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june 2014

June 2014 3 // Faas Wilkes. The original Dutch superstar 7 // 2013/14 Bundesliga season review 17 // Saudi Arabia journey in 1994 World Cup 19 // USMNT: Tactics to Pack for Brazil 25 // Two lives of Daniele Massaro

EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Rolands Juhna DESIGN Cristian Liberum Asuman Dogan

AUTHORS Alessio Loginov Michele Tossani Cassidy Gabriel Vladislav Adamishen Jeremy Smith

CONTACT US SOCIAL NETWORKS Facebook - Michel Mag Twitter - @lemichelmag

ABOUT US «michel» is an old fashioned monthly magazine about the beautiful game of football. «michel» football magazine was founded in August 2013 by Rolands Juhna and Cristian Liberum.

Faas Wilkes The original Dutch superstar

Cristian Liberum pays the tribute and tells the story of Faas Wilkes. Very talented man, who was one of the first heroes and idols in the history of Dutch football. The original Dutch superstar.


October 4, 1959. Almost 63 000 spectators came to Stadion Feijenoord to see the Netherlands national team face their biggest rivals Belgium. No waving flags, fireworks or loud chants were heard in the stadium before the match. Silence was broken by thousands of words that flew out of the mouths of well-situated men and women that were waiting for the players to step on the green pitch. When the first footballers appeared, all eyes were on the gracious figure of dark haired striker Servaas “Faas” Wilkes. 36 years old veteran entered the pitch with a relaxed look that emitted an indestructible confidence. He was past his prime years, but he still had a plenty tricks in his bag to show to the local football fans. At that age, every game was like another chance to prove everyone that he still got it. Wilkes proved it that night, as Netherlands destroyed their opponents (final score was 9-1) and veteran striker was one of the key figures in that match by scoring a hat-trick. The legend lived on. Career of Faas Wilkes saw a lot of interesting moments, but everything began in the streets of Rotterdam. Dutchman saw a humble childhood and since he was a kid, Faas had to work hard to help his family live on. However, as every kid in the Rotterdam, he had a deep passion for football and all the spare time Faas was playing the ball on the streets together with his friends. Work and studies took a lot from young Dutchman, but no weariness could stop him from playing football. It was a vital part of his life. At the age of 17, Wilkes joined local club Xerxes. It was relatively small and humble side where talented Dutchman spent nine seasons. There’s not much information and facts left about seasons he spend in Xerxes, as there was World War II outside the window and football surely wasn’t the priority for the people who had to see all the horror that was affecting their hometown. Those were a dark times for everyone. However, thanks to his performances in Xerxes, Wilkes was invited to join the Dutch national team in 1946 as World War II was over and country was slowly recovering from all the losses that were caused by war. Wilkes had a sensational debut for the Oranje, scoring four goals in his debut against Luxembourg. Overall, he scored nine goals in his first three appearances for national team. Impressive numbers. Nevertheless, soon he faced a serious competition as Netherlands faced England in Huddersfield. This one turned into a real disaster for the Dutch side, as they were crushed by the Englishmen. Final score was 8-2 and Wilkes finally saw the players to admire, to get inspired by the football and set of skills they had. England was a fine example for everyone back then. World’s leading football nation. In the end of 1940’s, talented Dutchman had more and more doubts about his future. It was time to make a decision - lead the business of his father or leave all the jobs and fully devote himself to football. Wilkes played against

many different players from different countries in Oranje jersey and he saw that he has the abilities to turn himself into a professional footballer. Now football has turned into an usual job,with only difference that it’s very well paid. Back then it wasn’t something common. And for many, professional footballer wasn’t something to adore or respect. In Netherlands, local football federation wasn’t very enthusiastic about the idea that professional footballers could play for the Oranje. It was a nonsense back then. Only amateur players, no professionals! Money kills the pure soul of sport, it’s an evil... 1949 turned out to be a turning point in career of Faas Wilkes. After nine years with Xerxes and three years with Dutch national team, he finally had a chance to leave his hometown and start a new journey. Wilkes got an offer from Inter Milan and he went to Italy for a meeting with the management of Italian side. It turned to be an adventure, as Wilkes didn’t knew any English or Italian, so there was a need for translator. However, there were no professional translators available in Milan, so Inter asked for a help to a Dutchman, who owned a restaurant and knew some Italian. Management of Inter were impressed when they first saw Wilkes. He was tall and very elegant man. Calm, very polite and confident. It was time to make a decision. Signing a contract with Inter would mean a ban from international football. KNVB wouldn’t accept a professional footballer to defend their colors. Wilkes understood that but he was ready to take a risk and give a try for the professional football. By signing the contract with Italian side, Faas Wilkes became just the fourth Dutchman to play abroad. One of the pioneers. Faas Wilkes had a privilege to play alongside such strikers, as István Nyers and Amedeo Amadei. Two well-known names of Italian football. Dutchman wasn’t the leading goal-scorer of Inter, but he instantly became the fan favorite because of his fearless, creative manner and the spectacular goals he often scored. Italian league was very tough to play, defenders sometimes were very brutal. However, Wilkes accepted the challenge and didn’t changed his style of play. There were moments when his teammates threw up some criticism because of his individualism, but Dutchman continued to impress the public. He loved to attack from deep through the flank and then just make the final strike or share a cross to his teammates in the box. For a single defender, playing against Wilkes was a nightmare. He was tall, well-built and very fast player. So it was usual situation, if 2-3 defenders were trying to stop him. In rare moments, Dutchman was able to take up to 5 defenders on himself and still be able to bring the ball to his teammates. In first two seasons, Wilkes was almost unstoppable and very exciting to watch. However, there came a point, when he had to take a break because of injuries. His body took a lot of hits and third season with Inter wasn’t very successful. Knee injury forced Dutchman to miss 15 games in 1951/52


