Chapter 626: Legendary Coach (Finale)
Dai Li stayed with the Rams for three days. He used the System’s detector to observe the daily training of the players. He obtained a preliminary basic understanding of the physical aspects of the NFL players.
Dai Li had worked in the NBA before, so he unintentionally compared the NFL and NBA players. After comparing them, he found that NFL players were much stronger.
For example, the quarterback of the NFL and the point guard of the NBA were both the players that organized an offense. In the NBA, however, the strongest point guard’s physical stats were only the stats of an average NFL quarterback. The bodies of point guards could even be said to be slightly inferior. Among NFL quarterbacks, the average 6-foot-tall athlete was 220 pounds. For point guards, the average 6-foot-tall athlete weighed 198 pounds.
Of course, in the NFL, the white quarterbacks’ physical stats were slightly worse than black quarterbacks’. Based on Dai Li’s calculations, black quarterbacks were stronger than most NBA small forwards.
The forwards with the best physical traits in the NBA had bodies similar to the wide receivers or cornerbacks of the NFL. They were a little weaker than the tight ends and the defensive linemen.
As for centers in the NBA, their physical strength was inferior to the guards and nose tackles and they were way weaker than the 330 pound centers in the NFL.
Lebron James was a wide receiver when he played American football and he once played as a tight end. He did not have any physical advantage as a tight end, so he might as well played as a wide receiver. He was without a doubt a nightmare for short cornerbacks.
To prove his judgment, Dai Li found the test scores of the NFL rookies that year and compared them with the scores of NBA rookies.
In terms of basic physical stats, NFL rookies were not taller than six-foot two-inches; NBA rookies had an average height of six-foot seven-inches.
In terms of weight, NFL rookies weighed, on average, 242 pounds, and NBA rookies weighed 215 pounds.
To compare them, NFL rookies were slightly shorter but significantly heavier. Clearly, NFL rookies were stronger.
The comparison in strength had the widest gap. NFL rookies benched an average of 225 pounds 20.8 times, while NBA rookies benched 185 pounds 8.4 times.
Then, he looked at their jumps. The average maximum vertical leap of NFL rookies was 33.6 inches while for the NBA rookies, it was 35.3 inches.
In terms of sprinting speed, in the 40-yard dash, NFL rookies averaged 4.8 seconds. NBA rookies sprinted three-fourths of the basketball court, which was smaller, and their average time was 3.3 seconds.
Dai Li calculated it and found that NFL players must run a little less than 10 yards in a second.
Only high-level professional track and field athletes could do this. With Dai Li’s knowledge of the NBA, practically none of the NBA players could reach this level.
This series of stats showed that NFL athletes really did have much stronger bodies compared to the NBA players.
Of course, NBA players had something NFL players lacked, technique. Basketball was more based on skills and techniques. Professional basketball players mainly focused their attention on improving their skills and not on improving their bodies.
The fitness training for football was much more complicated than basketball or soccer.
Football players were divided into offensive teams, defensive teams, and special teams, and each had their own responsibilities. The offensive team played on offense, the defensive on defense, and at kick off or when the team wanted to punt, the special team came in.
The offensive team and the defensive team each had 11 players. That made 22 players. Added to that were the kicker, punter, holder, long snapper, gunner, and others from the special team. Apart from that, there were the substitutes for each position. For a team to play one game, they needed at least than 30 players. Moreover, all 30 of these players had the opportunity to play in the game.
Based on NFL rules, a the most players a team could have on their roster was 53. Even if that was so, in an NFL season, there were still times where teams lacked players.
It was too easy to get injured playing football. Although they only played one game every week, there were still many injured players. Many of those injuries were season-long. For example, the running back, who dashed towards a huge bunch of players, could very easily get hurt. They were basically expendable. Among the running backs of the 32 teams, less than one-third could play all 16 games without getting injured.
It was due to the high expenditure of players that the NFL draft had seven rounds. 32 teams could produce 224 rookies. Moreover, even rookies drafted in the fifth or sixth round had opportunities to play. It was different than the NBA because NBA rookies drafted in the earlier stages of the second round were considered lucky to play at all.
