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03/11/1932: Alex James on Continental football

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-01-18 21:59:21

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
Arsenal inside left and Scottish international Alex James wrote an interesting article regarding his opinion on continental football. Mainly, the little wizard talks about the improvements, his thoughts on continental football and some differences between England and some other nations. Here are the main passages: Alex James | 03/11/1932
We see continental football more often than before, and that's good. The Spanish team played here last year, Racing Club de France will play Arsenal in London on November 30 and a week later we will see England v Austria.
A few years ago, we feared that a game, entirely different from ours, would be born on the continent under the name of football. Fortunately, nothing happened. Tours of British clubs in Europe and international matches have brought continental football a lot of progress and now English and Scottish professionals are playing in continental clubs and helping to keep football uniquely British.
After a tour made eight or nine years ago, I thought, and I was not the only one, that a few years later France, Germany, Austria, Spain and Italy would ignore nothing more from the game of football.
And I was right. The skill and courage of the continental players are admirable, but their football lacks a few high-class men.
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In continental football, I noticed an essential fact: the speed of passes, where their players are far superior to us; the ball goes from one to the other and is passed by the halves to the forwards with enormous ease. And since they usually play on hard courts, they attached great importance to the passing game. It is obvious that on soft and slippery ground, many of these passes are missed or are intercepted by the opponent. But what makes them valuable is that they are the prelude to an attack against opponents who have not had time to put themselves on the defensive, and that they often find their way to the goal as a result.
As far as I know, continental nations are playing with a lighter ball than ours. It makes a big difference, especially because the teams we visit on the continent are used to playing with these lightweight balls. And that's why, with their movements so fast, continental teams are often so hard to beat.
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The French and Spanish players give me the impression of superbly trained soldiers whose generals know nothing about the art of war. When they take the lead by a goal or two, there's no stopping them; each player is over the edge with excitement and they toss the ball back and forth with terrifying speed, but otherwise, when they are one goal down, they crumble, disheartened.
This state of affairs is due to the fact that in schools football is not considered in the same way as in our country. Young people adopt it as an exercise, train a lot, but do not seek, as with us, to perfect themselves thoroughly. With us, our players have played, watched and thought about football since they were young.
We have often been struck by the incorrect behavior of crowds at major matches: this is due to the fact that 90% of the spectators never played football when they were young and therefore know nothing or almost nothing about the game.