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World Cup 2018 Tactical Interpretations

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Four years ago the Hand of God introduced to us how FM could be used to interpret the teams at the 2014 world cup and it was sn absolute joy understanding tactics in the real world setting. It is my wish that this thread could be used to support the tactical discussions related to the current world cup👍

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Russia's tactics today were very well thought out.

4231 in attack but only the front 4 went forward to attack when they won the ball back.

The 6 further back sat deep but supported the high press of the front 4 to make it easier. Not entirely sure how it would work in fm though, one to think about. 

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10 hours ago, hyrule_king said:

Russia's tactics today were very well thought out.

4231 in attack but only the front 4 went forward to attack when they won the ball back.

The 6 further back sat deep but supported the high press of the front 4 to make it easier. Not entirely sure how it would work in fm though, one to think about. 

Sounds like a Structured shape tbf.

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Here's my go at Russia's tactics (4-4-1-1)

TI - standard, structured, close down more, fairly narrow

GK - D (fewer risky passes)

WB-A
CD-D (fewer risky passes)
CD-D (fewer risky passes)
FB-S

WM-S (roam from position)
CM-S (hold position)
CM-D
WM-A (Golovin, roam from position, close down more) W-A (Cheryshev)

AM-A (close down more)
CF-A (shorter passing)

 

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I just found the thread from 4 years ago: 

 

 

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3 hours ago, reg22 said:

Here's my go at Russia's tactics (4-4-1-1)

TI - standard, structured, close down more, fairly narrow

GK - D (fewer risky passes)

WB-A
CD-D (fewer risky passes)
CD-D (fewer risky passes)
FB-S

WM-S (roam from position)
CM-S (hold position)
CM-D
WM-A (Golovin, roam from position, close down more) W-A (Cheryshev)

AM-A (close down more)
CF-A (shorter passing)

 

That looks really good. I like the simplicity of how you described russia’s tactic without lumping a whole bunch of TIs and PIs. To me russia was standard and structured with main focus of tightening up the middle and attacking down the flanks.

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16 hours ago, Jyuan83 said:

Four years ago the Hand of God introduced to us how FM could be used to interpret the teams at the 2014 world cup and it was sn absolute joy understanding tactics in the real world setting. It is my wish that this thread could be used to support the tactical discussions related to the current world cup👍

That was one of the best threads I have ever seen here. Where is THOG? :(

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Morocco vs. Iran is by far the most enjoying match for me.

Morocco are definitely a favorite of mine (being of half-Moroccan descent). I'm bad a judging play, but it looks like they are playing 4-1-4-1 with a top notch midfield. El Ahmadi at the base with Belhanda and Boussoufa in the middle, the former in my opinion drops a bit deeper. Ziyech and Harit out wide as sort of creative wingers. Amrabat and Hakimi are advanced fullbacks and Benatia is a ball-playing defender. El Arabi is a CF/s perhaps? Maybe DF?

Not going too well for them, but I feel like if this team clicks, it could be magical.

Iran are defenitely playing on the counter. Haven't noticed them as much as Morocco, but Sardar looks like a good player. A second striker of sorts, maybe CF/s or even AP/a.

Definitely a match I would like to read an analysis about.

Edited by TheJanitor

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17 minutes ago, D_LO_ said:

Really?! :idiot:

The second half was pretty bad, but Morocoo were pretty good in the first half hour.

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Wish i could get a counter low block system like Iran's working. I just get trashed if I'm not playing normal or above mentalities.

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3 hours ago, KyleHyde said:

Wish i could get a counter low block system like Iran's working. I just get trashed if I'm not playing normal or above mentalities.

Yeah that was great to watch! Would love to see that written up, and it'd be a great close out the game arrow to have in the tactical quiver.

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Spain vs Portugal was interesting - Spain seemed to have four playmakers (Isco, David Silva, Iniesta, Koke) who were all over the place, Busquets obviously being Busquets, Diego Costa as a Defensive Forward which you don't really see in a possession system but worked - it was noticeable that when Aspas came on Spain's control eroded partially I think due to the fear factor Costa induces in the opposition centre backs disappearing. In any FM interpretation the back four and Busquets are pretty simple, as is Costa, but those other four are debatable as they were all over the place.

Portugal meanwhile seemed to be playing a system that kept 8 men behind the ball at all times and let Ronaldo and Guedes switch "up top".