season and he ended up with just 7 goals on his account. Italian journey slowly came to the end. Wilkes left Internazionale in summer of 1952 after three seasons, 95 appearances and 47 goals. Soon he joined another Italian side - Torino. Team that was suffering a lot after Superga air disaster. Il Toro lost their legendary squad in that tragic evening and it was difficult to re-built team and bring it back to the previous heights. Wilkes was seen as the one, who could bring back the love of the fans. Unfortunately, knee injury was haunting him down and Dutch superstar managed to appear in only 12 games and score one goal in 1952/53 season. Management of Torino wasn’t satisfied with the performance of Wilkes. He was 30 years old and his knee looked very fragile. When there came an offer to sell him to Valencia, Torino management quickly agreed. Despite all the injuries and odds, Wilkes earned huge popularity in Spain. He had to miss a lot of matches because of injuries, but he still was praised by the fans. 38 goals in 62 games doesn’t tell the whole story. Numbers doesn’t matter in this case, as Wilkes was considered as one of the leading figures in La Liga alongsides Real Madrid superstar Alfredo Di Stefano and Barcelona striker László Kubala. Figure of Wilkes was as significant as those two football legends. His presence made Valencia look better. Dutchman knew how to act and earn sympathies for his side. He wasn’t only a good footballer, he was good-looking and charismatic person. Favorite, role model. The first foreign idol of Los Che. Career of Wilkes lasted up to 1964. After Valencia there was return to Netherlands, short spell with Segunda side Levante and finally Mister Dribbling returned to the place, where everything begun - Xerxes Rotterdam. After return to his homeland there was a chance to play for Dutch national team once again, as KNVB finally accepted professional footballers in Oranje squad. Wilkes scored his last goal for national team at the age of 37 and soon retired from international football. His last spell with Xerxes was something nostalgic. Despite being a true star of Dutch football, he remained a humble man. After 23 years in football, Wilkes retired at the age of 40. What’s very symbolic in this story, it’s the fact that in 1964 there was a debut in professional football for a young boy from Amsterdam, named Johan Cruyff. This boy idolized Faas Wilkes and tried to emulate all the tricks that the famous Dutchman had in his bag. And while one Dutch superstar retired, another one took the torch and took it through one of the brightest periods in Dutch football. Johan Cruyff had a truly great impact on the game of football. He revolutionized it and became the one of the best players in the history of football. However, there would be no Johan Cruyff without Faas Wilkes. Life is a chain. Fine examples inspire us and make us believe in ourselves. That’s why the original Dutch superstar should be always remembered.





Unstoppable German tank, stubborn goat and the others WRITTEN BY ROLANDS JUHNA Now it is summer outside and we all are waiting for the biggest major tournament at this year (or one of two biggest within Winter Olympics) – FIFA World Cup 2014, that will be held in Brazil. It will start in nearest days but till that I would like to sink into memories about previous club season in football. And if more exactly – about Bundesliga 2013/2014 season. It was very interesting as always Bundesliga is, there were good and not so good moments for almost each team during the season but that’s why we like German football – it is very unpredictable in almost all ways except one. Yes, also this season was an easy one for Bayern Munich, who became champions second time in a row, in total collecting 90 points, which was for 19 points more than second place team got. But now about all more closer.


Jupp > Pep Most of football fans surely remember Bayern’s 2012/2013 season. Season, which was outstanding and where main hero at the end became team’s legendary coach Jupp Heynckes. He managed to give for the fans maximum they wanted or even dreamed about. Bayern got 91 points in Bundesliga back then and finished first without any problems, team got German Cup title and probably the main trophy for the team was UEFA Champions League cup. It was a dream for all players, especially for those who played in the final one year ago and lost against Chelsea. Now it was to be or not to be and together with Heynckes they made it. Then Heynckes left the team and it was Guardiola’s turn to repeat all the same success in the new season. And no matter it was sooner an utopy than real vision, first months of the season convinced the fans more and more that Bayern can really achieve same titles as in the previous season. Team played very stable and in Bundesliga they clearly dominated

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over other teams. There was like 1 game out of 10 in which Bayern had more problems and had to waste more nerves. Usually team destroyed other Bundesliga clubs and played with big confidence. But how it came clear later, it wasn’t enough to be as successful as in the season 2012/2013. In Bundesliga Bayern gained huge advantage over other teams and it was no question about if they will win it once again. Questions appeared more after the winter break, when close and closer came crucial stages of the Champions League but game that Bayern showed started to become worse and worse. And here many blame Guardiola that at the end he ruined Bayern chances to win Champions League. If with Heynckes team played aggressive football in positive meaning and all players ran a lot and created many chances and there was seen stability, then with Guardiola team slowly became Barcelona 2 or close to that. Surely it was impossible for Pep to create such style in the first months in the new season when there were still Heynckes tracks left but later he made the team to give more and more passes and hold the ball very long time without any reason. Bayern started to get fantastic numbers in ball possesion but team became less dangerous in the attack than before. And that was the main reason why it had almost no chances against Real Madrid and failed to reach UEFA Champions League final. Of course, this article is about Bundesliga and there Bayern played as stable as before but overall season can’t be rated as perfect. But we can’t exclude the fact that Guardiola had some pressure from fans also, so overall I give him and the team 9 out of 10.

