Gay Travel to France

Whether traveling to France on a trip across Europe, of visiting this popular country as your vacation destination, travelers will find magnificent beaches, alpine resorts, breathtaking countryside with quaint villages and medieval castles, world-renowned art collections, the glorious French Riviera and the truly unique, exceptional city of Paris.

While visitors on gay vacations tend to stay around Paris to enjoy the accepting atmosphere that Paris is known for, while experiencing the heart of France's LGBT culture and visiting the city's famous cultural and historical landmarks, travelers will find that Paris' accepting atmosphere extends across the country and there are plenty of LGBT establishments and things to see and do no matter where you travel in France. For over 200 years, France's community has enjoyed life without anti-sodomy laws, and civil unions have been commonplace for the last decade. With both the law and the laissez-faire attitude common among the French on their side, LGBT travelers will find France an ideal location for safe, enjoyable gay vacations.

There are several community events throughout the year, including a huge pride parade and festival and a gay and lesbian film festival in Paris, as well as several smaller pride celebrations across the country. Other Paris attractions that should not be missed on a gay vacation include ArtMenParis, an art gallery devoted solely to images of men; Legay Choc, an LGBT-owned bakery in the Marais district; and Chez Michou, Madame Arthur and L'Artishow, cabarets featuring female impersonators. As for the Paris nightlife, bars are typically open from afternoon until 2am; whereas, clubs often do not open until midnight and stay open as late as noon.

For men who are interested in experiencing the bawdier side of Parisian life, sex clubs, cruising spots and bars with backrooms are easy to find for visitors on gay vacations. Paris is also home to a plethora of saunas, also known as bathhouses, which are popular attractions for both locals and visitors. Saunas are not open 24-hours in France and do not have private rooms to rent. For privacy, visitors can enjoy relaxation cubicles and out-of-towners should keep in mind that going to a sauna is a primarily afternoon activity in Paris, with Sunday afternoons being the most crowded.

Most gay travel hotspots cater largely to men, have little to no visible lesbian presence and offer few establishments dedicated to the lesbian community. Women will be delighted to discover that this is not the case in Paris. Parisian lesbians and visitors enjoy a multitude of venues and organizations that can be found throughout the city, but particularly in the neighborhoods of Marais, Grands Boulevards, Halles-Beaubourg, Saint Germain des Pres and Palais Royal. Palais Royal is home to one of the oldest lesbian bars in Paris, while the Bastille-Republique district has a delightful community bookstore with a distinct Sapphic flare. There is also a lesbian walking group and even a sex shop that caters solely to women.

While Paris may be the most popular gay vacations and travel spot in France, there are many others to choose from as well, including Nantes in Brittany, Avignon in Provence, Annecy in the Alps, Nice and Montpellier on the Mediterranean coast and, of course , the popular community beaches of Camargue, where naturism is the norm. Saint Tropez on the French Riviera is another spot to visit in hopes of catching a glimpse of the rich and famous, while an LGBT-owned bed and breakfast outside of Bourdeaux is the ideal setting for a romantic getaway. The many options available for gay travel in France make this beautiful country the perfect destination for a gay vacation.

Camiseta de la 2ª equipación del Real Madrid 2018-19 Camiseta de la 2ª equipación del Real Madrid 2018-19

The Endless Season – Girl’s Soccer – Why It Matters

You know how hot it was. You really had to WANT to be out there. And they did, on baking playing fields which sprawl for about half a mile to the west of the enormous indoor complex south of Rt 30 near Coatesville. Nearly a dozen games on this Tuesday evening, all but one are girl’s matches. A freshly-defeated team files off the field, their coach leading them up an embankment to a vacant spot, where he chides them for lackluster effort. «We have our next shot on Thursday,» he tells them. «Blow it off this way again and you can forget about getting those letters from the colleges. They’ll be using the backs of our programs to write down the names of other teams…»

United Sports Center, mid-February, 8pm:

Three of the indoor matches feature pre-teen girls’ teams. In the adjacent gym of Lightning-Fast, speed-training consultants to professional and amateur teams alike, a petite master-trainer named Shannon Grady, who is also a professional runner, is closing the pro shop when a woman walks in with her daughter, asking to sign her up for the next Speed Clinic. The girl is ten. I ask Shannon how young she’s gotten them. Eight.

