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Advanced Team Fundamentals II – System 🆚 System

Less is More: England Triumphs in the Best EURO Cup in History

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England won the UEFA EURO 2022 by applying a simple but well executed game model

The WEURO 2022, which ended last Sunday, has been the best in history for many reasons. The physical and technical level has been extremely high, with no team out of tune. The spectacle has been comparable to the games of the final phases of the WUCL and that is why the television ratings and attendance at the stadiums have been so high. In any case, what interests us most is the tactical analysis of the championship. In this small article we do not have enough space to delve too deeply, but we are going to talk about some of the aspects that have been most relevant from our point of view.

In the first place, it should be noted that it has been a European Championship that has shown diversity in the collective proposals. Some teams have opted for highly combinative styles of play, others for more direct models and some for a mixture of the two previous options.

Among the teams that have tried to develop more combinative game models (trying to associate the players in attack and defense with short distances) the Spanish national team has stood out. Even though the team, perhaps, was affected psychologically by the absence of two of the players with the greatest ability to finish (Alexia Putellas and Jennifer Hermoso), Spain has shown a brave and spectacular style, with a clear desire to attack in its approach. Sometimes based on the opponent and sometimes depending on the players who were on the field of play, they tried to take advantage of the changes in orientation (created and occupied the spaces on the wings, struck against the opponent’s full backs, crossed with danger, etc).

Other times they tried to penetrate the opponent’s block creating spatial or numerical superiorities within the game. They also tried to play into the free spaces left the opposing teams’ defensive line (using unmarking movements, supports and deep passes from the midfield players and even from the central backs, on some occasions). Spain -which only lost against the two finalists – was the team that tried to implement the greatest number of attacking strategies; they did many things very well, though surely none excellently.

“IN THE END, THE TEAM WHO SUCCEEDED PRESENTED A GAME MODEL CONTAINING FEW PATRONS TO FOLLOW BUT TRAINED IN AN EXCELLENT WAY, A PROPOSAL THAT PRIORITISED QUALITY OVER QUANTITY AND WHERE EVERYTHING THAT DOES NOT HELP SOLVE THE PROBLEM IS DISCARDED”

Germany has been a team which has shown a more balanced proposal. Their coach has prepared a model in which they have tried to do three things effectively. Firstly, it is a team that has stood out for their defending as a block; they have tried to make the distances between the players on the different lines and the distances between the lines optimal at all times. They have shown very good coordination to move the block up when the opponent played backwards, always trying to free up the box of opponent players, and without any players disconnecting from the rest in their pressing movements.

Secondly, Germany has shown an associative game in the inner zones of the field. That is to say, the occupation of the spaces and the ball circulation strategies aimed to progress without putting the ball possession at excessive risk.

And thirdly, Germany has been the team that has best attacked the opposite box (with the arrival of several players, with crosses far from the opposite goalkeeper, with players who attacked the ball trajectory without waiting for it to fall and with great determination to finish the actions).

England, on the other hand, showed a less extensive repertoire. Their strengths were, on one hand, the collective tactical mastery of the transition phases (the players identified, using a common interpretation code, the same signals to attack or defend, and this allowed them to take profit of their enormous physical potential). On the other hand, the aggressiveness to attack and progress inside the opponent’s block. We often talk about aggressiveness linked to situations or episodes of the defensive phase -when a player presses, marks individually, a tackle, etc-, but the English side have shown in this championship the importance of being very aggressive in the attacking phase.

In this way, the midfielders’ support, the unmarking movements from the forwards, the driving from the central players to generate advantages, as well as those of the wide players to create crossing situations, the passes towards the teammates with more advantage, the first touches that allowed to surpass the opponent’s lines and the determination to finish the actions have been some of the details of their main quality: the implementation of an associative attacking game (like the Spanish and Germans) but with more aggressive individual and collective tactical intentions.

In the end, the team who succeeded presented a game model containing few patrons to follow but trained in an excellent way, a proposal that prioritized quality over quantity and where everything that does not help solve the problem is discarded; because less is more.

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