"Almost Like A Club." - Preparing for the World Cup.

Discussion in 'FIFA and Tournaments' started by Knave, Dec 14, 2005.

  1. Knave

    Knave Member+

    May 25, 1999
    This topic occured to me after reading this bit ...
    I thought it was an interesting comment and got me wondering if the USA's preparation really is different than most other countries.

    I agree that the USA national team in its preparation and its attitude operates "almost like a club" - and I think that's the case on many levels and goes well beyond Licka's comment. (Not a superclub, mind you - an honest, working for a living, blue collar club.) There's a very large pool of players who all get pulled into various camps in the years between cups, they're exposed to Bruce Arena's way of doing things and they're basically expected to be part of that system. If they can't fit in then they're not going to make it very far with the national team. The advantage, I think, is that you get a very cohesive group of players, they're all on the same page, and they're all team oriented. It's one of the reasons why the USA plays better then the sum of its parts. But it does mean the occasional talented maverick is left by the wayside.

    But is that actually that different from other World Cup teams? That's not something I have complete insight into so I wanted to bring it up here.

    First of all, what do you think of this idea about modeling World Cup preparation and building World Cup teams almost as if they were clubs? What would that really entail?

    Second, is the USA really the only team taking this approach? Or are there other teams adopting it too?

    Third, what are the advantages of this approach? What are the disadvantages?
  2. DaPrince84

    DaPrince84 Member+

    Aug 22, 2001
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    i kno the major countries dont take our approach (which is why he said it)... Brazil, Spain, Argentina, etc... tehy ususally play for Big Clubs, adn those big clubs dont let their star players go for a friendly... US players generally arent stars for their foreign clubs, and the MLS and USSF work hand and hand... I think we are unique
  3. Elninho

    Elninho Member+

    Sacramento Republic FC
    United States
    Oct 30, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    From the US perspective I would argue that it's no longer the case. Between 1991 and 1995, the USMNT actually trained as a full-time club, playing 30+ matches per year with a near-full-strength team and keeping some of its players in camp year-round. That's no longer the case, as we draw our players entirely from professional leagues and field B-teams (or all-domestic teams) in friendlies on a fairly regular basis now.

    I suspect that the 1991-1995 version of the USMNT is what the quote is referring to, because in full it reads: "The national team over there is on a high level, and they'll do anything to be successful. They organize lots of tournaments (friendlies) and prepare the national team almost as if it were a club." Given that the US Cup has been abandoned, and Bruce has turned down multiple invitations to the Copa America, I believe the European perception of the US is a bit outdated.

    For reference: the following was the USA's 1993 schedule. There were no World Cup qualifiers, because we hosted, but the number of friendlies is truly incredible. (Contrast to the number of friendlies Germany played in 2005, or the number that South Korea and Japan played in 2001.)

    01/30/93 USA 2:2 Denmark
    02/06/93 USA 1:1 Romania
    02/13/93 USA 0:1 Russia
    02/21/93 USA 0:0 Russia
    03/03/93 USA 2:2 Canada
    03/10/93 USA 0:0 Hungary (Kirin Cup in Japan)
    03/14/93 Japan 3:1 USA (Kirin Cup)
    03/23/93 El Salvador 2:2 USA
    03/25/93 Honduras 4:1 USA
    04/09/93 Saudi Arabia 0:2 USA
    04/17/93 USA 1:1 Iceland
    05/08/93 USA 1:2 Colombia
    05/23/93 USA 0:0 Bolivia
    05/26/93 USA 0:0 Peru
    06/06/93 USA 0:2 Brazil (US Cup)
    06/09/93 USA 2:0 England (US Cup)
    06/13/93 USA 3:4 Germany (US Cup)
    06/16/93 Uruguay 1:0 USA (Copa America in Ecuador)
    06/19/93 Ecuador 2:0 USA (Copa America)
    06/22/93 USA 3:3 Venezuela (Copa America in Ecuador)
    07/10/93 USA 1:0 Jamaica (Gold Cup)
    07/14/93 USA 2:1 Panama (Gold Cup)
    07/17/93 USA 1:0 Honduras (Gold Cup)
    07/21/93 USA 1:0 Costa Rica (Gold Cup)
    07/25/93 Mexico 4:0 USA (Gold Cup)
    08/31/93 Iceland 0:1 USA
    09/08/93 Norway 1:0 USA
    10/13/93 USA 1:1 Mexico
    10/16/93 USA 1:2 Ukraine
    10/23/93 USA 0:1 Ukraine
    11/07/93 USA 1:0 Jamaica
    11/14/93 USA 8:1 Cayman Islands
    12/05/93 USA 7:0 El Salvador
    12/18/93 USA 0:3 Germany

    That's 34 matches in one year; and there were a couple long stretches where the USMNT was playing weekly. In 1994, we continued that by playing 19 friendlies between January 1 and the start of the World Cup. By contrast, Germany played 15 matches in 2005 (friendlies, Confed Cup); South Korea played 17 in 2001 (friendlies, Confed Cup, Carlsberg Cup, UAE tournament, Egypt tournament) and 14 in 2002 before the World Cup (friendlies, Gold Cup); Japan played 13 in 2001 (friendlies, Confed Cup, Kirin Cup) and 7 in 2002 before the World Cup (friendlies, Kirin Cup); France played 8 matches in 1997 (friendlies, Tournoi de France) and 7 in 1998 before the World Cup (friendlies, King Hassan Cup); and Italy played 10 matches in 1989 (all friendlies) and just 3 matches in 1990 before the World Cup."

    And today's USMNT... played 20 matches in 2005, but World Cup qualifying accounted for 10 of them, and the Gold Cup for 6 more, so we only played 4 friendlies.
  4. Autogolazo

    Autogolazo BigSoccer Supporter

    Feb 19, 2000
    Bombay Beach, CA
    --Everybody knows the Arena system. Bruce has been there so long that the veterans in Europe know exactly what's expected. MLS has such a long break that any new US-based players have months of intense, day-to-day work on it, just like at a club.

    --To date, with the Rossi situation resolved, the US has almost no "rookie" Euro-based players, with the exception of Heath Pearce, who is getting a look at the lengthy camp in LA. This situation is BETTER than a club, in that clubs have to bring in guys mid-season and try to adapt to the coach's system on the fly.

    --How many other nations have nearly 50% of their WC roster together for THREE CONSECUTIVE MONTHS at a camp that ends just 10 weeks before the World Cup?

    --Also BETTER than any club or other national team is the relatively weak media scrutiny given to Arena's choices. He doesn't get bricks thrown through his windows or death threats for not picking (let's say) Ricardo Clark--just 50-60 people on an Internet board getting angry with him.

    By the way, I also happen to think this is why Mexico often punches above its weight, at least in the first round. Everybody knows each other from the Mexican league, knows the style they play, and nearly all of the team can get together for camps in Mexico without traveling any great distances.
  5. Elninho

    Elninho Member+

    Sacramento Republic FC
    United States
    Oct 30, 2000
    Sacramento, CA
    Los Angeles Galaxy
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Um, not three consecutive months. MLS training camps start in February, and the January camp is really only 3-4 weeks long. The Scandinavian countries often have similar winter camps.

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