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Was this the best ever??

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold
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December 19, 2022 6:27 pm

Was this the best ever??

The Adam Gold Show / Adam Gold

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December 19, 2022 6:27 pm

What were his thoughts on what the world saw during Sunday’s World Cup? How did he feel about the turnout of the game and did he believe the right team won? Does he believe Messi is the GOAT? Where does he see soccer going from here in America, after an amazing World Cup?

-NET GAINS: Inside the Beautiful Game’s Analytics Revolution.

-ARG 3.57 FRA 2.33

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For a lot of us here on the East Coast, I can't even imagine what it was like in the West Coast, although you had more day left. The middle of my day was, I mean, utterly destroyed because I needed a nap after the World Cup final. Through 80 minutes, it was, I'm not saying all Argentina, because France was definitely coming on strong in the second half. But all of a sudden, penalty Mbappe and other, and now we were in for it. And now we had another, gosh, 45 minutes to it.

There were eight minutes of stoppage time, and then there was 30 minutes of extra time, and there was stoppage time there. It was a thrill ride. Ryan O'Hanlon from, at R.W. O'Han on Twitter. NetGains, Inside Beautiful Games, Analytics Revolution joins us. I appreciate your time.

You've become one of my best friends throughout this whole process. First of all, just blank canvas, your thoughts on what we watched for about two and a half hours. Yeah, I mean, that game made me feel old because I had like a physical stress response to the game where I needed to like lay down afterwards. That's the first time that's happened to me watching sports, and I'm Irish American, as my last name suggests. I have no connection to Argentina or France. But like the big picture, like I don't feel like I'm overreacting and saying that's probably the best sports game that we'll ever see, because the just back and forth excitement of it was wild, in large part because of the reasons you pointed out where Argentina were so dominant. They were the first team to hold their opponent to zero shots in the first half of a World Cup game ever. That's how dominant they were. And then just out of nowhere, France comes back and then extra time. Sometimes these extra time matches can be pretty boring.

The teams are very conservative. This was the exact opposite. The teams were going wild back and forth. They both scored.

Then it goes to penalties. And then you have the context of the greatest soccer player ever trying to win the one thing that he's never won versus the next greatest soccer player in the world once Messi retires, basically constantly taking it away from him and saying, no, no, no, this isn't going to happen. So it's like, I don't know. It's like if like Michael Jordan had never won a title, and then like LeBron was also in the NBA at the same time, and they both scored like 70 points in game seven, or something like that. That's the closest comparison I can come up with.

And for a lot of people, they put it in that context. It was very cool. I'll go back.

This has nothing to do with this game real quick, but I'll go back like seven or eight years. And there was a last night of a major league baseball season where baseball owned Twitter. And football or basketball, the only sports that ever owned Twitter. But holy mackerel, yesterday in the mid-morning here on the East, or late morning here in the East Coast, I mean the World Cup owned Twitter. There were a whole bunch of one-word tweets, which is, you know, soccer is the only sport that does this.

But it was, they were talking about, it's as though it were Kobe versus Jordan in their primes going at it, or LeBron versus Jordan. That's what we had, because, and it wasn't just the fact that Messi and Mbappe were playing against each other, but it's that they were both amazing playing against each other. Now Mbappe is, I mean, I don't even know what to do. He's like a tornado.

I don't know how you handle him, because he just does what he wants. They had to keep the ball from him, which is what basically what they did for about 70 minutes. Yeah, it's, I think they're kind of a fascinating, the comparison between the two of them is kind of what makes soccer great, I think. Mbappe is this just sort of physical, like, you know, he's what all the idiots who think if our best athletes play soccer, we'd win the World Cup.