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10 hours ago, zlatanera said:

Spain vs Portugal was interesting - Spain seemed to have four playmakers (Isco, David Silva, Iniesta, Koke) who were all over the place, Busquets obviously being Busquets, Diego Costa as a Defensive Forward which you don't really see in a possession system but worked - it was noticeable that when Aspas came on Spain's control eroded partially I think due to the fear factor Costa induces in the opposition centre backs disappearing. In any FM interpretation the back four and Busquets are pretty simple, as is Costa, but those other four are debatable as they were all over the place.

Portugal meanwhile seemed to be playing a system that kept 8 men behind the ball at all times and let Ronaldo and Guedes switch "up top".

Portugal played more or less the same tactic that won them Euro 2016. Basically a 442 with two pseudo-strikers in ronaldo and guedes. Guedes spent last season on loan at Valencia from PSG where he played mostly as a left winger and at times a right winger. He is no stranger to being upfront as his average positioning for valencia often showed him to be the furthest at the top. He took over from Nani as ronaldo’s striker partner and it would appear that portugal had no true striker in the system, but for some reason it worked well with guedes often dropping deep to release ronaldo. Portugal is perhaps the best counterattacking team at the world cup and it would be interesting to see if their Euro 2016 win was a fluke or not.

Edited by Jyuan83

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The fluent movement and interchanging of Spain’s playmakers can’t really be done in the current ME, but I’d be interested to see some interpretations of their mentality and shape.

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5 hours ago, Jyuan83 said:

Portugal played more or less the same tactic that won them Euro 2016. Basically a 442 with two pseudo-strikers in ronaldo and guedes. Guedes spent last season on loan at Valencia from PSG where he played mostly as a left winger and at times a right winger. He is no stranger to being upfront as his average positioning for valencia often showed him to be the furthest at the top. He took over from Nani as ronaldo’s striker partner and it would appear that portugal had no true striker in the system, but for some reason it worked well with guedes often dropping deep to release ronaldo. Portugal is perhaps the best counterattacking team at the world cup and it would be interesting to see if their Euro 2016 win was a fluke or not.

Yeah, you could debate whether their compactness means Very Fluid or the fact that there was a clear divide between the 8 mainly defending and the two forward players would mean Structured. Shame perenial Ronaldo-heart-attack-inducer Nani has been replaced by a guy who looked terrified to run at Ramos. You could argue for multiple combinations to sum up Guedes-Ronaldo including False Nine - Shadow Striker to mimic the move @Cleon's article talked about of Guedes dropping deep to release Ronaldo.

2 hours ago, howard moon said:

The fluent movement and interchanging of Spain’s playmakers can’t really be done in the current ME, but I’d be interested to see some interpretations of their mentality and shape.

Yeah, maybe if you had "swap positions" ticked for them you would at least get two pairs switching but to be honest Spain's style, like Messi, is just beyond simulation right now. 

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Iceland are just amazing to watch. It's remarkable what they've been able to accomplish and obviously pretty tough to replicate in FM. They finished 4th in their qualifying group in the game for me (I wasn't coaching them, just the AI in case that wasn't clear) in the 2018 World Cup, behind Serbia, Austria and Wales.

So my question is what type of system would work in FM18 that really takes advantage teamwork, work rate and great mental attributes. Obviously you need some technique and I don't mean to undercut the Iceland players at all. As an Everton guy I love Gylfi! It would be great to see a tactic for an undermanned squad that really focuses on high teamwork and work rate attributes and roles that take advantage of that.

Edited by Joey Numbaz

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Wondering what top teams are missing to break those stubborn defences. Yesterday Argentina, now Germany fail to score from open play.

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29 minutes ago, Armistice said:

Wondering what top teams are missing to break those stubborn defences. Yesterday Argentina, now Germany fail to score from open play.

Don't think Mexico was that stubborn really, they just played well and were solid. Germany just lacked the creativity and finishing but did have good chances.

Iceland yesterday though, they're a proper defensive counter attacking side who stay compact and keep their shape, which makes it hard to break down. Argentina's issue was not using width to break them down. Also don't think Messi trying hard helped ever as he kept coming central and was crowded out, he was forced across the box time and time again with the ball. Would have been different if they started wide and then got Messi and others going between the defenders and behind them in the gaps that would appear. But for some reason, they never changed or mixed it up and clearly lacked a plan B.

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1 hour ago, Cleon said:

Don't think Mexico was that stubborn really, they just played well and were solid. Germany just lacked the creativity and finishing but did have good chances.