Borussia in this major tournament also in the next season. Third place in a very hard battle got Schalke 04 and team proved once again that it has character. While being without many leaders time by time, including such players like Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Jens Keller’s footballers still fought till the end, changing their playing style and all the time improving in the defence, which has always been a hard moment for the team. And at the end it paid back and Schalke overwent Bayer Leverkusen, which finished fourth. If there is some team which was very instable if we look at the whole season overall, then it is Bayer. First part of the season was more than good, long time Leverkusen stayed second right after Bayern Munich but then came problems, injuries and with all that – loses. Team management couldn’t wait much longer and sacked team’s coach Sami Hyypia and appointed Sascha Lewandowski as the head coach. Through hardness and blood he managed to finish with the team in the fourth place, which gives chance to play in Champions League. Three teams, that will represent German Bundesliga in the Europa League in the next season are Wolfsburg, Borussia Monchengladbach and Mainz. Hard to say if their performance was a surprise. Probably not. Looking at Wolfsburg’s game it was clear that this team is having a good potential for the future. Already in this season just one point pushed them away from the Champions League zone at the end of the season. If just bit more attention in few games and their endings, when not that rarely Wolfsburg lost 3 points, then team would be playing in Champions League for sure. However, potential for the next season seems more than good to get there. Team has signed some good players but all about transfers and rumours soon after this.

Battle for eurocups went hard If interest about who will get the title of Bundesliga dropped fast, then noone didn’t know which teams will get places that guarantee participating in the UEFA Champions League and Europa League tournaments. Most part of the fans thought that it surely will be Borussia Dortmund and they were right though. Team and Jurgen Klopp won almost all last games of the season, in such way getting second place. But during the season it was not easy for them, came periods when team was in little crisis and then there came around question even about qualifying for the Champions League at all. At the end all was fine and we will see

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Borussia Monchengladbach surely feels bit sadness about how the season ended. Similar as for Leverkusen, first part of the season seemed promising and gave hopes for the place in TOP 4 but lack of stability and away game factor made the real influence. Borussia is one of those few teams, for which home games bring like 80% of all success. While if they are guests in the game, then possibility is not high for the victory. At some moments team lost more points at home than while being visitors but it just proves again this lack of stability for Borussia. Now we can say that Borussia M is getting closer Borussia D but still they are far from each other, because the second one manages to win the most important games, while the first one is aiming for that. Who knows, maybe in the next season Borussia will manage to get higher.

Very good impression left Mainz, which got the last place for Eurocups. Team, whose budget can’t compete with the most of other Bundesliga teams overall showed stable performance and clearly deserved to finish in the TOP 7. Can’t say anything bad about Augsburg, team finished just one place lower Mainz, getting one point less. Both teams were having similar possibilities and their playing philosophy at some points seemed similar. But to go for logic in such situations would be too stupid. This time Mainz was just more lucky and it was deserved luck, which brings them into Europa League.

Once again can’t get rid of them! Battle in the relegation zone this time maybe was not as violent as in the previous seasons, but anyway it was not clear till approx last three games which three teams will stay in that zone. More or less came clear that newcomers Eintracht Braunschweig will have to return to Bundesliga 2 once again. Within time team started to look better and better but this process went very slow and still was not clear if those wins and draws, which Braunschweig got, was more like luck and coincidence or real power of the team. First many games were totally disastrous for the team, same as ending of the season, when came loses one after the another. In the middle of the season came some wins but level difference was too big and therefore there were no chances for Braunschweig to remain in the Bundesliga. Better chances to survive was for Nurnberg, which got relegated at the end too. The biggest reason why team didn’t manage to stay in Bundesliga was impotent attack and awful defence. It is hard to get a good place at the end if you score just 37 goals and concede 70 goals. At least one of those must be in much more higher level. In comparison: Hoffenheim, finishing at the 9th place, conceded exactly same number of goals – 70. Only „small” difference – they scored almost twice more (72 goals). But as some experts think, maybe this relegation will give some positive changes for Nurnberg and in case they soon get back to Bundesliga, team should be even stronger than now. Just some order and changes needed to be made there to improve team’s performance. Third team which was in the trio of relegation zone contestants was Hamburger SV. Only difference that club finished highest from all three, therefore had to play play-off games against one of the best Bundesliga 2 teams Greuther Furth. Two games, which decide – to survive or to die (get relegated). Despite perforrmance was not good at all and many injuries pursued Hamburger, thanks to more goals in guests (0:0 at home and 1:1 away) team beated Greuther and remained in Bundesliga for at least one more year, such way continuing their record as being the only one team that has not been relegated from the highest division since Bundesliga was founded in 1963. No any other team has such record. But doubtfully players and staff of the team was very happy. From one side it is good that there won’t be need to play in second Bundesliga, from the other – so many problems are around Hamburger and its new head coach Mirko Slomka, who replaced Bert van Marwijk during the previous season, will have to think out something very special how to get the team up from this bog in which it has drawned in for long. And not needed to hope on some huge transfer help – it apparently won’t be such because of limited financial resources of the club.

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HSV pl aymaker Rafael van der vaart didn’t had the best season and hsv were lucky to escape the relegation and remain in Bundesliga for the next season.

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Best ones in the season 2013/2014

Preparing slowly for the new season

Since the season has ended, I would like to sum all up and mark out players, who in my opinion were the best ones in this season.

I understand that it is way too early to talk about next season and potential possibilities and changes and so on. Even more, if soon FIFA World Cup 2014 gets started. But we can take a short look into loudest transfers and rumours anyway.

