Some tactical thoughts on the second set of matches at the World Cup ...
But when you look at the reasons for the success of attacking fullbacks, Maradona's stance becomes more logical. As famed former English defender
Where the system, to an extent, falls down, is that
Not since November last year, when it drew 2-2 with Mali in a World Cup qualifier in Kumasi, has Ghana scored twice in a game, and yet in that time it has reached the final of the African Cup of Nations and, after two games of Group D, looks the likeliest of the African teams to reach the knockout phase. Of its past seven competitive games, four have been won 1-0, and only Ivory Coast, which inflicted a 3-1 defeat in the Cup of Nations, has managed to score more than one against Ghana's defense.
Where Ghana really excels is by frustrating opponents and, when it takes the lead, holding possession and controlling space. When it beat Angola in the Cup of Nations quarterfinal and then Nigeria in the semifinal, it looked utterly assured in its 1-0 lead. Ghana's problem comes when it falls behind or the onus is on it to take the game to the opposition, as it was against Australia on Saturday. Then it lost shape, repeatedly took the wrong option in the attacking third and unleashed a debilitatingly large number of speculative long-range shots. Against Germany on Wednesday, though, needing only a draw to reach the second round, it can return to doing "the compact thing," as captain
Chile may have won its two matches by only 1-0 scores, but it has been probably the most attacking team so far in South Africa. It bombarded the goal against both Honduras and Switzerland, but, thanks to a combination of bad luck, good goalkeeping and poor finishing (its main striker in qualifying,
Of course, bad luck happens, for football is a game of probabilities rather than absolutes, but it is tempting to wonder whether Bielsa's preferred 3-3-1-3 formation, which he also used in 2002, may be in part to blame. There is something thrilling about a side that sets out with attacking wing backs --
But could it be that starting out with so many players so high up the pitch favors possession over penetration? It may be that, as former Norway coach