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[av_heading heading=’Portugal team tactical identity at Euro 2016′ tag=’h3′ style=’blockquote modern-quote modern-centered’ size=’46’ subheading_active=” subheading_size=’15’ padding=’10’ color=’custom-color-heading’ custom_font=’#ffffff’][/av_heading]

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Author: Joao Nuno Fonseca

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Juanma Lillo statement really defines what Portugal are (or should be) at this point:

Vamos a intentar no atentar contra lo que ellos son, a ver si conseguimos una forma de jugar que sea su forma de jugar

(We are going to try to not go against what they are, to see if we can manage a way of playing that is their way of playing)

Juanma Lillo

In Portugal’s first two games their opponents’ pragmatism (Iceland and Austria) enabled the coach Fernando Santos to see they must have greater judgement in the offensive third. With the excellent help of the Wyscout Match report, which is a fundamental helps in supporting the qualitative information, it is possible to see that Portugal clearly dominated the first 2 games.
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Wyscout Match Report – Portugal v Iceland

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Wyscout Match Report – Portugal v Austria

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In their offensive set-up Portugal accumulated certain moments of the game during which there were too many players on the wings. They looked to use Andre Gomes as the “false winger”, who acted between the wide area and the central area as the classic 1x4x4x2 requires.
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Cristiano Ronaldo unsettled the compact Icelandic defence with movements up front, whilst attracting the opponents, but it wasn’t always taken advantage of in the best way.

Perhaps with more forward passes during these moments Portugal would have achieved better penetration in the final third.
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In the game with Austria, Portugal changed their offensive identity to 1x4x3x3, against an Austrian team with no spearhead, which led to there being no pressure in the first stage of the offensive set-up.

They opted for a midfield with Carvalho, Moutinho and Gomes and they quickly played the ball into the start of the final 30 metres where the Austrian “wall” was.
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The offensive dynamic of the 3 forwards (Nani, Ronaldo and Quaresma) led to some indecision, principally amongst the more offensive midfielders (Moutinho and Gomes), who weren’t sure on how to pass the ball to the spaces on the wings.

The image shows the attraction of opposing players that Quaresma achieved when he held up the ball for penetrating movements from Cristiano Ronaldo.
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Guerreiro had a decisive role in both matches. He was the differentiator in finding the spaces up front and unbalancing the opposing team during the 1vs1.
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In their defensive set-up Portugal used Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo by pressing high up in the short Icelandic advance, with the support of the 4-person midfield line preventing short passes, leading to Iceland’s midfielders playing long.
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In the goal that was conceded there was excessive engagement by Vierinha (attraction to the ball and to the space) which uncoordinated and led to the lack of communication with Pepe, leading to Bjarnason scoring the only goal conceded by the Portuguese team in this Euro 2016, in the 50th minute.
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At times Portugal allowed spaces in the central corridor, from Gomes leaving his natural position, thus freeing up space in the middle.
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Football is increasingly becoming a game of interrelated tactical and strategic thinking, in which the team that wins is the team that thinks better and quicker with an identity and judgement. Will Portugal have this capability, in order to allow them to progress in the tournament? In truth they could still win the group and shine at Euro 2016.
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Joao Nuno Fonseca
Senior Football Match Analyst

Joao Nuno Fonseca hold an MSc in Sports Training with specialisation in Football under the guidance of the Professor Jose Guilherme. Start his professional career during University in Academica de Coimbra – 1st Division Portugal, as match analyst for the historical club. Won the Portuguese Cup in 2012 against Sporting Lisbon. Currently is Senior Football Match Analyst for ASPIRE Academy in Doha – Qatar and U19 Qatar National Team.

www.joaonunofonseca.com

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