Choosing best goalkeeper of the season, my bet goes to Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Even if Manuel Neuer conceded less goals than ter Stegen, we need to look at the situation realistic and understand resources of Bayern and Borussia Monchengladbach. If Neuer often „got cold” from inactivity, then ter Stegen always had a lot of job to do and thanks to his fantastic saves and play Borussia got the place in Eurocups. Unfortunately for the team, it was his last season in Germany and now he will be player of Barcelona. Bundesliga will miss this great goalkeeper. In defensive line-up there would be many players to take out from Bayern and Borussia Dortmund but the best performance in my opinion came from Philipp Lahm and David Alaba. They were establishing the real defence of German champions. In Borussia situation was different and many defenders got injuries, so it is hard to name one or few best ones. But from other teams I would like to mention Benedict Howedes from Schalke 04, Omer Toprak from Bayer Leverkusen and Naldo from Wolfsburg. All these defenders, in my opinion, showed stable game more or less whole Bundesliga season. From midfielders I can name one clearly best of all how I think – it is Henrikh Mkhitaryan from Borussia Dortmund. Mostly thanks to his passes and creative play and impressive speed abilities Borussia scored many goals and got many important victories. Often he was the key player for whole team and if players got bit confused what to do, then it was Henrikh who took the game on his shoulders and often he did it pretty well. One of the best seasons spent Arjen Robben from Bayern, who being not a striker still managed to score 11 goals and create good gameplay in the midfield zone. Maximilian Arnold from Wolfsburg made an impression on me as well, showing very solid performance for his team, as well as Nicolai Muller from Mainz. In reality, there are many midfielders who would be notable, same as strikers. But since it is impossible to mention many, then must stick to those who really were great last season. And from strikers such, without doubt, was Adrian Ramos from Hertha Berlin. He showed his unique abilities, being effective in aerial battles, on ground, being fast and technical enough to score many goals, helping Hertha to stay far away from relegation zone. Very good season as well for Mario Mandzukic (Bayern) and Robert Lewandowski (Dortmund Borussia), who also became topscorer of the league, scoring 20 goals overall. This was his last season in Dortmund though and next season he will play for their biggest rivals Bayern Munich. Also I liked the performance from Max Kruse (Borussia Monchengladbach) and Alexandru Maxim (Stuttgart). These both players were very important for their teams and helped them to reach Eurocup zone or at least stay away from relegation.

As biggest loss for Borussia Dortmund can be named departure of Robert Lewandowski. However, team has signed two very good forwards – Ciro Immobile from Juventus and Adrian Ramos from Hertha Berlin. Maybe they are not same level players as Lewandowski but surely very close to that and the fact that team signed two such forwards, says it has good chances for next season too. At the same time, what loss for Borussia, benefit for Bayern Munich. Lewandowski will play for the team now and will be interesting to see how Pep Guardiola will use him in the attacking line. At the same time defender Daniel van Buyten won’t play for the team anymore but in the rumours appearing names of Juan Cuadrado, Loic Remy and Aaron Ramsey. Probably, at least two of those surely won’t be signed but exclude all variants would be too early as well. Schalke 04 signed former Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Sidney Sam and Hamburger left-back Dennis Aogo. In departure list appear defender Tim Hoogland and goalkeeper Lars Unnerstall. For Bayer Leverkusen at the moment departures are much more louder than signings. Signed are forward Josip Drmic (Nurnberg) and defender Wendell (Gremio). Team left by Emre Can, Sidney Sam and Jens Hegeler. Not many signings so far for Wolfsburg, although those few seems to be very good. Right-back from Eintracht Frankfurt Sebastian Jung and Werder Bremen midfielder Aaron Hunt. In rumours to play for Wolfsburg in new season appear such names like Fredy Guarin, Pierre-Michel Lasogga and Alexandru Maxim. Important changes in the squad has been made for Borussia Monchengladbach. As I mentioned before, one of the best young goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen left the team and will play for Barcelona, same as Juan Arango, who will continue his career in Mexico. At the same time such players like Andre Hahn, Ibrahima Traore and goalkeeper from Basel Yann Sommer, who should replace ter Stegen, will play in this team in the new season. For the moment those were the loudest transfers and rumours that are existing at the moment. Without doubt all attention now goes to World Cup and I suppose after its ending we will hear more and more news about transfers, rumours, coaching staff changes and more. This season of Bundesliga was very interesting but the next one seems to be not less interesting. In any case, noone plays boring football in German Bundesliga and that’s why this tournament is one of the most beloved and attented football events in Europe.

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Saudi arabia journey in 1994 world cup WRITTEN BY MICHELE TOSSANI

