Watch and Learn

by Kieran Healy on June 16, 2006

The other day Matt Yglesias “said”: that the continuous flow of the game (and the fatuous American commentators) make it hard for him to learn what’s happening in a soccer match. “Here’s a masterclass”: from Argentina, who beat Serbia & Montenegro 6-0 this morning.

The clip doesn’t even show the first seven or eight passes that led to this astonishing goal. The nice thing about it is that it showcases the virtues of one-touch passing and elegant finishing. This aspect of football isn’t always obvious in the (undoubtedly impressive) 35-yard blasters that often make up highlights reels of best goals. Bear in mind that Serbia & Montenegro only conceded one goal in their ten previous qualifying games. For something comparable, you almost have to go back to “Carlos Alberto in 1970”: (also “here”:, from the other side of the pitch, which I hadn’t seen before). Great stuff.



Rob G 06.16.06 at 11:29 am

The Argies must have been studying old Leeds United videos ;)


David 06.16.06 at 1:57 pm

Nice! “Dieses tor müsste eigentlich einen Architekturpreis erhalten.”


dasmoment 06.16.06 at 2:09 pm

arrrgggg! please don’t post scores above the fold! I’m tivo’ing ’em all!!!!

and I had succeeded in enforcing my ignorance, up to this point. *sigh*. no more ct ’till after the world cup…


Kieran Healy 06.16.06 at 2:14 pm

sorry. any future posts will have a spoiler alert.


P O'Neill 06.16.06 at 2:31 pm

It was the perfect TiVo moment, though. The replays were not going back far enough to capture the sophisticated buildup.


joel turnipseed 06.16.06 at 2:53 pm

Joga Bonito indeed–that was beautiful. After watching (was going to say “wasting time on”) all but a couple of the World Cup matches, I don’t really care whether the U.S. advances past the group: this is great stuff. Too bad the Ivory Coast couldn’t find the mark in those last minutes today, though–they’ve been my underdog favorites.

Off-beat question for Euro CTers: dug up an Arsenal jersey a pal brought back from the UK a couple years back and wore it yesterday. It claims to be an “XL” but fits me skin tight… but when I broke out the 1998 French World Cup jersey another pal brought back from that affair to wear today, it fit like a dress–and is only a Large. Are Euro sizes more random than U.S. women’s wear?


Erik 06.16.06 at 3:45 pm

On the other hand, Yglesias is a huge NBA fan so I’m not sure how seriously we can take his musings on sports.


Nicholas Beaudrot 06.16.06 at 4:28 pm

I always think the ball-hog goals, like Ronaldo’s famous one for Barcelona, and Maradona’s other goal against England, make for the best highlights. But this one as well as Spain’s four or five-pass goal are pretty good too.


Chris Bertram 06.16.06 at 5:26 pm

Budweiser (the fake US version) are screening a series of ads during the ITV coverage in the UK consisting of dialogue between American sports commentators who don’t understand what’s going on at all.


Kieran Healy 06.16.06 at 5:41 pm




Compare with 3, Budweiser Japan Hong Kong.


Edwin Lim 06.16.06 at 8:06 pm

Budweiser ad #3 is in Cantonese, so I think more like Hong Kong.


pdf23ds 06.16.06 at 9:05 pm

I have to say, the Japanese one really tickles me a lot more. I’m an American, though, if that means anything.


y81 06.16.06 at 9:08 pm

Why do you say “one touch”? My daughter’s soccer coach always said “three touches: trap–move–pass” and that is mostly what the Argentines do. Even the last guy, although no one in West Side Soccer ever did trap–move–heel pass like that.


Kieran Healy 06.16.06 at 9:12 pm

Why do you say “one touch”? My daughter’s soccer coach

I wanted to flush out the soccer dads.


dave 06.16.06 at 11:44 pm

#10, #11, the last video is definitely Hong Kong; I’ve seen it on the tv a few times here.


Homechef 06.17.06 at 12:36 am

I imagine soccer is kind of hard to figure out from TV alone, especially if you compare it to american football or basketball. With basketball, the relatively small space in which the action is usually taking place means you can see a lot of what you need to to make sense of the action. If not, there might at most be a couple of people outside of view. With (american) football the episodic nature of the action means plays are analysed in their totality in the interstices, and really, all the action takes place in a relatively small part of the field. Whereas with soccer, there’s a lot of stuff happening often quite far away from the action that affects it. For example, you might wonder why a midfielder isn’t just kicking the ball up forward when that is a possibility. If you can’t see that the striker is currently offside, or on the other side of the field, etc. etc. the choices that you can see fall short of making complete sense.
And speaking of the offside rule… Angola seemed to have a hard enough time understanding it, I don’t envy Matt.


dsquared 06.17.06 at 4:47 am

Budweiser (the fake US version)

grrr. The US version has been produced for roughly as long as the Czech version and was originally brewed by a family from Budweis in the Austrian Empire, a name which no longer exists because the Czechs don’t give their towns German names any more. The Czechs want to call the town Ceske Budowice, but they don’t want to call their beer “Budowicer” because of the brand equity built up by the Anheusers. The Americans got really badly screwed on that decision and I will maintain to my dying day that their version of Budweiser is a fine product which everyone would be going gooey over if was labelled as coming from anywhere other than the USA.

