Terry Yorath, that is. When he managed Sheffield Wednesday he had a tactic for every occasion. Namely: when in doubt, let Kuqi run around for 70 minutes then send the big lad up front and punt it to him.
Okay, so Sami Hyypia is a better player than Tony Crane and scary Terry never had Jari Litmanen to bring on as an impact substitute, but still. I’m glad I was quite high up because I’d have got a crick in my neck following the ball in that second half.
To be fair to Roy Hodgson, conceding a goal after 3 minutes completely chaged the game and threw the gameplan out of the window. And Vidic is an absolute colossus, marshalling the strikers and defenders masterfully. The Serbian defence have a great understanding, always knowing where each other and the strikers are. They were never really stretched.
Once again, the build up was dominated by Jari Litmanen’s fitness. I went to the press conference at Kalastajatorppa on Friday, and that was pretty much the only topic covered. Roy said little other than ‘Jari will decide tomorrow with the doctors’, and Jari himself seemed to know the drill. I didn’t get much of what he said (other than the Swedish question-he didn’t want to talk about Malmo, because ‘this week is for the national team. We can talk about Malmo on Thursday’).
I think Clemente had it right after the game-he said he didn’t lose any sleep over it, it was either Jari plus one or two limited Finnish strikers. He planned for both but hoped for the latter. A sensible man reducing several thousand column inches to a simple, easy to remember formula.
So unless they win against Belgium on Wednesday, Finland are as good as out. There were questions about the likelihood of Hyypia turning up for the game against Kazakhstan in August, suggesting that he’s going to pack it in when the last chance to qualify goes. Hodgson reacted by praising Hyypia (‘our best player’) and saying that he didn’t seem like a man who would throw the towel in. We’ll see.
One thing about the Olympic Stadium-it’s brilliant. It was my first time there and it’s really, really beautiful. I would write something clever and knowledgable about the nooks and crannies, glass fronts and tiny corridors and staircases, but a brief bit of googling found some reyt wordy dissembling, and I don’t think I can compete really. Disharmonious pigments:
A combination of two principal architectural types leads to the creation of this landmark. It was intended to be a symbol of the 1940 Olympic Games. Those games were cancelled by the second World War. Helsinki wouldnt get to use its creation until 1952. The stadium satisfies its utilitarian function inproviding a playing surface and spectator seating. But also demonstrates the lofty goals of the Olympic games by adding a soaring tower. This extension makes it visible for miles and helps keep the stadium in the minds of those who see it, and satisfy a minor sense of pride that comes from innovation. Later stadia would adopt the same combination of architectural discord, including Montreal’s Olympic Stadium which features a vastly more futuristic interpretation of the “salad bowl and tongs” design. In this case, the tongs, or tower, are not just another shaft rising into the sky. It is accented with subtle repeating architectural elements that give it a bit of texture, almost like a wind instrument. It is curious how such dissonant elements mesh together so well. Perhaps there is something in the human makeup that craves this demonstration of opposites, the way disharmonious pigments can make a beautiful painting, or the way foods with completely different tastes are so delicious when put together (sweet and sour sauce, chocolate covrerd salty pretzels, milk and Pepsi).