A win is a win is a win…
but is a win enough?
The Niko Kovač-led Bayern Munich squad in 2018–we’ll wait and see who the club’s coach is in the spring and fall of 2019–has received understandable pressure from the press and fans alike after a subpar beginning to the 2018/2019 campaign. Sitting at 21 points after 12 matches, which is nine-points out of first-place to heated domestic rival Borussia Dortmund, the Bavarian giants have showcased uncharacteristic weakness and lack of comprehensive identity.
It’s just not good enough.
So what better time (and competition) than the Champions League match against the visiting Portuguese side Benfica to reassert its dominance for 90 minutes?
Ladies and gentlemen, when you score off a short corner–a kiss of death for scoring 99.99% of the time–then you know the game is going your way.
A brace (2 goals) for the ageless #10 Arjen Robben and relentless #9 Robert Lewandowski led the Bavarians to an emphatic 5-1 victory at the Allianz Arena. The Frenchman #7 Franck Ribéry added a laser of a goal in the 76′ for good measure.
Bayern Munich has proven that a win is, in fact, a win. However, is this one win enough to get Mr. Kovač off the hot seat?
Will the remainder of the 2018/2019 season be slowed down to analyzing this Bayern Munich squad, as managed by the enigmatic Niko Kovač, with a tirelessly critical eye on a game-by-game basis?
Welcome to FC Hollywood, Mr. Kovač.
P.S. Regardless of what the Bayern Munich business leaders are saying to the press regarding their coach’s job security, accomplished manager Carlo Ancelotti can attest that it’s the Bayern Munich locker room that will ultimately decide their manager’s fate.
With the 2018 FIFA World Cup coming to a close this weekend–third place on Saturday and the final on Sunday–people are already starting to look to the next World Cup in Qatar.
You know, that
soccer-rich culture crazy hot Middle Eastern country that surely has at least one soccer ball within its borders.
While I am not a fan of people immediately dismissing the moment for the future, there was news that broke today that was eye-opening. FIFA President Gianni Infantino (Swiss) confirmed that said World Cup in Qatar four years from now will be November 21-December 18. And in announcing the unorthodox schedule for a tournament meant to be played in June and July, Mr. Infantino added this remark.
“Leagues around the world have been informed already, and of course they will have to adapt.”
“…of course they will have to adapt” is quite the statement to make regarding a host country whose bid process was a bit shady, to say the least. The perception looked like a cash grab by FIFA and Qatar with accusations of corruption in the voting process.
Having traveled to Qatar years back, it’s a nice country and I’m glad I stayed the night, having taken in its burgeoning skyline. It’s sort of a mini Dubai–the new Dubai–to a restrained extent. But when other soccer-rich countries and cultures lost the bid for 2022, that seemed a bit odd.
And now the FIFA president has the gall to speak down to the world’s top soccer leagues–steeped in storied history and tradition, as well as world-class talent–to force them to adapt?
FIFA should have adapted to the traditional needs of the World Cup and its participating coaches and players in awarding the tournament for 2022. Particularly given the historical fallout via corruption charges waged against former FIFA President Sepp Blatter (Swiss) and Co. in 2015 and FIFA officials concerning the Qatar bid, FIFA has yet to earn back the benefit of the doubt in cases like the 2022 bid.
FYI – The road of redemption for FIFA will be long and weighed down in a myriad of heated debates. And it doesn’t help that this road for FIFA is being built to travel through Qatar in November and December.
P.S. Liquor is heavily restricted in Qatar. Well, at least soccer fans aren’t famously known for drinking an alcoholic beverage or two, in a stadium or a pub, when watching the beautiful game…
P.P.S. One unresolved issue still under review is whether the 2022 FIFA World Cup will include 48 teams. No, no and no. It may be time for a competitive marketplace of alternative governing bodies to emerge to challenge FIFA and its endless train of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad ideas as conducted by the Swiss. Perhaps it’s fitting this type of news broke on Friday the 13th.
This is a peek into at what peak-Argentina can look like in the 2018 FIFA World Cup with its superstar Lionel Messi running on all cylinders.
(Click Play–“Watch this video on YouTube” because of FIFA TV stuff–return to Jimmy’s Daily Planet)
Lionel Messi’s Argentina pulled off a necessary 2-1 win against Nigeria today to advance out of Group D with top-finisher Croatia. While more impressive than its first two games, Argentina has a steep mountain to climb when they play tournament favorite France in the round of 16.
Will this same intensity continue for Messi and his teammates? Will France overwhelm an Argentinian squad that looks like it’s barely hanging on?
One thing’s for certain: France vs. Argentina will be a blockbuster match with stars everywhere.
What makes a World Cup legacy?
When Spain won the 2010 World Cup whilst executing a transplant version of the famed total football tactics of the Dutch against the Dutch in the final–a surreal case of the body snatchers indeed–coupled with the parallel success of Barcelona at the club level, it became clear that Spain was the soccer capital of the world.
This impressive achievement was stylistic and generational.
Thus far in the 2018 World Cup, Cristiano Ronaldo has scored four goals in two games, which includes the game-winning goal in Portugal’s 1-nil win today against Morocco, while Lionel Messi hasn’t registered a goal or assist after 90 minutes against Iceland in the group stage. Both Ronaldo and Messi, for instance, are world-class soccer players and generational icons. The point is whether Ronaldo is genuinely tipping the scale in his favor in real-time in his rivalry with Messi for best player in the world because he’s scored/scoring more goals than his Argentine counterpart on soccer’s biggest stage?
If the 2018 World Cup ends up tipping the scales in this heated debate–this premise being a whole other debate–will goals or style of play weigh heavier in defining the (proposed) best player of his generation?
Either way, Messi will have his shot(s) tomorrow to add some goals to his tournament résumé and for his country, as well as some weight to his side of the scale.