12/11/2014 Crystal Piazza 1 – IUE CALCIO 6 or the day ‘LIQUID FOOTBALL’ was born
“The secret of the team’s success is easy: unity and hard work” David Beckham.
“Yes, we played a great game. Yes, we did pass the ball around like a great team. Yes, everyone gave 100%. But what made the difference tonight, what made us win is one simple and nevertheless crucial ingredient: LOVE” Dimitri Van Der Meerssche
12/11/2014 crystal piazza 1 – IUE CALCIO 6 or ‘The day LIQUID FOOTBALL was born’
IUE Calcio against Crystal Piazza is one of those games everybody waits in trepidation for weeks, for months, and through this game, season after season IUE Calcio had proven itself to be a team of legends. Will it be the same this year?
One had just to get a glipse of the concentrated and tense faces of our three beloved coaches around Badia in the last few days to get an idea of how the spheric testosteron was running high in their balding heads; the pressure had mounted in the last home game which the Squadra drew 0-0 and had exploded in the ferocious chants of the Curva demanding their heads through the now notorious lines…”saltala, saltala, saltalampanchina”…
But our coaches are no rookies: they know how to dominate such infantile feelings. “The team is young”, they kept sermoning us; “we gotta play IUE Calcio style”, they admonished us; “we gotta believe in ourselves, not as individuals, but as a team”, they chastised us; “football is like love-making, the first time you do it with someone new always leaves you an after-taste of bitterness and dissatisfaction, but as you keep doing it, you get into it, and you get better” they explained us.
To which Vincenzo Moreno also added “football is like going clubbing. You gotta keep on trying. Yes, you get bounced, again and again. But the trick is to always be there. Sooner or later they’ll let you in, and then, when inside, you’ll teach these mother-fuckers how to do it proper”.
But it is obviously not only through words that the great coaches who wrote the history of this nigh-scientific nigh-art endavour called football had made a single war-machine out of a few bullets – the foundations of a winning project must be laid down on firm ground: planning and strategy.
And it is with this spirit, of those wanting to reinvent the wheel once again – to demonstrate detractors and supporters alike of deserving their prestigious and sought-after positions – that our coaches had imparted new directions to the team last Friday, directions that the team did not know yet, but would move football into yet another age, an age coming right after that of tiki-taka.
The team knew that something was awaiting for them – “a new module” some undeserving journalist had called it. The word ‘module’ was obviously an oversimplification.
Before the game Coach Giovanni Pepe Corrimano took a great deal of care at explaining in multiple languages (I counted English, Italian, Dutch, German, and Albanian among them) what each player had to do, in accordance with the plans designed with Coach Ludovico ‘Penna Bianca’ Lunsteddo and Vincenzo ‘Non-Molla-Mai’ Moreno over lunch days before the match.
Here is the Squadra Fantastica’s starting 11:
BYKU 2 KARREMANS 5 LUNDSTED 6 DRAEGE 3
MAURIN 8 VAN DER MEERSSCHE 10
GABO 7 ORTU 11
It goes without saying, the overall $$$ value of the bench yesterday was something that no club in AICS can pride itself to display.
LIAN – SALVATORE – LUIS – DIEGO – LEO
The genius idea behind the Coaches’ strategy on Wednesday night was simple and straightforward: “keep the ball on the ground, and let it roll, babe”. And the manpower sent on the pitch and sat on the bench corresponded to that very notion: amazing technical skills translated into simple, quick, effective passing, not only through the lines, but also horizontally. Even we stupid and stupidiefied players could understand that. Of course, the Coaches had not told us the full story: but who could claim that players of Barcelona and Bayern actually fully understand what Guardiola has in mind before each and every match?
Only two things are limitless: space and stupidity. Genius has limits, that is its distinguishing feature, A. Einstein once said. Touche’!
In the warming-up words of our coaches lied the last bit of motivation for what was to come and what the team actually needed:
“Crystal Piazza is a good team. They will be among the top-five teams this season. But we do not care. ‘Cause we will be on top as well. We want to win this game, do we?”. YES, roared the team like a magnificent and tuned unison.
We could not wait to enter the pitch and bring home the 3 points, and so the game actually started a few minutes in advance. For this reason our perplexed faces due to the empty seats of the Curva soon turned into smiles when the Curva Nord/Curva Cure made its triumphant entry into Cerreti: our 12th man took its place on the side, and started thrilling the players with their a-cappella tunes.
