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The World Cup: Tactical Interpretations for FM14

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Thanks for the feedback. The impressive thing about the Netherlands was the fluidity of their defensive shape in negating the Spanish attack and the incredible discipline and work rate of the players in carrying it out. Like you, before the tournament, I did not expect the Dutch to do very well with what seemed like a crisis of depth in midfield, but van Gaal did brilliantly to find a way to turn what he had into a team that almost seemed tailor made to disrupt the Spanish style of play. It'll be interesting to see how they adapt to a more defensive opponent, and while I'd expect them to beat the Australians either way, it will provide a clue as to how far they can progress in the tournament.

As far as naming shape is concerned, FM can differ from convention to some extent since it has to set down firm rules where things might be more ambiguous or loosely defined in real life. I know van Gaal likes to call his system a 3-4-3, thinking more in terms of the roles the players play with a nod back to the Dutch sides of the 70s, but in FM, your shape will adapt in response to multiple settings with formation only establishing your defensive baseline. I'll be curious to see if van Gaal's "4-3-3" keeps 3 back at the back but utilizes an outright libero in either de Vrij or Martins Indi.

You are welcome.

Do you remember the days, in FM (or CM?), where we had the pitch with the formation and then you could go to a grid where you could freely put all your players on it where you liked, in defensive and offensive situations, relative to where the ball was? Such a thing would give us the freedom to reflect a bit more of the adaptive 5-3-2 / 5-2-1-2 / 3-4-3 / 4-3-3 :) that Van Gaal is using. We could never really create the real thing (of any tactic) nonetheless, because FM is about numbers and patterns and real life football is about people that have their own will and insights. You are doing a great job to come as close as possible.

I will be following this topic closely, so keep'em coming. :thup:

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THOG, have you played any games with these tactics? I was just wondering how well the dutch duo of BWM worked? I would of thought in FM logic that it wouldn't as no-one is holding, perhaps the 3 at the back allow it work?

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You are welcome.

Do you remember the days, in FM (or CM?), where we had the pitch with the formation and then you could go to a grid where you could freely put all your players on it where you liked, in defensive and offensive situations, relative to where the ball was? Such a thing would give us the freedom to reflect a bit more of the adaptive 5-3-2 / 5-2-1-2 / 3-4-3 / 4-3-3 :) that Van Gaal is using. We could never really create the real thing (of any tactic) nonetheless, because FM is about numbers and patterns and real life football is about people that have their own will and insights. You are doing a great job to come as close as possible.

I will be following this topic closely, so keep'em coming. :thup:

The wibble/wobble predates my experience with the game, but my understanding is that it was removed because it was too mechanical and didn't promote genuine fluidity of movement. Basically, SI wanted to get closer to having players act more in the way you described with something resembling their own will and insights. I think the interface should have a visual representation of predicted movement patterns and shapes, but the instructions still should be general enough to allow players to be genuinely adaptive in the ME.

THOG, have you played any games with these tactics? I was just wondering how well the dutch duo of BWM worked? I would of thought in FM logic that it wouldn't as no-one is holding, perhaps the 3 at the back allow it work?

I wouldn't say a BWM-D is not a holding mid. He does hold position when the team is going forward, but if the opposition counters, there's a chance he could prematurely move up to close down before there's sufficient cover in midfield (but this is the exact same risk you take when you play any midfield role with Hassle active or if you're playing a high mentality with a high press). To some extent, playing three at the back mitigates this since you have the extra CB who can step up if necessary. It is a high risk tactic and there were times during the match where the Dutch were defending deep with both midfielders completely out of position, but this was all done specifically to prevent the Spanish from comfortably moving the ball around the back while also not giving them the chance to play balls over the top for Costa (as would have been the case if they'd just attempted a standard high block).

When I tested the Dutch tactic, I got wins against France (in a friendly) and Turkey (competitively) but the imminent risk of a defender or midfielder error was apparent. But then, any tactic carries its own balance of risk and reward.

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The wibble/wobble predates my experience with the game, but my understanding is that it was removed because it was too mechanical and didn't promote genuine fluidity of movement. Basically, SI wanted to get closer to having players act more in the way you described with something resembling their own will and insights. I think the interface should have a visual representation of predicted movement patterns and shapes, but the instructions still should be general enough to allow players to be genuinely adaptive in the ME.

