The final analysis, part four: second half changes on the flanks

July 17, 2010
The final analysis, part four: second half changes on the flanks

As the game wore on, Arjen Robben took up even more advanced and central positions when Holland had the ball. Read more »

The final analysis, part three: brilliant Busquets

July 16, 2010
The final analysis, part three: brilliant Busquets

As is customary after a Spain or Barcelona success, the performance of Sergio Busquets (two La Ligas, a Champions League and a World Cup after two seasons of professional football) has largely been ignored. Read more »

The final analysis, part two: different ways of dealing with wingers

July 15, 2010
The final analysis, part two: different ways of dealing with wingers

Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s lack of pace was cited as a potential weakness before every Holland game, and the Dutch captain seemed to acknowledge his weakness in that respect. Therefore, he made sure to stick tight to whichever winger he came up against. Here, Pedro comes very deep to get the ball, and van Bronckhorst tracks him all the way. Read more »

The final analysis, part one: the basic shapes, and pressing

July 13, 2010
The final analysis, part one: the basic shapes, and pressing

Here is Holland’s basic shape when they have the ball with their goalkeeper, Maarten Stekelenburg. This shows their defence (red), their holding midfielders (yellow), the attacking band of three (green) and the striker (blue). Read more »

Spain 1-0 Holland: Iniesta settles a tight game

July 12, 2010
Spain 1-0 Holland: Iniesta settles a tight game

Spain are the World Champions. They were the better side and played a more positive, cohesive brand of football throughout. Read more »

Holland v Spain: tactical preview

July 11, 2010
Holland v Spain: tactical preview

So here we are, the biggest game in football. A clash of the two most successful sides in World Cup history to have never won the trophy itself, it is tactically fascinating in a historical sense. Read more »

Holland v Spain: two teams rooted in similar history

July 10, 2010
Holland v Spain: two teams rooted in similar history

This is a tremendously intriguing final for a variety of reasons. Read more »

Spain 1-0 Germany: Pressing, passing and Puyol

July 7, 2010
Spain 1-0 Germany: Pressing, passing and Puyol

A narrow but deserved victory for Spain, who simply carried out their gameplan more effectively than their opponents. Read more »

Germany v Spain: tactical preview

July 7, 2010
Germany v Spain: tactical preview

The pre-tournament favourites versus the most impressive team in the competition so far. A repeat of the 2008 European Championships final it may be, but this is completely different contest. Read more »

Holland 3-2 Uruguay: fortune favours the brave

July 7, 2010
Holland 3-2 Uruguay: fortune favours the brave

Holland progress – they shaded the contest, and took the initiative to try and win the game by throwing on an extra attacking player at half-time. Read more »

Holland v Uruguay: tactical preview

July 6, 2010
Holland v Uruguay: tactical preview

Holland have so far used the same 4-2-3-1 shape in every game, whilst Uruguay have used at least three different formations. Oscar Tabarez is the man with more dilemmas ahead of this contest. Read more »

Spain 1-0 Paraguay: Spain squeeze out a result again

July 4, 2010
Spain 1-0 Paraguay: Spain squeeze out a result again

A familiar story for Spain. Good ball retention, a struggle until Torres departs, and Villa saves the day, scoring in a 1-0 win. Read more »

Germany 4-0 Argentina: Germany are getting better and better and better

July 3, 2010
Germany 4-0 Argentina: Germany are getting better and better and better

Germany put in one of the most impressive performances in recent World Cup history to absolutely thrash Diego Maradona’s Argentina side. Read more »

Spain v Paraguay: tactical preview

July 3, 2010
Spain v Paraguay: tactical preview

Have Paraguay got any chance of coming away from this game with a result? Read more »

Uruguay 1-1 Ghana: nothing to separate the sides

July 3, 2010
Uruguay 1-1 Ghana: nothing to separate the sides

A game that got increasingly exciting, before an incredible finale. Penalties and Suarezgate aside, a ‘draw’ was a fair result. Read more »

