Tuesday, 14 June 2016


yesterday belgium played italy in one of the opening fixtures . the italians won the match but rather they pulled belgium in their game and belgium just could find a way past italian defense . belgium have the best offensive playrers in their squad and have a squad full of superstars while for the first time italians just didnt had any star player in their squad .
the game started with belgium playing 4-4-1-1 . while the italians started the game with 3-5-2 formation . the 3-5-2 is conte's favourite formation . conte must had studied belgium's weakness and he prepared for it .
conte was applauded for his tactics in the media and i would say that atleast on the offensive front he got that spot on . not with the defensive one . yes the italians defended very stubbornly and didnt offer belgium anything but to be honest it had to do more with belgium's inability on the offensive front rather than the italians defensive effort . how he got the offensive front correct was that on the wings he knew that hazard and de bruyne doesnt like to come deep and defend and do their defensive part . secondly he loaded the wings with two guys . but the biggest failure on the part of belgium was their inability to stop pelle . just how many time in the match pelle won the long balls and laid it out for eder . the italians had the pattern set . pelle is one of the most underrated players . i think he has the most no. of assist for the centre forward and links very well with players around him . you could ask that to sadio mane .
the reason why said that his defensive approach was not that good because the italians backed too much had there been a better team then they would work the ball more better with such deep penetration being offered by the italians . the belgium failed to find one decent ball to lukaku's feet ( although he missed one ) and that would had been a game changer . you cannot allow the opposition to come so much inside your own territory . yes you had players defending it but better teams find a way around it and it was just that belgiums were not that better the other day .
 the trouble was that the belgiums backing up and never challenging pelle for the ball and sitting back and letting him have the ball . the trouble with belgiums is that they have centre backs playing in the fullback role and they dont like to come out postion . what conte had see that the italians would always have space on the wings because hazard and de bruyne wont rush to defend and that allowed the italians time and space on the ball. pelle needed to be their in the box since he is one of the best header of the ball . but i felt that eder could have done something . they could have had worked the ball better then i think the belgiums could have had more trouble .
the game started with lukaku upfront with fellaini behind him with hazard and de bruyne on wings . now the italian back three play together day in day out . they work as a unit . most importantly they play deep and start with a yard on the goal side . what conte did was that he congested the field of play and you could literally see italian player at 10 yards distance from each other . they played very compact . belgium depend on hazard and de bruyne for the creativity or for opening opposition defense .here they were not given any space to work with .
this was total failure on the part of mark wilmots in terms of offensive game . first off his team was totally one dimensional . first off the belgium always tried to cross the ball in the box and never tried to open the italians on the floor . secondly the penetration was poor whenever they had the ball wide they just tried to cross theball in the box . they should had been more patient with their possession . they had players who can dribble and pass . for one time de bruyne made a diagonal run and he had clear chance on goal but i never saw that anybody making that again . their lack of specialised fullbacks was clearly exposed here . the fullbacks extend the attack they provide the necessary width to the attack in the modern football with their runs . most importantly somebody needed to play off lukaku just as eder was playing off pelle . first off fellaini was playing but he was there to head the ball rather than to play off lukaku . another thing was that many of their players spent too much time on the ball allowing the italians to contain them . the italians were never going to come and close down and give too much off space . instead they would sit deep and crunch the space and hit you on the counter . what i wanted to see was lukaku going wide (shown in the diagram ) and have more penetration . the trouble with belgium was that they just didnt had any patience with the ball just look at the positions from where the balls was crossed in the box . couldnt they work the ball deeper . the italians do that at juventus day in day out and were really comfortable . to be honest with such an attacking threat belgiums should have had a good game and had a decent result but missed it  .

bonucci was going to be a very important player because of his ability to play out from the back . he produced three good balls from the back out of which one resulted in the goal . radga naingollan was another who was auditioning but he still lacks that mobility for a complete midfielder who could impose himself on the game .
for me mark wilmots needs to rethink about his tactics and the football they are playing and their dependence on headed goals . italians were decent in the game but their offense needs to have a plan b not just pelle to eder . all and all a very good win for italians which would give them confidence .