I have to be self-critical. When I was talking about modern football as the European way of football while criticizing Fatih Terim's mind set, I generalized a bit too much. Now I realize there are actually a few people around the world who perceive football as a set of strategies and tactics and it is really hard to classify them into only one group. Thus, describing the new football way as the European way of football is just too broad, maybe we can call it "neo-total football." A close examination of Liverpool and Club Brugge also confirms my new theory. The most crucial difference between Turkish football and European football is that Europeans tend to play this game more scientifically, but nothing more. What I mean by scientifically is training methods, nutrition and finance among other things, but the theoretical side is mostly as empty as the Turkish way. For instance, the last example that I observed, the performance of France and their coach Didier Deschamps, against Brazil was a disappointment for me. Deschamps will never be one of the greatest strategists or tacticians of all time, but he played enough at the highest level to understand the logic of the game. Nevertheless, after the game, the only difference I could see between an ordinary Turkish club and the French national team was the difference in players. Deschamps obviously cooked a good-looking, fresh and assertive meal, yet still it did not have the true taste that would have made it unique. This was also the case for Liverpool and Club Brugge, and of course, Beşiktaş. What they are trying to do is change the pace of the game, but in the wrong way, thinking, "If we can create chaos faster and harder, it will bring better results." Luckily, that is not the case.
Of course having Antoine Griezmann rather than Olcay Şahan creates a difference, but the difference in the collective mindset, in other words, in organizing the game, rather than just positioning talented players, what France produced totally surpassed anything a Turkish club can put together. Nonetheless, the sad point is most of the people involved in European football are just too satisfied and arrogant to embrace the true soul of the game. From a Marxist point of view, we might say the importance of production in industrial football has alienated the people from the real joy of football. All the promotion of individual skill is just an illusion created by elites in order to protect their profits, but it seems that everyone has just taken the bait. Thus, we might say, for instance, Turkey and the Netherlands, two football cultures that seem totally distinct, are theoretically the same. Therefore, the game on Saturday night might be a predictable one. Seeing as the Netherlands coach Guus Hiddink is pretty much on the same road as Fatih Terim, the fate of the game will probably be determined by the scientific and individual factors that I listed above. The Netherlands obviously have better weapons to create chaos than Turkey, but they will become useless with the correct strategy. First of all, the Netherlands is another typical counter-attacking team that relies on its speed. Although, the sole existence of Arjen Robben naturally pushes a team to play fast and imbalanced, we have to admit that Hiddink loves it. Unlike Josep Guardiola, who mostly uses Robben in a controlled way, Hiddink unleashes Robben to create chaos, and everything else is just details.
However, Fatih Terim also has the same goal as Hiddink, with Arda Turan the one able to create opportunities. But Terim is far behind Hiddink when it comes to details. The Netherlands are just faster and stronger than Turkey, and when they have the same goal, it is not hard to guess which one has a higher chance of winning. That is why Turkey should be patient and dominant in order to at least reduce the effectiveness of the opponent's lethal counter-attacks. Iceland made it, why not Turkey? But the question is on Terim. Is he ready for such a strategic challenge? I hope so. If not, he has a real problem.