The FIFA Report
At the end of the group stage, FIFA presented the work done by the technical commission, chaired by the Frenchman Arsene Wenger. In what has been the in-depth analysis, supported by the numbers, regarding the way of playing of the teams, it has been possible to score some points on how the game has developed in this World Cup.
Areas of interest
The game developed on the outside and less on the central one and therefore the wingers were fundamental, more than the central midfielders. Fewer goals have been conceded, because the defenses have organized and protected themselves more than usual. Another thing, the goalkeepers behaved like free players in the old game systems, making a fundamental contribution to the construction of the game. The one-on-ones have almost completely disappeared, giving more space to collective play. The teams that have run the most are the ones that come out first, while those who have run the ball the most have gone ahead, see Argentina.
None of the teams that qualified for the round of 16 finished with full points. 31% of the teams had an opposite result to the first one. Difference also between the result of the first and second half, see Japan against Germany and Spain.
Attack and defense phases
From the tactics adopted by the coaches regarding the defensive phase, in this World Cup there has been less scoring and above all less shooting on goal. Shots on goal were 10.9% per game, hence a curiosity that makes you think but not so much. The team that shot the most was Germany with 67 shots, followed by France and Brazil. The Germans are out of the World Cup, the French and Brazilians are going ahead.
Could it be because forward Germany didn’t have a real centre-forward while the others did? Another consideration on how to stay on the pitch, two teams like Poland and the Netherlands are the ones that have shot the least, playing above all on the counterattack, however they have passed the group stage and reached the round of 16. The most accurate team under the net, between shots taken and goals scored, is the Netherlands, while the least accurate is Brazil.
The teams organize themselves better in defense, because most of the goals have been scored from the outside, while from the central part there has been no breakthrough in attack. The data that emerges on the behavior of the defenses is that the high ones are less than a meter in positioning, compared to the data of Russia 2018, while the low ones are two meters. The data also says that the crosses made are +83% compared to Russia 2018, confirming that the game has developed more on the wing and the decisive players have moved to that part of the pitch.
The plus of the champion
The teams that have the champions and talents ahead of them are the ones that have passed the round, while those that do not have goalscorers have already gone out. In fact, those who have central forwards, who have scored the most goals, on assists from crosses, have qualified for the second round. France with Giroud, Holland with Gapko, England with Rashford, Spain with Morata, have all reached the round of 16 without problems. While for example Germany, not having a real centre-forward among its best goalscorers, went out at the end of the group stage.
The conclusion of this work has determined that we are more attentive to the defensive phase and not to reveal ourselves. The wingers are being sought more to carry the action forward and get to the cross in favor of the central striker. In the middle of the field, he avoided playing more to avoid breaking into the central part closed by the defences. The winner is whoever has the champion who with the play that manages to solve at any time, whoever runs a lot and doesn’t let the ball run loses.