The high probability of injury made football players heavily rely on physical and fitness training.
At the same time, because the offensive, defensive, and punting team each had their own responsibilities and players of every position had their own tasks, the training of each individual player was very specific.
For the quarterback, the most important focus of training was arm strength. A top quarterback could pass the ball rooted on the spot without any momentum for a distance of 50 yards. If he did not possess a powerful arm, it was impossible.
The kick returner needed speed. The faster they were, the better. It was like Forrest in the movie Forrest Gump. He was selected by the University of Alabama because he ran fast, and he became the returner of the team.
Then there were the running backs. There were the strong running backs that rushed to break through the last line of defense and gain the last one or two yards. Even if people were in front of them, they still had to rush forward. This required strength and explosiveness. There were also shorter and more flexible running backs who were good at finding gaps in the defense and quickly going through those gaps. Just focusing on running backs, different players required different types of physical fitness training.
Of course, this training could not defeat Dai Li. The best coach in the world would not be daunted by such a task.
It was the first weekend in January. The finals of the American and National Leagues had become the focus of the NFL playoff season.
The NFL playoffs were more brutal than the NBA playoffs. Both the American League and the National League had 16 teams. Only the top six made it to the playoffs. The NBA Eastern and Western Conferences each had 15 teams and the top eight made it to
In comparison, advancing in the NFL was much more difficult. The competition was naturally fiercer.
The six teams that made it through were scheduled to play according to their ranks in the regular season. Third place would play against the sixth place, fourth against five. It was called the wild card race. The first two ranked teams did not play this first round. They waited until the second round and played against the teams that won the previous rounds. After that, the winners duked it out in their respective league finals.
This meant that the first and second ranked team played one game less than the other four teams. They could await their exhausted enemies at ease. Do not underestimate the positive effects of being able to play one game less. Football was an intense and extremely physical sport. Every game was like a war. If one was able to rest for a week and play one less game, it was an amazing advantage!
None of the wild card teams since 2003 ever made it to the Superbowl. The Superbowl competitors were all teams that rested an extra week and played one game less. This was enough to prove the importance of that one week of rest.
Games in the NFL playoffs were decided in one game. In the NBA, teams played in a seven game series. This left the games more to chance. Teams with good results during the regular season lost during the playoffs all the time.
The finals of the American and National Leagues were already the highest level battles in football. The two highest level battles in one day made the fans incredibly excited.
For people from Los Angeles, today was another day to party.
The home stadium of the Rams was located in Inglewood, Los Angeles. At the moment, although the game had not yet started, the 120,000 seats inside the stadium had been filled.
Suddenly, cheers erupted from one side of the stadium and, soon, the cheers spread throughout the entire stadium.
The fans had already gotten word that the American League final had just ended. The other Los Angeles team, the Chargers, had defeated their opponents and become the champion of the American League. By doing so, they earned themselves a spot in the Superbowl.
If the Rams also defeated their opponent, that meant that two Los Angeles teams would play against each other in the Superbowl. The Superbowl this year would be won by Los Angeles in advance!
The Superbowl could be the Rams versus the Chargers, a inner-city competition! This was something that was worth celebrating for the fans of Los Angeles!
NFL teams were not divided according to whether they were in the East or the West, so same city competitions were possible. Only two cities, however, had two teams. One was New York and the other was Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Chargers and the Rams were in the American League and the National league. The New York Jets and Giants were also split between the two leagues. Strictly speaking, the Giants and the Jets could not be considered from New York because the Giants’ and the Jets’ home stadium was not in New York, but in New Jersey. Based on the geography, the Giants and the Jets were both teams from New Jersey. They just used the name New York.
By the time the players of the Rams got on the field, they already knew that the Chargers, who were from the same city had already achieved victory. The other team from the same city had already got their ticket to the Superbowl, it was motivating as well as it was pressuring.