I wouldn't say a BWM-D is not a holding mid. He does hold position when the team is going forward, but if the opposition counters, there's a chance he could prematurely move up to close down before there's sufficient cover in midfield (but this is the exact same risk you take when you play any midfield role with Hassle active or if you're playing a high mentality with a high press). To some extent, playing three at the back mitigates this since you have the extra CB who can step up if necessary. It is a high risk tactic and there were times during the match where the Dutch were defending deep with both midfielders completely out of position, but this was all done specifically to prevent the Spanish from comfortably moving the ball around the back while also not giving them the chance to play balls over the top for Costa (as would have been the case if they'd just attempted a standard high block).

When I tested the Dutch tactic, I got wins against France (in a friendly) and Turkey (competitively) but the imminent risk of a defender or midfielder error was apparent. But then, any tactic carries its own balance of risk and reward.

THOG will you be doing a write up on Germany's formation against Portugal. It would be really good to get your thoughts on played roles a d duties and what team and player instructions they used. I have enjoyed all your threads and they have helped me get a better understanding of the game. So I am really looking forward to your views on Germany

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Germany Mini-Update

The scoreline may suggest the sort of emphatic evisceration that knocked out England and Argentina in 2010, but this was a relatively subdued and cautious performance from the Germans. In FM terms, this was a terrific example of a fluid structure in action with a more patient and disciplined defensive unit looking to support a more adventurous, free-flowing quartet of versatile attacking talent. Muller led the line in his usual role as an ever-present hunter of space, shifting from side to side to support creative wide men who looked to receive the ball out wide and work it into the box with clever combination play. With Klose now 36, the Germans lack an obvious choice to play the traditional centre forward in Löw's system, so Khedira was tasked with bursting forward to provide the physical presence that the three young creators lacked. Though Kroos and Lahm acted as a double pivot, Löw took extra precaution against the threat Ronaldo could pose to either flank and opted for two central defenders to protect space behind Özil and Götze. With Ronaldo operating down the Germans' right, Boateng naturally ended up with the more cautious role while the right-footed Howedes did his best to provide width and a close range outlet for Götze on the left.

SM7MybQ.png

In defence, the Germans were very disciplined with Özil and Götze consistently tracking back into deep positions to restrict as much space as possible and cut off every possible path to Ronaldo, but with Khedira typically dropping back next to Kroos in a 4-1-4-1 shape, this often left Muller isolated and forced him to drift back close to the trio of central midfielders. This blunted Germany's ability to transition quickly on the break, but with the Portuguese defence making a series of dire errors, the Germans ended up not having to wait for a breakthrough from open play. This isn't to say the Germans were poor though. Aside from a few early errors at the back, they were thoroughly competent, but Portugal never required them to be anything more.

y9MCXCF.png

For the tactic, I would consider this a Fluid/Counter 4-1-4-1 with the TIs "Shorter Passing," "Work Ball Into Box" and "Push Higher Up." And the individual roles:

GK: Sweeper Keeper - Defend + Distribute to Defenders

DL: Fullback - Attack + Cross Less Often + Cross from Byline

DCL: Central Defender - Defend

DCR: Central Defender - Defend

DR: Fullback - Support

DM: Defensive Midfielder - Defend

MCL: Deep Lying Playmaker - Support

MCR: Central Midfielder - Attack + Less Risky Passes

ML: Wide Midfielder - Attack + Dribble More + More Risky Passes + Cross Less Often + Roam from Position + Cut Inside

MR: Wide Midfielder - Attack + Dribble More + More Risky Passes + Cross Less Often + Roam from Position

With Boateng sitting deeper to guard against the threat of Ronaldo, Özil made more varied use of the space on his flank, so I would not recommend instructing this player to 'Cut Inside.'

ST: Complete Forward - Support + Move Into Channels

pLmihFg.png

As you can see in the following image, when you combine roaming and attack duties, you do not necessarily need "Cut Inside" to make a player move up and inside as a second forward. In my opinion, the question is really whether it's a priority for the player to move inside to encourage an attacking fullback to move forward:

S0FVxkU.png

And here, you can see how this 4-1-4-1 assumes more of a 4-2-3-1 shape in the initial press:

6ZFRtPy.png

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Hi THOG, i really like your FM interpretations of the world cup matches so far and i am intrigued by the way you configured Germany's WMs. In your games with the tactic, how have the WMs performed for you? I see that you have chosen cross less often to encourage both WMs to drift in or cut inside more often and i feel that is an importantt point in Germany's overall game plan to allow both to act as wide playmakers coming into the centre to create chances rather than out wide crossing as their usual target man Klose wasn't playing.