Iceland yesterday though, they're a proper defensive counter attacking side who stay compact and keep their shape, which makes it hard to break down. Argentina's issue was not using width to break them down. Also don't think Messi trying hard helped ever as he kept coming central and was crowded out, he was forced across the box time and time again with the ball. Would have been different if they started wide and then got Messi and others going between the defenders and behind them in the gaps that would appear. But for some reason, they never changed or mixed it up and clearly lacked a plan B.

I didn't make sense for Argentina to have Di Maria on the left and Meza on the right, when crossing is pointless due to lack of height. Inverted wingers (starting as wide as possible and coming inside) would've been better and things improved slightly when Pavon subbed on for Di Maria. Banega offers more than Biglia in the middle as well.

Messi is the only one who can create anything for them though. But he needs to move more without the ball. He's a little lazy at times.

Argentina are disaster at the back.

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5 minutes ago, D_LO_ said:

This was key but not just Messi. The entire team were so static, often there was no movement at all. I found it shocking at this level from a team of Argentina's reputation.

Coupled with the lack of width.. they were completely toothless.

Flipping the wingers around can be a start to better movement off the ball.

I would try Pavon on the left and Dybala on the right in the next match. Dybala and Messi can switch positions. Either one can swap with Kun even.

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Being without Lahm is also huge, but the one that really baffles me is that Loew never replaced Schweinsteiger with a holding midfielder and has since pretty much constantly played an extra attacker instead. Add to that the fact that Kroos's work rate seems to have dropped by about 25% in the last 4 years and neither Ozil or Mueller are even half the players they were in 2014 and have become non-contributors defensively, and you have a problem. I've been thinking this for a while and I wish I posted this yesterday :-)

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3 hours ago, Rashidi said:

71854709_ScreenShot2018-06-18at4_04_22AM.thumb.png.4499c965a46021d272ec14da9724410c.png 

I am not surprised Germany failed to win, look at their right flank. Ozil was frequently drifting there, guess he believed that he would rather hangout with players who can't track back..(Muller), and their right back, can't track back to save his life.

Credit to Mexico, the entire game they were targeting the flanks. Even the GK distributed balls out wide. Kroos was playing more like a Mez, than a holding mid, and without a serious anchor in midfield, they had no protection, frequently leaving their slow defenders alone. Germany deserved the result, what surprised me, was Mexico's poor counterattacks. They should have won the game 3-0.

What an excellent depiction of the German tactics! It's just awesome how much this summarizes what was wrong with Germany this morning.

A particular highlight of what you have shown here is Kroos as a MEZ(S) - playing his Real Madrid role as if Casemiro wasn't half way across Russia playing for someone else.

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3 hours ago, Rashidi said:

71854709_ScreenShot2018-06-18at4_04_22AM.thumb.png.4499c965a46021d272ec14da9724410c.png 

I am not surprised Germany failed to win, look at their right flank. Ozil was frequently drifting there, guess he believed that he would rather hangout with players who can't track back..(Muller), and their right back, can't track back to save his life.

Credit to Mexico, the entire game they were targeting the flanks. Even the GK distributed balls out wide. Kroos was playing more like a Mez, than a holding mid, and without a serious anchor in midfield, they had no protection, frequently leaving their slow defenders alone. Germany deserved the result, what surprised me, was Mexico's poor counterattacks. They should have won the game 3-0.

On point, except for slow defenders, Reus have some pace on him :lol:

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I felt that Germany was being far too predictable with two players in draxler and muller who do their work drifting inside rather than out wide stretching the defence. Ozil was not really stretching the defence by drifting to the right, he is not the most mobile of players to do so. Khedira phyiscally is no longer the force he once was for Real Madrid in his best 2011\2012 season so with kroos going off to wander the channels, there really was nothing to protect the defence. The wingbacks are not as dynamic as lahm in going to the bylines and sending in quality crosses. The leftback if i am not wrong had only one cross or so for the whole match. Kimmich was doing too much on his own upfront and not tracking back at all. Complete disaster really. Would be better with leroy sane as an option.

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4 hours ago, Rashidi said:

71854709_ScreenShot2018-06-18at4_04_22AM.thumb.png.4499c965a46021d272ec14da9724410c.png 

I am not surprised Germany failed to win, look at their right flank. Ozil was frequently drifting there, guess he believed that he would rather hangout with players who can't track back..(Muller), and their right back, can't track back to save his life.

