Forty four matches have been played in this edition of Euro 2020. From goal less draws to five or seven goal thrillers Euro 2020 has produced some memorable moments which will go down in history. In these forty four matches 123 goals have been scored till now at an average ratio of 2.80 per game. However if we look at the statistics of goals scored during group stage a clear change in mentality as well as tactical approach towards the game are evident. In group stage 94 goals were scored through the course of thirty six matches at an average of 2.61 per game. This shift from 2.62 to 2.80 is enough to prove that teams are moving towards aggressive approach and mentality towards a game. In comparison to group stage teams have focused and relied more on their defensive strengths. According to Packie Bonner, former goalkeeper of The Republic of Ireland: – ‘’The thing about tournament football is, it’s a lot different than the Champions League – it’s about getting through the group stage.” This statement backs the statistics of the shift in goal scoring from group stage to knockout stages. Here are some of the most common trends adopted by most of the teams:
Parking the Bus was in highlights during Jose Mourinho’s time at the Red Devils. A style which focuses more on defending rather than possession play, maintaining the shape is priority. Opponents are allowed to have possession for the maximum amount of time. Counter-attacking is the principle style of attacking. Wales and Sweden were the two teams who had the lowest possession throughout the group stage with an average possession of 40% and 36% respectively. With the option of five substitutes it becomes tough for opposition teams to breakdown as tired players are replaced immediately. This makes it even more reliable in terms of not conceding or getting caught in the match.
One of the most frequently used system throughout the competition. A 3-5-2 system is a flexible format which can transform into 3-2-5 while attacking or 5-3-2 while defending. Wing backs are the key to switch formation. An extra centre back provides more defensive stability in front of goal. Both wing backs provide width while defending, attacking or maintaining possession. Teams like Denmark, Netherlands, Scotland, Finland, Belgium, Austria, Wales, Germany etc. were seen using this formation at some point or another. Even France adopted this system for the first half in their knockout game against Switzerland.
Possession-play not a medicine for every disease:
It is a surprising fact as only four teams have managed to win with higher possession out of fifteen matches. Spain is a team which has been highly depended on possession play or tiki-taka which allows them to control the flow of the game in which ever way they want to. However things have not turned out as they expected to at least in the beginning of their campaign. With an average of 67.5% possession per game they are the team with the highest amount of ball control. But possession control doesn’t mean guaranteed victory. For first two games Spain managed to score only one goal.
Likes of England, France, Italy and Spain have stuck to the conventional 4-3-3 formation. A system which provides balance in all three sections of the field, four at the back, three in the middle and three in front. By using this formation Italy and England have conceded fewer goals when compared to other teams. Possession flows freely as it is easy to make small triangles which allow a player to be available near the ball no matter what situation a player is stuck in.
These are some of the tactical trends which are being used in frequently in the Euro 2020. As the competition goes on there will be more tactical changes according the challenge a team faces.
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