Another England victory, another tactical masterclass by Gareth Southgate.
Southgate was not considered a tactician until the European Cup in 2021. His rigid formation and late substitutions disappointed the British supporters who were accustomed to the super-fluidity of club games.
But in the work, he has obviously cultivated a keen eye for details, reactive adjustments and impeccable timing. The 2-1 defeat of Denmark in the semifinals is just the latest example of Southgate making the right decision.
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His 4-2-3-1 helped the opponent to suppress the opponent for a long time; Jack Grealish made substitutions to take advantage of Denmark’s tired legs, and then converted to 3-4-3 in response to Kasper Hjulmand’s move to 4-2-4 End the game.
It took Southgate a long time to win the doubters and the trust of those who want England to play to its dazzling offensive talent, but there will certainly be no more unbelievers.
We trust Southgate, before the European final against Italy-England’s biggest tactical test for the Championship-people believe he will make the right decision. There are also some huge appeals.
The first is formation, Southgate is likely to stick to 4-2-3-1; Italy’s midfield strength A third midfielder is needed, making 3-4-3 an unlikely choice.
Southgate may also choose the same starting lineup, mainly because Saka’s defensive work gives England the best of both worlds. Saka can act like a full-back, and Kyle Walker spent most of his time in the backcourt when he was in possession of the ball in England to form a three-back. Southgate’s formation is between 4-2-3-1 and 3-5-2. Swing easily.
Italy is also expected to stick to the 4-3-3 and the same lineup used in the penalty shootout victory over Spain.
On this basis, take a look at the outcome of the finals:
England focus on wing attack
The theme of the England team’s game has developed in the knockout stage, because Southgate’s team has been attacking on the flanks. Only 23% of attacks were carried out centrally, ranking fifth in the 2021 European Cup.
Calvin Phillips and Declan Rice are not very strong passers, which means that Mason Mount has a hard time catching the ball when he arches the pass to the wing in England.
But considering that Raheem Sellin and Saka often dribble directly past the opponent’s full-back, this is also deliberate.
Therefore, England is setting a typical goal, which is to drive to the sideline and cut the ball back, which is why all its 10 goals are within 12 yards of the goal.
This is the most likely source of goals for England against Italy. When right back Giovanni Di Lorenzo became one of the three backs and Emerson moved forward from the left back, the team was in possession of the ball. In a 3-2-5 formation.
Compared with the injured Leonardo Spinazzola, Emerson’s offensive and defensive capabilities are much weaker This is where happiness can be found in England. Behind the Chelsea man, Saka’s movement could cause serious damage.
But Sterling, which overlaps with Luke Shaw, is still England’s favorite form of attack. Considering that Italy may dominate for a long time, this may be very effective in the transition.
More importantly, the now familiar Saka exchanges for Greerich, and Sterling moves to the right, which will put Emerson under greater pressure in the later stages.
Italy’s midfield advantage and Jorginho’s problems
The most worrying reason for the England team is the elegant passes of Jorginho, Marco Villati and Nicolo Barrera, who are more adaptable to the ball than Rice or Phillips.
Southgate’s team needs to be prepared for a long-term tenure. Its most likely defensive plan is another reenactment of the Danish game.
The pressure on the England team on Wednesday was a bit unusual. Sterling and Saka pressed the middle, allowing the Danish team to easily hit the ball to the full back from the backcourt.
England happily acknowledged this territory, believing that it has the ability to prevent full-backs from creating a cross and prevent Mikel Damsgaard and Martin Braithwaite from choosing centers.
On Sunday, this tactic should prevent Italy’s dominance in midfield from losing England’s form, while facing Southgate’s conservative line of defense, giving Ciro Immobile a chance to lead. Not much.
Well, many things will depend on the one-on-one battle between Emerson and Federico Chiesa and the English full-back.
Another area of concern for England is how to control JorginhoIn view of the fact that Rice and Phillips will concentrate on the forward movement of Verratti and Barrera.
As the No. 10 player, Mount must work hard to catch Jorginho and prevent him from having too much time in possession.
Counterattack, set kicks and substitutions
This will be the focus of the game, but Sunday’s finals are easy to win or lose in transitional moments and the resulting set-pieces.
Italy’s counterattack against Spain is not particularly good, but after a period of pressure from England, Chiesa may find happiness behind Shaw, especially considering that Harry Maguire is on that side. He can be caught by quick, direct counterattacks.
England and Italy ranked in the top three in the number of set-kick goals scored, accounting for 23% of their total goals. Whether from a counter attack or not, free kicks and corner kicks can solve Wembley’s tight, tense and balanced game.
Harry Kane and Maguire play against Italy’s giant central defenders on both ends of the field. However, as with every tactical preview of the entire 2021 European Cup, discussions of formation, lineup and key battles may become irrelevant, as substitutions can be seen everywhere on the court in the second half.
Interestingly, Roberto Mancini’s five changes in the game against Spain seem to disrupt Italy’s rhythm-in the remaining 35 minutes after the fifth substitute, Italy only shot once-like Denmark did in the other semifinal.
This is where Southgate boldly insists on his system-once considered a rigid and terrifying trait-once again proves useful.
He reduced the number of substitutes and maintained the flow of the England team, which may once again give his team an advantage.