If the Rams were to win this game, then the Superbowl was guaranteed to stay in Los Angeles. By then, they would definitely be hailed as the heroes of Los Angeles and perhaps, in future Superbowls, citizens of Los Angeles would reminisce about this year. They would remember the Los Angeles Rams and the Rams would firmly place their roots here in Los Angeles and become a true Los Angeles team.
There were two minutes left in the game and it was an official timeout.
The score was 41 to 32. The Rams had a nine-point lead and they had possession of the ball.
This meant that the game had already ended.
In football, one attack could gain, at most, eight points. A lead of nine points could only be beaten by two attacks. In the remaining time, there was not enough time to complete two attacks.
The fans had already started to celebrate. The Rams had won the National League championship, which meant that the Superbowl was won by Los Angeles. The Superbowl, which was in two weeks, belonged to the city.
At the same time, in Manhattan, Professor Luck sat in front of his TV. He went into deep thought as he looked at the scoreline that was broadcasted.
Professor Luck worked at Columbia University. He was a faculty member of the Department of Sports Management. Among the universities in the U.S., not many schools had that major. Columbia University was among the best with the major.
Of course, as one of the top schools in the U.S., Columbia University had multiple world-class programs.
In truth, both sides in the game had made some errors, but they were not fatal errors. At most, if they would be penalized for a few yards, there was not even any error that led to a change in possession.
As for tactical execution, both sides were top-class. Football demanded tactical execution among its players. Players that did not adhere to tactical plans would never make it in the NFL.
The cooperation between the players was also very good on both sides. These were teams that made it to the finals of their individual leagues. At the very least, they had more than ten wins during the regular season. The players had already built up chemistry as they won games during the regular season.
In terms of tactics, both sides were very transparent. After all, everyone was a top-class team, so they knew everything about each other. It was like in the NBA, the better their results, the fewer secrets they had. Everyone would know how they played.
Football was the same. NFL teams had an entire week between each of their games, so it was more than sufficient for the coaching staff to research and understand the tactics of their opponents. They produced a set of tactics to restrain their opponents. They even considered how their opponents would try to restrain them, then think up another strategy or tactic to counter that.
In all aspects of the game, both sides did great, but the Rams ultimately led by nine points.
“The difference is in the linemen!” Luck mumbled to himself.
From Luck’s professional perspective, the Rams won because of their linemen. Whether it was the offensive or defensive linemen, the Rams were at a higher level.
The Rams defensive linemen were stronger. They had the league’s best defensive lineman, who produced 20 blitzes in a season. It was definitely a nightmare for quarterbacks.
In that game, their performance had surpassed their average level throughout the season. Three blitzes totally destroyed and delayed the opponent’s rhythm.
The Rams’ defensive end also performed nicely, not allowing even a yard when the opponent tried to rush through.In the end, they could only retreat.
As for the offensive linemen, the Rams’ offensive end and offensive tackle always held their line and kept the opponent’s defensive linemen tangled, giving their quarterback enough time to observe the positions of the wide receivers before completing his pass.
The defensive linemen could defend an extra one or two yards while the offensive linemen gave the offensive team an extra one or two yards. The end result might just be one extra first down or perhaps one extra kick. The nine point lead came from them.
The linemen of football had the most direct physical battles. The wide receivers, the running backs of the offensive team, and the cornerbacks would be involved in direct and intense physical battles when they had the ball. It was the linemen who were involved in intense physical battles during every attack.
As Luck thought of that, he went to his computer and searched for half a day. Finally, he found a news article from last year.
I remembered right after all. The Rams handed over their physical fitness training to that Olympic coach! The Rams’ linemen becoming so strong was probably the coach’s achievement!
In the next second, Luck seemed to have suddenly noticed something.
The Rams outsourced their physical fitness training to a professional physical fitness training center and the effect was excellent. It looks like they will be headed to the Superbowl. Apart from that, the Chargers already made it through. The Chargers’ physical fitness training was also conducted by Coach Li. The reason these two Los Angeles teams will face off against each other in the Superbowl is Dai Li!
The fitness training standard of a professional team is without a doubt inferior to those of a world-class physical fitness training center, so the Rams and Chargers received better physical training. Looks like outsourcing their physical fitness training to a professional center was a success for them.
