“Europe, what is the phone number?” At the time of the start of the first Euro circulating on the continent, the joke attributed to US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to ridicule European foreign policy, also resonated in football. Especially since Europe Round Ball is much larger, as the 55 members are listed by UEFA. In 2021, is there a common DNA in continental football, as 24 countries prepare to cross their mutations?
“There is a European culture of the game today, more and more similarities between the national teams”, Lars Lagerback presents. The 72-year-old Swedish coach occupied the seats of the Swedish, Icelandic and Norwegian selections. “Thirty years ago, when I started my career, the differences were even more pronounced.”
Like Mr. Lagerbäck, many experienced technicians looked at the development of the game in Europe. They all note the same thing: strong geographic football identities, which existed until the mid-1990s, tend to dwindle or even disappear.
“In the past, we were talking about certain styles of play. It was clear and well defined. There was Central European football, more Latin football,” Former Romanian coach Mircea Lucescu notes. For example, it was easy to recognize a British team by their game on the basis of physical participation. “We Romanians are footballers with a special talent for passing. The Yugoslavs were known for dribbling, the Russians for their athletic preparation, Explains the Backpacker technician, who also led the Turkish selection process between 2017 and 2019. Today everything changed. “
The idiosyncrasies fade away. “The playing identity of nations has been lost, but this is also the case for the different tournaments. There is a unification French hits Reynald Denwix. When he switched from an English game to a Spanish game, there is no discernible difference. “
For the former coach of FC Nantes and Real Sociedad, the reasons for this homogeneity are clear: “There are more and more foreign coaches and players in the teams, the cultures are mixed.” A note made by Mr. Lagerbach: “In Scandinavian football, we have a lot more passes than in the past. Players and coaches travel more and more, and it results in a mixed culture.”
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