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Stadium in China

Blogging from China

by admin on August 7, 2008

Greetings Soccer fans. I am pleased to tell you that not only did I make it safely after a long journey from the US but I am having a fantastic time here in Shengyang, China. This is my first trip to China and for those of you that have been before know just how different and incredible China really is. My Hotel is located across the street from the bustling main train station which packed full of people. From the 21st floor I can see the mayhem on the ground with very limited traffic policing. People, bikes, cars and trucks ferrying they way through the streets with very little order and traffic lights. I cringe from afar as pedestrians put their lives in danger on a daily basis. That aside, the people of Shengyang are friendly and as helpful as they can be.

The people are really excited to be hosting the Olympic games and have a sense of pride which I hope to feel come the 2012 Olympics in London. The biggest problem I face on a daily basis is communicating. A very small percentage of the population speaks English so I am practicing my mandarin on a daily basis, with much challenge I should add.

Yesterday I attended the magnificent Shengyang stadium with a 60,000 capacity. I took an Olympic bus over to the stadium and after going through a rigiourous security check I bumped into the US scout and Scottish national team Coach Anna Signeul. Anna’s experiences in the game are second to none. We went and sat for the first game Brazil- Germany and the crowd was brimming with excitement. As you can well imagine Anna and I were keen to see how two of the best two teams play out their first hand at the first game of the 2008 Olympics.

Both teams lined up with familiar faces, the Germans were full strength. Brazil on the other hand were missing key players due to injury and were replaced with a couple of players that I am familiar with from my days at Arsenal. The opening exchanges saw the Germans take control of the game by making it difficult for the Brazilians to play through the middle. The Brazilians struggled to find any real tempo to their game and I thought they lacked good movement in the middle and up top to unsettle the German team. On the other hand Germany defending stoutly with a lot of credit going to the two up top who made it difficult for the Brazilian backs to play through the middle. The Middle pair of Laudreher and Lingor pulled the strings and did a great job getting the ball into wide areas where Brazil were susceptible. Prinz, an ever present, and world class striker did a great job linking with all areas of the midfield as part of the their attacking scheme. Behringer and Garefrecks were menacing out wide and the Germans were unlucky not to score in the first half. Better finishing would have changed that.

The second half was a completely different affair. Brazil got closer to the Germans in the 2nd half and were more successful with some of their direct play. The thing that amazes us all about the Brazilians is their individual play at times. Several times in the second half the Germans were stripped of the ball, sometimes unopposed and the Brazilians break at such blistering pace that any turnovers in the middle third were punished. Both Marta and Daniela had greater impacts on the game and Marta’s pace worried the German Central pairing of Hingst and Krahn. There was one moment in the second half that Marta took my breath away. She picked the ball up ten yards inside the German Half and ran at back four. Once beyond she had the GK to beat but delayed a split second too long and Angerer smothered it.

The game ended in a fair 0-0 scoreline. A great opener for both teams as they both showed why they are the teams the are. But in tournament soccer it is not about peaking too early and both of these teams showed how to show so much without showing it all………….

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