Tag Archives: FIFA

Wambach is Back

Just like I predicted in my blog last week, after Wambach missed a great scoring opportunity against Australia, she’d bounce back better than ever. Folks, “Wambach is back”. Her goal against Nigeria put the USA through to the next round in the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup and was the only goal of the match. When the pressure is on to score key goals, the best find their way back to putting the ball in the net. It’s just the way it is. For the best to stay the best, that’s the way it has to be. Sometimes you wonder why the top goal scorer’s continue to be the top scorer’s year after year, even though often other players seem to have similar or more technical skills than they do. They just fail to register as many goals as them. The answer is that the best goals scorer’s in the World have that special mental make-up that others don’t. I like to call it their “inner game” is better. And of course, I talk about that extensively in my Golden Goal Scoring Courses and in my book, The Last 9 Seconds. I believe it’s the 9 seconds before a goal is scored that counts the most. What is the player thinking, doing, and where are they going? What’s going through their mind so they get to the right spot at the right time and what are they doing with their final touch? Seems simple but it’s the hardest thing to do. That’s why consistent goal scorers are highly sought after and make the most money. When a striker fails to score for 5 straight games, everyone wonders what’s wrong with them even if they are getting absolutely no decent balls that anyone can possibly score with. If a striker doesn’t score often, they will disappear into obscurity, sometimes without ever getting another chance at the big leagues. If a striker goes into a slump, especially once they approach 30 years of age, they are often labeled as being finished and ready for retirement. How unfair. I recall consulting Jeff Cunningham of the MLS. He was one of the all-time leading goal scorers in the MLS before getting to Toronto. After a terrible season with Toronto FC, where he could not find the back of the net much, I had the pleasure of meeting him and started consulting him. Players can be very fragile when the pressure is on them. Jeff was a true gentleman and very receptive to my advice. He wanted to improve and listen to my comments even though he was an experienced goal scorer. The following season he got back on track and won the MLS scoring title with FC Dallas at the ripe old age of 33. That’s’ practically unheard of in soccer. But if you can clear the mind and get your “inner game” back in form, great goal scorers will put away their past misses and poor performances and get right back on track. Strikers have to have that special makeup to be able to score goals year after year especially after getting hacked, butchered, and fouled all the time. If they don’t, they’re gone. The striker position is so unforgiving. That’s why I knew Abby would bounce back. Her goal against Nigeria required deep concentration and focus. She was there and did her thing. Way to go Abby! Best of luck the rest of the way. Thanks for Reading, John DeBenedictis www.thelast9seconds.com   Women's World Cup Nutrition Tip By Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, authors of Food Guide for Women's Soccer (Meyer & Meyer Sport 2015) As the tournament moves on, the question becomes: how do players stay energized? Do vitamin supplements help players? As Food Guide for Women's Soccer tells players, your best bet for fighting fatigue is to be responsible with your choices and nourish your body with the right balance of wholesome foods. Make the effort to eat a variety of foods and fluids from the different food groups every day to consume not only the amount of vitamins and minerals you need, but also the calories your body needs to prevent fatigue. If you are tempted to take supplements for health insurance, do so only if you simultaneously choose to eat responsibly. Remember, no amount of supplements will compensate for an inadequate diet--but you will always win with good nutrition. Eat wisely, eat well!  Stay tuned for more from the Women's World Cup  


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Women Play Tough But Fair

As I sit and watch the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup I sense that there seems to be something different about the women’s game than I’m used to seeing with the men’s. There is a refreshing quality about the spirit that the games are played in that’s noticeable. But at first, I could not figure out what that was. The women play the game as tough as men. There are some tough bone- crunching challenges in the game that make you want to look away. At the same time, we see some great finesse and strategic play that did not exist 20 years ago. The women’s game has come a long way. I find it very enjoyable to watch. But what I noticed most is that they play the game fairly most of the time. I do not see cases where players are deliberately attempting to injure an opponent. Also, and this is the part that took me a while to figure out, I don’t see feather-like contact turn into academy award, “I just got shot”, performances. The women play tough but fair. You know that when someone is down, they are probably injured in some way and not faking it. And I’m not the only one to have noticed this. When I’ve brought this up with avid soccer fans, they have all agreed. In the event of tough challenges, it often results in a badly timed tackle and not any intention to cheat or disobey the rules. Of course there are some exceptions but generally this quality is refreshing. I wish that more men players played in this spirit.   Thanks for Reading, John DeBenedictis, author of The Last 9 Seconds: Follow on twitter @JohnD_Soccer Like on Facebook


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Women Coaches Produce More Goals