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Saudi Arabia participated in three World Cups, in 1994, 1998 and 2002. Their greatest achievement was reachin g the sweet-sixteen in 1994. This is the story of how that team reached that level of an unimaginable success and of how his hero came out from football obscurit y to score an amazin g goal. The 1994 tournament was also the last of the old 24-team format, but the first World Cup in which three points were awarded for a win. The tournament organization were awarded to USA in the way to change football – there know as soccer - culture in America. USA didn’t need of football as NASL, their latest professional football league had died since 1984 and no one cared about. Instead, FIFA board of directions seemed to think the beautiful game needed of US market in the way to expand football brand and to get lucrative accords with wealthy and well provided American companies. Saudi Arabia wasn’t a football powerhouse at that time but the Green Falcons had just won the Gulf Cup after years of failed attempts. It was enough to rise up the expectations going through the 1994 World Cup qualifying campaign. They get the ticket after a heartbreaking 4-3 victory over Iran in final qualifying game in Doha. The eyes of Saudi Arabia’s royal family were on its national football team. King Fahd inserted a lot of cash into the national football team, in the way to spread the world the name of Saudi Arabia showing them that his country was more than just oil. So, after they reached the goal to get qualified for the World Cup, each Saudi player was given $100,000 and a Mercedes. The royal family controlled the Saudi Arabian Football Federation. King Fahd was the man charged to bring on the national team coach. The first rule every candidate had to respect is that they had to be pleasing to the King. Since November 1993, King Fahd has gone through four coaches during the process. Dutchman Leo Beenhakker, one of most winning managers in the late 1980s when he led Real Madrid to three consecutive La Liga wins, wasn’t enough to the eyes of King Fahd. On the February 1994 he was sent home after a 1-0 loss in a friendly game against Colombia. His Dutch, offensive-oriented brand of football was too much for Prince Fahd, the vice president of the Football Federation. At the end, the royal family brought the right man in the Argentinian Jorge Solari. A former coach of Independiente of Argentina and Tenerife of Spain, Solari was more defensive minded, a characteristic that suited Royal family’s will. With no players involved in European championships, Solari had a whole month at his disposal to get his young and inexperienced bunch of players ready to be competitive at the World stage. Arab teams are well known in Asia for their fast-breaks and Saudi Arabia made no exception. The Argentine manager built a counterattacking side, relying on compactness and defensive shape with an emphasis upon direct football and long balls. This tactics was also highlighted by the presence of goalkeeper al-Deayea, who became one of the hottest

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surprises during the USA 94 World Cup. Saudis opened the tournament with an acceptable 2-1 loss Netherlands, easily the best team on their Group. After the opener, the Arabs faced Morocco. The African team was the opposite of Saudis: they were an offensive oriented side with good qualities on controlling the ball. The Moroccans controlled the game forcing Saudi Arabians into their own half. But Morocco struggled to find spaces. Saudi Arabia had few scoring chances but capitalized all of them. Al-Jaber scored on a penalty given Saudis the edge. Morocco tied the game the 27th minute but the Arabs sealed the win courtesy of a Fuad Amin’s shot that beat Moroccan netminder Kahlil Azmi. With Saudis earning their first ever three points in a World Cup, Solari’s side had to face Belgium in the final and decisive game. Belgium beat both Morocco and Holland leading the group. A draw would have been enough for Belgium to get past the group stage while Saudis needed of three points to progresses through the second round. Saeed Al-Owairan, few minutes into the game, scored the opener sprinting across the field beating several Belgian defenders plus goalkeeper Michel Preud’homme in a way that earned him the nickname of Maradona of the Arabs. This goal was voted in Holland as the 16th best goal in World Cup history. Organized behind a diligent defensive wall, Al-Owairan’s solo goal was enough to sneak Saudi Arabia into knockout stage. With three teams finishing at the top of Group F, the tie-breaking procedures promoted Netherlands as first and Saudi Arabia as second, relegating Belgium third and sending them to face defending champion Germany in the next round. History was made. “Even though it wasn’t expected by many people, we delivered what we promised. I dedicate this victory to the king,” Saudi Arabia coach Jorge Solari told after the display. The fact that Saudi Arabia were beaten 3-1 by Sweden at the next stage, ending Saudis’ dreams, doesn’t count. The only thing that matters was Saudi Arabia became the first team from the Middle East to advance to the second round in a World Cup. And Saeed Owairan became the new hero of a nation of 16 million of people, overcoming the legacy of 35-year old Majed Mohammed, the Desert Pele, until then the No. 1 football player over there. Unfortunately, Owairan get no international glory following his fantastic score as he never went playing abroad, due to Saudi Arabian laws, spending his whole career for Al-Shabab, a Saudi club of Riyadh. He was a complete unknown before the World Cup…and was back to the anonymity after it.

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A Look Back on USMNT Training

Tactics to Pack for Brazil Written by Cassidy Gabriel

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One Nation, One Team: Ahead of the second match of their three-game send-off series on home soil, the United States Men’s National Team trained before several thousand fans at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.

Fans sittin g alon g the right side of Red Bull Arena’s

Photo: Cassidy Gabriel/michel

western-most stand were treated with a sublime 6 vs. 2

Outside of Red Bull Arena, amidst the construction and confusion, things are looking more or less usual. Harrison, New Jersey is a city of prime Real Estate; every square inch of ground bears precious potential for expansive high-rise views of the New York City skyline, making driving through the bottleneck of traffic between Market and Cape May Street more of a familiar matchday sentiment than a persistent chore. Ground has been broken on a large and out-of-place complex of condominiums on the stadium’s front lawn, and somehow, each of these bizarre pieces falls into place. Despite the odd curb appeal, an assortment of star-and-stripe-adorned soccer items - flags, hats, scarves, banners - snakes its way up through Gate B, today’s entrance of choice, bypassing crews hard at work with the task of garnishing the stadium’s Fan Fest area with finishing touches for matchday. Approximately 3,000 fans fill the west stand of Red Bull Arena, once situated inside: 3,000 fans, waiting to uncover the secret behind every young football fan’s dream; just how do the champions train?

