Perpertual motion: why are the teams of Italy and Spain similar?

27 June 2016

Italy and Spain are tactical antipodes which always play differently. But to their success they have come by the same detail.

Italy-vs-Spain

It is difficult to find in the world of football bigger antipodes, than Italy and Spain. In Italian football DNA has pledged into a gene of a fast goal and protection 1:0, and one of the most famous blacksmith of local coach's shop Fabio Capello in open says that he loves 1:0 more, than 2:0 because then tension and concentration are lost. And Spaniards are stalwarts of combinational game, smart transfers at close range, control of a ball sometimes even for the sake of the fact of control. In the best condition Italian national team, perhaps, is world-best on game behind. Spain – on game in attack.

What can be general between these national teams? At least main installation.

"I need team that constantly runs and intensively works", – a month before Euro Antonio Conte has told. For his tactics 3-1-4-2 where to the forefront are coming regular changes of line items and roles, movement is the main key to success. In a case with Spain it is not even necessary to speak about it to the helmsman, Vicente del Bosque. All know that the deadly weapon "tiki-taki" - constant movements, lull opening which exhaust the rival into a false sense of security and finally force to be mistaken. Motive work – the main thing that unites two tactical antipodes.

Team movement in tactics of Italy and Spain plays specularly opposite role. "Skuadra adzurra" uses it to tie the rival on hands and legs. The Italian midfielder – as if the big vacuum cleaner which clears away space around (himself), is constantly moving a brush in different directions. Giaccherini and Parolo in first two matches have brilliantly coped with the task – at the central line to organize pressure and to exhaust the rival on the flank where Darmian/Florenzi/Candreva had helped with selection, to create a numerical advantage behind, saturating a zone at a semicircle before the penalty area and blocking distant blows and to open ahead. One of them surely helps with attack to two forwarders – for example, after such inclusion, Giaccherini has scored Belgium.

Mercury ball. The person who is the Italian national team

The main thing that it is necessary to know about the Italian movement – Antonio Conte's baby birds are move very synchronously. It is noticeable when defense of Italy is tried to be dragged out, transferring a ball from the flank on the flank. Plus tactics 3-1-4-2 on which Conte plays – in enormous amount of work a terza rima which with identical success can either go down to one line to the three of defenders, or to adjust pressure together with Giaccherini and Parolo. Here are shots from a match with Belgium: when "red devils" are try to attack the left edge, Italy is building 5-3-2, Candreva goes down in protection, and Parolo moves to the right.
Five seconds later the ball is driven on the right edge to Ciman, and Italy is reconstructed – Dzhakkerini appears to be the left halfback, and together with him to meet players there appears Matteo Darmian, organizing that movement which is so appreciated by Conte. Notice – Chiellini is also moving to the left, getting ready to insure Darmian if something happens.

The Spanish movement – is also the main whale, tactics of team is keeping on. The same is its purpose – to make the rival's situation deadlock, but it is used at rivals gate, but not at theirs. Looking through matches of Spain (not only for Euro-2016, but in general), you for certain had paid attention as on the left flank Jordi Alba is openning. He Finds a ball, transfers to the center, sharply accelerates to the penalty area, receives a a goal pass - candy, and then either kicks, or shoots on empty gate. Alba's movement is used to the maximum – so Spain has scored the third goal to Turkey (and there the defender of "Barcelona" had an offside).

