Talking Tactics/ Voeller’s shift from tradition did the trick
No time to get emotional
Mysore Racing / King’s Star may strike

 
 
TALKING TACTICS/ VOELLER’S SHIFT FROM TRADITION DID THE TRICK 
 
 
BY P.K. BANERJEE
 
June 25: 
The most remarkable giant-killing run in World Cup history has come to an end. South Korea have no reason to see disgrace in this defeat, as it came against a nation that is among the richest in football heritage. Full marks to this bunch of Germans as well, for living up to the reputation of showing grit when cornered, and congratulations to both teams for producing an intensely entertaining game.

The end was predictable, so to say. It was known that the Koreans would give their 100 per cent to extend the dream run, but the extra that saw them past Portugal, Italy and Spain, was missing. It was natural, because it’s impossible to consistently perform beyond capacity. South Korea had reason to believe they could achieve more since the Germans hadn’t been that convincing and here lies Germany’s credit — they knew it would be tough and worked hard to ensure it didn’t get tougher.

South Korea’s best chance lay in making most of Germany’s early nervousness. Rudi Voeller’s men were a little circumspect in the beginning, unwilling to land the first punch. However, Guus Hiddink’s team looked too cautious at this stage to catch the opposition by surprise. The time they took in organising their defence and midfield, allowed Germany to settle down.

Both teams concentrated on strengthening defence and Germany were conscious of the danger the Koreans might pose if allowed space near the centre. They had noticed South Korea’s strength was their ability to mobilise manpower near the ball and stopped them from winning numerical superiority inside the German half. They had to drift a little from their own style, which often leaves space between their midfielders, and concentrated on reducing the gap between each other.

Voeller made a master move by keeping Dietmar Hamann just in front of the three central defenders to keep the Koreans from gaining numerical advantage and most of their midfielders were operating from the deep. Just the striker was seen near the centre circle when the Koreans attacked and the rest were doing defensive duty. This resilience, so characteristic of their predecessors, was the highlight of the German performance.

The Germans were challenging South Korea for everything and tackling at the first opportunity. They used their superior health to make most of the midfield exchanges and halfway into the opening session, they started looking the better team. There wasn’t much variety in the German attacks and they stuck to the trusted ploy of finishing off floaters from the flanks or free-kicks.

Korea did well to neutralise most of the aerial raids but perhaps for the only time in the tournament, they erred in marking inside the box. Two German players were there to slot in the low centre from the right and in spite of the presence of four defenders, they were allowed to shoot twice.

However, even the strongest of defences commits mistakes under pressure and to South Korea’s credit, they didn’t err to often. What they failed to produce today that cost them the match was the speedy forays with four, five men and on the only occasion they outnumbered the Germans inside their defensive third, Lee Chun-soo delayed in releasing the final pass.

Even then, the kind of football displayed by South Korea wasn’t expected from any Asian team even until 2006. They proved they deserved the free ticket allotted to hosts and because of their showing, football in Asia will get a major boost in confidence.

   

 
 
NO TIME TO GET EMOTIONAL 
 
 
BY LOKENDRA PRATAP SAHI
 
Calcutta, June 25: 
With the focus already on India’s opening (back-to-back; Saturday-Sunday) games in the tri-series, John Wright didn’t exactly have the time to get emotional about returning to Kent’s home turf, Canterbury — this time as India’s coach.

“Frankly, with so many things on mind, there wasn’t a moment to reflect on coming back wearing basically the same hat, but with a national side…

“It was, of course, nice to catch up with the players and administrators,” Wright told The Telegraph Tuesday morning.

However, Wright did acknowledge that beating Kent — a County he coached for four seasons from 1997 — would definitely have “pleased” him immensely.

As it turned out, India lost Monday’s ‘warm-up’ match by 21 runs. Incidentally, Kent’s current coach is Australian Ian Brayshaw.

“Actually, even Rahul (Dravid), who played for Kent two years ago, would have been happy had we put it across the County… In fact, with the wicket being a beauty and the boundary small on one side, we ought to have got past 284…

“But, then, batsmen who got 30s and 40s threw it away,” Wright remarked, not hiding his disappointment.

Wright was particularly unhappy with Virender Sehwag, who has made it fashionable to give it all away after an electrifying start. It has happened in the ODIs, it happened against Kent as well.

“Just like it’s important for bowlers to be disciplined throughout the 50 overs, it’s essential that batsmen build on handsome starts. Be it chasing 185 or 285, one must consolidate. In any case, once in the 40s, you can’t play poor cricket,” Wright pointed out.

He added that this “failing” will again be spoken about internally ahead of the game versus England (Lord’s, Saturday).

[India’s next match will be against Sri Lanka, at The Oval Sunday.]

With the ‘warm-up’ score being 1-1 — India beat Sussex at Hove last Saturday by three wickets — Wednesday’s game versus Leicestershire is doubly important.

A successful outing, after all, will go a long way in influencing India’s confidence-level ahead of the tri-series.

Wright indicated vice-captain Dravid, who kept wickets both against Sussex and Kent, will be rested. As also Sachin Tendulkar and Zaheer Khan — who, according to the coach, has been “consistently superb.”

Ajay Ratra, V. V.S. Laxman and Ajit Agarkar should then come in.

It’s quite likely, too, that Yuvraj Singh will be promoted. He batted at No.6 both versus Sussex and Kent.

Meanwhile, captain Sourav Ganguly and Wright will first head to Nottingham for the customary pre-series meeting with the Match Referee (Mike Procter, in this case) before driving over to Leicester late Tuesday.

The tri-series gets underway with the England-Sri Lanka match at Trent Bridge Thursday.

   

 
 
MYSORE RACING / KING’S STAR MAY STRIKE 
 
 
FROM WILLIAM TELL
 
Mysore , June 25: 
Surprised by Pride Estates in his last start, King’s Star is expected to make amends for his failure by lifting the 1,200m Nagamangala Plate here on Wednesday. Shakti Singh partners the Damant Khanna-trainee.

Our Calcutta Correspondent adds: RCTC will telecast live proceedings of the Brazil-Turkey match on Wednesday.

SELECTIONS

2.45 pm: Tequila Ride 1. Beverly Babe 2. Vereva 3.

3.15 pm: Sizzling Beauty 1. Guernica 2. Gracious Rohit 3.

3.45 pm: King’s Star 1. Blushing Memories 2. Musky Bird 3.

4.15 pm: Cassini 1. Goebbels 2. Daiimio 3.

4.45 pm: Ace Beret 1. Tabreez 2. Anjaam 3.

5.15 pm: Aethion 1. Sirrgaa 2. Emmenbrucke 3.

Day’s Best: King’s Star

Double: Sizzling Beauty & Ace Beret.

   
 

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