21st Century Balls


Happened upon that advertising gif on an image-hosting site recently. A particularly pernicious piece of work, I’m sure you’ll agree. It reminded me of an article I read about the ProZone video analysis system used by top football clubs. Whereas many punters imagine that the software is primarily used to track positioning, passing range and so forth, the feature which most appeals to management is the ability to measure frequency, intensity and duration of sprints.

This is especially useful, the company spokesman proudly proclaimed, for identifying players who are concealing an injury from the medical staff. I wonder how long it will be before we see systems like this used in manual labour workplaces (if they’re not already.)

While I’m on the subject of football and technology (and by no means desperately trying to pad this post), I was dismayed to read that FIFA have capitulated to the baying of the tabloids and agreed to re-examine the use of goal-line and/or video technology. The main culprit in this perversion of football is the British media, with its politics-of-the-last-atrocity refusal to accept that shit happens and interferes with the digestion of armchair fans in wealthy countries from time to time.

Equally distressing are The Blatter’s comments about restructuring the group phase of the World Cup to discourage negativity:

Sepp Blatter says Fifa is considering scrapping draws at the group stage of future World Cup finals by introducing penalty shoot-outs after 90 minutes.

Blatter, president of world football’s governing body, is known for voicing radical ideas on changing the game.

He wants to put an end to defence-minded teams playing to get a draw.

“If there is no winner at the end of 90 minutes of play, we would proceed directly to penalty kicks,” he told German magazine Focus.

Yes. That’ll fucking work, won’t it? Instead of encouraging teams to think that if they stick ten men behind the ball they might nick a point, encourage them to think that if they stick ten men behind the ball they might nick three points (without even having to score off a set-piece, Rehhagel-stylee.)

Oh, and…

Another possibility, according to Blatter, would be to revive the “golden goal”.

We don’t even need to embark upon hypotheticals here, we know what happened last time this idiotic rule was implemented. Far from encouraging attacking play, it made everyone shit-scared of conceding in extra time and determined to cling on for the dubious refuge of penalties.


4 Responses to “21st Century Balls”

  1. Garibaldy Says:

    Penalties are great but.

    • DublinDilettante Says:

      Yeah, penos are fine. Never had a problem with them. It amazes me that managers develop complicated strategies for a game as fluid and unpredictable as football, but not for penalty shoot-outs, where all the variables are known in advance.

  2. Garibaldy Says:

    I guess penalties come down to character/courage. And when you’re England, you can’t plan in its absence

  3. Hugh Green Says:

    Speaking of penalties and the approach to them. I once overheard a conversation on the Dublin-Belfast train where a man was saying he’d once spoken to Peter Doherty of Man City about penalties. Doherty’s approach, apparently, was to check which foot the goalkeeper took his kickouts with, and then would make sure to put the ball in the direction that would have the goalkeeper jumping off his weaker foot. This approach did not work for me on the sole occasion I had to try it, but I can see the sense in it.

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