I am not paid by Anheuser-Busch to say this, although I admit I do have a special keyboard macro to produce this autopilot rant.


Chris Bertram 06.17.06 at 5:04 am

I will maintain to my dying day that their version of Budweiser is a fine product

I’ll file this with your anti-LaTeX rants! Cmon the US version has a taste basically indistinguishable from Perrier and anybody with sense would drink something like Becks in preference to that any day. The Budvar version, otoh, has a wonderful background sweetness to it, with a hint of Jancis Robinson, and notes of something or other.


Mrs Tilton 06.17.06 at 5:12 am

Sorry, Daniel, but your vaunted powers of oenological discernment obviously aren’t matched by judgement in matters malted. For all I know you might be correct about the relative strengths of the US and Czech brewers’ claims to the name. But even if you are, US Budweiser is still diluted ship’s bilge and would be no matter whence it came (and if it came from Germany, it couldn’t even legally be called ‘beer’, at least until Brussels nullified the Reinheitsgebot a few years ago). Czech Budweiser by contrast is some fine, fine beer, at least as good as the best stuff the Germans brew.

At the stadium here there’s nothing on offer but ‘Bud’. I’d heard reports that, to mollify the myriad bellows of rage at their seamy deal, FIFA and A-B had agreed to allow Bitburger to be served as well (Bit is a mediocre mass-market German ‘television beer’, but miles better than US Bud — it is at least recognisably beer.) But no, not a trace of anything but Bud, at least not here in Frankfurt. Add another to the many reasons why Sepp Blatter must roast in hell forever.

BTW, it’s quite common in the German-speaking world to use the old Germanic names for places now in Poland or the Czech Republic – Budweis for C. Budejovice, Karlsbad for Karlovy Vary, Breslau for Wroclaw etc. You’ll even hear this done occasionally for places farther afield (Laibach instead of Ljubljana), but that’s rarer.


Thlayli 06.17.06 at 5:24 am

Just finished watching the recording.

If Argentina keeps this going for another five games, people are going to forget Brazil-1970.


Mrs Tilton 06.17.06 at 5:25 am

BTW, Daniel, the Czech form wouldn’t be ‘Budowicer’ but ‘Budvar’. Don’t know what the label used in the UK looks like — perhaps it says only ‘Budweiser’ — but in Germany ‘Budvar’ is there along with ‘Budweiser’. Do any Czech readers know whether they even bother with the German name in the home market?


Adam 06.17.06 at 6:04 am

Even from the other side of the pitch, Carlos Alberto seems to appear from nowhere. Where did he come from? Thanks for the extra link!


Brendan 06.17.06 at 6:12 am

Oh come ON guys. Budvar is one of the great beers of the world. Budweiser tastes like piss. Case closed.


P O'Neill 06.17.06 at 9:16 am

So dsquared — you like rice added to beer?


Seth Edenbaum 06.17.06 at 10:17 am

Rice beers are fine, it’s Budweiser that sucks.
And I assume DD’s praise for pisswater is another example’s of his dry wit that fails to come accross in writing. Otherwise his years as a broker have gone to his F’n head (instrumental reason and all that)


dsquared 06.17.06 at 1:12 pm

No, this is a truly held opinion which I have born the scorn of you lot for over the last ten years. Yes I do like rice added to beers; I like Asahi and Kirin, which are brewed by corporations no smaller than Anheuser-Busch and which are excellent products. Budweiser is not “piss-water”; it has the useful property of being one of the few beers that you can drink a lot of when you have a stinking hangover, which is how I discovered I liked it. The Rheinheitsgebot was and is a stupid law and the Germans are absurdly proud of it despite the fact that it was originally introduced to save wheat for bread rather than out of any concern with the quality of beer. Budweiser is ace, and Macs and LaTEX suck.

I’ll get my coat.


ArC 06.18.06 at 4:42 am

slightly delayed reaction: Yglesias being an NBA fan is a plus in my book.


derrida derider 06.18.06 at 7:53 am

Ah, dsquared, you clearly first drank Bud while the balance of the mind was disturbed; it’s left your taste permanently impaired.

But you really have shattered my faith in your judgement forever (even if I endorse your comment about Macs and – especially – LaTex). In the light of this terrible solecism I’ll have to reconsider my position on the Iraq war.


spencer 06.19.06 at 7:04 pm

I will maintain to my dying day that their version of Budweiser is a fine product which everyone would be going gooey over if was labelled as coming from anywhere other than the USA.

Thanks for that laugh.


spencer 06.19.06 at 7:06 pm

The Rheinheitsgebot was and is a stupid law

This, however, is spot-on.


Jozo 06.20.06 at 10:36 am

19 “at least as good as the best stuff the Germans brew”
Better. Germans beers are so unified and “lite-like”. On the other hand, I will beg for them, having American soft drink with alcohol (called beer there) as only other option.


nick s 06.21.06 at 4:11 am

In American booze shops, Budweiser occupies a curious place in the spectrum. Most displays have two fridges: one that starts with 40-oz bottles of malt liquor, and one that ends with fancy imports and microbrews. Bud is either at the top of the cheap fridge or the bottom of the expensive one.

Also, the Bud advertisers in the UK are being a bit cheeky in stealing (phonetically) the name of a genuine ESPN anchor.

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