close enough. He shifts left, but the opponent speeds up, and doesn't actually beat Paulinho, because now Paulinho is jogging close, but behind and leaving it for another, even in attack, he seldom busts a gut with these late runs into the box. I watched time and time again in this match and Brazil's opener, he spent far too much time literally just jogging around, few challenges, little in the way of lung busting drive forwards, merely just running close to an opponent, but without actually being close enough to...well...do anything.
Now I know he has had a very long time playing without a rest, or a small break at best, so this has been noted, but a World Cup in your homeland, come on mate, midfielder who won't touch the ball. Of course I will give him this season, said I would for all the 7 new signings, but boy has he got to step it up. Maybe a good rest and sit out the opening few Prem fixtures?.
Anyway, Lloris. Not had alot to do...France looked good though, and all without Ribery, must admit that Griezmann looked tidy coming in from the Left. Reckon he would work a treat lining up with Lamela and Eriksen. That's fluidity!. Any thoughts on ex Spurs players at the World Cup?.
Modric playing for one of, if not the biggest clubs in World football, we all know how he is performing. What about Dos Santos?...Good opening game, does anyone miss Corluka?, what about Red card Wilson?. I was reminding myself the standard of crosses we have been missing from the Left of late thanks to BAE. He whipped in some beauties for Cameroon. What about Deuce...5th fastest World Cup goal of all time for USA, and from the Left. We got good money, but should we have held onto him a little longer?. Maybe Dempsey Left, Eriksen in the hole. Maybe you'd like to name your player of the tournament thus far?.
Well good people, this as they say is your lot...Well for now at least. On a closing note, you can still get quite favourable odds on Iran winning the World Cup. Not bad when you consider they sit second in their group only behind Argentina. Might want to stick a pony on that!.
Written by Cider Spurs.