Blame Title IX if you wish. NEWSWEEK did, but for other reasons, its venerable George Will echoing a lament that the initiative was a «train wreck» which had shoe-horned female athletes into college sports at the expense of established men’s programs. Boo-hoo! The Women’s World Cup 1999 triumph would have happened without Title IX, the threnody went on, because application of the 1972 legislation wasn’t codified and enforced for well over a decade, by which time women’s sports had already blossomed on their own. NEWSWEEK subsequently balanced their spin on Title IX, putting a dumbbell-curling Michelle Kwan on the cover, and in their «Gamma Girls» cover-story, correctly crediting Title IX for facilitating the emergence of well- adjusted teen girls who weren’t back-stabbing clique-queens or basket-cases. Go ahead, blame Title IX for the legions of Type A parents eyeing sports-scholarship dollars. But if you look a little deeper you’ll realize that this is a small price to pay for the bounties of the girls’ soccer-mania unfolding around us.

Like many of us of above a certain age, I can recall when soccer was an autumn boys’ sport, grudgingly included as a sidelight to football in private schools. You didn’t see «pick-up» soccer games they way you do with basketball or football. And girls played field hockey. As the growth of soccer in this country parallels the growth in women’s sports altogether, it seems as though a junction was unavoidable: no other sport offers all girls the same wide-open opportunities and possibilities.

ALYSSA- my niece, was far less outgoing than her twin older sisters. Small, but solid, she had no team-sport experience at age 10 when I enrolled her in Lionville Youth League soccer in an attempt to open her up. As she’d signed up late, her first time on the field they put her into a game. She didn’t know anything about positions and rules («What position are you playing?» I asked, just before she went in. «I’m a captain.» she said), but made up for it with such agility and aggressiveness the coach was near tears when I moved her on to a traveling team a year later.

She needn’t be big. Or tall. Or strong. She needn’t possess the natural gifts which separate the Mary Lou Rettons and Michelle Kwans from their peers early on. There are no expensive lessons, equipment, clothes or facilities. Give her a few yards of space and a ball, and she can stay busy for hours. It’s democratic, equal-opportunity as can be. Her sport’s not a «girls’ sport» or some other segregated subset, but a universal game, the biggest in the world. And now, like generations of boys before her, she has idols of her own. Some, like Mia Hamm and Brandi Chastain, are icons, household names, drawing crowds wherever they go. Some, like Philadelphia’s own Heather Mitts and Lorrie Fair (both of whom are models), are gorgeous enough to be sex symbols. And tough? Oh yes, feminine, but at the same time, tough. Best of all, tough.

FELICIA- another tiny, shy girl, younger and far less physically-aggressive than Alyssa, this dark-eyed beauty had a tendency to shrink from soccer’s inevitable collisions. But she’s on the Phoenixville United team, coached by Stassi Theodoropoulos, himself something of a local legend in youth soccer training. A former professional club player in Europe, Stassi, 54, lives the sport and has an excess of excited energy which he spends in drilling several teams, including the girls’ varsity at the Villa Maria Academy. His work with the Phoenixville United grew them into a machine which thrashed most of their opponents, including some older girls’ teams. And Felicia? She’s grown too, her timidity a distant memory as she now tears into any opponent who comes her way.

There are the school teams. There are local clubs like the Lionville Youth Association and Phoenixville Area Soccer Club. There are bigger organizations like the Intercounty Soccer League and Philadelphia Area Girls’ Soccer (PAGS), which provide a framework for much of the league play throughout the region. All of this adds up to an impressive tapestry growing thicker by the week, and you don’t need to look very hard to see its evidence. New playing fields are popping up everywhere, and on any given weekend or evening you’ll likely to drive past a girls’ match.

