By Shebby Singh | WORLD CUP 2018
It’s only the first weekend of WC2018 and we’re already seeing some good performances and football. We’re also seeing some weird tactics and poor strategies from some of the top teams in the world. Let’s leave Leo Messi alone, you’re not a true great until you’ve missed a penalty at the World Cup!
Let’s not remind Zico and Michel Platini, for true blue world class players aren’t without a blemish.
We’ve seen the French come out to play with four centre backs, two in the shape of Benjamin Pavard and Lucas Hernandez being asked to fill the fullback positions. Defensively, both Pavard at right back and Hernandez from left back did a wonderful job.
The problems began when Didier Deschamps team had to attack and clearly both Pavard and Hernandez are not only limited as attacking fullbacks but this also made the French too narrow. In Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe, the French have two of the fastest wingers in the world.
The kind of speed kings who can and will strip any fullback in a one on one situation but strangely the tactics did not allow them this opportunity. True, modern day football depends a lot on fullbacks getting forward but only if you have the right player available.
So, what’s the point in playing modern football while cramping out your best wingers plus asking converted centre backs to play the modern day fullback roles?
And we move on to Argentina. The strategy should be to control the tempo of the game with possession football to try penetrating the best defensive team in the world, Iceland.
But here is what Argentina did!
They controlled the tempo of the game with good possession ONLY to try giving the ball to Lionel Messi. And the Icelandic warriors built a box around Messi whenever he had the ball because they knew the Argentines have that only one strategy! Talk about being predictable!
The defending world champions Germany played the most “English” football. Get the ball, give it to Joshua Kimmich on the right flank who then crossed it into the box to no one in particular!
What was it that someone said about insanity? Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results!
Even the English have realized that lumping the ball into the box is not football anymore!
The laborious Toni Kroos and “headless chicken” Thomas Mueller will be the undoing of this Germán side that has to wake up before its too late! Perhaps, the Germans will just blame it on Mesut Ozil.
Moving on to the Brazilians, they were fantastic when Philip Coutinho was the chief playmaker in the first half. He ran the show and just when we sat back to enjoy more of the Brazilian “jogo bonito” in the second half, up steps Neymar!
And Brazil go downhill! The selfish and arrogant Neymar demanded the ball and for all his showboating and ego, he kept losing possession. Ducking and diving and literally hitting the floor, Neymar became the Swiss’s best player and domination was lost.
It certainly looks like the big boys have troubles of their own but let’s not take anything away from the heroics of Iceland, Mexico and Switzerland. These three teams came prepared while Argentina, Brazil and Germany have internal issues and big decisions to make.
The “team” is always bigger than the “ i “ although Cristiano Ronaldo might disagree.
[Serbegeth Singh is a former Malaysian international footballer and current football analyst. For the duration of the World Cup 2018, he will share his thoughts at Asia Samachar on Mondays, looking back at the action in Russia over the week]
* This is the opinion of the writer, organisation or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Asia Samachar.
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