The starting 11 looked around, and also found Presidente A. A. Trechsel ‘sitting’ on the bench, encouraging with his peculiar Swiss gestures (such as accomodation of his hair fringe) the benchers to be ready any time to come in, and those in the pitch to please his presidential hopes and warm up his loving heart.
All was ready, and so the battle started. The action was fluid from minute one, often starting all the way from Bartali just to reach Bomber Martino on top, cutting across chucks of playing ground through a web of passing that resembled the net of a spider who is high on weed.
Lundted and Karremans machine-gunned balls to the midfielders, or gently drove them to Byku and Jonas; the two back-wingers would fast advance ball-to-the-ground and would either distribute ‘la pelota’ to the midfielders or hit it forward to the wingers, Gabo and Fede, who would control it, monitor the dynamic movements of the rest of the team, then fully raise their heads just to find a lion battling against several hyenas, as Bomber defended the ground with such ferocity that he gained the upper hand irremediably in each action against several of their defenders. The three midfielders hyptonitised their counterparts by dancing over the ball, orchestrating the manouvre and the speed of each action.
IUE CALCIO operated like a single football instrument played by 22 feet.
In the first 15 minutes the Squadra Fantastica penetrated their defense like a sharp knife cuts through jelly, the action was relentless and insistent in its movement like an engine, oily and elegant like a automovile piston.
It seemed that by playing the style of game designed by our coaches the Squadra was re-acquiring awareness of its limitless potential. But as the game continued, we were slowly realising that this was not only the traditional IUE Calcio style of play, it was not just a new module, it was perhaps a new type of football tout cour which, like all revolutionary moments and inventions in human history, did not have a name at the time of its making.
We were defending in 10 men, and attaching in 10 men.
When defening, this is how the squadra looked:
2 5 6 3
7 8 410 11
When attacking, this is how it looked:
7 8 10 11
Needless to say, several times we went very close to scoring.
It would be Vince and Dimi who would advance like predators in a fauna of lambs, and reach up to their penalty box just for the ball to be kicked away awkwardly by their scared defenders as far as possible, mostly towards our cheerful curva; it would be ‘el flaco’ Gabo who, with his smoothless and bolt-like run, would demolish their left-back – and force him back into pre-history into a real old-style ‘terzinaccio’ – outplay him in speed and technique just to be stopped by the deus-ex-machina intervention of yet another of their defending players who would unkindly hit the ball away (I counted 5 balls sent to the other Cerreti ground on Gabo’s side in the first 20 minutes); it would be Fede who would either disorient his direct oppents, dribble them once, twice – and because he wanted to demonstrate to be better than the Viola Borja – yet a third time, and then cross the ball in, or ran 50 meters after long throw-ins by Cosimo at a speed of 33 kmph, though crashing into a wall in the goalie form of human flash and fat.
Byku and Jonas stricltly followed the instructions of the Coaches: taking it easy the first 20 minutes and then increasing the baricentre of their operations; first helping Karremans and Lundsted to defend against their heavy, wild-shouldered and technical number 98 and their light and fast number 10; then also showing themselves for the horizontal passes distributed by il Pazzo; finally looking heads-up for Bomber or for the wingers when attacking.
Unfortunately, the goal would not come, not yet at least.
Once Bomber went close by heading the ball just a meter from the post after a superb cross from Byku; once it was Dimitri who run 30 meters with fire in his eyes while Bomber had controlled the ball on the edge of the small box and was awaiting for him to smash it in, but their defender managed to clear it off with a long throw out; once it was Gabo coming one sec early on a splendid cross-in by Bomber from the left side; once it was only because of the referee who wanted his share of glory by annulling for no reason a regular goal by Bomber who headed the ball on the top-corner after a free kick; and once, a few minutes before the end of the first half, thanks to an amazing save by their overweight goal-keeper after a formidable combination between Dimi and Fede.
Conversely, our defensive line conceded nigh-nothing. Ludvig, Jan, Jonas and Byku and Cosimo each making up a share of the prophylactic shield showed action after action that the other members of the Squadra Body could continue this new type of football without worrying too much about football STDs (Strategic Total Defence).
And so it surfaced in our consciousness the hunch that this was to become a historic moment in football history.
The unprecedented kind of football that the Squadra was playing entails a smooth and fluid game; it is made up of ball possession and fluctuating movements, creates uncertainty in the opponents, undermines their confidence and ultimately drives them mad; it is the result of a combination of different national styles, which upgrades itself in an organic way following a constant flow of information processed by a superior intelligence – the coaches + Presi.