The kid with kind heart. Why all love Alvaro Morata

And so with each player of the Spanish national team. Alvaro Morata constantly goes in depth, clings to ball and distributes passes, and on edge in such episodes there is either Nolito, or Fabregas. It is, by the way, the answer clue – why is playing Morata, but not Aduriz or Diego Costa (both forwarders are rather heavy, the best qualities they show in the penal platform, and Spain needs the person ready to work on all front of attack). On all field Iniesta is running. Nolito who has spent powerful season in "Selta" moves especially qualitatively and unusually for rivals. Here master class from Nolito – to get ball in the depth of the field …
… to give to Morata and to begin forward motion …
… and then has sharply gone forward to "scoop" from Fabregas. And the second goal was scored in gate of Turkey.
The main thing that is necessary to suppress the Spanish movement – to be focused on Andres Iniesta. He is 32 years old, but he as a good wine, over the years only becomes stronger (not for nothing he possesses his own winery). All Spanish attacks are pass through Iniesta – he has already managed to score 262 accurate passes (with percent of the accuracy of 92%). In respect of sharpness Andres a little bit concedes to David Silva (the midfielder of "Manchester City" has 11 sharp passes for group tournament, at Iniesta – 9), but Andres is admired by the ability to give pass which will become almost obligatory either goal, or pregoal. His pass on Alba in that moment with goal of Turkey – for the textbook on geometry, for manuals about game of Spanish national team. The best illustration of how Iniesta plays. It is very difficult to tie him on hands and legs, but it is possible by Italian movement – if Andres is met on two, not to give him time for processing and assessment of the situation. In that case Iniesta will prefer to play more simply, with the neighbor.

It is curious that at Italy function of the player-passer was undertaken even not by the halfback. With Andrea Pirlo's departure across the ocean and predictable loss from structure of the national team the basic midfielder Daniele De Rossi has got role of bandog, and Leonardo Bonucci began to be responsible for the beginning of attack. Due to "Juventus" this role is familiar to him – ihe finds by short passes Pogba or Marchisio, with long he loads Mandžukić or Dibala. In the national team Bonucci is trusted the beginning of attack even more often – from here are 43 long passes for three matches. One of them, to Giaccherini, even ended in goal.

Bonucci's passes are calculated on the movement too – more often he throws on the tower forwarder (Pelé or Zaza), who throws off ball on selection to Eder and after then the attack of Italians sharply adds to speeds. If the ball has to be caught not by Pelé, then by someone from the halfbacks who has rushed into rival's penalty area on support to forwarders. Bonucci likes very much to distribute such passes, but if at least to hint with pressure as John Alberto Guidetti has done on screenshot, Leonardo with probability of 90% will not begin to risk – will give pass to the neighbor.
I will assume that in fight of two perpetual motion machines Spain it will be much more difficult to play to Spain. First, literally in March Italy has already showed how can stop this "fury" and even to play with it as first number. Was it, however, in friendly match, but here you should not look at it with scepticism – the movement of "skuadra adzurra" has suppressed the rival. Then Darmian played the center defender, Giaccherini and Florenzi were engaged in work at edges, and the middle of the field was burned out by Parolo and Candreva (it is curious that in match with Sweden at the same combination of halfbacks Conte has changed role of three from this four).

In active search. As Italy and Antonio Conte are changing together

Secondly, the essence of the Spanish movement has changed a little bit recently. Movements at rival's gate are still very aggressive and hard to read – again we can remember Nolito's opening, – but at the same time Spain more rare enters aggressive selection and puts pressure in the rival's half of the field and blocks the beginning of attacks. In game with Italy it can be a key factor – in many respects because of Bonucci and his verticals and diagonals. Perhaps, del Bosque should return to old kind of pressure?
Thirdly, it is heavy to Spain to crack massive protection. The Czech Republic and Turkey – after all not that level: when the defender (Mehmet Topal) only by himself is bringing two goals by silly position mistakes, it is difficult to perceive it seriously. Italy has an Air Force trio (almost like at "Real": Bonucci – Barzagli – Chiellini) that plays in such combination together for five years and perfectly knows all hints of Buffon. On this ridge Conte has molded the rest of team – and had made it possible that Italy was compactly pressed in the penalty area as a part of 8 people, without allowing a hint of panic.

This opposition of two perpetual engines will be very interesting. Not for fans who appreciate in football only the scores 4:4 and 5:5, but for gourmets who appreciate tactics, movements and search of weak points in game of the rival. Then this match will be unfairly entered for certain in lists of the worst and boring, but you have to understand: when two such different systems at the expense of the identical tool are trying to kill game of the rival, you won't be bored.

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