Since this worked football, it should be fine in other types of sports, right? Basketball, hockey, and baseball. These sports are not as physically demanding as football. If it worked in American football, it should also work in other sports!
Not only physical fitness training but other types of training could also refer to this type of method. Rehabilitation and technical training could all be outsourced to more professional coaches. The coaches of the team would only be responsible for creating the structure of the tactical system.
Perhaps I can conduct research on this new type of training model, and after that, write a dissertation on this…
In Holland, Holland’s National Men’s Soccer Team’s head coach, Roman, held a sports magazine from the U.S. in his hands.
Americans were not as passionate about soccer as Europeans or South Americans, but the U.S. was one of the strongest countries in the world when it came to sports. Even if the four major sports league of the U.S. did not include soccer, Roman still hoped to learn something from the four major sports leagues of the U.S. Perhaps it could be used in soccer.
Roman was a famous soccer legend from Holland. When he was young, he played for powerhouses like Barcelona. After he became a coach, he coached in Eindhoven, Valencia, Everton, and various top-class professional soccer teams in Europe. He could be considered a world-class coach and, at his level, was certainly capable of drawing inferences about other cases from one instance. He could absorb ideas from other sports and, after modifying them slightly, use it in football.
Finally, Roman saw Professor Luck’s article.
“It’s Professor Luck from Columbia University. I know this guy, he’s an expert in sports management. He is pretty famous in the U.S.,” Roman mumbled to himself. He proceeded to read the article seriously.
A new training method for professional teams? Head coach would only be responsible for formulating the tactical structure and system? Will this work? The Rams outsourced their physical fitness training to a professional fitness training team? Is this a joke?
At first glance, Roman thought the things mentioned in the article was ludicrous. After all, he used to work as the head coach for several first-rate soccer clubs in Europe. Every time, he formed his team. Of course, the other first-rate soccer coaches also did the same, they all had their own teams. No matter which club they went to, the coaching staff could handle all kinds of training and not look to others for help.
After a while, Roman fell into deep thought.
The Rams outsourced their physical fitness training to a professional physical fitness training center, I remember last month the Rams won the Superbowl…
Roman then reread the article seriously. After that, he felt that the article made a lot of sense.
Disregarding physical fitness training, if one were to look at Europe as a whole, top-class physical fitness coaches were limited. Most of them had already been obtained by Real Madrid, Barcelona, and various other powerhouses. Average teams or normal coaching teams would not be able to recruit the best fitness coaches, so handing over physical fitness training to third-parties with more expertise was not something that would not work for average teams.
In terms of technique or skills training, third-party involvement was not something new. For example, shooting, free kicks, and dribbling techniques were trained through technical coaches.
It was not only soccer, but other types of sports had similar situations. Some NBA Hall of Famer would organize training camps to teach players techniques of a center. As long as one was willing to pay the tuition fee, one could even learn the “dream footwork.” Of course, while many had paid the fees to learn the “dream footwork,” none had come to master it.
In truth, as the head coach of a team, one could not usually choose their players. It was difficult for head coaches to get the players they liked. The makeup of the team was decided by the club owner. Many times, from a commercial point of view, teams would even get players that did not fit the system of the team at all.
In times like these, the head coach would have to show his ability. He used tactics to adjust and mediate, to make sure that players could integrate into the tactical system. High-level coaches were able to transform useless people into magical beings. Weak or bad coaches, would lose even if they were given the lineup of Real Madrid or Barcelona.
It was like the game Dou Dizhu. A player had no say in the card he was getting, but the player got to decide how to play the hand he was dealt. A good player would not lose badly even if he were given the worst hand, but a bad player would still lose even if he were dealt the best possible hand.
From this perspective, the main work of the coaching team was really to focus on structuring tactical systems. As for the makeup of the team, the coaching team had the authority to make suggestions, but they did not have the final say.
Perhaps the success of the Rams was a special case… Roman continued thinking. American football has a higher demand on the body than soccer. From another perspective, if it worked in American football, then it should work for soccer as well!”
