Tactical breakdown: where the Euro 2024 final will be won and lost
Guardian » Football Tactics
by Jonathan Wilson
3d ago
Spain have been the outstanding team but if England can shut down the supply, Southgate’s men can make history Spain have been by far the most fluent side at the Euros, by far the best side at the Euros, and much of the reason for that has been their two youthful wingers, Lamine Yamal and Nico Williams. They give Spain a verticality that they have at times lacked since their golden age came to an end at the 2014 World Cup and, beyond that, Lamine Yamal appears to be blessed with that extra quality that elevates the true greats ..read more
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Netherlands v England: tactical conundrums that will settle semi-final
Guardian » Football Tactics
by Jonathan Wilson in Dortmund
1w ago
Gareth Southgate must decide on a back three or four, counter Cody Gakpo and weigh up Harry Kane’s struggles Precedent has gone out of the window. Gareth Southgate has always been a cautious manager, someone who drew up his ­blueprints and stuck to them – and then came this tournament. ­Having failed to identify a partner for Declan Rice at the back of midfield, he has chopped and changed; that, allied to the lack of left-footed full-backs, led to the switch to a back three against Switzerland. Luke Shaw was fit enough to play the final 12 minutes plus extra time of that game so it may be ..read more
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‘Focused’ Toney ready to play his part as England prepare for Swiss
Guardian » Football Tactics
by Jacob Steinberg in Blankenhain
1w ago
Centre-forward came on late in last 16 and knows he will have to bide his time again in quarter-final Few top sides play with two up front these days. Some prefer to use a false 9. At Euro 2024, there have been suggestions that no task in football is more thankless than having to be Harry Kane’s back-up. England’s captain always starts. Gareth Southgate has not drawn on the memory of Alan Shearer and Teddy Sheringham’s partnership at Euro 96. His preference is to have Kane leading the line on his own, with Phil Foden, Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka supporting him from attacking midfield ..read more
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England could still become serious Euro challengers but there is plenty to fix | Jonathan Wilson
Guardian » Football Tactics
by Jonathan Wilson
2w ago
The incoherence and panic that gripped lethargic players against Denmark shows their problems are deep-rooted Italy won the World Cup in 1982 and Portugal the Euros in 2016 after drawing all three games in the initial group. Spain in 2010 and Argentina in 2022 both began their World Cup-winning campaigns with defeat. This year, Ivory Coast lost group games 1-0 to Nigeria and 4-0 to Equatorial Guinea, qualified for the last 16 only because Ghana conceded twice in injury time against Mozambique and still went on to win the Africa Cup of Nations. Only Brazil, in 2002, have won seven games out of ..read more
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Brilliant Oranje: 50 years on, the game is still in thrall to Total Football
Guardian » Football Tactics
by Jonathan Wilson
1M ago
The influence of the Netherlands at the 1974 World Cup – Cruyff and the high-press revolution – will still resonate at the Euros in Germany Sérgio Markarián was the 30-year-old general manager of a fuel distribution company in Montevideo when he became aware of his mission. He had given up on his dreams of becoming a footballer 12 years earlier but, watching the 1974 World Cup, he realised his time in the game was not over. As he watched the Netherlands outplay Uruguay, he knew that he had to become a coach so he could ensure his country would never suffer in the same way again. And it wasn’t ..read more
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Rodri redefines role of holding midfielder to become City’s fulcrum | Jonathan Liew
Guardian » Football Tactics
by Jonathan Liew
2M ago
Spaniard has added individual flourish to collective duty in an evolution that is key to Manchester City’s success Rodri was pretty young when he realised that he saw football in a different way to others. It wasn’t just his ability to pick a pass on the field, but the way he conceived the game off it. When he watched, he instinctively saw spaces and movement and only later realised that everyone else was simply following the ball. Football became not so much a pastime as a puzzle: a mechanism to be decrypted and understood. As a child, making his way through the youth teams of Atlético Madrid ..read more
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Fluid poetry has beaten brutality in the battle for football’s evolution | Jason Stockwood
Guardian » Football Tactics
by Jason Stockwood
2M ago
In 1970, Rinus Michels was pioneering a new style of play while Leeds and Chelsea were kicking lumps out of each other I recently watched a recording of the 1970 FA Cup final replay with my 12-year-old son. You can find the match by searching for “football’s most brutal game”. I was attempting to show him how football has “evolved” and it made me smile that the first thing you see in the BBC coverage is an upfront trigger warning that “some viewers might find the video disturbing”. That in itself tells us how much society has changed over the past 50 years, before you see the Leeds m ..read more
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Arsenal capitalise on Arteta’s belief in set-piece specialism – unlike Spurs | Jonathan Wilson
Guardian » Football Tactics
by Jonathan Wilson
2M ago
Set plays are giving Gunners an edge, yet Ange Postecoglou’s weak spot is not singling them out for specialist coaching Ange Postecoglou isn’t worried about set pieces, as he has made clear repeatedly over the past few weeks. Football being football, the more he is asked and the more he plays down their importance, the more goals Spurs seem to concede from set pieces. At the same time, as Arsenal score more and more from set pieces, their set-piece coach, Nicolas Jover, has become an increasingly prominent figure, bouncing up from the bench every time Arsenal are awarded a corner or free-kick ..read more
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‘Identify weaknesses and exploit them’: the rise of the set-piece coach | Ed Aarons
Guardian » Football Tactics
by Ed Aarons
2M ago
Nicolas Jover has been behind Arsenal’s excellence from corners with Aston Villa and Chelsea also investing in specialists It is a spectacle increasingly common in Premier League technical areas. Whenever a free-kick or corner is awarded, managers are joined by another figure who wildly gesticulates and shouts instructions at his team’s players for a few seconds before taking his seat again in the dugout. Thanks largely to the exploits of Arsenal’s Nicolas Jover, the set-piece coach’s stock has never been higher. Two goals from corners in last weekend’s north London derby mean Mikel Arteta’s s ..read more
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Liverpool’s trident can be just the ticket as title run-in gathers pace
Guardian » Football Tactics
by Will Unwin
3M ago
Cool-headed Salah, combined with the chaos strike pairing of Núñez and Díaz, offers ‘big chances’ and goals galore Injury, international tournaments and even kidnap have worked against Liverpool to prevent their front three from starting more than nine Premier League games together this season, but it seems Jürgen Klopp has settled on a first-choice attack as he aims to end his reign with a second title. Before there was Sadio Mané, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah, but things have changed amid a rebuild. Salah remains but his assistants are different; Luis Díaz and Darwin Núñez have settled ..read more
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