He's like the example to point to. He's like an amazing off ball player. Like he doesn't really get involved until the final third and his movement off the ball is probably the best of any player in the history of the sport, I'm willing to say at this point. While Messi is like the on ball, like God, you want every possession to run through Messi because you want him touching the ball as much as humanly possible. So that like, I find that sort of the dichotomy between the two of them where I think they're both, they're the two best players in the world currently, for sure. So like the fact that those can be the two best players when like Mbappe would just absolutely dust Messi in any kind of physical competition, or any other sport, probably outside of soccer, but like Messi, you know, you could drop a ball out of a helicopter and he'd be able to take it down and Mbappe maybe might not be able to. Yeah, but Mbappe that finish to make it 2-2. Oh my God. I mean, right out of the air. I mean, I don't know if it half volleied or not.

I don't really care. I think the half volley might even make it more difficult because you have the element of the bounce, but my gosh, what an absolute finish. And what it came down to, one of the reasons, not that I'm an expert on any of this, Ryan O'Hanlon from ESPN is joining us here on the Adam Gold show. One of the reasons I favored Argentina in the match was, in my opinion, I watch a lot of Premier League and I think that Emi Martinez was the better keeper.

Did it come down to that? Because Emi made one of the best saves I've ever seen in the run of play, basically about 30 seconds before they blew the final whistle. And then of course in penalties, which is sort of a specialty of his. But that save he made on France right at the end was just unbelievable.

Yeah, it's funny. I think that's probably the most important save in the history of the World Cup, given the timing of it. There's no way Argentina can come back if that goes in. But he hadn't been that good in open play in the World Cup. I think the Saudi Arabia game, he could have saved both shots and didn't. I think the announcer said during the game that Hugo Lloris made more saves in the World Cup final than Emi Martinez made in the entire World Cup.

He made seven. He had seven saves. And I don't think Emi has made that many saves across the tournament because Argentina's defense, despite these late collapses, has actually been a pretty incredible defense. But then in the shootout, yes, Emi Martinez was...

He made one save, but just almost saved every penalty it seemed like. And he does all the kind of bordering on Bush League stuff. Oh, yeah, totally. Yeah, he's a jerk. And Hugo Lloris, I don't think he's...

I forget that I wrote about this, but I've written about so much stuff over the past month that I forgot most of it. I think Hugo Lloris has made one or two saves in a shootout in his entire career, basically. He's terrible in penalties. Which I think probably played a little bit of a role, too, in deciding who won the shootout.

There's no question. Messi toyed with him. Because we had, obviously, we had penalties during the game. Messi scores from the spot in the first goal. Two of Mbappe's three goals were from the spot. And he also, I think, actually, I think Martinez got a hand on the first one, not a enough, because it was drilled, but sort of like Matt Turner on Gareth Bale in the USA-Wales match. Turner guessed right and got a hand on it, but it just would have knocked his hand off, I think, if it got more of it.

But I think there was a book, and not to bring up Grant Wall, but the late Grant Wall passed away a little bit more than a week ago. On his podcast, he had somebody that wrote a book about how penalties are basically just a psychological game. There's almost nothing physical.

I'm not completely diminishing the physical, but it absolutely is a mind game, first and foremost. And I think you see that throughout penalties. How do you feel? I'm okay with penalties deciding the World Cup.

How does Ryan O'Hanlon feel about it? I feel good when the team that played better ends up winning, like happened on Sunday. I feel a little less good about it when it's like the Croatia-Brazil game, and Brazil just completely dominates Croatia's scores at the end, and the wins on penalties. I just don't think that there's... 120 minutes is essentially the breaking point for the human body in terms of playing a soccer game.

So I don't think... I'm not a fan of just playing till someone scores. I guess if it's a sudden death, maybe then the game ends on Messi's goal, and that would actually have been a pretty incredible moment. But frequently, these games don't know one's scores. So it's very disconnected from the actual sport of soccer, which when I played, I loved it because I didn't have to think. And with penalties, you're thinking the entire time. But for the drama of it, it's just unbeatable, right?

There's nothing like the... I think there's a lot of randomness and penalties, but the penalties to win a shootout in the World Cup are converted like 90% of the time, and the average conversion rate's like 78, while penalties to continue the shootout are converted like 50% of the time. And I think that tells you everything. When there's a lot of pressure, guys miss. And when there's no pressure, and if you miss it, your team's still alive, those guys score.