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Hi THOG, i really like your FM interpretations of the world cup matches so far and i am intrigued by the way you configured Germany's WMs. In your games with the tactic, how have the WMs performed for you? I see that you have chosen cross less often to encourage both WMs to drift in or cut inside more often and i feel that is an importantt point in Germany's overall game plan to allow both to act as wide playmakers coming into the centre to create chances rather than out wide crossing as their usual target man Klose wasn't playing.

I've used a similar configuration in prior saves and find it works very well to avoid an excess of crosses to a group of small attackers. You're much more likely to see cutback passes and short give-and-go through passes this way. I usually prefer to have technically sound wingbacks to provide more passing options around the area, but against Portugal, the Germans were being more defensive with (in the FM sense) role and duty selection.

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I've used a similar configuration in prior saves and find it works very well to avoid an excess of crosses to a group of small attackers. You're much more likely to see cutback passes and short give-and-go through passes this way. I usually prefer to have technically sound wingbacks to provide more passing options around the area, but against Portugal, the Germans were being more defensive with (in the FM sense) role and duty selection.

THOG if you played a striker like Klose or Giroud as Center Forward would you then get the wide midfielders to cross more often and would you then instruct them to cross from byline or deep. Also would you be doing a write up on France.

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THoG - this thread has been a breath of fresh air.

If you find the time and inclination to analyse Chile's terrific performance (so far!) against Spain tonight, I for one would love to read it.

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THoG - this thread has been a breath of fresh air.

If you find the time and inclination to analyse Chile's terrific performance (so far!) against Spain tonight, I for one would love to read it.

100% agree, it has helped me massively when someone knowledgeable translates how a real team plays within ME. As at time it can be very overwhelming. I know I get frustrated when I have an idea how I want me team to play but can never replicate it. So THOG I applaud you.

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THoG - this thread has been a breath of fresh air.

If you find the time and inclination to analyse Chile's terrific performance (so far!) against Spain tonight, I for one would love to read it.

+1 the was they pressed but still kept as a solid unit defensively was incredible

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I'm a massive fan of the way Holland played against Spain so I decided to use the tactics it's very good but I struggle to keep possession

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I'm a massive fan of the way Holland played against Spain so I decided to use the tactics it's very good but I struggle to keep possession

It isn't really a possession keeping tactic.

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So far I'm finding at this World Cup that the successful teams are those who use transition tactics, i.e. tactics that are great at exploiting opportunities during the transition phase. Therefore possession tactics have given way to transition tactics IMO. Speed of play and quick recovery into shape are the keys. And while part of the team is recovering into shape, other parts of the team are pressuring the ball. There is also a variety of formations and 3 at the back is making a return. I think this WC is fantastic not only from entertainment point but also from tactical point so far.

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You should definitely analyse the Chilean tactic. I might be wrong, but this World Cup is showing a prominence of the 3 at the back tactics, just like yonko pointed out. Chile, when attacking, left 3 man at defence, and when defending, the wide midfielders dropped back to help the CB. I believe Costa Rica, against Uruguay, played a 5 men defence, with the wide men going forward when attacking. I'm starting to believe that every World Cup edition brings new tactics. It's the evolution of the game.

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So far I'm finding at this World Cup that the successful teams are those who use transition tactics, i.e. tactics that are great at exploiting opportunities during the transition phase. Therefore possession tactics have given way to transition tactics IMO. Speed of play and quick recovery into shape are the keys. And while part of the team is recovering into shape, other parts of the team are pressuring the ball.

I think you're absolutely right - the question is how best to translate this in to FM.

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I think you're absolutely right - the question is how best to translate this in to FM.

I've just written something elsewhere about back threes, which touches on defensive reorganisation and transitions.

I'll possibly post it in here in time, but it was more aimed at dispelling the myth that back threes don't work on FM14 - they do, you just need to be careful.

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I've just written something elsewhere about back threes, which touches on defensive reorganisation and transitions.

I'll possibly post it in here in time, but it was more aimed at dispelling the myth that back threes don't work on FM14 - they do, you just need to be careful.

