This week’s Featured Article: Tim Vickery’s thoughts on Brazil and Argentina Team Styles


As always, I present the best article of the week written by leading bloggers, columnists etc. This week, I found the article written by Tim Vickery, BBC’s South America Football Correspondent, very interesting and worth posting here. He has immense knowledge of the game and knows the nook and cranny of South American Football. He currently lives in Rio, Brazil.

Here is the article taken from the BBC Sport Website:

Taking on Scotland at the Emirates was more than just another friendly for Brazil, more than the chance to return to winning ways after two defeats, and even more than a warm up for July’s Copa America.

The game got to grips with one of the fundamental issues facing the five-time world champions as they prepare for triumph number six in front of their own fans in 2014.

“We need to learn to play against defensive sides,” said Mano Menezes last July in his first press conference as coach of Brazil.

“If teams stay back we get irritated – but the opposition has every right to play defensively.”

Menezes is weaning his team off what had become an excessive dependence on the counter-attack.

In the World Cup almost everyone will sit back and try to frustrate Brazil – hence the importance of trying out strategies to beat the likes of Scotland.

Brazil's Leandro Damiao has an effort stopped by Scotland goalkeeper Allan McGregor of Scotland Brazil’s Leandro Damiao has an effort stopped by Scotland goalkeeper Allan McGregor of Scotland. Pic: Getty 

One of them – unveiled last month against France but curtailed after Hernanes’ first-half red card – was high pressure marking, attempting to win possession deep in the opposition half.

At one point this nearly turned a goal-kick for Scotland into a goal for Brazil, and several times Menezes’ men won the ball in dangerous positions.

With his team compact in Scotland’s half, the virtues of Menezes’ 4-2-3-1 formation started to appear.

The holding midfielder Lucas Leiva was able to pop up in attack as an occasional element of surprise.

There was also a constant quest to create two against one situations down the flanks, with Jadson and Daniel Alves down the right and, especially, with Andre Santos and Neymar down the left – the route of the latter’s gloriously taken opening goal.

And, for the first time since the World Cup, there was a genuine old fashioned number nine. Absent through injury this time, Alexandre Pato scored in all three of Menezes’ first games in charge. But for all his talent, it is debatable whether he is ideally suited to the central striker’s role in a 4-2-3-1. He is more of a fluid runner than a penalty area presence.

The same is not true of Leandro Damiao, the 21-year-old who made his debut against Scotland. As recently as December, he was a substitute for Internacional in the Club World Cup.

Damiao’s rise has been meteoric. He was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet against the Scots, provided a threat in the air and helped create space for Neymar.

It is way too early to know whether Damiao will be the long-term owner of the number nine shirt. What seems clear, though, is that a player of his type – which could still be World Cup striker Luis Fabiano should his return to Sao Paulo be a success – will always be in the thoughts of Menezes when he puts his team together.

But if Brazil are moving towards fielding an old style centre forward, Argentina are going in the opposite direction.

Argentina's Esteban Cambiasso celebrates his goal with team-mate Lionel Messi A 79,000 crowd was at the Meadowlands Stadium to see Messi – photo: Reuters. 

Against the United States on Saturday, as in last month’s meeting with Portugal, coach Sergio Batista selected his side without a target man.

Instead, in an imitation of the role he has been playing for Barcelona, Lionel Messi is being employed in a 4-3-3 formation as a false number nine, with freedom to roam between midfield and attack.

Either side of Messi, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Angel Di Maria open up the field with their speedy flank play. Behind him, Ever Banega is the key link – the Xavi of Batista’s South American Barcelona.

For the first 45 minutes against the US, Argentina were worthy of the comparison. They played some scintillating stuff, with Messi exchanging passes at breathtaking pace and angles with Banega and Lavezzi.

The US defended doggedly, but were held in a stranglehold, and were fortunate to be just one goal down at the interval. It was embarrassingly one sided.

But the final score was 1-1. Batista’s men could not maintain their pressing for the full 90 minutes, and with more aggressive intent the US managed to carry the game into the Argentina half – at which point some long-standing defensive weaknesses were shown up.

Poor defending in the air and sub-standard goalkeeping helped the US equalise. It would have been greatly against the run of play, but the US could even have snatched a winner.

Batista must surely be reflecting on how such first-half superiority could not be turned into more goals. Does he need to rethink the balance of his attack?

A penalty-area specialist would surely have capitalised on those periods of Argentina domination when the ball kept flashing across the face of the goal. And indeed, the currently injured Gonzalo Higuain remains an important option.