By stretchin g the diamond formation wider, Dempsey and

drill, where win gers Brad Davis and Graham Zusi shined. Altidore were allowed more time to adjust accordin gly in the area .





michael bradley




Diamonds Are Forever

zusi jermaine

Jürgen Klinsmann’s reputable managerial and playing careers have shaped him as one of the greatest tactical masterminds in international football. At Red Bull Arena, the German gave the thousands in attendance for open practice a wholesome idea of his latest positional experiment: the notorious diamond midfield. Shortly after a round of warm-up conditioning and a quick drill emphasizing layoffs, movement off of the ball, and engagement of central midfielders, the USMNT broke off into two small-sided, 6 vs. 2 scrimmageesque games, where two centerbacks were at the mercy of six offensive players instructed with the task of working the ball in on goal. While the drill also prepared the defensive duos for Turkey’s direct and organized style of attack, it emphasized the initiation of offensive transitions from the deep-lying point of the diamond formation and movement forward from the midfield diamond as a unit. Graham Zusi and Brad Davis, though on opposing wings in one rendition of the drill, strung together cohesive sequences amongst themselves, while Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley provided support centrally, and a world of power in longer-range attempts at goal. Against Azerbaijan, USMNT fans expressed a variety of reactions to the 4-4-2 structure, which maximized possession within USA’s final third, albeit eliminating any signs of central penetration, a more significant focus of US teams in the past. The new formation can prove to be functional system for the USMNT, if not, a back-pocket option that can be adjusted to suit the featured eleven. As Klinsmann pieces together a base of starters to lead the team through Brazil, the experimental style, flexible squad, and variety of opponents are all massive benefits. By the way, Florentino Perez took part at this game as well as a spectator. What he did after this game – you all know. But it is another story.

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DIAMOND #2 Fans sittin g on the left end of Red Bull Arena’s west stand were treated to a consistently-solid Beckerman fun ctionin g in the drill’s N o. 6 role, with Mix Disker ud fillin g the center attackin g midfield position. Julian Green also put his strikin g skills on fine displ ay from the right win g.





mix disker ud




green kyle beckerman

Highlights: 11 vs. 11 Scrimmage M&M: Mix and Mike After reverting from the 6 vs. 2 games to an 11 vs. 11 scrimmage, Klinsmann instructed Mix Diskerud and Michael Bradley, who had both operated as the attacking portion of the diamonds in their respective 6 vs. 2 games, to function as neutralsided central midfielders. Testing their transitional awareness, reaction time, and passing flexibility, the drill seemed to prove productive for both players, with Mix seizing the moment to apply the longshort layoff drill from the beginning of training and benefit both teams’ wingers, especially  Graham Zusi and Fabian Johnson, who controlled the right wing on the blue team. As the most cohesive pairing in training, the Zusi-Johnson pairing is definitely one of the mouthwatering partnerships that we can expect to see to combat Turkey’s structured style tomorrow. Mix’ precise delivery and comfortable touch on the ball made Zusi’s job all the simpler when playing a more clinical pass into Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey, the blue team’s offensive duo, and Fabian Johnson’s control of each service from central midfield resulted in positive overlap sequences. Diskerud played a significant role on the other end of the scrimmage as well, setting up an excellent strike for Julian Green that averted blue goalkeeper, Brad Guzan, as well as playing a part in Aron Jóhannsson and Chris Wondolowski’s finishes. Against Azerbaijan, Diskerud played the role of the hero, igniting USA’s  central midfield during a significant lull in the match. Minutes after coming on, his athleticism and engagement of wider players sparked link-ups that had lain dormant from kickoff, and led deservingly to his winning goal in the 75th minute. Mix will be wearing the No. 10 in Brazil in place of a relatively more familiar face, but he’s already shown his capacity in the central attacking position, and the diamond midfield suits him well.

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Fan Fest at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey. Photo: Cassidy Gabriel/michel

JOZY: Does the Diamond fit? With the diamond midfield looking like it could make a possible appeal for Brazil, Jozy Altidore’s engagement, positioning, and decisionmaking when in possession will be more analysed than ever before. “It starts with those guys up top, Jozy and Clint, they put in the work and it trickles down,” Graham Zusi said, as reported by Sports Illustrated on Saturday. How well Dempsey and Altidore can hold up the ball and provide width to complement the team’s new shape could be make or break factors. With less of a focus on the transitional No. 6 in comfortable offensive possessions, independent management of the ball will be a constantly-noted measure of Altidore’s capacity in that role. During the 6 v. 2 session of Saturday’s training, the attacking partnership of Altidore and Dempsey smoothed out a few initial bumps over the course of the drill, with each reverting to their tendency to take up either a lone striker or false nine role, interchangeably, to compensate the positioning of the other, and further engage the wingers of their team, Graham Zusi (right) and Brad Davis (left). While the attacking quartet fell into an eventual rhythm once responsibilities became focused, one of Altidore’s most notable struggles during the full-sided and 6 v. 2 was translating his reception of the ball in clinical positions into threatening chances on goal. While only time and repetition can tell how players will fare under the tweaked offensive system on a consistent basis, poor first touch and failure to maximize dangerous spaces effectively and efficiently could be the Achilles heel of Klinsmann’s new-look USMNT in Brazil. Sunday’s match against Turkey will be a major benchmark assessment in USA’s final preparations.

supporters While gates opened at 10:30 AM, supporters trickled in to get a glimpse of the USMNT throughout the training session, donning shades of Roma, Barcelona, Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Liverpool. Others still proudly sported Abby Wambach, Sergio Agüero, and even USA’s group rival, Cristiano Ronaldo, and a large population of fans reverently and boldly represented the many seasons, colors, and kit designs of Landon Donovan, #10 in his absence. It was an interesting mélange of cosmopolitan football figures, and an array that you couldn’t find coexisting so harmoniously anywhere else, and all were recorded as present through the passion of supporters who devoted their Saturday morning to the Brazil-bound men wearing red, white, and blue. In its stateside capacity, The Beautiful Game is a limitless one, with an unconformed identity that constantly evolves on nuances of the sport from around the world. American soccer crowds are somewhat a reflection of the limitlessly diverse national team picture, soccer supporter niche, and football culture in the United States. At the crossroads of New York City’s bustle and the New Jersey suburbs, Harrison New Jersey, sandwiched between Hoboken, Jersey City, and Newark, is a place lost in time, and geography, where every jersey, every language, and every supporter has an its place. Heading into the penultimate match of their World Cup series, the United States men will have a charming and unique atmosphere to accompany their football. 