I was using a very attacking libero (he was actually a AMC so had attacking PPM's too) to achieve fast turnovers in transition when you'd just won the ball deep in your own half.

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BRAZIL VS. 5-3-2

In yet another unremarkable performance that should concern the hosts, Brazil were held to a draw by a surprisingly adventurous Mexican side and an inspired performance by Guillermo Ochoa. Brazil's system was a slightly modified version of the set-up used against Croatia. The key difference was Oscar's repositioning on the left flank. This was likely done for two reasons. First, it brought him over to the flank to which the roaming Neymar prefers to gravitate, and second, it dragged the Mexican defence over to their right and, with no fourth midfielder to protect their left wingback, created a large expanse of space for Alves's forward runs. Unfortunately for the Brazilians, the theory did not pan out as well in practice with many of the problems evident in the first match creeping up again. Again, with Oscar out wide for most of the match, Brazil's attacks were heavily concentrated on the left which had the undesirable effect of marginalizing Alves, Ramires and later, Bernard.

p90fYj8.png

In terms of FM instructions, most roles and team instructions remained the same, though there were a handful of important differences. Oscar's role was much more reserved as he mainly looked to operate as immediate support for Neymar. While Oscar spent as much time on the ball as he had against Croatia, he saw a massive drop off in attempted crosses and dribbles. Accordingly, I would recommend switching Oscar to ML as a "Wide Midfielder - Support" with no further personal instructions. Compensating for this somewhat, Marcelo seemed to be operating in a slightly more aggressive role as he no longer had to provide cover behind Hulk and should be switched to a "Wingback - Support." On the opposite flank, Ramires was brought in to play in a slightly less adventurous role as a "Wide Midfielder - Attack" and provide superior protection for Alves. While Ramires did his best to get forward and was competent defensively, he lacks the attacking potential of Hulk and was understandably replaced by Bernard at the half. On the whole, the net result of these changes was a Brazil side that was even more cautious and defensive, and while they did manage to create a few chances from open play, none of them were good enough to pull a determined Ochoa out of his comfort zone.

MEXICO

The Mexicans lined up in a standard 5-3-2 with a flat three across the midfield. Going forward, the attack operated in a compact band with the wingbacks pushing forward quickly and both forwards often dropping far off the Brazilian defensive line. This effectively flooded the midfield area and made it difficult for Paulinho and Gustavo to exert the influence they normally do. This was a good demonstration of a Very Fluid system where each player in the team is collectively focused on contributing to a single objective (in this case, crowding and working the ball through the centre third). This allowed Mexico to sustain a surprising amount of offensive pressure throughout the match, though as a result, neither dos Santos nor Peralta offered much penetration and it was largely left to the Mexican midfielders and wingbacks to overlap and test Julio Cesar.

fMxSeEW.png

Defensively, the Mexicans dropped back a bit and left little space for the Brazilians to play in their preferred counterattacking style, and with two lines of 3-3 through the middle, the plan b of having Neymar shuttle the ball into the box had little chance of success. Contrary to the insistence of Miguel Herrera prior to the match, the Mexicans supplemented this approach by occasionally man-marking Neymar when he looked to operate in more advanced areas. With Marquez and Rodriguez often drawn far out into midfield, the Mexican backline was often a back four until a frustrated Neymar resolved to find space by dropping closer to Gustavo and moving out to the flanks.

In FM, this is a fairly simple tactic to set up as should be the case with a very fluid system. I would interpret it as a Very Fluid/Standard 5-3-2 with the additional instructions "Drop Deeper" and "Higher Tempo." The individual roles area:

GK: Goalkeeper - Defend

DCL: Central Defender - Defend

DC: Central Defender - Cover

DCR: Central Defender - Defend

WBL: Wingback - Support

WBR: Wingback - Attack

MCL: Central Midfielder - Support + Roam from Position

MC: Central Midfielder - Defend

MCR: Central Midfielder - Attack

STCL: Deep Lying Forward - Attack + Move Into Channels

STCR: False Nine - Support + Roam from Position

You can then supplement this by using a combination of OIs and specific man-marking targeting an opposition's star creator when he's operating in a more advanced position.

HfRqbIL.png

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THOG if you played a striker like Klose or Giroud as Center Forward would you then get the wide midfielders to cross more often and would you then instruct them to cross from byline or deep. Also would you be doing a write up on France.