Charlestown Park, Phoenixville, October:

Now with autumn, the fields get little rest. Be it Saturday or Sunday, before one game finishes, other teams arrive and are warming up at the sidelines. It’s the same way down the road at Lionville Youth Association. Not to mention at the schools. It’s the same way everywhere. And once the girls reach their teens many of them are playing for both their schools and their league teams. Even Stassi, with all his energy, can’t match that. With the main season in full swing, he’s had to hand off his beloved United team while he tends full-time to the Villa Maria girls. But they’re in good hands he assures me, and he’ll be keeping an eye on them all.

In an editorial I wrote for Women’s Physique World in 1999, I called our Women’s World Cup victory the finest day in women’s bodybuilding: «What else can you call it when the predominant image across America is an ecstatic young woman ripping off her shirt and flexing triumphantly before the entire world, and no one questions it?» A new paradigm of physical acceptability had been launched with these new heroines, I said, «and that’s significant to us because their prominence is forever tied to straining sweaty muddy-specked quadriceps, bone-crunching collision and all-out exertion. It’s raw muscle, shown in function. And thus needs no excuses. Lady-like? Ha! You tell Mia she’s not ladylike!»

Charlestown Park, Phoenixville, early April:

April? That’s right, it’s early April…a raw, rainy Saturday afternoon, but Stassi’s United girls are loving it. The rain and the mud are part of the fun. They’ve just shut out the other team four-zip, and despite the rain they happily kneel on a blanket, clowning for some post-game photos. It’s those other people huddling in the rain who don’t seem to be enjoying it. But that’s ok…they’re just grown-ups. What do they know about fun?

It can only get better. Our local heroines, the Philadelphia Charge, completed another stunning season last year where they lead the league until the final week. We head into this year’s Women’s World Cup with tens of thousands more devotees than were on-hand for the last, many destined for those same fields. They’ll be ramping up the volume on a new generation of superstars who ratchet the standards of physical possibility even higher. The young league-team girl amidst this growing swarm enjoys a freedom her mother only dreamed of, a future unfettered by antiquated notions of physical correctness, sports-conditioning and the limits of femininity. From the mud and dust of her local sward, through the scrapes and bruises of countless collisions, she can see. And she can soar.

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The Importance Of A Goal Keeper In A Soccer Team

As discussed in my soccer formation or system article, a goal keeper in a soccer team is always critical player. He would have to be fielded regardless of whatever formation or system a team would be put out to play. A goal keeper can be defined as the player who guards the goal of his team during the course of a match. Furthermore he is the only player legally allowed to touch, pick or save the ball with his hands within the six yards box or penalty box. This alone makes him different from all the other players.

Under the laws of soccer, any other player who uses his hand to touch or block the ball purposely would result in a foul minimum and a free kick or penalty would be given to the opposition. Another fact is that most keepers would stay within the penalty box or not across the half as their job is to keep the ball out of the goal. Technically a goal keeper is the most difficult position to play in. The reason for this is simple even if he saves every shot at him in the match except for conceding the one goal that loses the match for his team, he would become a villain instead of the hero at the end of the match. Hence a keeper has to be on own his toes and maintain concentration throughout the whole match as a single mistake or lapse could cause his team to lose.

Therefore usually a goal keeper is treated in a very different way from the rest of the team. The characteristics of a great keeper can be summarized as: Having a good command of the box, having good positioning sense, having good agility or jumping ability and having a good pair of hands. Having a good command of the box, would enable a goal keeper to better or organize "arrange" his defense during opposition corners or free kicks. This is critical as most teams in the modern game do work on their set pieces and just a lapse in defense may result in conceding a goal.

In the past, great keepers have always been seen commanding the box like generals such as Peter Schmeichel of Manchester United fame.Another important aspect is the positioning sense of a keeper. Sometimes it can be akin to a sixth sense of where the ball would be shot towards. In some games, poor positioning of the keeper can result in a goal being scored. Being agile or having good jumping ability has enabled many a keeper to keep out or pull off magnificent saves when the opposition has shot certain goal bound shots. While equipped with a strong pair of hands is a necessity as shots can be coming in at a high speed or from different avenues with a variety of power.