Credit to Mexico, the entire game they were targeting the flanks. Even the GK distributed balls out wide. Kroos was playing more like a Mez, than a holding mid, and without a serious anchor in midfield, they had no protection, frequently leaving their slow defenders alone. Germany deserved the result, what surprised me, was Mexico's poor counterattacks. They should have won the game 3-0.

Germany got done on the transitions.

If Mexico executed their counters better this could've been ugly for the Germans.

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I had my FM save on my laptop on my lap as the Germany V Mexico game got underway. I was astonished to see Mexico replicating my FM tactic to a T!

I've actually been experimenting with what I thought would be an unrealistic, imbalanced tactic, but down in Level 22 you can make any number of mistakes and still get success. The intention is to keep tweaking and honing away until it hits the sweet spot.

So what I've got is a 4-1-2-3 counter-attacking formation with the bonkers element of 3 fast strikers who do no tracking back. I play direct with the defenders and mids just lumping the ball up the park for the 3 to run onto. Like the Germans, the oppo defences at park football level get overwhelmed, 2 against 3, and the goals pile up.

The Germans did help me to spot one vulnerable spot that needed plugging. I found it unbelievable that Low instructed his full-back to play so high, exposing the 2 DCs, particularly as there was inadequate deep  midfield cover. I was playing wing-backs but I've brought them back to full-back position but on attack duty. Against better opposition they will be on support duty and my DMs will drop to DMd.

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12 hours ago, yonko said:

Flipping the wingers around can be a start to better movement off the ball.

I would try Pavon on the left and Dybala on the right in the next match. Dybala and Messi can switch positions. Either one can swap with Kun even.

Hmm interesting. But if they started with two Inverted Wingers/IFs who stayed wide and cut inside, wouldn't they just dribble in a cluster of Icelandic defenders?

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56 minutes ago, Rashidi said:

They started with Hummels and Boateng, not exactly the poster boys of speed. And with Kimmich playing with memory lapses of what his primary duty was, this German team was always leaving 2 or 1 defender behind.

You could give Reus and Hummels the speed of Usain Bolt and it would have made no difference.

And by the way my Twitter feed usually has an FM interpretation of the formations played on the day to generate discussions in case people are interested.

Yeah i know and i agree with what you said,  i was just messing around with you because you put Marco Reus playing as a central defender on that tactic board :lol:

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13 hours ago, Rashidi said:

71854709_ScreenShot2018-06-18at4_04_22AM.thumb.png.4499c965a46021d272ec14da9724410c.png 

I am not surprised Germany failed to win, look at their right flank. Ozil was frequently drifting there, guess he believed that he would rather hangout with players who can't track back..(Muller), and their right back, can't track back to save his life.

Credit to Mexico, the entire game they were targeting the flanks. Even the GK distributed balls out wide. Kroos was playing more like a Mez, than a holding mid, and without a serious anchor in midfield, they had no protection, frequently leaving their slow defenders alone. Germany deserved the result, what surprised me, was Mexico's poor counterattacks. They should have won the game 3-0.

I'd of said they were even more open in midfield than that, once the ball was in the final third I remember Khedira being in advance of the ball and in the box on multiple occasions, more of a BBM than a DLP IMO.  Plus I don't think he was a playmaker at all, just Kroos man marked out of transitions by Vela.  Werner I think was more of a CF-A playing on the shoulder.  Too often they ended up with 3 forwards standing around against Mexico defence and a line of midfielders standing wanting the ball and lack of movement, besides Kimmich going where ever he wanted (was CF multiple times?!?).  The number of long shots from Kroos was disappointing too.

As much as I like Hernandez he's not good with the ball, if he's not shooting with his first/second touch he's going to struggle as his touch, passing, dribbling, strength etc isn't good.  Missed so many chances getting the ball stuck under his feet or failing a relatively easy pass.  He looked like he did for West Ham, up front on his own treading water and lacking confidence.

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3 hours ago, summatsupeer said:

I'd of said they were even more open in midfield than that, once the ball was in the final third I remember Khedira being in advance of the ball and in the box on multiple occasions, more of a BBM than a DLP IMO.  Plus I don't think he was a playmaker at all, just Kroos man marked out of transitions by Vela.  Werner I think was more of a CF-A playing on the shoulder.  Too often they ended up with 3 forwards standing around against Mexico defence and a line of midfielders standing wanting the ball and lack of movement, besides Kimmich going where ever he wanted (was CF multiple times?!?).  The number of long shots from Kroos was disappointing too.