Either that or use more aggressive fullbacks to cross the ball when the wide mids have moved inside. If the Germans were playing Klose, I would guess they would switch to a 4-4-1-1 with Ozil at AMC and Muller on the right as an unmodified WM-A. Keep in mind, their set-up against Portugal was very reactive, so if you use this tactic as a baseline, you will need to make logical adjustments when you're not focused heavily on containing a world class winger.

100% agree, it has helped me massively when someone knowledgeable translates how a real team plays within ME. As at time it can be very overwhelming. I know I get frustrated when I have an idea how I want me team to play but can never replicate it. So THOG I applaud you.

Glad to hear you're finding it helpful. :thup:

THoG - this thread has been a breath of fresh air.

If you find the time and inclination to analyse Chile's terrific performance (so far!) against Spain tonight, I for one would love to read it.

I have a lot of IRL stuff to take care of today, but I'll earmark Chile v. Netherlands for the full treatment. In broad terms, it was similar to how the Dutch played against Spain but closer to an Attacking mentality.

So far I'm finding at this World Cup that the successful teams are those who use transition tactics, i.e. tactics that are great at exploiting opportunities during the transition phase. Therefore possession tactics have given way to transition tactics IMO. Speed of play and quick recovery into shape are the keys. And while part of the team is recovering into shape, other parts of the team are pressuring the ball. There is also a variety of formations and 3 at the back is making a return. I think this WC is fantastic not only from entertainment point but also from tactical point so far.

At the international level, this makes sense because teams don't have time to develop the understanding necessary to make a possession tactic work. Similarly, three at the back gives you that extra bit of insurance with a midfield or defence that might not be on quite the same page.

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I'm a massive fan of the way Holland played against Spain so I decided to use the tactics it's very good but I struggle to keep possession

I'd expect that to be the case. The Dutch only managed 50% possession against Australia and ended up switching to a 4-1-4-1/4-3-3 to exert more control in the second half.

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At the international level, this makes sense because teams don't have time to develop the understanding necessary to make a possession tactic work. Similarly, three at the back gives you that extra bit of insurance with a midfield or defence that might not be on quite the same page.

IMO developing a good transition tactic requires just as much understanding as a good possession tactic. Most national teams, if not all of them, have had sufficient time before this WC to prepare their teams. And it shows so far.

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IMO developing a good transition tactic requires just as much understanding as a good possession tactic. Most national teams, if not all of them, have had sufficient time before this WC to prepare their teams. And it shows so far.

I'm not so sure. Holland changed style just 3 games before the World Cup. Perhaps that's more an example of how good a coach LVG is though.

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I'm not so sure. Holland changed style just 3 games before the World Cup. Perhaps that's more an example of how good a coach LVG is though.

He'd been planning it a lot longer though (4-6 months before the WC according to LvG) and studied a lot of Juve's games as that's what it was based on. He was looking for a system that could beat Spain, I'm surprised he actually started with this again yesterday, they looked much more comfortable when they switched to the 4-3-3 yesterday at half time. The whole idea was LvG said to beat Spain you need to focus on fast transitions, so he spent time going to games where teams used a 3-5-2/5-3-2. I think he even took RvP with him to some games when he was recovering from injury too. He might have only tried it in the public eye in the 3 games before the WC but they'd been working on this behind the scenes a lot longer. He took RvP to Vitesse v Ajax and PSV v Feyenoord and asked him for his opinions and to see if he could play in this kind of system. RvP had a big part in the change.

One of his main reasons for the change was he thought Robben and RvP could punish the Spanish with their pace and skill if they focused on fast transitions. There is an article about it somewhere in the Independent iirc :)

Also I think he played 4-4-2 against Wales as he thought that would be what Australia used yesterday.

He's becoming a lot less stubborn in his old age though and more 'reactive'. In the early 2000's when he was last in charge of Holland he'd have never took the advice of a player or involved them with any decision making about tactics as that's not what he did then. I think he learnt a lot about himself and how he needed to evolve as a coach/manager between 2000-2002 last time he managed them.

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IMO developing a good transition tactic requires just as much understanding as a good possession tactic. Most national teams, if not all of them, have had sufficient time before this WC to prepare their teams. And it shows so far.

