Technique and Tactics

Twin strikers: Combined movements in the central area and defensive mistakes

Author: Francesco Farioli

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The choice made by Italy and France, respectively against Spain and Iceland, was to focus on offensive development in the central area in order to exploit the typical weaknesses of a man-to-man defence.

As we can see, Conte’s Italy uses two strikers (Pellè and Eder) who start in line, with Eder turning below the striker to receive the ball between the lines or to attack deep vertically so that Pellè can set him up for a shot on goal (bait and off line manoeuvre to win the inside).

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As we can see in the photo below

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Sergio Ramos should assume an internal position to mark Pellè as he arrives, to cover the deep area toward Eder. Instead, hiding behind Pellè, he gives the Italian forward the chance to receive the ball and, even worse, he frees up a central corridor for a deep attack. Furthermore, the outside right back does not provide Ramos with support, freeing up more space where Giaccherini can make a move.

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Deschamps’ France, on the other hand, has two strikers who start already in line and vertical, with Giroud as centre forward and Griezmann as the finisher, able to work alongside number 9 and to play based on the available space.

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The Icelandic defence does not work in sectors, but individually (see the right outside back’s individual lateral pressing), which allows the opportunity to create a situation of numerical equality at the centre, but also causes positional inferiority.

Griezmann’s bait manoeuvre (external off line to gain the defender’s back), besides bringing out the weakness of the Icelandic defence, highlights all the individual tactical limits of the centre back, who finds himself with a flat body shape, preventing him from any type of deep defensive sprint.

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In a game of football that is increasingly connected to individual defence, the combined attack of the two centre strikers has come back in style and is quite effective. Here numerical superiority can be seen as a means, while positional superiority as the goal.

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Francesco Farioli
Aspire Academy (Qatar Football Association), Senior Goalkeeper Coach, Video Match & Performance Analysis.