Tag Archives for " Spain "

The False 9

Our latest book explores how some of the best teams in the world play with a withdrawn forward, also known as a False 9. The number 9 relate to the classic number given a the striker.

The most famous example of this method being used is Spain during the 2010 World Cup. When Fernando Torres was not playing Spain would play without a true forward and only have Cesc Fabregas playing a little higher up the field than

Continue reading

The Secret of Building a Style of Play Around Specific Types of Players

Today's article is a blog post from Paul Grech and his blog, Blueprint for Football.  The blog post is an interview Grech did with Jordi Pascual, the author of our books, Coaching Spanish Soccer and Developing a Style of Play.

Given that he had a team that contained the talents of David de Gea, Thiago Alcantara, Iker Muniain and Isco, it is tempting to assume that Julen Lopetegui's job as the Spanish Under 21 manager is a fairly easy one. Yet there was more to Spain as they won their second consecutive European title then a collection of talented players; their typical play based on short passing and intense pressure placed those talents in a position to excel.

Again, the temptation is there to generalise and assume that a Spanish national team playing that kind of football is a given; that it is automatic. Yet it is not. Players spend only a fraction of their time with the national team and during such restricted time-frames it is practically impossible for them to 'learn' a method of playing.

So how do Spain manage to play in that manner? An explanation was provided in part by Lopetegui himself who said "We have a crystal clear philosophy on how to play football...ultimately for all Spanish national team football we want to

Continue reading

Spain v Portugal Euro Quarter Final - A Tactical Analysis

By Stevie Grieve

Spain and Portugal are 2 of the top sides in the world, Spain current World and European Champions, and ranked number 1, Portugal are ranked number 8 and are always a dangerous side with players like Ronaldo and Nani in the team. Portugal played Spain in a friendly 2 years ago and won 4-0, but Spain are a different team in competitions, and Portugal knew this game could be the defining moment in a potential Euro Championship win. Portugal played Spain with bravery, playing a high pressing game, with lots of possession, but with more direct play around the goal. Spain were far away from their best during the game and Portugal although played very well, couldn’t capitalise on the overloads they created near the goal. Spain won on penalties and reaches the final, to play against Italy or Germany.

Portugal 3v3 opportunity – Almeida wastes a chance with a long range shot

Nani finds Almeida behind Spain’s midfield but as Nani offers a pass behind the defence, Ronaldo makes a run behind

Continue reading

Should We All Try to Play Like Spain?

At the end of every major World Cup or European Championship those involved with youth development look at the results, what conclusions can be drawn and how they relate to the youth level of the game. In the case of Euro 2012, many coaches and commentators are asking, "How can we get our players to play like Spain does?"

A loud and consistent voice advocating move toward a more player-centered, creative game has been Soccer America's Paul Gardner. He has often bemoaned the direct, 'kick-ball' game and asked coaches to set aside their selfish desire to

Continue reading

Do Spain Play With a 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 or Both?

By Stevie Grieve, author of Modern Soccer Tactics

Spain’s formation is a source of great debate and intrigue. Is it a 4-3-3? Is it a 4-3-3-0? Is it a 4-6-0? Is it a 4-2-3-1? Is it a 4-2-4-0? Is it a 4-2-2-2?

I think it’s a combination of the above. Some matches they will ensure they have a central striker, generally Cesc Fabregas, who will rotate this role with David Silva, with Xavi and Iniesta floating around the space between midfield and defense. They play with a narrow attacking 4-2-3-1 or a narrow 4-3-3 as Alba and Arbeloa do a great job or providing width very high up the field and allowing Spain to regularly outnumber teams between defense and midfield, allowing them to play between the lines frequently.

In the final where Spain played undoubtedly their best football of the tournament, they played a combination of 4-3-3 and 4-2-3-1, and Xavi’s position dictated the shape. In some attacking phases with the ball in the opposition half, he would drop deep and 2 of the 3 of Silva, Iniesta and Cesc would play in between the defense and midfield with Alba and Arbeloa the full backs on the outside, with the other of the front 3 staying as a central striker. In some defensive transition phases, Spain would revert to a 4-2-3-1 with Alonso and Busquets screening the defense, with Xavi, Iniesta and Silva pressing in front, with Cesc as the main striker. When they win the ball back, they would stay in this formation and confuse the opposition as players positions and the marking responsibilities have changed again.

Xavi and Iniesta switch positions – 4-3-3 inside opposition half

Xavi drops into a 4-3-3 as Silva and Iniesta drop off from the front to offer passes from midfield. Xavi passes wide to Alba and

Continue reading