Ronaldo and total football may not be the winning formula

June 12, 2008

Shirtless RonaldoTotal football is everywhere these days, in newspaper headlines and pub conversations. A few exciting performances from attack-minded teams at Euro 2008 and we’re back in the 1970s. Endless guitar solos, long greasy hair and flying Dutchmen.

On one side, you have the likes of Portugal, the Dutch or Spain, a bunch of daring young artists delighting football romantics with their wizardry. On the other side are the usual suspects, Italy and France, ageing cynics boring everybody with their cast-iron back fours and tireless holding midfielders.

Of course, the poets beating the bad guys at the end would be excellent news to the lovers of the beautiful game.

But wait a minute. Isn’t football about winning? That means you have to score one more goal than your opponents, so one’s enough providing you don’t concede any. A rock solid defence, then, is a good way to start.

And what’s wrong with merciless winning machines not allowing their opponents an inch of space and then relentlessly marching forward to get the goal they need? What’s wrong with the thrilling Euro 2000 final between France and Italy or the awe-inspiring AC Milan side of the early 1990s?

Can’t we have a soft spot for warriors compensating limited skills with total dedication to their duty, the team and the playing system? Do a google search and take a look at Didier Deschamps’s record, to name just one famous example.

Cristiano Ronaldo is all very fine but without a Chelsea-flavoured defence keeping shop at the back for Portugal, would he be able to show off his skills?

Football is a team sport and shouldn’t be just about individuals, however brilliant. There is room for different approaches and all are respectable as long as they win matches.

Football doesn’t have to be total, it just needs to be football.

Patrick Vignal, with the French team in Vevey

PHOTO: Cristiano Ronaldo stands on the pitch after the Group A game between Portugal and Czech Republic at Stade de Geneve in Geneva, June 11, 2008. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse


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Football can be just football. But footbsll, like any sport, is more exciting, more compelling & creates more passion, when it is exciting.

Whether its Man Utd’s cavalier football or the total football displayed this week by Holland and Spain, the mentality of playing confident football thinking “we will score one more than you” is better than the Greece, Romania and Chelsea approach where winning 1 – 0 is a completely different game to watch.

You can have a France v Romania Euro 2008 Final is your not obthered about exciting football. I can’t wait for Holland v Spain.

Posted by Terry Lane | Report as abusive

And you never really know what factor will win you the game or the ultimate trophy. The media has dwelt on beauty early in the tournament, lavishing praise on Holland, Spain and Germany but you’re right – in the end all that will matter is who won. There is a lot to be said for the notion that “winning is beautiful”. A side note on France, Patrick, I don’t think that they are being deliberately boring in this tournament – I think it’s a team that sorely lacks something of substance – and I don’t know that the aged Henry or Veira will provide it. I could be wrong but this France team is reminding me of the one that didn’t get out of its group in 2002. Italy may have lost 3 – Nil to Holland but they atleast showed some fight and the potential for goals in the second half.

Posted by Beautifulgamer | Report as abusive

[…] Source: Patrick Vignal […]

Posted by Soccer Camps » Blog Archive » Ronaldo and total football may not be the winning formula | Report as abusive

At the end of the day winning is winning, but everybody remember the team that wins in style, I hope the Dutch win, sneijders goal was awesome to watch

Posted by Live-FootballOnTV | Report as abusive

Football played by usual 11 men of each team is football. Whatever description – sexy footbal, total football – you journalists, sports writers, commentators see fit to write or say, the spectator young or old, in Seoul, or Sao Paolo, or Trinidad wish to see is still football, entertaining football.

Its a 11-men team game. Whether Ronaldo can score 5 goals per game, or Ruud can head 3 goals per game, and if both teams’defendersleak in more than they can score, its fruitless.

Terence, Singapore

Posted by Terence | Report as abusive