Tactical Changes in International Football

This European international break completely confirmed my analysis of the World Cup regarding International Football, especially amongst European Nations. Long gone are the days of Spain’s Tiki-Taka & Löw’s 4-4-1-1 machine. Deep block & counter is the new tiki-taka.

Teams are much harder to break down in 2019. Defensive structures are ultra rigid & compact + zonal defensive systems are implemented to stop diagonal passes. Germany the most affected as the WC showed. Key feature of German football are diagonals into space.

The quality of coaching in International football is significantly lower than in the club world. Both sides take less risks, cost of mistakes is much higher. Hence why possesion doesn’t translate to goals all the time. Teams simply aren’t understanding each other well enough.

The way forward in International Football now is a defensive set up. Deschamps had it perfectly in the world cup 4-3-3 with a versatile defense, a defensive mid, box to box and mezzala in midfield. Fluid forwards with a big body holding play up top and creating space for pace.

Will be interesting to see how South American teams adapt. You saw these changes result in no Latin teams making it to the quarter finals of the World Cup bar Uruguay who essentially are set up as a european team by Oscar Tabarez regardless.

If the pattern continues, Jose Mourinho will be invaluable to any national team. The master of defensive yet pragmatic tactics. The time is now for defensively minded managers to shine in the era of attacking possesion based football internationally.