Some of the best keepers in the modern games are Buffon of Italian Giants Juventus and Peter Czech of English Giants Chelsea fame. Each of these keepers possesses most of the above characteristics to make them a highly valued member of their teams.Without a doubt, a goal keeper is one of the most specialized positions in soccer or football with their ups and downs in each match.

Camiseta Stadium de la 2ª equipación del Atlético de Madrid 2018-19 Camiseta Stadium de la 2ª equipación del Atlético de Madrid 2018-19

Buying Your Tickets For The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015

The ICC Cricket World Cup is one of the most popular sporting events that brings together cricket teams from across the world. It features more than 40 matches played between 10 national teams. The 2015 World Cup slated to be held in New Zealand and Australia is also expected to be a huge public spectacle.

This simply means that thousands of tickets will be up for sale to the cricket fans who wish to watch the matches for their favorite teams. It’s a major sporting event and if you are a cricket fan, you cannot miss out on these amazing matches.

You will of course be required to have tickets to gain access to the matches. Fortunately, there are different ways through which you can purchase your tickets, whether you are a local based attendee or an international one. The earlier you can purchase your tickets to the matches you are interested in the better it will be for you. You can use the World Cup 2015 schedule to pick the matches to buy tickets for. It is a simple way of ensuring that you get to watch all matches you consider important.

Buying your tickets when based in Australia

If you are located in Australia, buying your Cricket World Cup 2015 tickets is made very easy. You can use the official website to purchase the tickets online for all your preferred matches. Using a credit card, you can buy all the tickets that you need. You also have the option of purchasing the tickets directly from the official provider for the cup Ticketek. It has portal links to the official website and you can buy using a credit card or cash. You can also purchase your match tickets via phone from Monday to Fridays.

Buying your tickets when based in New Zealand

If you are based in New Zealand, you have the option of making an online purchase from the official World Cup website. Ticketek agencies based in New Zealand will also offer you an easy time buying your tickets for the matches in person. Orders can also be made by phone during normal business hours. It is however important to remember that the phone service is not open during public holidays and is open between 9 am and 5 pm.

Buying your tickets when you are an international attendee

Just because you are located far from where the matches are taking place does not mean that you cannot attend the matches you love the most. International attendees have the official Cricket World Cup 2015 website readily available for all their ticketing needs. The online portal is designed to be user friendly. Hence, they are very easy to use. You can also take advantage of travel packages that come complete with the tickets for selected matches and accommodation. The other option is to buy the tickets that you need on the phone, but you would have to cater to the calling fees. You will never miss out on a plan you feel is most suitable for you.

Why Football Fans Need Their Own Social Network

In recent years social media has evolved from a communication tool between people to a dominant driving force on the World Wide Web. Nowadays social media has a huge impact not only on the digital realm, but also on business, politics, trends and almost all aspects of our world.

A common assumption is that social networks are totally driven by people, but that is partly incorrect, in reality social networks are driven by dominant forces and media giants. In reality people are not shaping social media, but social media is shaped for them and they just follow, which is a sad reality by itself because social networks were supposed to be driven by the people not the other way around.

How this is related to football. Football is the most popular sport on earth, more than 3.4 Billion people watched world cup 2010, almost half of the planet! And it was estimated that about 1 billion people watched world Cup 2014 final between Germany and Argentina. Traditionally football has always been covered by TV, newspapers and news websites. But in recent years social networks started taking an important portion of this coverage. With the shift from traditional news to social media news, and from computer devices to mobile devices, people are now more comfortable in consuming football news in their favorite social network, and at the comfort of their mobile devices. You can get all football news from all sources at your news feeds depending on the pages that you follow, compare this with search engines or bookmarking several websites, the first option became the more popular method of following sports events.

Although football has good presence in top social networks but for football enthusiasts that presence is missing or not enough, for instance you still do not get updated with all football events, and as a football fan you will need to do exhausting search to follow all the pages you are interested in. Other problem is that football news are buried inside swarm of posts from all other subjects, where you can not easily filter out posts that are not related to football.