Here's the only reason I actually like it. Other than the fact that you can't play forever. It's 120 minutes, but it was more. It was probably 140 minutes if you total up all the stoppage time.

Because you brought it up. France didn't have a shot on frame in the first half, and Martinez only had to make two saves all game. One came at the very end of regulation, the other came like 30 seconds before they blew the whistle. At the end of extra time, which is still one of the best saves we've ever seen. But those are the only two saves he had to make.

So in this regard, it brings the keepers into the mix. Because you can win without great goalkeeping, because you might not need it. In hockey, which is the example people use, you ain't winning a Stanley Cup without a goaltender making a bunch of good saves.

You just have no chance. But you can win a World Cup with mediocre goalkeeping because you might never need it. Yeah, no, I think you make a really good point.

I think Brazil's a good example where they barely faced any shots the entire World Cup, and then all of a sudden Allison has to save five point blank shots in a row. It definitely stresses another aspect of your team, which I think is interesting. All right, first of all, did you think Angel Di Maria was the best player in the first half for Argentina? Yeah, I think so. I think you saw some of the benefits of a guy not playing for two weeks and then coming back and playing like his hair was on fire.

It was interesting. He tends to play on the right because most wingers nowadays play on the weak side of their foot so they can cut in, but they actually played him on the left. And the kind of classic Messi pass is he drifts inward from the left and then dinks like a diagonal ball over the defense to the left side. So I think that he was frequently playing that to like a fullback, and Argentina's fullbacks aren't great. And he was instead in the final hitting that pass to Di Maria, who was incredibly way more effective than the Argentina fullback. So yeah, I think he scored I think in the last three finals for Argentina. And he frequently gets hurt.

He's been hurt in pretty much all the World Cups when he's played with Messi. So it was cool to see him play so well. It's cool to see him score such a decisive goal. Cool to see him break down on the sideline when that goal seemed like it wasn't going to matter and then cool again to see him, you know, finally get to rejoice.

Yeah, I actually thought that they would bring him in as a reserve simply because I mean, you almost have to plan for extra time. And obviously, like, but I guess they decided to spend his 65 minutes from the start, as opposed to bring him on sometime in the second half and spend his 65 minutes at the end, although you don't have him for penalties, although I don't know if Di Maria is any good at penalties. I assume he is. We know Messi is.

Final thing. I mean, just how do you sum up the way we're talking about Messi now? Is it Messi and Pele? Is there somebody else who belongs in this conversation?

Will Mbappe eventually join them? So the conversation to me is Messi and Usain Bolt as who's the greatest athlete of all time. That's where I'm at. That's different than the one that is currently being engaged on Twitter right now.

That's good. Yeah, I wrote an article about it right before the final where I kind of compared, you know, you look at sort of the global popular playing population of each sport, right? And like soccer is the most popular team sport running.

Everyone can run. And Messi is like, he's as good compared to his peers as any of the American sports athletes are, Wayne Gretzky. But frankly, so many more people play soccer, and it's a lot harder to be as good as Messi is at soccer compared to, you know, Tom Brady or someone like that. And so I've kind of like looked at sort of crunch the data, went back and looked and it's basically Usain Bolt is better than running, better at running than any human being that's ever lived. And Messi is better at soccer than a human being who's ever lived.

So to me, it's a choice between those two. Wow. Ryan O'Hanlon, at RW O'Han on Twitter net gains inside the beautiful games analytics revolution. We didn't talk analytics expected goals for Argentina was 3.57 France somehow with those two saves late and two penalties. It was only 2.33 for France.

It seemed like it should have been more for both, but it was an absolute rocking final. I appreciate your time. I will reach out again because, hey, we just resumed the club season this week.

Yeah. And we're best friends. We are my newest best friend. I appreciate your time, Ryan. Thank you. Take care. Thanks for having me. You got it. Savings off sale and clearance prices. Exclusions apply.
Whisper: medium.en / 2022-12-19 20:43:32 / 2022-12-19 20:49:58 / 6

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