Tactics before passion – why Brazil 2014 has beaten the other World Cups

It’s been a great World Cup. Not the greatest. But one of the best I can remember and I can go back to 1970. And it’s all because the pundits have done their job.

Tactics not passion ... lessons from Brazil 2014

Tactics not passion … lessons from Brazil 2014

The group matches were excellent – hardly any went to a draw – the unexpected teams did well, there were high profile failures and there were several big scores.

The second phase has been less exciting, but still had the incredible scenes of Holland’s sub goalie Tim Krul making two penalty saves to swing the game in their favour. And then the Germans completely outplayed Brazil to shatter numerous records and destroy the host nation’s self-esteem in one deadly 28-minute semi final period.

But what I’ve really loved has been the analysis – especially on ITV and  BBC 5 Live. For once the pundits have done their job. They’ve watched what has gone on, analysed it and given us shrewd and wise opinions about why things have been the way they have been.

For once, I have learnt from them.

I know more about modern tactics now, and why 4-3-3 or 4-5-1 or 4-2-3-1 is better suited to certain periods in the game and not just as a general blueprint.

And I’ve learnt from Chris Waddle why England continues to fail dismally: because the players are not coached in other tactics than our usual English all-out blood and thunder.

So it was disappointing to hear the pundits putting Brazil’s 7-1 defeat by Germany down to the former’s lack of passion/belief/commitment and to the latter’s lack of motivation, when clearly Germany won because they knew how to. Their players know were to go and what to do at all moments, and how to change what they do if the first thing they try doesn’t work.

Brazil looked to be lacking in both skill and tactical nous. A bit like England.

In a few weeks, the Premier League (EPL) will start up again and we’ll be back to the idea that teams lose because they aren’t trying hard enough, they lack commitment, or the coaches can’t motivate them.

I’ll look back on the World Cup and remember there’s far more to it than that.

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