Roman could not help but think about his team. These young fellows were excellent, what they lacked right now was fitness training.
Dutch soccer was filled with contradiction because they were the “Uncrowned King.”
It sounded like a compliment, but it speaks more to the mistakes made in Dutch soccer than the greatness of it..
Currently, soccer in Holland was in short supply. They did not make it into the last World Cup and the previous Dutch head coach resigned. Roman was the new head coach of the Dutch team.
The Dutch team that Roman took over was not really a bad bunch. Although the players of the golden era of the Dutch team had grown old, the current Dutch national team had many players playing in the five major football leagues in Europe. The Dutch team was still a top-rated team in Europe. The only problem was that the current Dutch team did not have a world-class superstar.
The team was in the midst of lowering the average age of the players. The team had many players who were not even 25 yet. Although they came from the five major soccer leagues in Europe, many of them were not the key players on their teams. A team like this, when compared to the previous Dutch team filled with shining stars, was bound to lose.
This team defeated the French and German teams not that long ago. It was as if they were declaring to the world that Dutch soccer had revived.
Roman knew that the Dutch team was still far away from glory! These young players still had a long way to go.
In terms of match experience, Roman was not worried. Most players who came from the European football powerhouses grew up in a soccer environment. They would have started playing soccer before they entered primary school. In that kind of environment in Europe, games were abundant in every age group. Those who were on the Dutch national team did not lack experience.
In terms of skills and techniques, Roman had even less to worry about. The Dutch team had always played technical football. Exquisite footwork was the special characteristic of Dutch soccer, no soccer players originating from Holland had crude skills.
Roman was worried about tactics. Roman’s current tactical system relied on the athleticism of the players.
The previous World Cup redefined the role of big target forwards and, at the same time, it redefined another keyword in modern soccer, “high intensity.”
Soccer was not a trick show, a circus, nor was it a drama. It was a high-intensity competitive sport.
If one’s skills were lacking, then one could use big players with high endurance that relied on defense to defeat strong teams.
Those with good skills would require exceptional athleticism. They would be able to freely use all kinds of tactics to destroy their opponents.
The big and athletic players who were also skilled shone brightly during the World Cup.
As for the players who were skilled but were not big or those who were skilled but were not athletic, they were targeted and restrained.
Roman thought that this was a trend in soccer. A bunch of big athletic players, whose skill with the ball was good but not great They had a physical advantage on the field,and they could limit their opponents in both attacks and defense.
Roman created his team’s tactical system based on these standards.
What the current Dutch team lacked most was truly exceptional athleticism, so they needed the best fitness training.
Perhaps I should head to the U.S. and personally see just how good this Coach Li is!
Dai Li had been very happy lately. When the Los Angeles Rams won the Superbowl, his System leveled up once again. He went from being a celebrated coach to a legendary coach.
After becoming a legendary coach, a store appeared in the System. Within the store, he could exchange for various skill books. He could also exchange for more expendable items like the age reduction cards and athlete’s patch.
At the same time, the reward for the legendary coach was that all athletes under him would have a five percent increase in their ability.
For normal athletes, a five percent increase was not a lot. For world-class athletes, a one percent increase was already immensely difficult. A five percent ability increase was almost beyond the limits of human biology.
On the world stage, a five percent increase was enough to affect who the winner would be.
If, during the final of a world-class competition, the ability of the athletes were all similar, and suddenly, one of the contestants’ strengths improved by five percent, the balance for victory would be broken.
Dai Li wanted to find a huge competition to test just how strong this five percent increase was. It was regrettable that the Olympics were far away and Dai Li could not find any suitable opportunity.
At that moment, Roman came to visit.
As such, Dai Li took over the fitness training of the Dutch Men’s National Soccer Team.
The World Cup Qualifiers
The competition in the European region had always been the fiercest.
Based on the rules of qualifying for the World Cup, the 54 European countries were divided into nine groups. Every group had six teams and, after the grouping, teams played group matches at home and away. The first-ranked team of each group would directly qualify for the World Cup. The remaining best eight teams would play extra games and fight for the remaining spots.