I agree in terms of the attack, but I think a possession system, at least one played to win, demands much more of the defence in terms of requiring them to play the ball securely, hold a high line and defend when 6-7 teammates have pushed into the opposition third. There's less margin for error, whereas a counterattacking 5-3-2 ensures the defenders have both a smaller range of responsibilities and extra cover at all times. Still, one thing that's stood out in the tournament for me are the number of mistakes being made by teams trying to play patiently out of the back, but so far, they've mostly gone unpunished. Germany, in particular, could have easily been 2-0 down before Muller's penalty if Portugal had finished those early, gifted chances.

As far as playing with 3 central defenders, it was common in the early rounds of the last World Cup as well. People remember that tournament for the 4-2-3-1 but Uruguay, Mexico and Chile all played some variation of 5-3-2 or 3-4-3 in the group stages.

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I agree in terms of the attack, but I think a possession system, at least one played to win, demands much more of the defence in terms of requiring them to play the ball securely, hold a high line and defend when 6-7 teammates have pushed into the opposition third. There's less margin for error, whereas a counterattacking 5-3-2 ensures the defenders and midfielder have extra cover at all times. One thing that's stood out in the tournament for me are the number of mistakes being made by teams trying to play out of the back, but so far, they've mostly gone unpunished. Germany, in particular, could have been 2-0 down before Muller's penalty if Portugal had finished those early, gifted chances.

As far as playing with 3 central defenders, it was common in the early rounds of the last World Cup as well. People remember that tournament for the 4-2-3-1 but Uruguay, Mexico and Chile all played some variation of 5-3-2 or 3-4-3 in the group stages.

They did in qualifying too, the South American teams tend to mix it up a lot more than the European sides.

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That Colombia goal then was a great goal showing how good fast transitions can hurt sides, fantastically executed plan.

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Well, I hope that Louis van Gaal's tactical genius can come up with something that can beat Chile in "a good way", as the match versus Australia was really not that good at all. It is "a quality" to win bad matches as well.

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Uruguay showed what "get stuck in" means... SI might need to add a new heavier setting just for them in FM15, actually.

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I agree in terms of the attack, but I think a possession system, at least one played to win, demands much more of the defence in terms of requiring them to play the ball securely, hold a high line and defend when 6-7 teammates have pushed into the opposition third. There's less margin for error, whereas a counterattacking 5-3-2 ensures the defenders have both a smaller range of responsibilities and extra cover at all times. Still, one thing that's stood out in the tournament for me are the number of mistakes being made by teams trying to play patiently out of the back, but so far, they've mostly gone unpunished. Germany, in particular, could have easily been 2-0 down before Muller's penalty if Portugal had finished those early, gifted chances.

As far as playing with 3 central defenders, it was common in the early rounds of the last World Cup as well. People remember that tournament for the 4-2-3-1 but Uruguay, Mexico and Chile all played some variation of 5-3-2 or 3-4-3 in the group stages.

In all fairness, all and any tactic requires the team to prepare in all phases of the game. In a transition tactic a coach has to prepare his defense to transition from attack to defense and plug any space the opposition might use. Each style of play has it's own challenges of preparation for it. Therefore it is difficult to say which one requires more preparation. It also depends on the individual players - what they are used to playing, what they are competent at playing, how much they are willing and capable of adapting, etc.

The more games I watch the more I see a mixture of styles - teams are trying to have a nice balance between keeping possession and using it the right way, and transitioning quickly exploiting options. I must say, I'm enjoying this WC not only from entertainment POV but also from tactical POV.

I'm also enjoying your FM representation of various tactics. I hope you keep it up. I'm very interested on your take of Chili's tactic.

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That Colombia goal then was a great goal showing how good fast transitions can hurt sides, fantastically executed plan.

And because it was executed so perfectly, it was made to look so simple, wasn't it?

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Haven't been on this side of the forum for a bit. Great thread THoG. :)

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The sight of Ivica Olic charging up and down the left flank while still providing an attacking presence in the box leads me to believe he could be a WM(a) with instructions to dribble more and roam in the 4-0 thrashing of cameroon. At 34 years old this is incredible! It would seem that Croatia plays more crosses against strong teams but varies the movement of their wide players to help in attack against weaker teams

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And because it was executed so perfectly, it was made to look so simple, wasn't it?

Yups. I bet it actually went unnoticed by a large percentage as it looked so simple and ordinary.

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What about player instructions? can we download your tactics somehow?

That isn't the purpose of the thread.

It's just to stimulate discussion about interpretations of "real" football tactics.

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What about player instructions? can we download your tactics somehow?

