« Minutecast special: BBC radio interview (Japan vs. England) | Main | Guardian/Observer World Cup preview »

10 days to kick-off - Preparation means nothing

1 Jun 2010(Tue)

Despite a vastly improved showing against England – thanks largely to Takeshi Okada’s decision to finally bring in a proper defensive midfielder and switch to 4-1-2-2-1two late own goals mean that Japan have now lost four of their last five World Cup warm-up matches. But then again, just how important is good preparation anyway? Football Japan takes a look at five national teams for which pre-tournament turmoil was no barrier to success.


1. Italy, World Cup winners 2006

We only have to look back four years to see how Italy’s bid for a first world title since 1982 (see below) was almost undermined and overshadowed by the biggest footballing scandal of the 21st century so far. In May 2006, Juventus general manager Luciano Moggi followed the rest of his club’s board, plus the president and vice-president of the FIGC (Italian Football Federation), in resigning following allegations that a number of top Serie A clubs had attempted to fix domestic matches by effectively choosing their own referees.


On 4 July – hours before an Italy squad containing 13 players from the four teams implicated would face hosts Germany in a World Cup semi-final – the prosecutor in the Calciopoli affair announced his recommendation that Juventus be relegated to Serie C1, with Milan, Lazio, and Fiorentina all sent down to the second tier. Unfazed, however, Marcello Lippi’s national side scored twice in the dying moments of extra time that evening, before going on to beat France on penalties and be crowned as champions of the world for the fourth time five days later. The clubs’ punishments were later reduced on appeal.


2. Paolo Rossi and Italy (again), World Cup winners 1982

Having scored 60 goals in three seasons for Vicenza and starred during Italy’s unusually free-spirited run to fourth place in Argentina ’78, Paolo Rossi had the world at his feet when he joined Perugia in 1979, before losing it all when implication in the following year’s Totonero betting scandal saw the striker banned from all football for three years. Rossi protested his innocence, and though the suspension was eventually cut short in time for him to appear at España ’82, the long absence seemed to have cost him his spark as Italy only edged out Cameroon in the first group stage on goals scored.


But Enzo Bearzot kept his faith, and Rossi rewarded his manager in stunning fashion with a magnificent hat-trick against the Brazil of Sócrates and Zico in one of the World Cup’s all-time great matches; a feat he then followed with a brace against Poland in the last four and the opener against West Germany in the final. Italy won 3-1, and a vindicated Paolo Rossi ended 1982 as a world champion and the winner of the Ballon d’Or, World Soccer Player of the Year, and the World Cup’s Golden Shoe and Golden Ball awards.


3. Brazil, World Cup winners 2002

There may have been no scandal to label with Italian italics and Brazil may have stood out as the best team in Japan and Korea by some way, but it’s often forgotten that this century’s first world champions were in real disarray not long beforehand. Former Jubilo Iwata boss Luiz Felipe Scolari took over from future Vissel Kobe manager Emerson Leão in June 2001, with the Seleção outside the South American qualification places after 12 matches of a total 18.


Though Brazil did just about scrape through their worst ever qualifying campaign with nine points from the final six games, few gave Scolari’s side much chance of matching favourites France and Argentina; especially when captain Emerson dislocated his shoulder in training (while fooling around as a goalkeeper) and caused their entire tactical blueprint to be rewritten. No fear – the three Rs of Ronaldo, Rivaldo, and Ronaldinho scored 15 goals between them as Brazil’s famous yellow jersey earned its fifth star, while both France and Argentina fell at the first hurdle.


4. England, semi-finalists, Euro ’96

Sadly, there was no happy ending at Wembley, but even this most quintessentially English of glorious failures was an unlikely triumph given what had gone before. Having failed to qualify for USA ’94, England’s opening game as European Championship hosts against Switzerland in 1996 was their first competitive fixture in 31 months since a goal in the ninth second by Davide Gualtieri of San Marino had given us Graham Taylor’s last ever ‘do I not like that’. The friendly results under successor Terry Venables had been unspectacular too, with ten wins in 20 games capped by a farcical 1-0 ‘success’ over the Hong Kong Golden Select XI that was marred by tales of ‘dentist’s chair’ drinking binges and smashed up Cathay Pacific cabins.