Going back to a target man, though, would interfere with Batista’s imitation of Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona, since it would reduce the space available for Messi to cut through the middle.

But there is a figure in the Barcelona attack that Batista’s side are not currently replicating. David Villa is not a traditional centre forward. He does much of his best work cutting in from the flanks. But he is a penalty-area operator – much more so than ether Lavezzi or Di Maria.

There is an obvious candidate to carry out the Villa role for Argentina – Sergio Aguero, a surprising omission from the current squad. Diego Maradona’s son-in-law has the speed to work wide and the restricted space skills to be effective in the penalty area.

Aguero has not played for his country since coming off the bench to score against Spain last September. But the Atletico Madrid striker could have an important part to play in Argentina’s Barcelona imitation.

A brilliant article as you would expect from Tim. I completely agree with him on the fact that Aguero would be crucial for the Argentina team if they are to imitate the Barca Style. Some people may say why dont Argentina play like they do always and why do they want to imitate other teams. To answer their question, I would first point out the fact that the current Barca team is the tipped to be the club side ever. And so there is nothing wrong in imitating them considering the fact that you have the player who is key to that style of football , Lionel Messi. Messi has been grown in that system and to make full use of him Argentina need to adopt that style of play. Lets hope Batisita brings in Sergio Aguero. I was really surprised when he was left out.

Anyway, thanks to Tim Vickery and the BBC.

Steve.

Clearing IM and Call History in Skype


Skype is a very popular IM and Voice chat application that has a fast growing user community. It provides high voice clarity and so many other features like IM, file transfer, photo sharing and much more features through the various Extras (Plugins). Skype by default stores all our call history and IM chat history. This can be a problem sometimes. The whole window looks pretty messy with all that old chats and conversation histories. And whenever you send an IM to a person you get annoyed by the old messages.

Skype developers havent included the History Clear option explicitly. But it is buried within the options window. But it is easy to clear it.

Just goto Tools -> Options. Now in the Options window, select Privacy tab from the right pane. Then select privacy settings sub tab. In that under the third section you have got the option to clear History and to specify for how long history must be stored.

This image will help you do this…

Clear Skype History

This might seem to be a pretty easy thing. But many of us don’t know about this. So, if you found this useful please leave a comment below.

Thank you,

Steve Robinson.

Bypassing School/College Firewall


College and School Computer Centre Admins do their best to irritate students by blocking several websites like Facebook, Youtube etc. using firewalls or Content Filtering softwares. But as in any security scheme, there are workarounds. Some of them are highly popular and reliable. Even though the admins know these techniques, most of them don’t take the effort to block these techniques. So there is a big chance that your admins might also come under this category. There are many techniques to by-pass firewall protection and web-filtering. But I’m giving you three techniques that are highly reliable and have a high success rate.

Preliminary Checks…

First and foremost ensure that there is no admin or staff is behind you and choose a terminal (PC) that is away from their view. Next, never have friends who cant keep their mouth shut. Keep this to yourself. Then, the most important thing you will be needing to do all sort of dirty jobs is the Command Prompt. An average computer user would never dare to even open it let alone work with it. But for a computer geek like you and me, it opens up a whole new world. So first verify whether your admin has blocked the cmd prompt or not. You can do this by just opening run from start menu or using “Windows Key + R” shortcut. Then in the run window type ‘cmd’ without quotes and press Enter. If it is not blocked, a black console screen should open up. If it shows a message that it has been blocked don’t worry, there are several ways to access it. So, if you have access to the cmd prompt I advice you to skip the following paragraph.

Heres a simple and reliable technique that should work in all computers. Open Notepad and type the following line in it.

command.com

Save it as “filename.bat”. (the .bat extension is very  important). Save it anywhere you have permission to save files. Then run it by double clicking it. And Voila! The command prompt should have opened up. Its working directory would be the directory in which you saved the bat file.

Now lets move on to the main course…

Bypassing the web filters…

I’ll give two methods that are used mostly first and then I’ll give you the one that I feel is the most reliable.

Method 1: This method involves the usage of a Web Translator service like Google Translate etc. Just go there and type the URL (address) of the website that you would like to access. Now select any “From” language other than English (say, French, Danish etc.) and select “To” language as English. A link to that address will be displayed on the right side panel. Just Click it and you will be able to access the website.