In the qualifier grouping, Holland was seeded second. In the end, they successfully qualified for the World Cup by being the best in their group.
This result did not exceed people’s expectations. There were no weak teams in Europe. At least in the European qualifiers, teams that were placed in the top three levels of seeding did not really have a huge gap in terms of strength. One was not definitively stronger than the other.
Dutch soccer was always among the best in Europe. Holland had beaten the powerhouses of Europe, like France, Spain or Germany.
In the World Cup grouping, Holland also got a decent group. In the same group, there was another European team, an Asian team, and an African team. For Holland, the African and Asian teams were free wins. Holland was already guaranteed six points, and there seemed to be no problems in terms of getting through the group stage.
The Asian and African teams were lacking skill. When faced against Western European teams that were more skillful with their feet, they were completely dominated. The Dutch team easily advanced to the knockout stage.
In the first round of the knockout stage, they faced the runner-up of the previous World Cup, Croatia.
In the previous World Cup, Croatia made it into the finals and became the runner-up. They exceeded the expectations of many. Croatia’s success also stimulated discussions about the development of soccer.
Croatian players were generally bigger and they did not have fancy footwork like the South American players. They were not as exquisite as Western Europeans, but they were solid in their fundamentals. These sort of players did not seem to be special when put in the five major European soccer leagues, but it was exactly this group of people that hurt the Argentinians with a three-nil scoreline in the previous World Cup.
There was no need to doubt the skills of the Argentinian players. Fans loved Argentinian soccer. Eight or nine out of ten liked the fancy and flamboyant style of Argentinian soccer players. In Argentina, soccer was not just a sport, it had become beautiful art that people admired. In contrast, Croatian soccer was so simple that it seemed like a big black pot.
The exquisite and beautiful art piece was broken into tiny pieces by the big pot!
Success and failure in sports was determined by the results. The crushing defeat of flamboyant skills by strong physical bodies and, furthermore, the excellent display of strength by big players during that World Cup made many soccer specialists think that perhaps having big and strong players was the newest trend in soccer.
In the knockout stage that came after, Croatia defeated Denmark, eliminated Russia, and pulled England off their high horse. They went into extra time in all three games, and the Croatians fully displayed their endurance.
Because their skills were sufficient, having a big and strong bodies and exceptional endurance put them over the top!
Holland versus Croatia
For both sides, this game was a test.
Nobody expected that the Croatian team, which was famous for their athleticism, would be completely dominated by the Dutch team.
When two players went to head for the ball, the Croatian player failed to jump as high as the Dutch player.
When two players pursued the ball at the same time, the Croatian players were slower than the Dutch players.
When forming walls during free kicks, the Croatians lost the physical battles against the Dutch.
Western European players were stronger than the Eastern European players. It sounded ludicrous, but the truth was there for all to see.
More importantly, the Dutch players showed shocking endurance. Throughout the game, they kept running as if they did not know what fatigue was.
A Dutch team like that reminded people of the “Total Soccer” strategy the Dutch team used back in the day.
This strategy led the way in soccer during that time. The technical and physical demands of the tactic, however, was now too high.
Soccer back then was not as intense and physical as modern day soccer. Players with great stamina could support the entire tactic but, as soccer became more physical and intense, it became impossible. In high-level battles, players did not have as much stamina to run that long.
Although the Dutch team today was not using this strategy, the players still ran with positivity. They were not that inferior to the players back then.
They had strong bodies and sufficient stamina, which were recognized as the future of soccer. When these elements were supplemented with exquisite footwork, a frightening team was instantly created.
It was three to zero. Holland beat Croatia. The previous World Cup runner-up did not have any physical advantage and lost without any suspense.
After that, in the quarterfinals, Holland played against a similarly young English team.
Many ons the Dutch team played in England. England was perhaps the most familiar opponent for the Dutch team.
The English Premier League had always been well-known for its physical nature and English players were great at physical battles. Under the guidance of Dai Li, the Dutch team’s physical ability outmatched Croatia. When faced with the English players, they were on a higher level. In the end, the Dutch team defeated England, two goals to one.
