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Tonight: USA v Brazil — em Nova Jersey

August 10, 2010 — by Suman

USA v Brasil - Aug 10, 2010 @ New Meadowlands Stadium

An exciting day here at CultFootball HQ, and more generally in the NYC metro area–if one is a soccer fan, and in particular a fan of the USMNT and/or the Seleção Brasileira, as the two national teams will be facing off this evening em Nova Jersey, i.e., in New Jersey–at the brand spanking New Meadowland Stadium.

Yours truly will be heading out soon to make the trip out to NJ for the game, and so I’d been planning to write up some sort of match preview–at the very least to acquaint myself with who’s going to be on the pitch tonight, in particular for the Brazilian team.  As has been widely reported, Brazil’s new coach Mano Menezes has chosen to bring along only 4 players who were on the squad that went to South Africa for the World Cup (Robinho, Thiago Silva, Ramires and Daniel Alves), and so the remainder of the roster will be players that most of us haven’t seen play before–though in the weeks since the WC ended, we have reported on tranfer news regarding two highly touted players that we should be seeing tonight, Ganso and Neymar.


WC2010: “The tournament of 4-2-3-1”

July 17, 2010 — by Suman1

"Spain have adopted the Barcelona formula, which seems to be the way club football is going"

From a Guardian Football column by one Jonathan Wilson, published just before the WC2010 final between Spain and Holland, and brought to our attention at that time by one otheradamnovy; the column is titled “The Question: What have been the tactical lessons of World Cup 2010?” and open as follows:

This has been the tournament of 4-2-3-1. The move has been apparent in club football for some time; in fact, it may be that 4-2-3-1 is beginning to be supplanted by variants of 4-3-3 at club level, but international football these days lags behind the club game, and this tournament has confirmed the trend that began to emerge at Euro 2008. Even Michael Owen seems to have noticed, which is surely the tipping point.

Click thru for more–much more: commentary on the tactics of Spain, Germany, Holland, Argentina, Ghana, and Brazil, with some notes about all that fit into the context of club football tactics over the past decade , e.g.:

Open ThreadTactics

2nd Semifinal, Germany v Spain: Preview/Open Thread

July 7, 2010 — by Suman13

Probable starting lineups (via

We’re just 90 minutes away from kickoff in the 2nd semifinal, to decide who will play the Netherlands in the final game on Sunday.  This matchup between European powers is highly anticipated; more so than yesterday’s Holland-Uruguay match was, but we can only hope that this one lives up to the expectations and turns out to be as exciting as yesterday’s 3-2 victory for Holland.

What better way to get a preview of today’s match than to revisit the finals of the Euro 2008 tournament, played on June 29, 2008 in Vienna’s  Ernst Happel Stadion, when Germany and Spain clashed with nearly as much as stake as today.  Spain prevailed that day 1-0, off a goal by striker Fernando Torres–whose struggles to score in this World Cup have become something of a story line for followers of the Spanish side.

On the other hand, the striker who has been scoring for Spain in this tournament, David Villa, did not even play in that Euro final, due to injury.  And on the other side, Germany’s revelation in the midfield, the young and dynamic Mesut Ozil, was not on the German squad.

Hence the indispensable Zonal Marking begins their tactical preview of today’s match (from whence we’ve pulled the probably starting lineup chart above):


Uruguay v South Korea preview – by @Zonal_Marking

June 26, 2010 — by Suman

Lifted from Zonal Marking’s very readable, must-read second round preview:

Uruguay v South Korea

Uruguay have been one of the most impressive teams so far – playing for and achieving a draw against France, destroying South Africa and recording a solid 1-0 victory over Mexico.

They started the competition with a 3-5-2 shape, which became more like a 5-3-2 when the wing-backs had to contain France’s wingers. They’ve since switched to a 4-3-1-2 with Diego Forlan playing behind the main two forwards, and they’ll surely play the same formation after their two wins.

South Korea’s first XI is fairly predictable. The only changes they’ve made so far have been at right-back, bringing in Oh Bum-Suk against Argentina – but he was the worst player on the pitch, so Cha Du-Ri has regained his place.

The formation will probably be 4-2-3-1. Playing Park Ji-Sung on the left-hand side might be useful to track the forward runs of Maxi Pereira, although he was fielded in the centre of the three against Argentina.

Picking up Forlan is the obvious task – with two holding midfielders, Korea will have a man tracking him, but must worry this will concede the midfield ground to Uruguay. Korea should look to play down their left-hand-side, because Uruguay’s shape tends to be slightly lopsided. Alvaro Pereira, generally a left wing-back, is playing a more central role but tends to drift back out wide, sometimes meaning Uruguay look like two banks of four minus a right-sided midfielder.

[via World Cup second round preview (part one) | Zonal Marking]