Monthly Archives: October 2011

Alex Higgins 69 Break: Crucible, Sheffield 1982

Contender for greatest snooker break ever under pressure, in the semi against a young Jimmy White. Higgins went on to win his second (and final) world title that year.

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Why are New Zealand so good at rugby?

Excellent article from Tom Fordyce looking at the place of rugby in NZ culture, and how they train their kids up across the age groups.

Why are New Zealand so good at rugby?
Tom Fordyce
BBC Sport
21/10/2011

Since the start of Test rugby, the All Blacks have a win percentage of almost 75%. No-one else gets close. Not South Africa at 62%, nor France at 55%. Certainly not England, Australia or Wales with 53%, 52% and 51% respectively. Since Graham Henry took charge of the national team in 2004, New Zealand’s win percentage has climbed to a staggering 85%. How has one small nation dominated the sport for so long? What makes New Zealanders so good at rugby?

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Carlos Alberto’s goal v Italy, 1970 World Cup Final

Probably the greatest ever team goal.

Here’s a description of the goal: A total of 8 outfield players from Brazil passed the ball until Captain Carlos Alberto hammered the ball into the corner of the Italian goal following an inch perfect pass across the Italian 18 yard box from Pelé, prompted by the intelligent Tostão, who, with his back to the goal, told Pelé that Alberto was steaming in on the right flank. Tostão started the move 5 yards from the left of the Brazilian 18 yard box, then ran the length of the field to the Italian box without touching the ball again to tell Pelé to lay it off for Alberto. The players involved in the passes in order were Tostão, Brito, Clodoaldo, Pelé, Gérson, defender Clodoaldo beat 4 Italian players in his own half before passing to Rivelino who hit a perfect pass down the wing to Jairzinho. Jairzinho crossed from the wing to the centre of the box to Pelé who held the ball up to play a pass for Alberto to smash it home. The only outfield players not involved in the move were Everaldo and Piazza.

My favourite bit is actually at 7″ in this clip, where Clodoaldo doesn’t just beat four Italians (the best defenders in the world) in four seconds, he makes absolute fools of them. It’s the equivalent of what Phil Bennett does to the New Zealanders at 36″ in the great 1973 Barbarians try.

So one of the questions that comes to mind is “exactly when did Carlos Alberto start running, then?”. He himself gives the answer here.

Actually Gerson’s second goal for Brazil wasn’t far short of Alberto’s in quality, though clearly that was individual rather than team brilliance.