In the semifinals, Holland played against the defending champions, the French.
Four years ago, the French team was ridiculed as an “African team.” This time, the French team went even further, three-fourths of the team were black. One of the key characteristics of this French team was that they had great stamina and these black players were great at running. When paired with their amazing technical skills, the style of play for the French team was certainly amazing.
In truth, the current play of the Dutch team was similar to the French’s. They relied on skills and athleticism and used a penetrative playstyle to destroy their opponents. When comparing the athleticism of black and white players, black athletes generally had an advantage. The French team also had multiple top European stars. As for the stars of the Dutch team, they were clearly a lot darker than the French team.
In the pre-match predictions, everyone favored the French team. Most people thought the score would be two to zero or two to one.
No one expected that by the time the regular game time was over, the final score would be two against two. Then, they went to extra time.
The French team’s attack was amazing, the entire world knew it. The Dutch team displayed similarly amazing attacks and both teams failed to restrain their opposition.
Truth be told, once a technical team gained athleticism, attacking became easier.
The Dutch team was slightly weaker than the French. The French team had so many world-class superstars, their individual abilities were certainly better than the Dutch players’.
Dai Li, however, brought a five percent increase in ability to the Dutch team. Every player experienced an increase in their skills. When put on a team, this sort of increase was exponential. It closed the power gap between the two teams.
How is it that the Dutch are so good at running? The French head coach had a solemn look on his face. He wanted to rush on to the field and scream at the French players to make them run more. He also knew that the French team already ran quite decently. The players had been running for over 100 minutes and they were constantly sprinting. The coach could not be as strict as he was in the beginning.
Their black players were great at running. The French team relied on their exceptional stamina to outmatch their opponents one after another. The head coach of the French team had thought extra time was advantageous for the French team, and that the Dutch would never be able to hold on.
The reality was exactly the opposite. During extra time, the Dutch players ran with even more motivation, they displayed even better stamina and endurance than the French. If this were to continue, the ones that would be dragged down would not be the Dutch but the French!
The head coach of the French team had an ominous feeling, which turned into reality during stoppage time of extra time!
A long ball from the Dutch team flew past half the field. The Dutch forwards quickly rushed forward. Although the French players put in everything to run back to defend, the drop in their stamina was too obvious. Their defense was completely overwhelmed by the Dutch’s speed.
It was a three versus four attack. The Dutch team broke through the French defense and put the ball into the French net at the last moment!
The Dutch team had succeeded in getting to the World Cup finals.
Teams that achieved success in the World Cup attracted more attention. The entire world researched and looked into the reasons for their success.
The Dutch team was no different. When they made it to the World Cup final, the Dutch team became the target of research for soccer professionals all over the globe.
Holland getting to the World Cup final should not have been news. After all, Holland was considered a European powerhouse. For a young Dutch team with barely any player who took part in a World Cup before to make it to the finals was something worth researching.
In truth, the research mentioned was simply a process of looking for something different. Anything the team changed would probably be the reason for the team’s success.
They looked for changes in the players, the position of the players, changes in the team formation or tactical selection changes.
The change in the Dutch team was obvious, the change in their athleticism and stamina. They dared to compete against Eastern European countries in physical battles, the previous Dutch team could not do that.
Dai Li had once again come into the people’s view. Professionals in the soccer world knew Dai Li’s fitness training brought about the changes in the Dutch team. If the Dutch team were to win the World Cup, then Dai Li would be the biggest contributor to the Dutch team’s success!
Ultimately, the Dutch team won the World Cup and finally lost the title of “uncrowned champions.” At the same time, the entire world witnessed Dai Li’s greatness.
The world’s two most influential sporting events were the Olympics and the World Cup. In the Olympics, Dai Li’s training camp produced 85 gold medals. In the World Cup, Dai Li helped a young Dutch team become the champions.
In the living room of a hotel suite, a reputable European media company was currently interviewing Dai Li.
The World Cup was placed on the table in front of Dai Li. The cameraman adjusted the angle and put Dai Li as well as the cup in the frame.