Football fans deserve their own social network where they can talk exclusively about football and share related news and stories. They need social channels that are dedicated for football fans, where they can meet, interact and share football passion. They need a place where they can follow the latest news and matches results without the need to leave to search for the information.

In a new world governed by social media, people are becoming addicted to the ease of access to information that social media provides. And because people are obsessed with ease of access to what they are interested in, the future of social media will be shifting towards niche social networks that are specialized in specific interests and affinities.

The Art of Defence

Defence is an art that the best coaches in the world consider more important than any other aspect of the game. Covering positions, making timely tackles and even springing the offside trap well is key to stopping teams from scoring. After all, what good is a team that can’t defend a 2 or 3 goal lead even.

It was the Italians who decided to take it upon themselves to make defence an art-form, moving away from the physical aspect of defending and bringing in technical prowess. Until the Italians brought finesse into the picture, defending was all about out-muscling the opposition and crunching tackles.

It was the capability to constrict space and restrict movement that led to the rise of the Catenaccio style of play.

HELENIO HERRERA

Not many may remember his name but Helenio Herrera was a French-Argentine player and, later, manager who was one of the biggest names in football coaching during the mid-20th century. Having played for teams like RC Casablanca and Stade Francais, Herrera retired from club football in 1945.

Herrera took up coaching and moved to Spain, where he became the team manager for Real Valladolid, Atletico Madrid, CD Malaga and even the likes of FC Barcelona. It was after his stint for Barcelona, in 1960, that Herrera moved to Inter Milan.

THE RISE OF THE CATENACCIO

It was during his stay at Inter Milan that Herrera decided to modify the way his team defended. He shifted to a 5-3-2 formation to improve his counter attacking style of play. A firm believer in hard work and strong work ethics, Herrera was known as the pioneer of psychological motivational techniques including team pep-talks.

Herrera also introduced the no-smoking & -drinking policy as well as controlling the diet of his players to make them true professionals. Herrera was also known to suspend a player for telling the media, during a press conference, «We came to play in Rome» instead of «We came to win in Rome».

A hard man, Herrera was slightly defensive in his playing style although his form of the Catenaccio was not as defensive as some the future mutations of the formation, when applied by Italian architects.

One of Herrera’s full-backs, the great Giacinto Facchetti, was testimony to the attacking style of Herrera’s Catenaccio that prevailed in that Inter Milan team. The team was built around the defence, with its main role being to absorb the pressure from the opposition before launching lightning-quick counter attacks.

Using his wing backs to overlap the midfield, Herrera completely transformed the way the world looked at attacking football. Not giving away too much at the back, the team became famous for squeezing out 1-0 wins, leading to the nickname Verrou, meaning «Door Bolt».

HERRERA’S LEGACY

Known as «Herrera’s Inter», the team would go on to win the 1963, 65 & 66 league titles, the 1964 & 65 European Champions Cup as well as the Intercontinental cup in both those seasons. Herrera also became the first coach to go on and coach three separate national teams, ending his career with a 48.57% winning record.

In his 908 games as a manager, which included teams like Inter Milan, AS Roma, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and CF Os Belenenses, Herrera lost just 241 games while drawing 226. In his 12-club coaching career, Herrera ended with a negative goal difference only three times – with Real Valladolid (-21), AS Roma (-1) and Rimini (-22). Each team was too weak at the time although Herrera did transform Roma into a championship winning team, getting the 1969 Italian Cup with a sub-standard line-up and his famous Catenaccio style of football.

THE «DOOR BOLT»

Unlike popular conception, the Catenaccio was not built to shut out opposition. The entire concept of play was to allow the opposition to attack, relentlessly even, before suddenly attacking on the counter. The team would play with five at the back, in a «V-shaped» formation, with the Libero or sweeper at the centre. As the opponents entered the «V», their attack would be narrowed down, restricting movement and space.

