Tactical Analysis France vs Argentina World Cup 2018
July 4, 2018, 7:25 p.m.
The clash between these two world champions was favourable to the European team thanks to Mbappé's outstanding performance, scoring two goals and causing the penalty. In Argentina, Messi tried again with two goal assistances that were not enough to get to quarters. Deschamp’s team made it to the next phase undefeated, with 3 victories and one tie, and will fight another south American team before getting to the semifinals: Uruguay. This is why we want to analyze France’s plan to beat the albiceleste:
- France handed the ball over to Argentina (the south American team had a 60% possession) to wait and counterattack. The French have a team with plenty of players specialized in attacking spaces, like Griezmann, Mbappé, Matuidi and Pogba. The space between the defensive and the mid lines allowed France to freely run the ball out when they got rid of the pressure, whilst Argentinian defenders were trying to withdraw. Besides, France’s transitions were favored by Giroud and Griezmann playing on Argentinian players back, allowing vertical passes and playing toward their opponent’s goal -this added to the fact that Pogba and Matuidi are wonderful at ball conduction.
- Giroud’s nomination as first-team player favors France’s direct playing. There are no midfielders specialized in creating plays and that’s why, when the opponent is organized, they appeal to Giroud’s straight playing style. Deschamp’s team is set out to gather players around the ball and gain the second play. This is why Giroud is in the first team, even when there were much better forwards playing for France last season: his style is indispensable for the French.
- CAs we’ve seen, the French are comfortable with straight playing when the opponent is organized, however, France doesn’t entirely give up on combinative playing. In their combinative phase, French winger gain in depth while the forward close in. Their objective is creating a line of passes for the forwards to receive the ball facing the goal and generate the advantage. The is how their goal against Argentina arrived: France was set out on a combinative play, and quickly passed the ball to Griezmann, who left the ball for Matuidi and allowed attacking Argentina’s spaces.
- France withdrew when Argentina attacked. The did this to generate spaces to attack in transition. They wanted to close the central line, where they were superior practically all through the game. One of the three forwards came into the mid line, forming a line of 4. This was usually Mbappé or Griezmann, who shifted in this function. France allowed playing out to the hand-sides since it was left free. Once the ball reached the wing, they moved down to be superior in number, keeping the Argentinean attack from succeeding. Argentina was able to shoot on door only 4 times and nonetheless scored 3 goals.
- F• France only made one mistake when they left the center line alone towards the end of the first half. This mistake allowed Di María to receive with enough space to shoot on goal and get the tie just before the half time started. This way we understand just how important it is for Deschamps to be strong in the central line.
- • When we talk about a team defending from Argentina we must know how to annihilate Messi. The Argentinian star played as a false 9. Sampaoli’s intention, who up to that moment had always used forwards such as Agüero and Higuaín, was to allow Messi to receive in central positions to outnumber the opponent and move freely. However, he was never able to outnumber the French because they moved down to prevent Messi from passing the ball when he received it.
- • Messi wasn’t able conduct the ball either or give their team advantage with the possession. Argetinians players were set out in a way that we often saw Messi alone in the central line, next to Mascherano. This made defensive actions a lot easier for Kanté, Matuidi and Pogba, who were focused on keeping Messi from receiving the ball in that position.
All the analyses in this article were made with LongoMatch, the sports analysis tool. Click here to learn more.