The penultimate quarter final wrapped itself up last night as France leaked out of the tournament to the superior Spaniards. Since the game Spain have come under criticism for being boring, mainly by morons.
I don’t see why Spain should have committed too much to attack when they were winning so comfortably for 70 minutes. The weren’t particularly ambitious in regards to smashing the French apart like escargot, but you don’t get two goals without attacking.
If you are determined to be a footballing philistine and call the game boring, the culprits are le Frogs. They didn’t manage a shot on target, and it’s hard to recall one off target. They didn’t force Spain to play any better than they were, in fact they got it all wrong.
The Valencia left back Jordi Alba was clearly targeted as the main threat from France’s point of view (perhaps because he is the only naturally wide player), and was countered by the advancement of normal right back Mathieu Debuchy to right midfield and Reveillere becoming the second right back.
Two defenders for one player? Didn’t look like it when Debuchy chowed down on some grass as Alba crossed for Spain’s opener. But there was more than one villain to this goal.
I’ve always seen Florent Malouda as more of a wide left player, actually I’ve always seen Malouda as more of a wet tissue, but whatever the case I’ve never fancied him as a center mid. My main reason for this being that central midfielders have to do things, such as marking, and that seems a bit beyond the Frenchman. There is being bad at the game, and there is being lazy; one’s unfortunate and one’s unacceptable.
So playing a wideman in the center and two right backs didn’t work against the European champions, who’dve thunk?
Spain once again fielded their 4-6 masquerading as a 4-3-3 formation. And Arvalo Arbeloa again became the poster boy for needing deodorant as neither his team mates, the opposition, or the ball came near him. I don’t know how poor he is in training but I have never seen a team so reluctant to pass a teammate the ball. It’s most likely because he really only possesses a cross in the attacking third rather than any silk, but why play him then? Maybe he was just keeping his distance from Franck Ribery.
It was interesting to look at the ‘boring, bland’ Spanish player’s positions during the game. Certain times when the camera zoomed out you could see that none of the six midfielders were in their starting positions, which is a nightmare for the opposition. By having such fluid movement of personnel, man marking is out of the question, leaving zonal.
This requires some excellent communication from the opposition as they pass players on through the zones, and great tactical discipline when it comes to issues like multiple players occupying the same zone and flooding the box. All in all, I have no idea why people are underrating Spain, they’ve got more gears left than a mountain bike. No one will beat them with ease.