Holland 2-1 Brazil: poor defending from set-plays costs Dunga

July 2, 2010
Holland 2-1 Brazil: poor defending from set-plays costs Dunga

Brazil are out. A dominant first half, a shocking second half – Holland took advantage of their defensive mistakes to record a famous victory. Read more »

Holland v Brazil: tactical preview

July 1, 2010
Holland v Brazil: tactical preview

These two have been widely dismissed as being the most negative, defensive teams their respective countries have ever produced – and yet this is still considered a glamour tie. Read more »

Ghana v Uruguay: tactical preview

July 1, 2010
Ghana v Uruguay: tactical preview

How many people predicted that one of these sides would make it into the semi-final? Read more »

Argentina v Germany: tactical preview

July 1, 2010
Argentina v Germany: tactical preview

Remember this fixture from 2006? The goals, the penalties, the fights? Read more »

The key to World Cup success? Clean sheets

July 1, 2010
The key to World Cup success? Clean sheets

In knock-out competitions, a focus on ‘not losing’ often seems to take precedence over ‘winning’.

It is therefore little surprise that recent champions have boasted good defensive records in the final few games of their victorious tournaments. Read more »

Spain 1-0 Portugal: Villa eventually finds a way through, Portugal fail to respond

June 29, 2010
Spain 1-0 Portugal: Villa eventually finds a way through, Portugal fail to respond

An intriguing game – Spain were comfortable by full-time, but struggled to find the breakthrough. Substitutions were crucial in the outcome. Read more »

Paraguay 0-0 Japan: neither side takes control

June 29, 2010
Paraguay 0-0 Japan: neither side takes control

Paraguay progress on penalties after neither side could score in a very poor 120 minutes of football. Read more »

Brazil 3-0 Chile: Dunga prevails over Bielsa in the tactical contest of the tournament

June 29, 2010
Brazil 3-0 Chile: Dunga prevails over Bielsa in the tactical contest of the tournament

A fascinating game of two vastly different styles – with one clear winner. Read more »

Holland 2-1 Slovakia: long balls towards wingers win it for the Dutch

June 28, 2010
Holland 2-1 Slovakia: long balls towards wingers win it for the Dutch

Another quiet but effective win for Holland, who progress to the quarter-final, where they’ll face a stronger test from either Brazil or Chile. Read more »

World Cup second round preview (part two)

June 28, 2010
World Cup second round preview (part two)

ZM’s tactical preview of the second half of the World Cup second round ties, being played on Monday 28th and Tuesday 29th of June. Read more »

Germany 4-1 England: Brilliant German performance demolishes lifeless England

June 27, 2010
Germany 4-1 England: Brilliant German performance demolishes lifeless England

A monumental thrashing for England, at the hands of a German side who had pace, movement, tactical awareness and ruthlessness in front of goal. Read more »

Argentina 3-1 Mexico: technical quality shines through in an open game

June 27, 2010
Argentina 3-1 Mexico: technical quality shines through in an open game

A game that looked to be tense and tight, before two odd first half goals swing the game Argentina’s way. In the end, they deserved the victory. Read more »

Ghana 2-1 United States: Ghana’s organisation and direct running results in the narrowest of victories

June 26, 2010
Ghana 2-1 United States: Ghana’s organisation and direct running results in the narrowest of victories

A tremendous football match won by the side who showed just a little bit more organisation and structure throughout, and made fewer mistakes. Read more »

Uruguay 2-1 South Korea: controlling the tempo and more clinical finishing sees Uruguay through

June 26, 2010
Uruguay 2-1 South Korea: controlling the tempo and more clinical finishing sees Uruguay through

Uruguay progress, but got away with sitting back for half the game. Korea took too long to get going, although were probably on top for much of the second half. Read more »

World Cup second round preview (part one)

June 26, 2010
World Cup second round preview (part one)

The eight World Cup second round matches are spread over the course of four days. Here’s previews for the first half… Read more »

The World Cup of 1-0s…

June 26, 2010
The World Cup of 1-0s…

It’s been a defensive-minded World Cup so far. At the end of the group stage, the most common number of goals per game has been…one. Read more »