soccer on u.s. tv
the 2018 world cup and the u.s men's national team

in this on?

Michael Cox:

But the reason this year's World Cup might feel particularly flat, at least in the early stages, is the obsession with pressing among top club managers over the past few years. Pressing is not a new concept, of course, but its popularity has grown considerably over the past few decades, morphing from a useful "bonus" concept that proved a side was organised and hard-working, to often being considered a side's main tactical plan....

The rise of pressing has been so spectacular, so successful and so popular that it's now widely expected of top sides. Everyone has become so accustomed to such ferocious, high-intensity, 100 mph matches like those involving Liverpool in this season's Champions League, that more sedate, patient matches are considered terrible games, which is somewhat worrying ahead of the World Cup....

The vast majority of teams at this World Cup ... will take the cautious approach of standing off the opposition and sitting deep in their own half.... This is no different from the situation at previous World Cups, but somewhat out of keeping with the high-tempo, frenetic football we've become accustomed to at club level in recent years....

In terms of both quality and entertainment value, international football is now way behind club football, which means this summer's matches in Russia -- at least in the group stage -- might feel somewhat underwhelming.

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