Hello American Football Fans:
If you are counting down until the start of Pittsburgh Steeler training camp at Heinz Field, instead of St. Vincent College for the 2nd year in a row–to minimize Covid-19 exposure risk–you probably were not following the real football competition this sumner. The biggest all European football tournament was pushed from 2020 to this summer due to the pandemic. The tournament final will be played this Sunday 11 July 2021 at 15:00 EDT in Wembley Stadium. Yes a real home game for England!
The irony of this tournament–Both teams advanced thanks to non-run of play goals. . .for you non-soccer people that means that goals were scored either off a free kick, penalty kick or corner kick. As a coach, player and goalkeeper you learn it is much easier to destroy the game defensively instead of create the game offensively. My one coaching buddy believes goal scorers are born and defenders are taught.
While England won on a penalty from the run of play, Italy advancred to the finals by winning kicks from the mark after all extra time against Spain. It was like 1990 all over again. Zenga, Baggio but with a different ending. Add in the England goal on the Penalty even after the initial shot was saved and this really makes me wonder if we are back to the 90’s.
That was the period where everybody was so effective at destroying the game, that a World Cup with less than 3 goals per game was the norm.
And amazingly both England and Italy were very good at keeping teams off the scoreboard. Two standing records from two great goalkeepers 1990 were:
I was always partial to Jorge Campos and Tony Meola. Campos for his ability to make saves despite his height. Meola due to his ability to always be positionally centered in the goal, in large part due to the teaching of Dr. Joe Machnik.
I’ll be cheering for the Azzurri tomorrow as my blood lines would require that level of commitment. I also had the opportunity to wear that Walter Zenga inspired shirt back in high school before all the NFHS rule requirements existed. There was also that 3 year span playing on a team named Azzurri United since my teammates who were from Italy explained that everybody in the country had loyalty to their home team, so we could not be Parma, Juve or Inter without an argument.
If you have any personal input on the Euro, the World Cup, or football in general by living in Europe during a Euro, or attending a World Cup game. . . comments would be greatly appreciated. . . .Hint Hint. . .
My first World Cup game was Ireland vs Norway 0-0 in Giant’s Stadium back in 1994. The number of jerseys and the singing still stick with me to this day. The only thing that beat it was being at a Stanley Cup Final game with my mother at Civic Arena.
Thanks to www.coachale.com for sharing his camp photo from this week, where he teaches the beautiful game!