If we equate soccer to real life, international friendlies are a little like on-line dating – good for an initial weeding out, but maybe not for a whole lot more.
Oh, you may occasionally strike gold and turn up a Jim Dandy or a Jill Dandy.
But the best part is weeding out the weirdoes and rabbit boilers. From there, you may sometimes like what you see, but you can’t really assess the talent until you’ve turned up the heat for a while.
You tell the most about folks by watching how they react under pressure, like when the in-laws swing by for a three-week heaping of misery.
Back to soccer: it’s much the same when national teams and friendlies. They really aren't important. (Unless it’s against
Here we all are examining Saturday's
People generally get it that results don’t matter. But they do tend to assign a bit too much value to individual assessment.
For instance, Jonathan Spector played at center back and did reasonably well. Robbie Rogers did OK along the right side. Not great, but OK.
(By the way, I keep hearing about “potential” when it comes to
There were other little victories individually, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The same will happen Wednesday in
Again, please use caution. “Step away from the grand, over-reaching pronouncements! Just do as you’re told here, and no one needs to get hurt!”
The bottom line is that pressure changes things, sometimes drastically. It’s all well and good to do it against a middling team on some random Saturday with a few thousand people in the stands and absolutely zero at stake at the team level.
By the way, I’ve written all this before. But it seems like a lesson that never really takes. It’s a little like what happens (or used to happen) on Saturday nights. We go out. We get, uh, over-served. And the next thing you know it’s Sunday morning and our hung-over little heads are super-glued to the pillow.
“I’ll never drink again.”
Of course, it doesn’t take and it’s rinse-repeat for the next cycle.