Confederations Cup Shows How Media Overreacts Rather Than Follows International Soccer

The media narrative constantly changes when it comes to international soccer.  Previously, we’ve been subjected to massive over-reaction to every Spanish triumph, but now as we sit two days removed from Spanish defeat at Maracana, we are hearing about how Spain was never that dominant and how a European country cannot win in South America. Much of the European-based press while on the mark about club football are constantly scrambling to explain trends in the international game.

The reality is that all of the reaction positive and negative to the Confederations Cup is overdone. This is after all a competition where the United States eliminated Spain four years ago. Vincent Del Bosque, while he would have certainly liked to have won the competition, used the two weeks of competitive matches to experiment with tactics and personnel. Tiki-taka is not dead but simply needs some refinement, which may be found in the form of Isco who will graduate from the U-21 squad, and perhaps the late integration of Roberto Soldado into the national side ahead of Fernando Torres and David Villa. Let’s also not forget Xabi Alonso, arguably the most important player in the 2010 World Cup that was missing from the squad.

All of this having been stated, Brazil are today and have always been a force to be reckoned with despite FIFA’s farcical rankings and lyrical waxing about the death of Joga Bonito. The Brazilians have long been more pragmatic than those in the European press give them credit for.

When Brazil faced an injury and confidence crisis during World Cup 2002 qualifying, tactics shifted and Luiz Felipe Scolari implemented a more disciplined defensive system combined with lethal counter-attacking. Dunga won the 2007 Copa America by setting up Brazil less stylishly but more effectively than Argentina. Now Scolari has returned and show his tactical mettle and that picking hungrier, more tactically adept players is the route forward rather than letting the press pick a squad.

I also wonder if the media has paid attention to Italian football the past few years. Italy’s performance in the Confederations Cup was no surprise to me. In fact, four months go in personal conversations I tipped them to win the World Cup in 2014. The combination of young starlets like Mario Balotelli and experienced pros like Daniel DeRossi and the ageless wonder Andrea Pirlo make the Azzuri under the tactically brilliant Cesare Prandelli a force next summer.

The European press has also seemingly ignored Argentina’s romp through CONMEBOL qualifying because it upsets the established narrative of star club players underperforming at the national level.

And finally of course we have the over blown negativity about England, and Roy Hodgson. I will save a discussion of this for another day, but will tease my views on this by saying I see a clear scenario where Hodgson could develop a way to have England perform better in a major tournament than we have seen in recent years. In fact, he is well on his way to doing so if the media’s self-flagellation about the Three Lions would cease.

13 thoughts on “Confederations Cup Shows How Media Overreacts Rather Than Follows International Soccer”

  1. This is the worst written article I have ever read and the author didn’t cite anything. Seriously, learn how to write brotha

      1. While I don’t agree with this commentor’s insults, a few examples of where the media is overhyping this would have been nice. Everything I have seen has been mostly muted so knowing specifically what the writer is referencing would help.

        “Opinion” shouldn’t be a valid excuse for poorly supporting an argument.

    1. yaa. I think you should learn to write first before criticizing others.

      “brotha”, what are you? 12 year old?

  2. Kartik makes a very valid point about the media narrative as it emanates from Europe. There is too little attention paid to the international game & too much focus on clubs. The reaction to the Confeds Cup final is a rush to over-praise Brazil and undervalue Spain and other Euro nations. Here’s my own contrary view, more realistic on Brazil – Brazil not “ready” to win World Cup. Tactics are “jejune”:

    1. There is so much focus on club ball because that is where the true game is played. Club football is relentless. A nine month excursion into the unknown, in search of silverware and outperforming the other teams in your league. The international game is the same in concept, but the players play with their club mates much more often, and often times much better than at the international level. I would much rather see the CL final in person, than a WC final. International teams get together every so often to “make their nation proud”, and try to beat other countries for the sake of pride… But club football is simply more exciting and grueling (on a regular basis). I think that Ribery enjoys playing for Bayern more than he does France, on a strictly footballing level. Club teams are more on-point than international teams because the club game is played more. Players spend much more time with their club-mates than with their fellow countryman. International football is a nice break – it’s fun to watch countries face-off against each other – but give me the choice any day of the week and I’d choose watching club ball than international. I don’t wake up on a Saturday and get totally pumped to watched the US national team play Honduras… but I sure as heck do when City are playing Chelsea, or Everton are battling Liverpool. Club football is the struggle, the joy, the lifeblood of the diehard football fan. People come out in droves to cheer on their favorite club team each week, and they often times only loathe their national team (England comes to mind). Club football is the pride of neighborhoods, streets, and families. International football has a true main stage once every four years, for the band-wagon fan to cheer loud, for a nation to come together. But, in the trenches, on an every year basis, with only three months or less of a break… Club football is king, and rightfully so. My calendar cannot get to August 17, 2013 fast enough. That’s when the true battle begins again. I could give two squirts about the next cup-qualifiers, or how many shots on goal Dempsey had for the Yanks, but I do care about how well he does on the pitch for Tottenham, that’s for sure. Plain and simple: Club football is better than international football. Period.

      1. Excellent comment.
        The problem is also because club football has become much bigger than the world Cup due to money and the ability of club football to transcend nationality and countries.
        One more aspect I feel is the World Cup has become too boring: too long and in a sense, meaningless because you have 32 teams competing for a long time and then you’ll have tired players competing after long grueling league seasons and more tired players playing in the final.
        For some of you who experienced 16 or 24 team-world cups (the first world cup I watched was 1986): the format felt great: every match counts, you’ll end up missing the world cup when it’s done instead of just waiting when it’s going to be done.

  3. Good article. I’m not sure if we need citations. All of us have had our various RSS feeds full of articles sounding the death knell for Spain. I honestly don’t pay that much attention to where the writers are based.

    International soccer is always going to be prone to this because it lacks for narrative. Drawing conclusions based on the results in an tournament like the Confederations Cup is like drawing conclusions about a baseball player after one game. “He strikes out all the time.” or “He hits home runs 2/3 of the time. He’s awesome.” It’s such a small sample size and the results are so fluky that it’s hard to really tell much.

    Now….the thing that would concern me if I was Spain is that Brazil victory looked a LOT like how Bayern manhandled Barca. I saw a lot of big, fast, strong guys not letting a bunch of little, technical guys play. If the ref is going to allow that sort of play, that’s how everyone should play Spain.

  4. also I think it was a very significant tournament and final game. Brazil was ranked in the 20’s in FIFA. The tournament was indeed a coming out party for them. They are really good and that was in question before the tournament. The Spain final was thrilling and intense. I agree this doesn’t mean the end of Spain etc (after all a PK make and Luiz fails to make the wonder save it’s 3-2 and game on)but it was significant as it opens the door that Spain can be beat, the Brazilian style, the wild home advantage and the aging of the Spanish team all suggest the next world cup is in doubt for the Champions. Kartik could have made his point with less hyperbole-he is correct but the way he wrote this was too far the other direction that what just happened was as meaningless as a Korea-Farrow Islands friendly-

  5. It’s important to understand what is defined as “media”. 25-20 years ago, it was difficult to find good articles written by trusted sources/writers/columnists unless you live in the UK. Now we are bombarded by “journalists” or “self-proclaimed journalists” because everyone can write and in a lot of cases the bar is set really low to screen the quality of the article and the experience of the writers.

    1. Interesting comment. With that being said, my question to you is: Who is (what is) the best online football “journalism” site? Besides Gaffer’s Worldsoccertalk. *big smile* I find Bleacher to be an entertaining site (yet most of their articles are mainly a few paragraphs long at best), and I really like some of the morning and drive-time radio shows available on talksport. Goal(dot)com has some quality as well. Any other hidden gems out there?

      1. Hard to answer that. One respectable website used to have quite good columnist until they started adding different writers with different quality. Another one is full of bloggers with limited experience. I recall reading an article about Top 10 Players of Man United and this guy never knew Denis Irwin and apparently just copied and paste from other websites and Wikipedia :)

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