We were just missing a name, but RadioBadia journalist and sociologist Riccardo Kaiser Emilio Chesta had already coined the term, it had just taken him the last full 24hours to express it in plain and simple words: LIQUID FOOTBALL was this new type of football that the coaches had envisioned and the Squadra was turning into a reality.
When the referee put an end to the first half the Squadra moved back to the changing-room with two thoughts in their minds:
1) “we are going to win this game!”
2) “we are going to win this game and then get wasted at Finnegans!”
The opponents instead thought:
1) “la maiala”
2) “chi e’ la bionda dal seno prosperoso che siede in tribuna?”
After a few minutes our Idoli were already on the pitch. Nobody could expect what was going to happen. Nobody but the gods of football, of course.
The game started, Dimi from the centre passes back the ball to il Pazzo who throws it long for Gabo on the right side. The keeper cannot get hold of the ball when facing in terror the amazing speed of the Argentinian, and makes a fool of himself by loosing it. Vince promenades till the corner flag, takes the ball with him, flicks it in the box, il Pazzo flies over the shoulders of the dwarfed defender and heads it in with as much force as his vegetarian body allows him.
2nd minute of the 2nd half: Goal. 1-0 for the Squadra.
Ball back to the centre. The Coaches and Presi command patience and focus.
Crystal Piazza in fact furiously storms our right side for an immediate attack, but our solid defence takes the ball back under our control, rolls it foward to il Pazzo in the centre who quickly releases it to Byku – probably playing his best match ever since his move from A.C. Tirana – who takes the risk and dribbles one of their players and nutmegs a second one. The ball reaches Gabo who, not yet tired of sweeping his side, gallops a good 30 mt at full speed and crosses it in. The ball seems to be for Bomber who however is too far from its trajectory. Damn it! – everybody thinks – only to happily discover a lonely Fede Borja Valero on the other side who is calmly waiting for the ball to reach him. Fede against the keeper. Fede stops it, controls it, targets the goal and shoots.
5th minute of the game: Goal! 2-0 for the Squadra.
It is time to seal the game off. Salvo comes in for Fede who gets the standing ovation from the Curva. A strong defender for a strong midfielder. Jonas moves forward. The strategy seems clear to us humans: CATENACCIO!
And instead, a few minutes of spectacle football follow, with disoriented opponents and our Idoli in full control of the game. Then the ref blows his whistle for a faul, possibly the second in our favor since the game started. The position is more or less this. Impossible.
Impossible is nothing. I turn to see a determined Giovanni Pepe who walks towards the ball. I know that face. Nobody should stand in his way on these occasions. There is no oxygen in his brain. His body responds to testicles impulses, not to directions originating in brain cells. He had watched penalty kicks all week thanks to very informative youtube videos posted in the mailing list by his fellow players while confortably sitting their asses in the library. But Karremans already knows how to do it. He ain’t study free-kicks. He learnt from the best: el Eternal lives in him and Karremans embodies el Eternal. Karremans caresses the ball, whispers something in its valve, and gently puts it down. Then he gracefully shoots a missile on the top left corner, the ball hits the lower bar. It’s in! IUE Calcio did it again! 10′ : IUE Calcio 3 – Crystal Piazza 0.
Once again the chiefs demand patience and tranquillity. “It’s 0-0” somebody shouts – in full compliance with the very peculiar sense of self-confidence in vogue in Italy these days.
Nothing’s happened, we gotta stay focused.
But we know it, the curva knows it, Crystal Piazza knows it: a lot is happening, but nobody dares to say it.
The lungs of the eleven on the pitch, those of the tifosi, of those on the bench and of Presi do not find enough time to breath in enough fresh air that, yet again, we are celebrating a goal for IUE Calcio. The spider seems to be high on cocaine now. The web is tighter and more hectic. The predator seems now to take the body shape of Dimitri who manages to dribble a couple of defenders right outside the box and shoots. But the ball hits the keeper who once again cannot control it. And the metamorphosis happens, the lion turns into a hyena himself. Bomber is just waiting for the prey to lay still, plunders the ball and kicks in the rebound with a killer instinct not even Mesrine had shown the world.
It’s 4! Bomber celebrates his 3rd this year with the romantic machine-gun gesture evoking golden memories of Gabriel Omar. I have never seen him so happy. Finally, age 30+ he can do it, and enjoys every last drop of it.
15′: IUE Calcio 4 – Crystal Piazza 0.
It is time for the bench to show that the notions of bench and starting-eleven are indeed outdated ones.