If you read the thread you will see that the tactics and team instructions can be seen in the screenshots. Then if you actually read the text too he tells you what the personal instructions are, you already have all the info needed to re-create them.

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If you read the thread you will see that the tactics and team instructions can be seen in the screenshots. Then if you actually read the text too he tells you what the personal instructions are, you already have all the info needed to re-create them.

you are right, apologise for my laziness

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That isn't the purpose of the thread.

It's just to stimulate discussion about interpretations of "real" football tactics.

Exactly. These aren't supposed to be tactics for general use. I'm just attempting to describe what I see in the World Cup in FM terms, and while I do hope to give people some ideas on how to incorporate certain elements in their own game, none of the analysis should be read as endorsing or condoning their use. :D As the tournament continues, there will also be a greater emphasis on how teams are adapting their basic style to match different opponents.

In all fairness, all and any tactic requires the team to prepare in all phases of the game. In a transition tactic a coach has to prepare his defense to transition from attack to defense and plug any space the opposition might use. Each style of play has it's own challenges of preparation for it. Therefore it is difficult to say which one requires more preparation. It also depends on the individual players - what they are used to playing, what they are competent at playing, how much they are willing and capable of adapting, etc.

That's certainly a valid argument, and I would clarify that it was not my intent to slate transition tactics generally as haphazard or not requiring a lot of preparation/knowledge (though I stand by my argument regarding the reasons for early tournament use of a spare defender at the back and my opinion that a possession style necessarily requires defenders to have a broader range of skills to complement their more prominent role in possession). If you've followed my saves in other threads, you'll see that my own stylistic bias leans in that direction. I think your latter point about players available is also a very good one and another big factor to consider. Compared to club managers, international managers do not have the opportunity to introduce the entirety of the squad to a style of play with which they may not be entirely familiar, and if you do not have the luxury of a squad that play for a small core group of teams (as Spain and Germany do), I do think this can limit your stylistic options considerably. In this sense, my point about a transition style [arguably] being easier to implement at the international level should be amended to emphasize that managers are taking advantage of the years of training and experience that their players have already acquired at the club level.

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If THOG could do the CR/Italy game from today that would be lovely.

However, being Italian I am absolutely devastated so.. maybe I don't want to see it ;)

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As the tournament continues, there will also be a greater emphasis on how teams are adapting their basic style to match different opponents.

therefore it would be great to see a comparison of how chile play against spain and the netherlands due to their very different styles

anyway, great work :thup:

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If THOG could do the CR/Italy game from today that would be lovely.

However, being Italian I am absolutely devastated so.. maybe I don't want to see it ;)

I'd like to see this as well.

Though I'm pretty sure CR's entire strategy could be boiled down to two shouts: press higher up, use offside trap

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Well done for this thread I know the main aim isn't for use on fm but I've used some of them during my save (Holland) and it's worked so well

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Costa Rica also committed like 20+ fouls so.. "get stuck in" is paramount.

It was mostly little nicks and nibbles from Ruiz and Bolanos though. They only received one booking and it was for a substitute.

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COSTA RICA

Costa Rica have been the biggest surprise of the World Cup so far, and they now appear poised to finish at the top of one of the most difficult groups in the tournament. To their credit, they've done it playing impressive, if fundamentally defensive, football based on a combination of aggressive pressing in midfield and dizzying attacking movement. While much of the post-match analysis has focused on their discipline at the back, the fluidity of their attacking movement deserves mention and credit for its role in serving the greater Costa Rican cause. We often speak of a free-roaming attack in terms of opening up space in the opposition defence for offensive purposes, but against a team that prefers to play on the counter, it has the added benefit of disrupting the structure of their attacking patterns. The highly dynamic movement of Campbell and Ruiz, in particular, cleverly exploited the more advanced positioning of Pirlo and Motta, both of whom were often pressing ahead of Marchisio and Candreva with no obvious outlet ball when they finally regained possession (a situation that prompted Italy's switch to a more risky 4-4-1-1/4-2-3-1 shape in the second half).

This approach was supplemented by Costa Rica's surprisingly high block which, combined with a tightly organised back five, gave the Italian midfield neither the time nor the option to move quickly out of their own half. Candreva, who had been so impressive against England, was left drifting into isolation, and over time, this prompted a series of hopeful balls behind the defence that, aside from a few scares, were immediately met with a quick wave of the linesman's flag.

