How Portugal could have left Saint-Denis with a win

When in Offensive Organization, it was noticeable that Portugal should link its 1st and 2nd build-up phases on the outside (and do it well), largely because of the defensive positioning of the French team in a 4x4x2 diamond that would, at first, put a lot of people on the inside – in the central areas – “denying” the access to the inner space, and letting the opponent’s first build-up phase to be made on the outside. Portugal was competent at the world champions’ home, managing to keep possession. In order to create finishing situations, Portugal lacked other types of positioning, movements and clear intentions from the outside space that would allow them to control a wing or to have some space-zone (with that they would dismantle the opponent’s defensive line). Here’s the analysis of the dynamic of the movements in the wings in Portugal’s offensive process, something that should have happened if they wanted to be more successfull in this type of spaces (wing and depth).

More than searching for links to the wing, the Portuguese National team managed to dismantle the French defensive structure by locking in on a wing (it would always be more often on the left one) to seek the advantages of a 2×1 / 3×2 on the opposite side, as coach Fernando Santos himself acknowledged. This was a good dynamic presented by Portugal, but it should have happened more often, with greater intentionality, a better positioning game and better timings to create more finishing situations with higher probability of success – therefore increasing the chances of beating a strong French team again in Saint-Denis.

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Author: João Cancela

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