Leo takes the place of a shiny Dimitri and Luis replaces a tired Pazzo. Crystal Piazza may think the torture is over, but they are bewildered by the tehcnical capacity, tactical intelligence and awesome fitness of the ‘subs’.
Luis plays ball like a quarter-back would, but his body radiates Narcos vibes. It is as if you put the mindset of a gangster in the body of a talented artist.
Capitan Leo seems to have forgotten about his age! He sprints after the ball like an 11 years old whose only motivation is to show his friends what the meaning of the word ‘commitment’ is. Thanks god there is no anti-doping test in AICS.
We know, we are all awaiting for something else to happen. And so it does.
The ball moves around quickly on the edge of their box, and reaches Vince on the right side. The Frenchman dribbles one opponent player towards the inside and right off the small box he manages to stretch and anticipate the goalie thanks to an elastic kick with his left foot. The ball slowly rolls behind the goal line. It’s 5!
20′: IUE Calcio 5 – Crystal Piazza 0. Somebody has an orgasm, most have a boner; Presi shouts from the line: “LA MIA SQUADRA!”; Karremans is already drunk. The Curva is ecstatic.
The Squadra is not content, it keeps pushing, relentless. Capitano receives the ball in the centre of the pitch, lifts his eyes up, sees Bomber on the edge of the box, passes him the ball, Bomber with a no look touch sends Leo himself in the box. Leo wants glory, and so goes for the lob. Lovely idea, but unlucky touch as the ball flies over the cross bar by a few cms.
The Squadra has liquidated Crystal Piazza in just over 20 minutes.
Or so it seems. Though everybody wants to keep a clean sheet, Crystal Piazza resuscitates after ‘Il Trombaio’ Byku decides to go for a stroll on the side of the pitch opposite to the one under his competence and so forgets no. 15, ‘the guy who only touches the ball with his left foot’, who races freely towards Cosimo and scores one for the opponents.
25′: Crystal Piazza 1 – IUE Calcio 5.
At this point everybody starts feeling a bit concerned. But in the age of liquid football there are no certainties for the opponents.
D&G19 comes in for Bomber who, we realised, had suddenly disappeared from the pitch after exhaling his last energies in the celebrations for his goal.
Peace-Nobel price winner Jonas had in the meantime taken over the left flank, and he was ravaging it as if his Viking thirst for European blood manifested itself all of a sudden. In one such trot he reached the bottom of the opponents’ side and crossed in a lovely curvy ball. Gabo, tired of running back and forth, had by then started running side-wise. Liquid football is unpredictable. El Flaco intercepts the ball and with a sublime single left-foot touch sends the ball to the opposite top-right side!
Bravo! 30′ minute: 6-1. Heaven: we are in heaven!
It is time for Liam ‘Bielsa’ to come in for Byku. I welcome Julian open-arms on the bench, and I summarise his match with a comment along the lines of “magnificent game, Trombi, stupidly spoiled by a bullshit mistake”, to which he replies “What can I do? I am from Albania. Sooner or later, all Albanians do some stupid mistake. It’s written in our genes”. Chapeau
At this point, with Liam increasing further the Latin-American technical magnitude, and their players running desperately and hopelessly after the ball, Crystal Piazza opted for the well-known doctrine of ‘buttarla in vacca’. First they kicked Jonas, then they tried to start a row in the centre of the pitch in which, inevitably, Luis got involved. The ref at first decided to deliberately ignore all the inglorius fauls committed by Crystal Piazzisti, then saw Luis face and made the resolute decision to end the game 5 minutes before the 40th minute. When you play liquid football even the notion of time is outdated!
And so the beginning of something new and beautiful ended. The Squadra and Presi ran under the Curva where tifosi started singing the award-winning hymn while throwing beer and other organic liquids at the players, where Ultras was celebrating with blue-coloured smoke in his hands, where our tifose where increasing the ratio of spettacolo enormously with compromising gestures towards their ‘beniamini’. Altogether the Squadra and Curva headed towards Finnegans where Giovanni ‘Grappattoni’ was already waiting for us together with yet another historic speech, and where Dimitri gave his now world-known lecture on Football and Love. All this while a group of American teenagers were singing open loungs IUE Calcio Songs and the poor bar-woman was imploring a naked-chested Dimi to be quiet.
Who are we?
Who are we?
Who are we?
12/11/2014 crystal piazza 1 – IUE CALCIO 6 or the day ‘LIQUID FOOTBALL’ was born