There were two finals last Sunday, the Women's World Cup final and the Copa America final. Usually the latter would be of importance for the media but for the first time in history, the women's final made the headlines and had more coverage than the men's final.
The U.S. women's national team definitely deserved their trophy and media coverage as they were the best team of the two finals. They have played with more efficiency than not only the Dutch team, but also the Brazilian and Peruvian men's national team. I argue that their performance was the last nail on the coffin for individual talent-based football.
The U.S. was definitely the best team in both the Women's World Cup and the Copa America as they scored 24 goals and conceded only three in seven games which they won. Brazil, the winner of the Copa America on the other hand, could not beat Paraguay and Venezuela scored only 13 goals and conceded one in six games. Yes, I know the U.S. scored 13 in one game against Thailand, but that still does not change the fact that they completely dominated the tournament. While Brazil was on the verge of catastrophe as they were down to 10 men in the final and Peru was pressing, the U.S. just swept up the Netherlands from the pitch as they did not give them a single serious opportunity.
However, the reason why the U.S. women's national team was so successful is not a secret; they basically organized their game much better than any other team in both tournaments. I did not see any other team in both the World Cup and the Copa America that could launch counterattacks so fast and so accurate. Of course, Brazil was also very effective in counterattacks, but their efficiency came from their individual talents and their ability to create time and space among their opponent's defensive line. The beauty of the U.S. national team's game is that they did not rely on any individual talent to produce time and space in the opponent's half.
What this means for football is straightforward: If you can execute set pieces with enough speed and accuracy, you do not need great individual talents to score. By simply shifting the wings with long balls and stretching the opponent's defenses, the U.S. team was able to score against any type of defense in the tournament, although Brazil was not able to do so with their otherworldly talents.
Regardless of the type of the organization, organizing your team to act in a collective way is a must in modern football. The ball is the fastest player and the inside of the foot is the most reliable instrument. By internalizing these two principles and using them with preplanned strategies, any team can beat top-class teams. The world should be thankful for the Women's World Cup and the U.S. national team for reminding us of this beautiful side of football.
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