Bayern vs. Inter was a classic example of beautiful attacking team, Munich, with Ribery, Robben, Muller, Klose, Olic, and others, battling a well-organized defensive minded team, with players each having the task of shutting down the attack of the other team. Inter only needed three players going forward on the attack: Sneijder, Eto'o, and D. Milito. Mourinho's well rehearsed team knew exactly what it needed to do to win: absorb the Bayern attack and release the ball for a counter attack. Love or hate Mourinho, he won the battle of the minds against the equally impressive This battle was won by the team with an uglier game but a more disciplined defense and rigid positions; Tactical 1 - 0 Beautiful.
This summer's World Cup was an amazing show of the beautiful game, but had ugly too (as evidence from Luiz Suarez's goal against Japan and his 'prevention' of a goal against Ghana). The final was perhaps not as great of a game as everyone had billed it, but a very great show of talent. Spain had been playing their well-branded, passing, possession-based game, with Xavi and Iniesta playing those incisive, quick, through ball passes. Netherlands can't really be pinned as the defensive side in this game, as they did have a slightly Total Voetbal style approach to their attack, with Kuyt, Van Persie, Robben and Sneijder interchanging their positions, but compared to Dutch teams of the 70's, this was a little more on the defensive side of the coin. With only one goal being scored in the Final, many people would say that neither of these teams lived up to their potential, but when looking at the respective teams defeated in the earlier games, these teams potential was supremely undercut. Spain's ability to find that one perfect pass to Iniesta made it 1-0, where it finished. Tactical 1 - 1 Beautiful.
This past weekend's MLS Cup got me thinking about these two previous finals and I predicted that Tactical would win out, calling the score 2-1 Dallas. It was hard to call Colorado the beautiful team, with the way Conor Casey was playing, and the appearance of Matt Pickens beard, but they're style of scoring with Cummings and Casey linking up so many times throughout the season made them appear more of the flag bearers of beautiful futbol. Adding Mac Kandji to this, as he scored the game winner, and Colorado had the more potent attack, despite Dallas fielding MVP David Ferreira. It is perhaps no coincidence that FC Dallas played a summer friendly against Inter Milan and that Colorado is a sister affiliate of Arsenal FC, two teams well known for their brand of football.
Through these finals, from May to November, one could draw the conclusion that perhaps non-beautiful football is on the way out again, as Inter are already fading in Serie A, but watch this space and expect another final to include a greatly-coached, defensive-minded team.