England could only manage a 1-1 draw with the Swiss, but Alan Shearer’s opener broke a 12-game, 21-month goalscoring drought, and when Paul Gascoigne combined inspirational genius with self-parody to seal a 2-0 win over Scotland, football suddenly – for 11 glorious days – came home. Before those pesky Germans had to go and spoil everything, Shearer scored four more to finish as the tournament’s top scorer, the Dutch were demolished 4-1, and England won a penalty shootout for as yet the only time ever.


5. Denmark, European champions, 1992

Perhaps the most famous unlikely heroes of all, but while everyone knows about how an out-of-shape Denmark squad were only invited to replace war-torn Yugoslavia two weeks before the 1992 European Championship finals began, their story actually goes back much further than that. A genuinely great Danish Dynamite side had dazzled the world at the 1984 tournament and at Mexico ’86 with their explosive attacking and carefree style (not to mention a wonderfully kitsch World Cup song), but by the time Italia ’90 kicked off without them, inspirational coach Sepp Piontek had followed star names like Allan Simonsen, Søren Lerby, Morten and Jesper Olsen, Frank Arnesen, and Preben Elkjær Larsen out of the exit door.


Piontek’s successor, Richard Møller Nielsen, proved a hugely unpopular appointment at first, as the team’s best two outfield players – the Laudrup brothers, Michael and Brian – quit amidst wide-scale revolt against his underwhelming tactics and results. The tragic circumstances in the Balkans provided a reprieve not only for Denmark, but for Møller Nielsen and the younger Laudrup as well, and while Peter Schmeichel and Henrik Larsen inspired a succession of unlikely wins over France, Holland, and Germany, there was even time to revive the spirit of the Eighties when the Danes flocked en masse to a Swedish McDonald’s just two days before their semi-final.


(For more details on Danish Dynamite, read this superb feature from the Guardian, and then purchase the film Og Det Var Danmark, whose DVD does have Engelske undertekster.)

Permalink | Comments (47) | TrackBack (0)


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference 10 days to kick-off - Preparation means nothing:


Many, many YouTube links added.

Posted by: Ben Mabley | 06/01/2010 at 11:28 PM

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

Posted by: Pharmacy technician job description | 06/29/2010 at 08:43 PM

Thhe peeople music and move of the locals is an alternate intriguing thing, which you should experience while holidaying inn the state. Whenn you buy policy online ffor your trip, you come across numerous facilities. Whether you are going to study abroad or are just traveling to another province inn Canada, you woulod benefit from having supplemental student travel health insurance.

Posted by: http://kimp ychonkosh.org.uk/clothes-websites-for-women/. | 10/14/2013 at 12:58 PM

I used to be suggested this web site by my cousin. I am now not sure whether or not this post is written by means of him as no one else recognize such unique approximately my problem. You are amazing! Thanmk you!

Posted by: http://bewonade.nayana.com/ | 12/14/2013 at 11:40 PM

Great post. I was checking continuously this weblog and I am inspired! Very useful info particularly the last phase : ) I take care of such information a lot. I was looking for this particular info for a long time. Thank you and good luck.

Posted by: life insurance | 12/22/2013 at 02:18 PM

Here is the Sports tours truth your mother and father doesn't want you to know about!

Posted by: http://soyviolero.com | 01/02/2014 at 04:29 PM

My spouse and I absolutely love your blog and find a lot of your post's to be just what I'm looking for. Do you offer guest writers to write content available for you? I wouldn't mind creating a post or elaborating on most of the subjects you write concerning here. Again, awesome web site!

Posted by: games for girls 4 | 01/29/2014 at 06:17 PM

TҺis is thе Sports tours trth your folks does nott want оne tߋ discover

Posted by: Phillis | 02/10/2014 at 11:23 AM

My brother suggested I may like this blog. He was once entirely right. This publish truly made my day. You cann't consider just how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thanks!

Posted by: Weight Loss for Women Over 40 - My Transformation | 04/30/2014 at 10:58 PM


Posted by: annice.expertbucket.com | 05/07/2014 at 02:20 PM

Hello! I realize this iis sort of off-topic however I had to ask. Does running a well-established website like yours require a massive amount work? I'm completely new to running a blog howeve I do write in my journal every day. I'd like too start a blog so I can easily share my experience and feelings online. Please let me knnow if you have any kind of suggestions oor tips for new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!

