Category Archives: Euros 2016
Saw this article in ESPN The Magazine in the wake of Euro 2016 about using tackle stats to track underdog victories and thought it was pretty interesting.
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.
I find younger players especially frequently forget both that this rule exists and how dangerous it can be. I saw this in the England – Croatia game and, while it doesn’t amount to much in the end, it’s a good illustration of taking advantage of this rule can put you in an unexpectedly advantageous position. (I realize too that, because of the camera angle, there is no guarantee that the receiving player began on the end line but, given how still he is when he received the ball and the speed with which the thrower threw the ball in, I’m confident that the receiver made right for the end line and the thrower knew he was there.)
Saw this in England v Russia today. Great ball. Great vision. Great idea. But, as the announcers pointed out, just a bit too heavy. But, for younger players especially, this is what we mean when we talk about passing weight: judging the force needed to put the ball where it needs to go.