As much as I like Hernandez he's not good with the ball, if he's not shooting with his first/second touch he's going to struggle as his touch, passing, dribbling, strength etc isn't good.  Missed so many chances getting the ball stuck under his feet or failing a relatively easy pass.  He looked like he did for West Ham, up front on his own treading water and lacking confidence.

That's why Hernandez is more suited to be a AF/Poacher, he's more of a fox in the box who will score tap ins if you feed him enough opportunities.

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8 hours ago, Armistice said:

Hmm interesting. But if they started with two Inverted Wingers/IFs who stayed wide and cut inside, wouldn't they just dribble in a cluster of Icelandic defenders?

They would but it's better than the alternative - dribbling wide and crossing to midgets like Aguero and Messi.

Cutting inside from wide positions at least gives them the option to play one-twos and create other passing combinations. Even interchange positions.

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1 hour ago, yonko said:

They would but it's better than the alternative - dribbling wide and crossing to midgets like Aguero and Messi.

Cutting inside from wide positions at least gives them the option to play one-twos and create other passing combinations. Even interchange positions.

@Armistice too add to this there's a difference between standing narrow and cutting inside from wide areas.  Starting wide if you beat the FB then that draws another defender out of position.  You still need movement and a range of options though which I think was Argentina's issue.

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2 hours ago, yonko said:

They would but it's better than the alternative - dribbling wide and crossing to midgets like Aguero and Messi.

Cutting inside from wide positions at least gives them the option to play one-twos and create other passing combinations. Even interchange positions.

What about low crosses? Cutting inside seems really bad if there's so much traffic in the middle.

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1 hour ago, summatsupeer said:

@Armistice too add to this there's a difference between standing narrow and cutting inside from wide areas.  Starting wide if you beat the FB then that draws another defender out of position.  You still need movement and a range of options though which I think was Argentina's issue.

Hmm I am not so sure it draws another defender out of position because the player cutting in is going towards the central area anyway. That’s how I imagine it.

Edited by Armistice

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@Armistice I think what @summatsupeer was meaning was that if Iceland are defending in banks of four and you have your inside forward out wide facing up to his marker, the two centre backs marking attackers and the opposite full back keeping an eye on the inside forward on the other side, then once the IF beats the first man, he has to be closed down which potentially pulls the entire Icelandic shape apart as the full back that has been dribbled past is in that moment a non-entity in defence.

Argentina's complete lack of off-the-ball movement would probably make that plan ineffective however, they seemed to be all just standing around watching Messi. 

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3 hours ago, Armistice said:

because the player cutting in is going towards the central area anyway

He probably is, but if you don't close him down what happens? He can play a ball over the top to an advancing winger/midfielder at the back of the box, or play it out to an advancing midfielder at the edge of the box, or - as nearly always happens in FM - the forward will get wrong-side of the defender. In the immortal words of Alan Hansen (MotD circa 2010) if you give him time and space he'll punish you.

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5 hours ago, Bunkerossian said:

What about low crosses? Cutting inside seems really bad if there's so much traffic in the middle.

So in that same train of thought, if there is so much people in the middle you want low crosses?

The best way for Argentina is intricate passing combinations. That will happen with inverted wingers from wide positions. 

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I think what Argentina was up against was like facing a living wall of titans. Physically, every iceland player in that match was bigger than their argentine counterpart so no point in crossing high to vertically challenged guys like aguero and messi. They could have done what man city did last season, drag them wide with wingers then send in cutbacks instead of crosses via channel movement from the central players. Messi had 11 shots and 9 dribbles in that match from whoscored.com but of the 11 shots, only two shots or so were on target. Which showed how effectively staying close and compact really was for iceland in holding out for a draw.

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Thanks @Jean0987654321 for the reminders👍. Very interesting to see Belgium’s tactics against panama. Basically functions like conte’s 3-4-3. Perhaps the only tactic to fit in the talents of de bruyne, hazard, mertens and lukaku.

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@D_LO_ England is a disaster my friend. You will see against Belgium. Got very lucky at the end vs Tunisia. There is no one to create anything in midfield for them. Both goals were close finishes after corner kicks. Nothing from open play.

Belgium has to play this way because they lack quality fullbacks. KDB is quite capable of defending. England needs to worry more how to defend against him.

Spain and Portugal played the best and that match was the most high quality & entertaining so far. I think everyone else is struggling. Which is normal at the beginning of such tournaments. Mexico also impressed but they have to finish their counterattack better otherwise it might cost them.

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