The first set of games have seen the unveiling of some interesting tactical deployments:
As more and more teams have started operating with a single striker and wide forwards either in a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1, the fullback no longer has that same space. I had speculated that might mean one of the center backs in a back four became effectively the free man (as the two center backs in a back four facing a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 have only one forward to mark), leading to the reinvention of the libero. What I hadn't anticipated was that a side could do what Mexico have done and field attacking fullbacks and a libero at the same time.
The system manager
When I saw Mexico lose, unluckily, to England at Wembley just before the World Cup, I couldn't work out whether its formation was a 3-4-3 or a 4-3-3. It was only seeing Mexico again, in a friendly against the Netherlands, that I realised it was both and neither, a hybrid of the two perhaps best described as a 2-3-2-3, or Pozzo's W-W. This was like a window into another age, and sure enough it has the same strengths and weaknesses as Pozzo's system. The even distribution of players across the pitch allows for wonderfully fluent passing moves -- the "pattern-weaving" style for which the great Scottish teams of the twenties were so noted -- but defensively it is vulnerable to long diagonals in behind the fullbacks.
The two goals Dutch striker
It's a bold move, and I'm not sure it'll work, but it's fascinating to see.
This week the barrage of long balls and crosses aimed at the front three of
The three central midfield players,
The issue now is whether