Method 2: This method is the classical approach. Here you make use of a very useful tool called as the proxy server. Many of us really don’t know what the web proxy is. Its nothing. It’s just a remote server through which we can access other servers (websites). But the local computer (the one which we use) doesn’t know the terminal server that we are accessing (the website accessed through proxy server). It only knows that we are accessing the proxy server. And the server that hosts the website that we are viewing also doesn’t know your actual IP address (the address of the computer from which you are viewing it). So you can easily mask yourself and the remote server that you are accessing behind a proxy website that looks harmless and hence is normally not blocked in schools and colleges. I wanted to limit the usage of jargons in this article because I wanted to reach school students who may not know their meaning. But I couldn’t help it. I want to explain everything in full depth. And hence the usage of jargons is unavoidable. So please excuse me. But I have added links to Wikipedia pages describing those jargons 🙂 . I found this wonderful image on Wikipedia that should explain by itself what a proxy server is.

Anyways, so to use this method, first you need to visit a proxy website. There are numerous proxy sites on the internet. Google can help you find them(click here). Go there and just type in the website you need to access in the text box given there and you can gain access to the desired website.

Method 3: This is the most reliable method that I was talking about. This method requires you to make use of the command prompt. Open it if you have access to it or follow my instructions that I gave in the above section if your admin has blocked it. Now after opening the command prompt type in the following command.

ping  www.websiteaddress.com

Replace http://www.websiteaddress.com with the URL of the website you would like to access. Now after that, you will see some messages being displayed on the screen. For those who are curious about what those messages mean I’ll explain it. What you are doing now is, you are “pinging” the remote server (the website). Pinging means sending a defined number of bytes (packets) to a server and finding the amount of time it takes for it to be transmitted and received (round trip). That time is displayed as, say, 56 ms (milliseconds). So this is a measure of latency between your computer and the remote server.

But we don’t need that data. All we need is the IP address of the website.  The IP address is the number with four fields separated by dots. Its like the pin code in your address. For those who want to know more about  the IP address ,click here.

For example, I ran the command “ping http://www.google.com” and I got the following output:

Ping Output.

So the number, 209.85.231.104 is the IP address of Google Server (The server hosting Google.co.in website).  Dont worry about the green colour. It may appear as black and grey for you. I just altered the colour scheme to give a Sci-fi effect. Just note it down or copy it (To copy in Command prompt, right-click the title bar of the window and select properties. Then check the Quick Edit mode check box under the Options tab. Then apply it and then click and drag out a selection of the text that you want to copy and just right-click over it and it should be copied to the clip board). Now that you have got the IP address, just enter it or paste it in the address box of your web browser. Eg, to access google.com, using the IP address that we got above, type in ” http://209.85.231.104 “. Then you can browse the website without any problem at all.

I want to teach you guys (for those who don’t know) an important concept. Actually the web-servers and the websites are identified and located by their IP ADDRESSES. But memorizing IP address is a tough job. So engineers came up with a cool technique called Domain Name System. By this way, the websites were assigned human readable and remember-able text addresses called domain names (eg. http://www.google.com). And then servers called Domain Name Servers (DNS) were used to resolve or translate these domain names into the corresponding IP address so that the website can be reached. So this is the concept behind this technique. The Local computer that you are accessing has a Web Filter software that knows only the domain name (i.e. google.com) but not the IP address. So if you can find the IP address, then you can browse to that website without using domain names and hence the Filter doesn’t know where you are browsing to.

Regards,

Steve Rob.

Disclaimer: This article is for informative and educational purposes only. This is not intended to aid any sort of crimes and the author will not be held responsible for any actions committed by the readers.

Python Programming


I was always interested to know how to program in Python. But I never had the opportunity to learn it. But today I read a blog and was so inspired that I want to learn this language which is now growing in popularity because of its ease of use and powerful nature. I was very happy when I found a Intro like tutorial in the same blog for Python. I recommend my readers to learn that tutorial if you are interested in learning python.

Here is the url:Python Tutorial

Thank you,
Steve.

UEFA Champions League Quarter Finals Draw


Today, the UEFA Champions league quarter final fixtures were drawn and it resulted in many intriguing ties. Gary Linekar, the Ambassador for this year’s Champions league final at Wembley, and ofcourse the Golden Boot winner in the 1986 World Cup and England’s 2nd all time top scorer, was invited to make the draws. The draw took place at Nyon, France at about 11:00 GMT [4:30 IST], UEFA General Secretary, Gianni Infantino was the host for the day. The draw took place at Nyon, Switzerland at about 11:00 GMT [4:30 IST]. Representatives from each of the 8 clubs including their ambassadors were present at the draw ceremony.

