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Tactics: U.S. defend deep

Tactics Board Jul, 1, 2014
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Richard Jolly profile picture Posted by Richard Jolly
8 hours ago

Tactical trends for the 2018 World Cup

A breakdown of the tactical deficiencies of Brazil and the Netherlands that led to both sides losing their semifinal matches.

Sixty years ago, tactics were transformed. Opponents were dumbfounded. "It was like playing people from outer space," said England defender Syd Owen, who had actually faced people from behind the Iron Curtain.

Hungary's team of the 1950s fielded a false nine, Nandor Hidegkuti, long before the term...

 Posted by Michael Cox
2 days ago

Two pressing approaches in the final

The ESPN FC panel look ahead to the Argentina vs Germany match and note Messi as the key to victory.

Germany were not involved in the World Cup final four years ago but they competed in the tournament's most telling, tactically intriguing game: a 1-0 defeat by eventual winners Spain in the semifinals.

It was a more absorbing, technical and high-quality contest than the final, which was a scrap...

 Posted by Michael Cox
3 days ago

Key matchups of the World Cup final

Michael Ballack and Santiago Solari break down the potential starting lineups for both Germany and Argentina.

The previous three World Cup finals can be summarised neatly by three individual battles.

In 2002, it was Ronaldo versus Oliver Kahn, the Golden Boot winner getting the better of the Golden Ball winner in Brazil's 2-0 win over Germany.

The 2006 final was about Zinedine Zidane versus Marco Materazzi,...

Richard Jolly profile picture Posted by Richard Jolly
4 days ago

Two-way containment; Kroos control

Containing Messi and Robben was the approach of Netherlands and Argentina respectively.

ARGENTINA 0-0 NETHERLANDS

Louis van Gaal succeeded in stopping Lionel Messi. Alejandro Sabella managed to disturb the Dutch tactics. While much of the focus has been on the Netherlands manager's ever-changing approach, his Argentina counterpart altered the game with a switch of his own. He began wi...

 Posted by Michael Cox
6 days ago

Brazil and Germany's role reversal

Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger said the Germans must be aware of the Brazilians' magical touch, but also warned the referee to be aware of their hard tackling. Brazil are awaiting an appeal to overturn Thiago Silva's yellow card.

Germany and Brazil have met only once before in a World Cup, which is strange enough, but even more peculiar is the incredible role reversal since their World Cup final meeting 12 years ago.

Back then, the situation was simple: both sides lived up to the stereotype. Brazil had become more physical...

 Posted by Michael Cox
7 days ago

Key matchups of the semifinals

ESPN FC's Robbie Earle explains why the World Cup quarterfinals lacked the wide-open play seen in the group stage.

After a goal fest in the group stages, things have quieted down in the knockout rounds with tighter games and fewer goals in open play. One moment can change everything, and one individual battle can decide a game. Before this week's semifinals, here are four key individual battles that could det...