Wales - Match Report

Game analysed - Wales vs Croatia

Date: 26/03/13

01. Myhill
02. Gunter
03. Davies
04. Ledley
05. Collins
06. A.Williams
07. J.Williams
08. Bellamy
09. Robson-Kanu
10. King
11. Bale

Subs used: 16. Richards & 17. Church.

Offensive organisation

  • Team set up in 4x2x3x1, with the fullbacks high + wide to create a big and open pitch.
  • The centre backs split wide & King drops in-between them to become a 6 in short build up to gain the initiative, with horizontal circulation of the ball.
  • They will then look for vertical balls to Bale [feet] coming deep in between lines, then short lay off combinations.
  • Long build up from the goalkeeper is a diagonal ball to the left, either the head of Bale or Davies. The whole team will move up and to the left to try and gain numerical superiority to win the second ball. 
  • The second ball from Bale is usually a lay off to Ledley. 
  • The second ball from Davies is usually more dangerous, with flick on's up the channel to Robson-Kanu or to the chest of Bale.
  • Bale and Bellamy will often move wide in build up to allow more inside progression from the wide players [Usually J.Williams].
  • Fullbacks will overlap [one 1 side] with inside progression from the wide player or a wide player holding the ball [facing the opponent] in 1v1's or 1v2 in creation areas.
  • Diagonal runs from Bellamy across the front of defenders are also dangerous when Bale is on the ball, as he can draw the defenders away from the space that Bale is going to exploit.
  • Myhill inconsistent with 1st time passes[Press].

Team dynamics:

Defensive organisation

  • Team set up in 4x4x1x1, medium-low block. They look to force to go long or to play vertical passes to the feet of the strikers, where the defenders will be tight and aggressive. Space for pull back crosses, especially behind the furthest away central midfielder from the byline.
  • Possibility to overload second phase on their right hand side, with J.Williams often losing his man overlapping. 
  • Collins is dominant in the air, but concedes a little bit of depth due to his mobility(2nd ball). This will allow the striker to gain advantage as there will be a lower possibility of being offside. When they are covering, they look to use a 1x3 press, with aggression from a centre back then covering from the other defenders around the area of the ball. Often, the fullback don't react quickly enough to come inside, leaving lateral space either side of the centre back covering and leaving him isolated [Expose 1v1 or overloads].
  • Space between lines, especially in front of A.Williams.
  • Possibility to overload on Gunter with 2nd post crosses from the left hand side.
  • Davies can be drawn high, leaving lateral space to the left of A.Williams to exploit.
  • When defending in a low block, the team often becomes far too deep and the alignment of the defence is lost. 
  • This often leaves them exposed when the opposition circulate the ball horizontally in creation areas (Croatia's first goal) and allow strikers to get runs on defenders in the box (Croatia's second goal).

Pressing patterns:
Start pressing in a medium & wide block:

Pressure and aggression from the defenders [1v1 capacity] when striker receives at feet, but will drop when facing forward with the ball:

Low block, Pressure from Bale and Bellamy from behind:

Offensive transitions

  • Quick and aggressive, Bale and Bellamy in depth and progression main threat. 
  • Inside progression from Williams also a threat.
  • If vertical ball isn't on, they will look for horizontal circulation to regain shape.

Defensive transitions

  • Good reaction to the ball area, with pressing from the front 2 to prevent a quick counter attack, allowing the rest of the team to regain shape and block compactness.
  • Usually have a good numerical balance, but can be exposed down the sides after overlap from fullbacks.
  • Poor transition from Davies, as he doesn't have the recovery speed in quick transitions to get back.

Set plays

Offensive corners:

Defensive corners:

If the ball played in is to the second post, Bale will drop to the first post.

Offensive free kicks from the side:

Pattern and combination play

Short build up

Long build up

Inside progression from Williams

Dynamics of the right

Dynamics of the left

Movement in the box:
Crosses from the right - Robson-Kanu attacks second post & Bale ready for pullback

Crosses from the left - J.Williams support from deeper & Bale decides to attack either 2nd post or hold run for pullback.