free geoip

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

"I will also take risks in the future. At least, it is good for everyone: our team, the crowd and also the opponent."

Okay, loyal readers, TDH is going to break it down for you, economist-style. Here's why Sven did what he did.

There are two ways for an England coach to approach a World Cup. One is to play it safe - select the players that everyone expects and hope for the best. You're almost guaranteed to make the quarter-finals (again), but you'll be grinding out the results the way the team did during qualifying. England are a good squad, but they're not Brazil, after all.

The other way is to take risks - risks like Walcott, Lennon, Rooney, even Crouch in his way. They might be a disaster. But they might also bring the extra spice, the chance at a totemic figure who will be remembered for decades to come, that a team needs to win the whole thing. In other words, Sven's picks have greatly widened England's risk profile - on both sides of the distribution of possible outcomes.

So, why did he do it? It's simple. This is Sven's endgame. He's a lame duck. He's got nothing to lose. In other words, the downside risk doesn't exist for Sven anymore. He doesn't have to worry that his contract will be terminated if England don't make it out of the group stage - it already has been.

No, the only thing that matters to Sven is the upside. No one will remember him if England finish up in the quarter-finals. But he has a shot at glory. And he's taking it.

That brings us to the final question: how can England guarantee that this situation continues, i.e., that future coaches will also be willing to take risks in order to win it all? The answer is easy: by giving four-year contracts that end right after World Cups.

That's exactly what the FA have done with Stevie Mac. But they need to commit NOT to rehire him unless he actually wins the big one in 2010. With any chance of a renewal after a lesser performance, he might be tempted to play it safe. And while that might be useful in qualifying, it's no good at all in the World Cup finals.

Yes, TDH used to teach a bit of microeconomic theory, back in the day. Class dismissed!


Blogger the Maradona of Malawi said...

definitely a widening of the risk profile. The more I think about this squad, the more I like it.

He could conceivably field a line-up where between 8 and 11 of the players have 20+ caps and / or serious european exposure. At the same time, with Lennon, Downing, Walcott, he's got three players who no-one in europe will know much about (downing has time to change this before WC), who can befuddle the opposition. If Lennon lines up against Cafu, loyalty be damned, he'll skin him alive.

And secondly, four years ago, England played with 10 solid players and Danny Mills. What they were crying out for was someone who could fashion a chance from nothing, beat three players and shoot from an angle. Cole, on the bench, never got off it.

This time, Cole is a 100% starter, and for all his flaws, England can afford a player who will make mistakes but also give unpredictability. With three more unpredictable players who run at pace with the ball on the bench, England have a solid 10 + 1 trickster in the starting 11 and 3 potentially match turning subs.

If only King could be drafted in for Whoregreaves, it would be perfect.

7:44 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home