football is a schizophrenic game ….


football is a schizophrenic game
it’s as much about not losing as it is about winning but pretends otherwise.
Why is that?
Some football cultures value artistry over results.
But by definition this means that winning and losing are secondary.
Historically, Germans and Englishmen saw this as a foolish approach, something adopted by unpredictable, indolent Latins.
Football is not alone in its neglect of understanding and valuing defence.
Defense is inherently harder to measure.
And this is true in any sport.
In any sport, the defensive statistics are more primitive than the offensive statistics.
It’s not just sports.
It’s true in life.
It would be true in warfare and true in love !

This means that we are allowing our selective memories and perceptions to get in the way of a truly rational understanding of football.
Teams that score more than their opponents will always win, but so will teams that concede fewer.
As Johan Cruyff said of the Italians: they can’t beat you, but you can lose to them. Your attack, in other words, is only as valuable as your defence will allow, while your defence is only as valuable as your attack makes it.

Going for the jugular might be more popular, more entertaining, but there must be harmony between football’s two sides.
There must be yin and there must be yang, the ancient Chinese symbol of balance, interplay, contradiction and coexistence.
There is defence within attack – Barcelona’s passenaccio – and attack within defence – pulling the opponent forward to create the counter-attack, using their own ambition to weaken the other side.
As Herbert Chapman long ago observed:  “A team can attack for too long. The most opportune time for scoring is immediately after repelling an attack, because opponents are then strung out in the wrong half of the field.”


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