The names of the teams were enclosed in small balls and were kept in a bowl waiting to be drawn by Gary. The first team drawn will play the first leg at home. The first team to be drawn was Real Madrid, the 9 time European Cup winners.  Surely everyone would want to avoid them. And the next team drawn was Tottenham Hotspur. Certainly an intriguing fixture. Next up was Chelsea and surprisingly they were drawn against their arch-rivals Manchester United. Certainly one to relish. Then it was FC Barcelona, the team that everyone wanted to avoid and they were literally “awarded” with a tie against Shaktar Donetsk, the team that most teams would be happy to be drawn against. Then holders Inter were drawn against German side Schalke 04. The draw for the Semi Finals were also made. There were some really amazing ties. Lets discuss about them later. So the draw is as follows.

Champions League draw – Quarter-finals

Real Madrid (Spain) v Tottenham Hotspur (England)
Chelsea (England) v Manchester United (England)
Barcelona (Spain) v Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)
Inter Milan (Italy) v Schalke 04 (Germany)

Champions League draw – Semi-finals

Inter/Schalke v Chelsea/Man Utd
Real Madrid/Tottenham v Barcelona/Shakhtar

First off, Real against Tottenham. Brilliant fixture for those lovers of attacking and fast football. Spurs are in their maiden Champions League campaign and are doing really well having qualified from a tough group that contained holders Inter and German giants Werder Bremen. They played brilliantly against Inter and the performance of Gareth Bale earned him high praise from legends of the game. And Real are now gelling together. They are a relatively new bunch. Most players were bought in this season or the season before. Jose Mourinho seemed to have found the formula for the team. Karim Benzema who had been criticized for his poor peformances is now hitting toop form in the absence of Gonzalo Higuain. But we cannot rule out a Spurs win here. They have a very good chance of producing an upset since they play the second leg at home.

Chelsea vs United – I need not say anything about this match. The Premier League rivals will battle it out again in  the Champions League. They last met at the 2008 Champions League final when John Terry missed a crucial penalty in a penalty shoot out which was eventually won by United. Chelsea have lost significant ground in the Premier League  race this term so they will be concentrating on winning the Champions league. They have already beaten united once at home this season. But this meeting will be totally different and I cant wait to see the game.

Barcelona vs Shaktar Donetsk – This season’s Barca team has been prasied as the best Club side ever by many pundits and footballers. They have been absolutely sublime in all competitions. All their players are at the peak of their careers. And they have completely mastered the art of passing football. Lionel Messi has been crucial to their success. He has scored 45+ goals already this season and is destined to break many records. So all other teams wanted to avoid them. Unfortunately Shaktar were drawn against them. Shaktar themselves are not pushovers. This is their best ever performance in the CL making it to the QFs for the first time. They have a well balanced team. In defence they have the discipline of Eastern European Defenders and in attack they have the flair and skill of the Brazilians.  Their star players have been Croatia Full back Darijo Srna, Cratian Eduardo, the Brazilians Jadson and Willian among others. So they will be  tough opponents but Barca are favorites to go through.

Finally Schalke vs Internazionale, the repeat of the 1997 Uefa Cup final. Inter will be facing German oppositon twice in a row having met Bayern Munich in the last round. This will be a tight affair. Inter have been on top form lately and they are certainly favorites to go through.

The Semi Finals draw added more spice to the Competition. The First semi final will be contested between Chelsea/United vs Inter/Schalke. If Inter win their tie they will face opposition whom they met recently in the competition. The second SemiFinal has more potential for explosiveness. Barca/Shaktar vs Real/Spurs. This tie is destined to be an El Classico between the spanish giants. One thing is for sure, there wont be an all Spanish Final. We will wait and see who makes it to the finals and then to glory at the Glorious Wembley Park.

The dates for the Matches are,

Quarter-finals: April 5, 6 and 12, 13
Semi-finals: April 26, 27 and May 3, 4
Final (Wembley): May 28

I personally cant wait to see the United – Chelsea game. As a Chelsea fan I fancy Chelsea to go through over two legs. Lets hope Fernando Torres starts scoring.

Steve.

Recursion (Recursion);


It intrigues me whenever I read about the recursion concept. We are all interested by its ability and its definition! I recently came across some interesting definitions or statements about Recursion.

The following entry is an entry in a imaginary dictionary.

Recursion n.
See. Recursion.

Brilliant isnt it??

The following quote is the best statement that describes recursion AFAIC.

“In order to understand Recursion, one must first understand Recursion”

Superb Statement!!

Anyway, Recursion is brilliant, and always has something new to offer.

PS: I was busy with my exams for two weeks. So, I couldn’t post anything on my blog.

 

Steve.