The Fanfest Children were a major part of Saturday’s practice, enticed by an up-close autograph session with the USMNT players, free snacks distributed by U.S. Soccer partners, Nabisco, and the life-size cutouts of Clint Dempsey and Omar Gonzales fixated on pick-up pitches outside for photographs. New Jersey isn’t short on notorious elite youth clubs: with Fútbol Club Copa, PDA of Zarephath, and Jersey United of Morristown all dominant in enticing youth footballers with aspirations to reach the highest level of play. Loose ties with international footballing super powers aren’t uncommon either, with Jersey United participating as members of the FC Utrecht international player academy, and Fútbol Club Copa departing on an exclusive Latin American tour in just over a month. The developmental academy model is a youth system relatively unique to the United States, where academies aren’t as restrictive to professional clubs so much as communities and regions, all lying on varying locations of the spectrum of molding their players into elite professionals. Between Eastern New York and New Jersey, the primary sending locations expected to attend USA vs. Turkey in Harrison, 269,455 players are actively enrolled in the U.S. Youth Soccer system (2012). Sunday’s match will be as much a celebration for the current generation of soccer supporters in the United States as it is a cornerstone in developing the nation’s football culture for the future.

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Two lives of Daniele Massaro / Willpower – thin g, which makes person great or trivial / Friedrich Schiller

After his career ending, Daniele Massaro took part in auto-racing Ferrari Challenge, Porsche Super Car and Formula 3000, but many years till that he loved to drive through the streets of Monza. He sat on the bike and many hours drove around somewhere between Palazzo Reale and Palazzo Arengario, in a very agile manner going around pedestrians. First childhood memories are connected with the celebration of the day of Saint John, protector of the heaven. Neverending bars with sweets, Sicilian sausages, from which tongue got nice some kind of soring, observational Neapolitans, selling some needless stuff, fair of horses, smell of old stuff and skin. After the Mass in Duomo, all went to banquet, where the main food was risotto, made by local Recipe, using pieces of sausage from luganega. Just from one thought about it stomach started to croak. Most important – not to be late on lunch. „Ding, dong!” – from this sound all pigeons flew away from fear and at the same time little Daniele was on hurry to get home. Each year in June 24 in Monza is being provided tournament – marathon distance walking. Run started at the guildhall and everyone who wanted could take part at it. To manage whole 42 km walk in heat, was needed very good endurance and patience. Maybe that’s why locals are different with their iron character, however, this metal is made also in other city – Brescia. When others want to raise arms up, then stubborn inhabitants of Monza make one step farther. They were two, not more and not less. Daniele Massaro and Paolo Monelli – sweet pair of the forwards Monza. Pair, which from the youth team times was called M&M’s. Twins. Not similar by their nature, they became good friends though. Paolo was known as calm boy, who worked for all 100%. Daniele always was not satisfied with something and tried to do bit more than allowed. Both of them appeared in Monza because of president Giovanni Cappelletti, at whos time at this post team almost managed to get promoted to Serie A in 1980 – it lacked two points to catch Avellino. In the next season this goal stood vey close but their dreams were broken after the loss against Pescara. Joyless Monza became upset, more exhausted and after one year dropped to Serie C. After that some very serious clubs kept an eye on Massaro and from those Fiorentina was the most light-handed. However, Daniele was not that happy because always dreamed to wear up Milan shirt. And then powerful Ranieri Pontello invited to the team two forwards at the same time. „Let it be, we take also Monelli!” Such way both friends continued their lives in the city of Dante and Petrarca. In Florence beside Palazzo Vecchio they met Francesco Graziani – footballer of Squadra Azzurra, lover of fans and women, who just arrived from Torino. Without any doubt head coach of Fiorentina Giancarlo De Sisti chose Francesco to play as centre forward. Compete with Graziani was mission impossible. Seeing that, Monelli turned sour but Massaro at the same time showed real character and willpower that is very typical for Lombardian. Daniele managed to convince De Sisti to try him in a different position. Coach agreed, putting stubborn youngster behind the back of Antognoni and even in the central midfielder position. Noone believed that this idea will give any sense. But already in the first game at the new position Massaro tackled so much and ran for every ball so that left good impression. He played with such a positive anger, so that Antognoni while talking with De Sisti praised youngster. With this was enough so that Daniele would start the next game in a starting lineup as well. In that season Fiorentina won many games and was close on getting Scudetto, which was taken away by referee Mattei, who didn’t accept clear goal from Graziani in the last tour against Cagliari. „Better be second, than thieve!”, - this phrase was weak comfort for footballers of Fiorentina. In April extraordinary resurrection of Massaro noticed also head coach of the national team of Italy Enzo Bearzot, who called up Fiorentina midfielder on a friendly game against West Germany. Daniele was worried but on the pitch also came his partners from the club – Antognoni and Graziani. That game Italy lost but after it leaders of the team Italy went into talks with the head coach Bearzot. That, what happened after, doesn’t find any logical explanations – Bearzot put Massaro in the list of footballers, who will play in the World Cup 1982. Daniele got his chance, who didn’t get such stars like Roberto Pruzzo. As a result, being 21 years old Massaro didn’t come on the pitch in Spain but became world champion. Since that he went into history forever, into the list of Bearzot’s warriors, who within time turned into ancient Greek heroes. Career already was successful. But the dream to put on shirt Gianni Rivera was left without realization. For Milan at the same time it was Passover period in its history. Club almost went to bancrupcy and only interference of Silvio Berlusconi gave to Rossoneri new powers. Then just same air in Milanello was held up with the spirit of Renaissance. Massaro met Adriano Galliani, who offered him to change team. In press was written that team gets its rebirth thanks to the platinum hair of Virdis, golden legs of Donadoni and light Massaro, which clearly approves what was his role in that year. Hard season, in which Liedholm was replaced by Capello, ended for Milan with spareggio against Sampdoria for the rights to play in the UEFA Cup. Rossoneri fought for the return to Eurocups with all heart. And winning goal in the additional time scored Massaro.

