Spain 1-1 France: Deschamps’ formation switch results in late France dominance

October 17, 2012
Spain 1-1 France: Deschamps’ formation switch results in late France dominance

Spain failed to win for the first time in 25 qualification matches.

Vicente del Bosque continued with Sergio Busquets at the back and Xabi Alonso as the sole holding player. David Silva started on the left, but went off injured after 13 minutes, replaced by Santi Cazorla.

Didier Deschamps started with a single striker, Karim Benzema, flanked by Jeremy Menez and Franck Ribery. Patrice Evra came back in for Gael Clichy, and Maxime Gonalons played as the holding midfielder.

Spain dominated before the break, but France were excellent for the final half hour following a clever change in formation from Deschamps, and the away side created enough goalscoring chances to feel they merited a point. Read more »

Argentina 3-0 Uruguay: Messi the main man

October 15, 2012
Argentina 3-0 Uruguay: Messi the main man

Argentina dominated the entire match, but took an hour to get the breakthrough.

Alejandro Sabella kept a similar side to the XI that drew in Peru last month, with a couple of Manchester City players replacing a couple of recent Napoli players – Pablo Zabaleta replaced Hugo Campagnaro and Sergio Aguero returned in place of Ezequiel Lavezzi.

Oscar Tabarez was without Diego Perez, Alvaro Pereira and Gaston Ramirez, so in came Walter Gargano, Martin Caceres and Alvaro Gonzales.

Argentina were superior in every department – although particularly in the final third, thanks to the fluidity, movement and clever combinations of the attackers. Read more »

Milan 0-1 Inter: Inter strike early, then hold on with ten men despite constant Milan pressure

October 9, 2012
Milan 0-1 Inter: Inter strike early, then hold on with ten men despite constant Milan pressure

Inter preserved a one-goal lead for almost the entire match after Walter Samuel’s crucial early goal.

Max Allegri played Daniele Bonera at right-back rather than Ignazio Abate, and used Urby Emanuelson on the right flank.

Andrea Stramaccioni named the same XI that defeated Fiorentina last weekend, in a 3-4-1-2 starting shape.

There was barely a tactical battle at 0-0 – Inter went ahead after 3 minutes, making it difficult to tell whether Milan’s dominance of possession was because of the formations and overall approaches, or because they needed to get back into the game and Inter were content to defend. Read more »