Going forward, Costa Rica were fairly cautious despite the fluidity of their movement. Despite having three defenders behind him, Tejeda stayed deep to shield the backline while the wingbacks were hesitant to do much more than help maintain possession on the flanks. Still, this proved enough as the combination of a semi-high press and crowded midfield progressively nudged the Italians back into their instinctive comfort zone, eventually allowing Diaz to sneak forward largely unmarked and launch a deep cross to the far post that could easily have been mistaken for a free kick if you had only watched the highlights.

AQnIxEM.png

In FM terms, I would describe Costa Rica's system as a fluid 5-4-1. There was a clear separation between a more cautious defensive unit and a more aggressive attacking unit with the latter cooperating closely to offer passing routes through the middle. For the mentality, I would go with Defensive to reflect the team's aversion to taking unnecessary risks both in and out of possession, though this should be offset by adding the team instructions "Much Higher Defensive Line," "Use Offside Trap," "Higher Tempo," and "Roam from Positions."

And for individual instructions:

GK: Goalkeeper - Defend

DCL: Central Defender - Defend

DC: Central Defender - Defend

DCR: Central Defender - Defend

WBL: Wingback - Defend + Stay Wider

WBR: Wingback - Attack + Dribble Less + Stay Wider

ML: Wide Midfielder - Attack + Cut Inside + Dribble More + Cross Less Often + Sit Narrower

MCL: Central Midfielder - Defend + Pass Shorter

MCR: Box to Box Midfielder - Support

MR: Wide Midfielder - Support + Cut Inside + Dribble More + Cross Less Often + Sit Narrower

STC: Complete Forward - Support + Move Into Channels

dg1jLG7.png

ITALY

Italy's initial system was very similar to the one used against England. Pirlo again operated in a free roaming midfield role, though as the match progressed, he was driven deeper and deeper until Italy eventually switched to a 4-2-3-1 system in the second half. Balotelli was mainly expected to keep the Costa Rican defenders occupied while Marchisio moved inside as a second forward and Candreva looked to provide a creative presence on the right flank. However, Italy's attacking structure was fairly predictable, and given little opportunity to transition quickly, the Italians appeared unwilling to press forward and risk the sort of embarrassment that met the Uruguayans.

At the half, the Italians switched to a 4-4-1-1/4-2-3-1 shape to provide a more reliable link to Balotelli, but with Tejeda sitting deep, this offered little meaningful change from the first half. A significant aspect of this was Italy's choice of fullbacks. Abate and Darmian did not have particularly poor performances and they dutifully moved forward to pin back Costa Rica's wingbacks, but on balance, they are defenders by trade and could not provide the penetration or ingenuity necessary to threaten Costa Rica from the flanks. This amplified the team's dependence on attacking through the middle while hoping for Pirlo and Balotelli to find that vital moment of pinpoint coordination.

5QZkBUE.png

I would describe the initial system as a Rigid (personally, I prefer the term "structured") 4-1-4-1 on a Counter mentality. With a Counter mentality, the team will look to break forward quickly when the opposition has committed a full complement of attackers forward, but if not, they will default to a more cautious, possession-oriented approach. For team instructions, I would add "Shorter Passing" and "Push Higher Up." And the individual instructions:

GK: Goalkeeper - Defend + Distribute to Defenders

DL: Fullback - Attack + Cross from Byline + Cross Less Often + Stay Wider

DCL: Central Defender - Stopper

DCR: Central Defender - Cover

DR: Fullback - Attack + Cross from Byline

DMC: Halfback - Defend + More Risky Passes

ML: Wide Midfielder - Attack + Sit Narrower + Cut Inside with Ball + Cross Less Often

MCL: Deep Lying Playmaker - Support + Roam from Position + More Direct Passing

MCR: Box to Box Midfielder - Support + Shoot More Often

MR: Winger - Support + Roam from Position

STC: Complete Forward - Attack + Move Into Channels

H4kTqiD.png

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Well done for this thread I know the main aim isn't for use on fm but I've used some of them during my save (Holland) and it's worked so well

When I looked at my notes for that match, the first thing I thought was "So van Gaal's been visiting the downloads forum..."

This is a great thread! It's nice to see someone translate real world tactics into FM terms. Very good job THOG!

Thanks. I'm hoping to have the time to do Klinsmann's USA against either Portugal or Germany.

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