|Parity inflates value of coaching.
||[Jul. 4th, 2004|04:56 pm]
UEFA Euro 2004
Not really much more to say than the subject line: When so many teams come to the finals with almost all the squads at nearly the same skill level, so much more comes down to how well the teams are coached.|
France are an excellent example. Santini looked like he sent his superstars out there and said, "Go show them you're better," and nothing else. So they danced around, created few chances, had 3 of their first 4 goals handed to them and got outperformed in 3 of 4 games. They had no evident gameplan. The French attitude was that talent would prevail, and the tournament did not follow that path. Intelligence and teamwork prevailed.
In a way, it's difficult to digest something so formulaic and simple as having beaten all the odds. Three 1-0 games. Three headed goals taken in front of lapsed defending. Three times, Greece simply beat teams that were better on paper. Never lucky, never outrun, and seemingly never stretched. You simply have to tip your cap to them and hope that your team, whoever they might be, have recognized the messages from the Greek championship:
1.) You cannot be an assembly of superstars. You have to be a team.
2.) You cannot fail to adapt when your strategy looks suspect, no matter if you've gotten away with it.
3.) You cannot assume anything anymore at a major finals.
Rehhagel came in with the knowledge of what his team could accomplish defensively, and his team showed a level of consistency and concentration that was unmatched in those final three games.