Once the ball changed possession, the defending team had a wingback on either side, already ahead of the advancing opposition’s midfield. That meant that the team could now push out, rapidly, by playing the ball out to these wingbacks, who would have loads of space to exploit.

EARLY MUTATIONS

While the Catenaccio was, itself, a mutation of the 5-4-1 system invented by Karl Rappan for the Swiss national team, the formation underwent a lot of transformation itself. Teams reverted to the original «Rappan-style» by playing the sweeper just in front of the goalkeeper and stationing a flat back-four in front.

Nereo Rocco, coach of Calcio Padova in the 1950s, was another who exploited the system. With three-flat defenders who man-marked the opposition, Rocco would play a playmaker in the middle, just ahead of the defence, alongside two wingers. While these three weren’t the actual midfield, Rocco’s style would use the sweeper behind the central defence as well, to double-team the stronger players.

The midfield would be in front of these three, with a solitary striker up front, leading to a 1-3-3-3 formation.

While Herrera also focussed on man-marking with four of his defenders, his defence was flexible in that it swung from right or left to make it a flat line on most times. This meant that four defenders, aid by the midfield, would effectively man-mark the opposition, which had already been herded through the middle. That left the remaining fifth defender – always a wingback, free to make runs on the counter.

ENFORCED DOWNFALL

Catenaccio had become the flavour of the month, in the 60s and 70s, catching the fancy of every coach on the world scene. However, it was one man who’s style of play brought Catenaccio to its knees – Rinus Michels.

When faced with the tight man-marking of the Catenaccio, Michels decided to remove the whole concept of playing footballers in fixed positions. He removed the boundaries that separated attackers, midfielders and defenders, teaching all his players to play in all positions. As attackers fell back to the midfield, or even defence, their man-markers were unable to leave their posts and follow in pursuit.

The fact that Michels had the crop of players that he did, to implement such a technique, was the only reason Total Football became a reality.

Catenaccio was no longer the primary choice anywhere as Total Football, or replicas of it, began dismantling defences with their speed and movement. Mediocre coaches, who followed rather than researched, were left with no choice but to fall to the wayside.

CATENACCIO MODIFICATIONS

Coaches who preached the Herrera principle looked to counter Total Football with a modification to the Catenaccio’s man-marking formula. The answer was quite simple, in theory – Zona Mista.

The Zona Mista was a concept that incorporated man-marking and zone-marking into one strong defensive strategy. While the concept still used the four man defence with the roaming sweeper, the difference was in the way the midfield and the fullbacks supported the defence.

The two central defenders, in the heart of the defence, would play zone-marking. The midfield would have a defensive midfielder, who was required to help out the defence by falling back. A central midfielder would play in front of the defensive midfielder while a winger (usually on the right flank), would support in attack.

Two strikers would play up front, one on the wide left, with one in the centre. The position of the wide striker was determined by the position of the winger – both being on opposite flanks. The winger would act as an additional striker while the wide striker would float in to make it a two-pronged attack.

When defending, the wide striker would come in to cover for the central midfielder as the latter would drop into a defensive position.

ZONA MISTA IN REAL LIFE

Italy – 1982

The most famous application of this formation was in the 1982 FIFA World Cup when Italy went into the tournament with this brand new style of football. Gaetano Scirea played the role of the sweeper to perfection while the attacking left back was a young 18-year old, who would later go on to become one of the greatest defenders of all time – Giuseppe Bergomi.

Gabriele Oriali played as the defensive midfielder, just in front of Fulvio Collovati and the man who stopped a young Diego Maradona – Claudio Gentile. Marco Tardelli played as the central midfielder while Bruno Conti was the creative genius behind Italy’s Zona Mista success.

While Antonio Cabrini played at the front wide position, it was Paolo Rossi who came into the main striker’s position.

Italy’s success led to an increased use of the Zona Mista although the application remained mostly in the Italian leagues. Teams, in Europe, found it hard to beat this fantastic combination of man- and zone-marking, keeping the Italians ahead of the rest. However, there was always the need of a great striker to take care of the few chances that this format would create – something that most teams lacked.

