World Cup 2014: five things USA learned from their draw with Portugal
时间：2019-09-15 责任编辑：甘桤沫 来源：银河网投官网 点击：188 次
Hat tip to for this line – Fabian Johnson, one of Jürgen Klinsmann’s German-American finds, is the best German full-back at the World Cup.
Johnson was fantastic going forward in Manaus, first as the USA repeatedly overloaded the right side of the field in search of an equaliser and then, as brought in William to shore up midfield, in specifically targeting the slow Miguel Veloso at left-back.
It seems that in every game since the warm-ups started we have been talking about Johnson’s attacking threat. His fantastic one-two with Michael Bradley to score ; his overlap for the assist ; his persistence late on that won the corner for the winner ; and now a scintillating attacking performance in Manaus.
The caveat is always that he needs to remember his defensive duties – Ghana’s goal came in the type of Johnson-shaped space Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo might have been expected to target, though in the event Ronaldo drifted inside and cross-field from the start and that, plus the mandate Johnson was given by the early Portugal goal, gave the US full-back the opportunity to get forward more.
What was truly intriguing and novel was Johnson’s interaction with the substitute DeAndre Yedlin as Portugal tired. With Alejandro Bedoya having a somewhat anonymous game, he was withdrawn for Yedlin with the score at 1-1. If it appeared a defensive move to bring on a right-back, Klinsmann had actually made a straighter swap than it first appeared. Yedlin (by trade at least) offers more in defence than Bedoya, but with Johnson’s runs having worn out Veloso and co it was the speedy Seattle player’s attacking qualities that immediately had an impact, as he ran the routes sketched out by Johnson to get the important cross that led to the lead.
It is an intriguing addition to Klinsmann's arsenal, even more so when you look at the relative weak links in the full-back positions on the German team. Germany are vulnerable to balls in behind and against Portugal the USA, and Johnson in particular, rolled out a blueprint for exploiting that weakness.
This was better from Bradley
After the Ghana game, the impression was of a tentative Michael Bradley being caught up in events rather than dictating them. After the Portugal game, there has been talk of another middling performance, largely based on a couple of eye-catching errors. That is not a fair reading of what Bradley offered throughout.
In the first half in particular, the Toronto FC midfielder was finding his range from deep with the type of through balls into gaps on which runners like Johnson were thriving, as well as interacting close in with Clint Dempsey and Jermaine Jones to try to tempt the Portugal centre-backs, with their suspect speed, to step up and leave space. They didn’t, even as the USA midfielders began to go closer with shots from the fabled zone 14, but Bradley was causing all sorts of problems for Veloso.
Bradley’s direct influence waned after half-time, but still to the USA’s advantage. William, unlucky not to start as defensive midfielder, but missing out on Portugal coach Paulo Bento’s preference for experience over youth, was introduced to counter the threat of Bradley. While he didn’t man-mark him it was a pro-active decision from the Portuguese, for whom Bradley’s name will have been high on every scouting report.
With the ponderous Veloso remaining on the field, shuttled to left-back, the USA began to work that side of the pitch via Johnson and then Yedlin. Bradley moved deeper and had a more conservative role, though his secondary runs still caused problems. While he should have had a goal but for Ricardo Costa’s clearance off the line, he also kept the US move alive for the second.
Bradley is still not having the degree of influence he might have been expected to have, and he lost the ball in the lead-up to Portugal’s equaliser (finding few options from his equally tired team-mates when he was caught in possession), but his presence and the need for opposing coaches to address it is creating time and space for others.
Klinsmann’s kids are all right
To John Brooks, , add DeAndre Yedlin. Jürgen Klinsmann’s young subs have each been involved in key moments in the first two games. And we might want to add in Graham Zusi, who may not be as young but as a first-time World Cup player had just arrived on the field against Ghana when he crossed for Brooks' winner.
It may be just as important to be lucky as good in tournament play (and those wearing rose-tinted glasses about the USA's run in 2002 might do well to remind themselves of the luck that team had … until they didn’t), but Klinsmann deserves credit for his tactical substitutions.
When Ghana equalised, the temptation after such a game-long siege would have been to throw on another body to defend. But Klinsmann went with Zusi in the belief there would be at least one more chance. Against Portugal, the introduction of Yedlin was a very positive one too – an illustration of Klinsmann’s optimism.
Yedlin was one of the squad selections some commentators thought might be more about 2018 (and yes, the as-yet-unused Julian Green belongs in this category), but what was key about his introduction was that it was not as a young player brought in for fresh legs and a competent body to gain experience in an already determined game. He was thrown in at 1-1, in the belief he could influence the attack.
The verve with which he did so was Yedlin's own of course, but even those who sneer at Klinsmann’s tactical nous acknowledge that the man knows how to motivate. The young players he has brought through, and even some of the older fringe players in whom he has demonstrated trust, are arriving on the field primed with self-belief. It’s a self-belief that’s mirrored by the coach’s own and it's nothing new. But more than the squad are listening now.
Manaus may still exert a tax in round three
As England limped out of the against Uruguay, then Italy drifted listlessly to defeat against Costa Rica, it was hard not to see their sapping opening fixture in Manaus as an extra man for their next opponents.
With the US having had to chase a game in the jungle for the best part of an hour, and with Portugal stricken by injuries, it is equally hard to imagine that the extra day’s rest Ghana and Germany will have before the final Group G games, coupled with a much more benign location and travel time for their second-round encounter, will not play a part in determining the outcome of the group.
For Portugal, the road looks especially tough against a resurgent Ghana, with Ronaldo clearly off his game and injuries piling on top of general post-Manaus exhaustion. Even after the most dramatic of late equalisers to save their tournament, many of their players and staff looked more like they had received a temporary stay of execution rather than a full reprieve.
The USA were seconds from a decisive result. Instead they were dealt a gut punch in conceding the latest goal ever recorded in Word Cup stoppage time, and must now regroup to face Germany and another severe test of their concentration and energy.
They would love a quiet start to the game. Leading early didn’t help the pattern against Ghana and trailing Portugal early (it was the sixth time the USA have conceded a goal in the first five minutes of a World Cup game) arguably made for a more decisive performance, but that would hardly be an advisable tactic against a rested Germany looking to counter.
How the USA manage their style and tempo early in Thursday's game will be key. If they get to half-time level and injury free, they may yet prove to have got out of Manaus intact.
We have a situation
Speaking of scenarios for the Germany game, we know that if the USA and Germany draw, they both go through.
Which means you’re going to be seeing a lot of the clip above, or variations on it, over the next few days:
That and the Klinsmann/Joachim Löw coaching connection will have a lot of people jumping to conclusions about what might happen between two teams who only need a draw, with one of them having demonstrable history of tactical … discretion.
Funnily enough, you can partly blame Klinsmann for why the Germany game is, on the contrary, unlikely to be a cordial stroll in the park – or as one Twitter wag suggested, “90 minutes of the teams high-fiving each other”. The attacking blueprint Germany adopted under Klinsmann and Löw at their home World Cup in 2006 has become the new paradigm for a team who were once a byword for cautious pragmatism. Attack remains Germany’s best form of defence, as the Ghana game clearly showed.
That is not to say that both teams won’t appreciate their position. The fact is that a draw works for both sides, and it’s hard to see fireworks if the teams are level with 15 minutes to go. As Bradley pointed out rather testily on Sunday night, the US have earned the four points they have, and with that comes their fate still being in their hands.
Portugal and Ghana have done enough to be in contention in Group G, but with both having failed to beat the “easy” team in the group of death, they can have few complaints about the scenario they now face.