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WRITTEN BY ALESSIO LOGINOV When Arrigo Sacchi came in to replace Capello, trainings were immense and it was very hard for the players to survive through them. New manager was impressed by the fact that small stature sriker was able to play multiple positions. You need terzino? There’s Massaro! There’s an injured midfielder? No problems, we have Massaro! You need forward. Hey, Daniele is here! Giovanni Galli feels sick? No, that’s too much! It was hard to shine in such conditions. Massaro had to stay in shadow, when there came the era of Dutch superstars. He took a part in all the famous victories of Sacchi’s Milan, but he never got a leading role in that success. He was waiting for his hour. Few years later, Fabio Capello returned to Milan and Massaro once again took the forward position. Daniele was already more than 30 years old, but in spite of his age, those were the best years for him in Milan. Because of the ability to score decisive goals, he got a nickname - Provvidenza. It has two meanings. One is the providence and the second one can be translated, as “something what comes in the right time”. Both of those meanings described well everything what was happening on the pitch. Match started and Massaro scored a quick goal. You could make the final whistle just right after that. Monumental defense led by Franco Baresi didn’t even allowed opponent to start his attack. You just needed to wait for the first touch of Provvidenza and game was done. 1-0 was the favorite score of Capello’s Milan. Even Papin got bored, because manager wasn’t giving a lot of chances for the Frenchman. Media tried to bite Capello, but he had a simple answer: “Why should I put the star players in the starting line-up, if Massaro keeps scoring?!” This almost perfect squad made it to the final of UEFA Champions League for the second year in a row, where they had to face mighty Barcelona. No one considered Italians as the favorites, as they lost two of their leading defenders - Baresi and Costacurta. Johan Cruyff was posing for the cameras before the match with a confident look. Massaro came to the legendary Dutchman to take ask for his autograph. Later he always remembered this moment and felt very happy that he did that in the right time. Wonders started to appear from the first minutes of match. Stoichkov, Romario and company had to face a real pressure from Rossoneri. Defence of Milan was superb. It was led by Filippo Galli. Demetrio Albertini was doing a great job in the center of midfield, Christian Panucci was making a daring runs on the left flank, but Dejan Savicevic was the man, who caused the biggest problems for the defence of Barcelona. After another solo run, Montenegrian shared a genius pass to Massaro, who opened the score. While opponents tried to recover from the conceded goal, Rossoneri managed to score another goal in the end of first half. Roberto Donadoni got past Barcelona defenders and crossed the ball from the left flank. Massaro once again was superb and he converted the opportunity into goal. Camera caught the distraught face of Cruyff, who couldn’t understand what’s happening. First half was about to end under the excited screams of Bruno Pizzul: “È gol del Milan! È gol del Milan!” In the second half, Savicevic and Desailly set the final score. Final whistle. Minutes of happiness. Fabio Capello hugging the tifosi. Splashes of the champagne. Mauro Tassotti lifting the trophy and happy Massaro in the jersey of Hristo Stoichkov. That’s how this day will be always remembered. This memorable season wasn’t going to end up in the Athens. After the 8 year break, Massaro once again was called-up to the national team just before the World Cup in USA. It was the idea of Sacchi. In that tournament, Daniele scored a very important goal against Mexico in the group stage and secured place in the knock-out stage for Italians. After the incredible comeback in the 1/8 final, Italy finally showed their best football and got past Spain and Bulgaria. In the final they had to face Brazil. Situation was similar as in the 1970 World Cup, when teams decided - which one of the is going to take the goddess Nike. In Los Angeles, teams decided the destiny of fourth World Cup title. Both sides had three titles on their account. Brazil showed some very powerful attacking football. However, Italians managed to keep them down. They felt more and more tiredness and all hopes were on the injured Roberto Baggio. In the final part of this battle, Baggio and Massaro missed a great chances to score. Penalty. Seems that leg of Franco is hurt by cramps. Why Arrigo let him take the first shot?! Baresi. A miss! Captain desperately grabs his head. Marcio Santos. Pagliuca stops the shot! Albertini. Goal. Bravo, Demetrio! Romario seems nervous, Pagliuca stays in his place till the end and decides not to guess the direction of shot. Brazilian is going to miss! Ah, he scores. Right in the corner. Evani. The confident Alberigo takes the shot and it goes in right in the middle. The old red and black friend. Branco makes a short run. Goal. Now comes the time of Massaro. Legs feels heavy and heart is beating like crazy. World Cup is just right there. All in gold. So close and still impossible to reach it. If he scores, Italy will take the lead for the third time and Dunga gonna miss, because of the stress. Last shot will be taken by Baggio, who gonna say the last word in this crazy tournament. Daniele looks on the Claudio Taffarel. Don’t worry. When Cabrini missed his chance in Madrid, we still came out as the winners. Now it’s your turn to fix up the miss of Baresi. The last touch of Provvidenza. And now take a step forward...

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michel | June 2014  
michel | June 2014  

Old fashioned monthly magazine about the beautiful game of football.