Facing the camera, Dai Li said teasingly, “In terms of competitive sports, there are only three needs. The first is to have a suitable body. A basketball player needs height, being too short makes it impossible for the person to turn professional.
“Second, skill. No matter what sport, experts always have good skills and techniques. The higher level the competition, the better the skills of the contestants. It is an undeniable truth.
“Third, physical fitness, a human body’s basic athleticism. This includes strength, speed, endurance, coordination, flexibility, and agility. Every skill and technique in sports needs to be supported by physical fitness.
“The body comes from the parent. Whether you can grow tall depends on your genes. Although training can influence the growth of a body, genes are the main determinant. Which genes we get is not something that we can choose.
“Skills and techniques are acquired and improved after birth. Talent, however, determines the upper-limit of skills. Some people train very hard but, due to the limitations of their talent, they can never become the best. This is not just in sports, it exists in every industry. Talent is something that one cannot improve with training, it depends on luck.
“Physical fitness is the only thing athletes can improve upon with training. Of course, physical fitness training also has a limit. From the point of view of sports, compared to genes and talent, physical fitness is controllable, it is something that can be changed by training.
“High-level physical fitness training is actually the strengthening of physical fitness, which is what I am doing. I help athletes become better, faster, and stronger!”
After the interview ended, as Dai Li sent the reporters away, the assistant came rushing towards him.
“Coach, someone outside wants to visit you. They are from China and they say that they are from the soccer association. This is their business card.” The assistant passed a card to Dai Li.
Dai Li took the card, lowered his head, and saw two designations were written on it. One was the Deputy Director of the Joint Conference of the Soccer Reform and Development Department while the other was the Deputy Director of the Chinese Soccer Association.
Deputy Director of the Soccer Association! Dai Li was shocked. He asked his assistant to bring them over.
The one in front was named Wang. He was the Deputy Director of the Soccer Association.
After Deputy Director Wang entered the room, he immediately saw the World Cup placed on the table. Boundless admiration showed in his gaze.
After the guest and the host each sat down, they greeted each other and made small talk before Dai Li asked, “May I know the reason for your visit?”
Deputy Director Wang did not attempt to hide anything and said frankly, “Coach Li, you helped the Dutch team achieve brilliant success during the World Cup. This is apparent. We want to invite you to help with the physical fitness training of our men’s national soccr team. We hope to make it into the next World Cup!”
The originally calm expression on Dai Li’s face instantly changed.
Dai Li really wanted to say, “Dear leader, you are really ambitious! It was difficult just to get into the quarterfinals of the Asian Cup. You want them to play in the World Cup!”
Deputy Director Wang felt a bit awkward. He made a dry cough and said, “We received news that there was a high chance that the World Cup will expand. By then, 48 teams will be able to play in it. The maximum number of Asian teams will be increased to eight. Our country should be able to make it in.
“Moreover, with 48 countries participating, there will be 16 groups. Every group would have three teams, with only the last-placed team being eliminated. This meant that two out of three would advance, which was much easier than two out of four. Our country not only has the chance to make it into the World Cup, we could even perhaps make it through the group stage!”
The more Deputy Director Wang said, the more excited he became. Dai Li,however, only felt that he had met with a multilevel marketing agent who just built a castle in the sky. Perhaps that famous Italian soccer coach was coaxed into his job like this. After one Asian Cup, his reputation had been destroyed.
Even if the World Cup expanded and Asia had eight spots, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia already took five spots. Apart from that, there was the UAE and Qatar, both of which seemed stronger than China. There were also countries like Bahrain, Jordan, Oman, Iraq, North Korea, and Vietnam. These were all teams that the Chinese team might not win against. If one counted like that, even if there were eight spots, there might still not be enough for China.
To get that team into the World Cup was the hardest task Dai Li had ever received!
If he succeeded, it would be okay. If he failed, the brand that Dai Li worked so hard to build for so many years could be destroyed.
How did a headache like this appear! Even as a legendary coach, I’m afraid this is impossible!