Posted by: Buy Cialis Online | 05/18/2014 at 12:03 AM

Hi, Neat post. There's a problem with your web site in internet explorer, could test this? IE nonetheless is the market leader and a huge component of other people will miss your fantastic writing due to this problem.

Posted by: Preparing for | 06/04/2014 at 08:05 PM

Hi it's me, I am also visiting this site daily, this website is really good and the users are truly sharing pleasant thoughts.

Posted by: http://ey3srqmfatyd.3show.biz | 08/29/2014 at 11:24 AM

Wonderful blog! Do you have any helpful hints for aspiring writers? I'm hoping to start my own site soon but I'm a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting with a free platform like Wordpress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I'm totally overwhelmed .. Any ideas? Thanks a lot!

Posted by: buy air max online | 09/23/2014 at 03:41 PM

I've learn a few good stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how a lot attempt you put to create this type of excellent informative website.

Posted by: cheap nike air max 2014 | 09/26/2014 at 12:06 AM

Thanks for finally talking about >Ben Mabley English blood,Osakan heart: 10 days to kick-off - Preparation means nothing

Posted by: cheap air max 90 | 09/26/2014 at 08:05 AM

I read this paragraph completely on the topic of the comparison of newest and preceding technologies, it's remarkable article.

Posted by: kim Kardashian hollywood cheats | 10/04/2014 at 09:56 PM

Hi, i feel that i saw you visited my blog thus i came to return the want?.I am trying to find things to enhance my web site!I guess its ok to make use of a few of your ideas!!

Posted by: air max 90 sale | 10/07/2014 at 05:29 PM

With havin so much written content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright violation? My blog has a lot of exclusive content I've either written myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my permission. Do you know any techniques to help prevent content from being ripped off? I'd truly appreciate it.

Posted by: cheap nike air max 90 | 10/13/2014 at 03:55 AM

How to get cost-free FIFA 15 coins with this FIFA 15 coins generator is explained right here. Download the Fut 15 coins generator tool from the hyperlink supplied in the Fifa 15 coin generator download button here. SO immediately after getting the Fifa 15 coins generator , open the tool and run it on your device as admin.

Posted by: FIFA 15 coin generator | 10/30/2014 at 04:30 PM

Thanks designed for sharing such a fastidious thinking, piece of writing is nice, thats why i have read it fully

Posted by: Nike Air Max 2014 Pas Cher | 11/05/2014 at 07:29 PM

I always spent my half an hour to read this webpage's articles or reviews everyday along with a mug of coffee.

Posted by: cheap air max 95 | 11/14/2014 at 01:05 AM

Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is an extremely well written article. I'll be sure to bookmark it and return to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. I'll definitely return.

Posted by: fifa 14 hack file | 11/22/2014 at 06:59 AM

Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wished to mention that I have truly loved browsing your weblog posts. In any case I'll be subscribing to your rss feed and I hope you write again soon!

Posted by: http://Zukucoho.Jigsy.com/ | 11/26/2014 at 12:09 PM

Hi to all, it's really a good for me to pay a quick visit this site, it consists of important Information.

Posted by: Nike Air Max 90 Baratas | 12/09/2014 at 01:30 PM

I couldn't resist commenting. Exceptionally well written!

Posted by: best dating sites | 12/19/2014 at 07:22 AM

Can the knowledge of mathematics help a gambler to win. In fact, a great many goal-based writings are geared towards improving businesses at the bottom line in terms of increased efficiency, increased productivity, etc. Learn to be aware of your intuition, and you will get better over time.

Posted by: bola tangkas | 12/24/2014 at 03:26 AM

If you have an election related issue you'd like to see explored, please let me know. What do you believe have been the obstacles to reaching your healthy goals. Ben dreams about being an athletic coach and his rather solitary, sedentary life makes him feel weak and angry.

Posted by: agen bola tangkas online | 12/27/2014 at 12:08 AM

Perhaps you had a fragmented family and never experienced consistency in your early years. What do you believe have been the obstacles to reaching your healthy goals. in China but there is an ongoing debate over whether the first casinos began in Ancient China or the Nile Delta.

Posted by: tangkasnet | 12/28/2014 at 08:16 PM

Greetings! Very useful advice in this particular article! It is the little changes that will make the greatest changes. Many thanks for sharing!

