Thursday, May 24, 2007


Hungry Hungry Pippo

After watching Sydney FC play plenty of good football but fail to get the ball into the net on Wednesday night, it was quite salutary to see an instance of pure, ice-cool finishing in the Champions' League final this morning.

Pippo Inzaghi is not exactly my favourite player. Partly because he has never been averse to a bit (some might say a lot) of gamesmanship, as Stan Collymore pointed out during SBS's broadcast of this morning's match.

But he is a poacher with few peers. Lurking around the last defender, timing his runs cleverly, and generally operating with just one aim in mind. Adding to his team's score.

His first goal against Liverpool was simply fortuitous, but his second - however lax the defending, however much space Liverpool vouchsafed Kaka - was a classic of the genre. Pepe Reina did absolutely nothing wrong, but Inzaghi's finishing was just too good.

Rewind the tape by about eleven months and take a look at the Italy v. Czech Republic game from the World Cup. The Czechs, a man down, have thrown men forward in search of an unlikely equaliser. Suddenly, their offside trap breaks down, and a man is through the defence, clear on goal. It's Pippo Inzaghi.

Watching the game, I was 100% sure he would score the minute I saw him on his way. He even scorned the easy option of a layoff at the last moment; his instincts simply took over. Around the keeper he went, in went the ball, the Czechs were definitely out of the tournament, the Italians through to the next round.

All sorts of theories can be offered as to what Australia can do to "move on to the next level" in international football. For my money, one of the best things we could do (and I freely admit to having no idea how to engineer this) is to produce a few genuine goalscorers. Not players of any great physical power or technical brilliance. Simply a few guys who are eternally hungry for goals, and know how to get them.

It's a sobering fact that in the A-League season just finished, far and away the best goal poacher on show was a 36-year-old whose interests lay elsewhere.

The CCM - SFC game that you and I went to last October was the first game that Mori was playing in that I can remember being at. I'm sure I went to see Adelaide City games in Brisbane in the late '90s but I was only about 11-13 then and I always seemed to have something else on when Perth played in Brisbane in the early '00s.

Anyway, my main point: The thing that struck me in that game was just feeling 100% sure, without fully calculating the whole situation, that those two Petrie crosses were going to lead to goals. It was probably the first time that I can remember being at a game containing an Australian player with that kind of presence (although John Aloisi deserves a shout).

The confidence and hunger for goals were crucial in Mori's goals then and it's something I've always liked in Pippo. It's wonderful assurance to have those elements up front in a team and I've given up lamenting the lack of them in the Oz NT over the years.
still think mori is the only 'true goalscorer' in australian football of the past 10 years

the trends of play in football today tends to produce alot more creative minded players looking to involve others than selfish single minded goalscorers
There can be no more damning evidence that HAL needs top class strikers than that David Driller header on wednesday night.

Ante Milicic might have something to say about Mori being "he only 'true goalscorer' in australian football of the past 10 years".

I digress, Creating an out and out finisher/poacher is problematic. It requires a selfishness that goes against the grain of Australian sporting psyche.

Alex Brosque is a case in point. He' s meant to take shots, that's why he exists, but he'll pass up shots to pass the ball.

Petrovski is the other extreme, he is the guy that will bang away at goal all day, but the attitude that comes with that marks him as arrogant ... and selfish. Witness the reaction in the Sydney fan base against Petrovski last season after his comments about being benched.

Sure he shouldn't have said anything in the press, but that's an example of the attitude we need goal scorers to have.

I want them to walk through life thinking they're the bee knees, cause they need confidence to shoot.
petrovski def had that arrogance a true goalscorer needs...pity his boots couldnt live up to all the talking his mouth did\
When given the chance, he scored.
...Witness the reaction in the Sydney fan base against Petrovski last season after his comments about being benched....

I think a large part of the reason Sash got slammed for those comments was that we were on a five-game (from memory) unbeaten streak at the time. If he'd said similar things at the end of the season, I think most would have backed him up 100%. Such is the fickleness of most fans of any club, not just SFC.

I know we miss him in the finishing department, but in many respects I'm not sorry he's gone.
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