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Friday, July 13, 2007

U-20 World Cup: Round of 16 red card disaster, Portugal worst offender, Uruguay sore losers (video)

The FIFA Under-20 World Cup Round of 16 was a round of red and yellow as an unheard-of 9 red cards and an eye popping 57 yellow cards were handed out during the 8 matches played. There was no more embarrassing display during the round and tournament so far than Portugal’s display of football and lack of sportsmanship against Chile in their 1-0 loss.

Incidents took place throughout the 8 matches. In the 43rd minute Gambia's Tijan Jaiteh was sent off against Austria. Brazil was reduced to 10 when they saw Leandro Lima red carded. A pair of substitutes were red carded in the match between Japan and the Czech Republic, Seiya Fujita and Jakub Mares respectively. For Poland it was Dawid Janczyk against Argentina and for Congo it was Franchel Ibara against Mexico.

If you map the red cards against losers, every team with a player red carded save the Czech’s (1 red for each team) and Chile (2 for Portugal, 1 for Chile) lost their match. There is something to be said for discipline and how it contributes to success.

The worst losers of the night were Portugal. A late match loss of composure saw the Portuguese re-live the end of the game festivities against France in the semi-final of Euro 2000. During that game Abel Xavier hand balled and gave France a winning penalty. There were players all-over the referee which saw FIFA levy suspensions after the match.

Last night it was the juniors who joined the hall of shame. The incident started in the 89th minute as midfielder Fabio Coentrao was fouled hard and then given a knock by 2 different Chileans while on the ground. This saw right-back Manu lash out at Christian Sepulveda who knocked Coentrao and slapped him which sent the Chilean sprawling. When the referee was attempting to send Manu off, the Portuguese began surrounding the referee and forward Zequinha audaciously took the red card from referee Mohd Salleh’s hand. In slow motion you can see the referee say “whoa” and Zequinha also saw red. Things fell apart from there as players started showing each other down and shoving. From that moment on it was a rugby match.

It was a horrible match anyway. Portugal were dead awful, unable to even get a shot on goal until the 89th minute. And that one was from 35 metres away from goal. In the first Portugal didn’t even have a shot at goal or a corner kick and even a free kick! 35% of ball possession told the story better than anything. From the games I saw, Portugal were weak in defense all tournament with a pair of relatively clueless center backs, but this game was the opposite: up from Portugal were all long ball and wayward passing, balls into an empty box and nobody really interested in making anything good happen.

It was an embarrassment not only for the player’s behavior but for the team. A performance like that: quicker forgotten the better. Looks like the injured captain Bruno Gama was more important to Portugal than anyone knew.
Here is a video of the incident:


The day before, Uruguay, well known for being sore losers in international competitions decided to have a go at the Americans after the USA’s comeback win against them. Unlike the Portuguese, Uruguay at least staked claim to a result, having played pretty well and looking for large parts of the match like winners. Frustration overcame them at the end though as players started going after each other. Have a look at the fracas:

My overall perception of the tournament so far is how fragile the mentality of the players is. While there has been some decent football, especially Spain vs Brazil, teams seem to crumble easily when their guile is tested.

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Blogger Rio said...

did you see that argie poland game? the ref was letting all kinds of things go, and poland was already having worse foul/cards record going into that game.

these U-20 ref really need to do better job protecting the players. given some of those players looked very mature and experienced, they're still young. I've seen alot of substitutions towards the end to protect starters. those shouldn't be necessary if the refs were fulfilling their responsibilities.

7/14/2007 2:41 AM  
Anonymous Kampz said...

Hi. First comment on your blog. Congratulations for all the work already done.

As portuguese I felt ashamed by my nation's performance in the youth competitions of this summer.

In spite of having great talents (like M.Fernandes, M.Veloso, J.Moutinho, M. da Costa, H.Almeida, Nani, F.Coentrão, B.Gama, Antunes) things just didn't work out:

1) The under-21 team, with great values, had a terrible performance.

The fault must go especially to the coach José Coceiro. In the three group games we played with tree diferent tactics! There wasn't a routined tactic and the players weren't able to play at their best with constant changes of tactic.

As a result there was a huge lack of ideas and passing oportunities in the opponents' miedfield.

The things just got worse with the failure to participate in the Olimpics and the constant stupid excuses for the bad results by Couceiro.

But, in the end, we still had some good performances (against Italy and Israel) though still weak for the players potential.

2) In the Under-20 World Cup I just watched the weakest Portuguese team ever.

I had never seen a selection of players with this lack of capability. The fault is exclusive to the portuguese clubs that prefer to buy low-cost brasilien players than bet on the young portuguese or portuguese at all. How is it possible that the portuguese players with potential and capability to play in the Portuguese main league mid-table clubs are all quiting the country to play in countries like Romenia, Chipre and Bulgaria (nothing agaist those countries of course but they have really weak leagues) or relegated to secondary divisions? How is it possible to have portuguese teams based on brasilien players and with no more than 5/6 portuguese players? First consequence: a portuguese under-20 team with only 1/2 players playing in the first 11 of first division teams, 3/4 in the bench of portuguese first division teams and almost all the others lost on loans to secundary teams with no ambitions.

So Coceiro built a team with poor defenders, no miedfield at all and a attack based on Coentrão e Gama (that have potencial but are still inexperienced and have to work a lot to be good players). The strengt was only in the wings: Antunes, Gama e Coentrão.

And Couceiro (known for the tentative to copy Mourinho and specialy for the number of teams he droped to lowest divisions) did it again. But this time, with no tactic!

In 4 games, 3 losses and sad episodes like the one you've mentioned. They must felt that the shame caused by the lack of football wasn't enough so they found the worst way to end the cup, with agressions.

And once again, Couceiro (some people say he only is the youth selections coach as a favor) with excuses, speech without any coerence, lack of capibility to control or build a team.

Finally, the game (not) played against Chile (good team by the way). "Tactic": 8 players to defend and Coentrão and Zequinha (the last one sucks, no tecnique, no fisical skills, nothing) lost in the field. The 4 defensive miedfielders simply did nothing. Terrible game. Just painful for any portuguese to watch it.


Congratulations if you read the text! Just felt I should explain the performances of my nation's team and share some portuguese football facts that explain in some way those poor results.

As a regular reader I hope you keep the great work.

(Sorry for some gramatical mistakes but I'm sure you'll understand... No? Try to post in portuguese! :)

7/16/2007 3:10 AM  
Blogger Wetto said...

Great blog! To my favorites.

Hola from Spain

7/16/2007 1:58 PM  

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