Posted by: best dating sites | 12/29/2014 at 09:12 AM

I couldn't refrain from commenting. Exceptionally well written!

Posted by: best dating sites | 01/03/2015 at 01:00 AM

If some one wants expert view regarding blogging and site-building then i suggest him/her to pay a visit this weblog, Keep up the fastidious work.

Posted by: Nike Free Trainer 5.0 V4 Men | 01/06/2015 at 10:24 AM

The best approach to Hack Kim Kardashian Hollywood?

Posted by: Kim Kardashian Hollywood Hack | 01/07/2015 at 11:54 AM

Chile battle Brazil at World Cup: interview with Chilean agent Jose Burgos - Examiner. Businesses that hire a short-term employee generally cannot make available such benefits. Elizabeth Hennigan from Brand Content explains the thinking behind their male-oriented marketing campaign.

Posted by: Frederick | 01/09/2015 at 03:24 AM

An addiction to sports gambling is rather similar to any other kind of addiction as the addiction begins to take charge and control your life. In the long run sports like soccer, cricket, volleyball and other exclusive sports events World Cup and Olympics are more enclosed because of their ideal viewership in the world which furthermore captured a large number of the dignified viewers. Ben dreams about being an athletic coach and his rather solitary, sedentary life makes him feel weak and angry.

Posted by: tangkasnet | 01/12/2015 at 08:51 AM

You've made some really good points there. I checked on the web for additional information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web site. www.blogesaurus.com quest protein bars

Posted by: where can i buy quest protein bars uk | 01/21/2015 at 09:29 AM

I like what you guys are up too. This sort of clever work and reporting! Keep up the good works guys I've included you guys to our blogroll.

Posted by: best dating sites | 01/26/2015 at 02:17 PM

Nice answer back in return of this query with firm arguments and telling everything concerning that.

Posted by: cheap nike air max 2012 | 02/07/2015 at 07:52 PM

Wow, awesome weblog structure! How long have you ever been running a blog for? you made blogging glance easy. The overall glance of your web site is great, let alone the content material!

Posted by: payday loans no credit check | 02/14/2015 at 07:56 PM

It's the best time to make some plans for the long run and it's time to be happy. I have learn this submit and if I could I desire to recommend you few interesting issues or suggestions. Maybe you could write next articles regarding this article. I want to learn more things approximately it!

Posted by: free music downloads | 02/27/2015 at 06:48 PM

If you have an election related issue you'd like to see explored, please let me know. Women have not only a truly self-serving media center stage, they have the very real legal framework to spearhead and catch their agenda. You want the details of some of the games that I watched during this period of time and you get it.

Posted by: agen bola tangkas online | 02/28/2015 at 09:15 PM

WOW just what I was looking for. Came here by searching for dentist in avon indiana

Posted by: dentist indianapolis | 03/06/2015 at 10:42 AM

To those who don't belong in either category, work is as much different with play as a stone is different from a bird. By understanding these components, it is possible for you to to choose and purchase the fitting online game system in your home. The game also introduced a new villain, Nemesis, a prototype of the tyrant programmed to eliminate all S. Showing three of the best games that can be played using Nintendo 3DS. With motorbikes, you can travel at an impressive speed that anyone who enjoys driving can appreciate.

Posted by: https://www.facebook.com/WorldOfTanksBlitzHackCheats | 03/08/2015 at 06:57 PM

Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your website? My blog is in the exact same niche as yours and my visitors would truly benefit from some of the information you present here. Please let me know if this ok with you. Thank you!

Posted by: cheap Nike Air Max | 03/18/2015 at 10:31 PM

Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I've been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Cheers

Posted by: air max 95 baratas | 03/23/2015 at 05:08 PM

What's up, I read your blog like every week. Your story-telling style is witty, keep up the good work!

Posted by: Cheap Air Max 90 Shoes | 03/24/2015 at 06:05 PM

With havin so much written content do you ever run into any problems of plagorism or copyright infringement? My blog has a lot of unique content I've either authored myself or outsourced but it seems a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my agreement. Do you know any techniques to help prevent content from being ripped off? I'd truly appreciate it.

Posted by: Nike Air Max Trainers | 03/25/2015 at 10:43 PM

Post a comment