Here is an interesting statistic from this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup. Teams coached by women have scored more goals and also given up more goals than teams coached by men in the competition thus far. The top two scoring teams so far are Germany and Switzerland and between them they have scored 21 goals. Each team has only played 2 games. The good news is that both teams are coached by female coaches. At the other end of the spectrum, the top two teams that have conceded the most goals so far are Ecuador and Cote D’Ivoire. The bad news is that those two teams have conceded 29 goals in 4 games and are also coached by female coaches. It seems as though that teams with women coaches produce more goals both for and against. It’s interesting that female coaches are at the helm at both extremes. (I shall refrain from making a comment here). In this World Cup, only 7 head coaches of the 24 teams are female. If we look at the total goals for and against record of those 7 female coaches, we see a total of 33 goals were scored and 39 goals were conceded. The combined total from the remaining 17 male coaches shows only 41 goals scored and only 35 goals given up. This could be purely coincidental but based on those numbers I would say that, from an entertainment point of view, watching teams coached by females would provide a lot more excitement. In fact the numbers suggest that games would be filled with goals if all teams were coached by females. Maybe we should consider forcing all teams in the Women’s World Cup to be coached by females. That could make things interesting. Come to think of it, if this is a trend and not just a coincidence, the MLS, which is traditionally a low scoring league, should consider banning male coaches and forcing all teams to hire female head coaches. That may help boost TV ratings for the MLS as well! Please don’t comment on that last sentence because I’m just kidding. But it is an interesting observation isn’t it? Will it continue? Keep an eye on it. Thanks for reading, John DeBenedictis, author of The Last 9 Seconds: The Secrets of Scoring Goals on the Last Touch (DeBenedictis Books) Follow John on Twitter - JohnD_Soccer  


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If They Don’t Score You Can’t Lose…But

I just finished watching the Women’s World Cup match between Canada and New Zealand that ended in a 0-0 tie. Although there were a few crossbars and a few great saves by the keepers, there were not that many chances manufactured by either team. In the past, it was not uncommon for a coach to say to his or her team, "If they don't score, you can’t lose." Teams would play defensive soccer and hope to steal a victory with a chance goal. It was after the 1982 Men’s World Cup that FIFA probably started considering changing their point structure to encourage attacking soccer. In that tournament, Italy played 3 first round games without winning a game and only scoring 2 goals but they managed to advance because they also only gave up 2 goals. That was enough to allow Italy to go through to the next round. As it turned out, they ended up winning the World Cup but it only came after they started scoring. In their last 3 games they scored 8 goals. But playing negative soccer was not attractive so FIFA introduced the 3 point system whereby a win was worth 3 points instead of 2 while a tie was still worth only one point. Today, it would be unlikely that a team can go to the next round with only 3 ties. Nonetheless, goals are still hard to come by thus far in the 2015 Women’s World Cup. If you take away some lopsided scores, which are probably a result of some weaker teams being entered into the competition due to more teams being allowed in the finals, scoring would still be very low. Courtesy of Les Jones, Covershots, Inc. So far, in 62.4% of games only 1 goal was needed for a team to win the game. Staggering when you think about it isn’t it? Only 1 goal can win you over 50% of soccer games. Are the goalkeepers that good? Maybe teams are playing as though they are afraid to lose in fear of being eliminated from the tournament. We did see goal scoring go up in the 2014 Men’s World Cup, so let’s hope that as we move to must-win games that teams will need at least 2 goals to win a game instead of 1. That would be more enjoyable to watch too. And don’t forget, that you also cannot win without scoring a goal! Thanks for reading. John DeBenedictis – Author: The Last 9 Seconds: The Secrets to Scoring Goals on The Last Touch (DeBenedictis Books 2013) Go Like my Facebook page The Last 9 Seconds by John DeBenedictis http://www.thelast9seconds.com/   Nutrition Tips By Gloria Averbuch and Nancy Clark, authors of Food Guide for Women’s Soccer (Meyer & Meyer Sport 2015) http://www.pointsgroupllc.com/author/gaverbuch/http://www.pointsgroupllc.com/author/gaverbuch/ As the competition ramps up, here is a key fact to consider from Food Guide for Women's Soccer. Some statistics reveal that the majority of goals are scored in the last five minutes of the first and second half of the game. And according to a 2002 men's World Cup analysis, the peak of scoring was between the 76th and 90th minutes of the matches. This indicates that fatigue and/or lack of focus has a major impact on allowing opponents to score. That's why smart nutrition can keep you in the game, and competitive until the final whistle.  Stay tuned for more from the Women's World Cup http://www.pointsgroupllc.com/author/gaverbuch/ http://www.nancyclarkrd.com/


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