Italy – 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2004

More recently, Cesare Maldini employed the Catenaccio form of play in Italy’s 1998 FIFA World Cup campaign. Needless to say, Italy played defensively, without creating too many waves, eventually getting kicked out in the Round of 16, through penalties. His successor, Giovanni Trapattoni, also employed the same tactics in the 2002 FIFA World Cup as well as in the 2004 European Championships.

In both cases, Italy failed to make any significant progress although Trapattoni would go on to prove his critics wrong by leading Portuguese side, Benfica to the league title.

Dino Zoff, whose team successfully used the Zona Mista in 1982, was the Italian coach in Euro 2000 when Italy went in with the same tactics. This time, Zoff managed to take the team to the finals of the tournament, losing to France through a Golden Goal.

Greece – 2004

Greece used the same format under Otto Rehhagel, at the 2004 European Championships, and successfully so. Greece won the title with numerous 1-0 wins through the knockout stages, all thanks to a heavily defensive style of play.

BAD PUBLICITY

The Catenaccio was often on the receiving end of criticism from the rest of Europe primarily due to the boring style of football that it promoted. The Italians were said to have made the game «unattractive» however practitioners of this form of football always had results to further their faith in the system.

In most cases, the reason behind the criticism was said to be the inability of most teams to break down such defences, especially in crucial European ties, leading to a loss or a draw that they could ill-afford.

THE MODERN DAY SCENARIO

Catenaccio is a dormant formation today. With both man-marking and the sweeper position going out of style, what with the faster pace and television coming into the picture, teams are rarely known to implement such a format today.

You may see the odd variation of this formation when weaker teams go up against stronger opposition however the success of the Catenaccio or the Zona Mista is largely dependent on the quality of the defenders and the wingbacks.

The more physical format of the Catenaccio finds few followers even in the technical format of the Italian league while other formations, such as the 4-1-2-1-2 (midfield diamond) and even the 4-3-2-1 (Christmas tree) formations can be attributed, albeit loosely, to the Catenaccio.

Teams that go down a man or more, are also known to exhibit similar playing patterns although the true form of Catenaccio remains buried under a pile of demands for attacking play.

MISUSE OF THE TERM

In today’s scenario, you often find commentators, even some pundits, refer to the Italian game as the Catenaccio style of football. The latest example was the game between Barcelona and Inter Milan, at Camp Nou, during the second leg of the 2009-10 UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Unfortunately, Jose Mourinho’s tactics were nothing like the Catenaccio style, albeit defensive. Down to ten men, Inter simply held a lower midfield to aid their defence, nothing more. They did was what needed and even Barcelona, with all their firepower, couldn’t break through. It has to be said that while Mourinho knew exactly what he was doing, there was absolutely no connection with the Catenaccio style of defence.

Commentators, especially Englishman, are known to refer to the Italian defensive style of football as Catenaccio, irrespective of whether the team follows the format or not. Catenaccio has become synonymous with defensive play although few understand the true meaning of the term, sadly, even the pundits make mistakes.

At the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Italy were down to 10-men while playing Australia in the Round of 16. They defended heavily until a winner came in the form of a Francesco Totti penalty, late in the game. An English newspaper, «The Guardian», famously wrote, «The timidity of Italy’s approach had made it seem that Helenio Herrera, the high priest of Catenaccio, had taken possession of the soul of Marcello Lippi.»

What the reporter failed to notice was that 10-men Italy were playing in a 4-3-2 formation which was just a man short of the regular 4-4-2 that they had started with – Daniele De Rossi, the midfielder who was dismissed.

THE FINAL WORD

Like all good things, Catenaccio also had to come to an end. With its end, like with everything else, rose many new formats that are, till date, being practiced by coaches around the world. While the Catenaccio may have been laid to rest with the modern day television’s demand for exciting football, coaches will always fall back to their learning of this system when struggling with their backs against the wall.

Until the next time a British commentator mentions «Catenaccio» in the wrong place, Happy Defending!!!

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