Saw this goal in the Belgium – Ireland game and it illustrates nicely how important knowing your situation and how that should impact your decision making is.
The poor decision by the Irish defender to go sliding after the ball at midfield creates basically a 3 v 1 and a near certain goal.
If the Irish defender had simply angled his run in front of the Belgian player, he could have held up the counterattack enough to allow his teammates to recover and help.
Here are the factors that influence the play:
- Down 2-0 in the 70th minute, Ireland is obviously pressing. Fewer bodies are behind the ball to begin with and so defense must play conservatively to maintain what coverage they have.
- It is a 50-50 ball at best. At worst, the Irish defender doesn’t have a chance.
- The slide tackle makes sure that he cannot return to the play. In fact, the Irish player who lost the ball (yards from the opposite endline) sprints the entire field to cover once the defender takes himself out of the play.