The 2018 World Cup has been excellent, maybe the best of all time, with all sorts of shocks, smart set pieces and two good teams competing in the final; France and Croatia. Both finalists have done brilliantly to progress through the latter stages of the tournament although Croatia have been taken to extra time on three occasions. Will this play a big factor on Sunday? I don’t believe this will be a factor that will affect how they play. Both teams play with a 4-3-3 formation and the analysis of the six players highlighted below shows all can change the match due to their game knowledge. The really exciting aspect about how they set up is the rotation between the individuals in midfield with players moving to deeper roles and more advanced roles to keep the balance of the team.
Raheem Sterling has been booed by pubs full of his own fans, voted by the public as England's poorest player against Panama despite setting up two of the goals and has faced racist attacks on his character from the English tabloid media throughout the 2018 World Cup. He's missed some chances in the World Cup and there is a perception that he is a poor player or at the very least a poor finisher. The difference in England's system and Sterling's role within it certainly helps us understand why he is not scoring for them as much as he has done for Manchester City. It is worth also then thinking about why he has scored so much for Manchester City. Let's start by considering Benjamin Mendy's knee.
As we reach the semi-final stage of the brilliant 2018 World Cup here are three hot takes; Belgium's defence is too old, Romelu Lukaku can outscore Harry Kane in the 2018/19 English Premier League and the deep lying midfield playmaker is dead but Luka Modric can have one (or two) last hurrahs.
In a webinar on the Inspire Coach Education channel Gerard Jones predicted that the 2018 World Cup in Russia would be dominated by set plays. He wasn’t wrong! Set plays have been a major trend at this tournament. Now that we're at the semi-final stage I've analysed the set play attacking and defending of the four remaining countries; Belgium, France, Croatia and England. Each country has had some intelligent attacking set plays but has had some issues in defending them. This World Cup has been excellent - let's hope it continues to be do keep an eye out for the examples I note below in the remaining matches.
Written for Pure Fitbaw by Laurie McGinley The 2018 World Cup, in Russia, has been an excellent tournament full of late goals, world class players showing their skills and attributes and dark horses coming to attention. One of those dark horses is Uruguay and I have been studying them throughout the group stages and have analysed how they defend as a team and how they transition from defence to attac
Just one week into the Finals tournament and Russia 2018 has already become The Setpiece World Cup. Freekicks, corners and VAR-assisted penalties are overshadowing goals from open play in a competition made overly evenly balanced by the intervention of the officials in the video control room.
On the 15th of June Group B of the 2018 World Cup begins with Morocco v Iran and Portugal v Spain. As with Group A, we will be previewing the group by highlighting a key element of a team, a star player and a Scottish connection. Our preview kicks off with a look at Spain's creative options before we pick out Cristiano Ronaldo as our star to watch and finally revisit Scotland's last match at a World Cup - 1998's loss to Morocco. Mark Thompson's excellent guide to football stats may be of use throughout the comparison of La Furia Roja's attacking midfielders and the dig into the numbers underlying CR7's extraordinary performance levels.
In just over eight weeks World Cup 2018 kicks off in Russia. Scotland may not have qualified for this one, or indeed any within the last twenty years, but we can still participate - as armchair analysts, fans of adopted nations and of course green eyed 'anyone but England' onlookers! Here at Pure Fitbaw we will be previewing a first round group each week in the lead up to June 14th's opener between Russia and Saudi Arabia by highlighting a key element of a team, a star player and a Scottish connection. In addition to Russia and Saudi Arabia Group A includes Egypt and Uruguay and it is those two nations which feature predominantly in our first preview with a look at the South American team's spine and Egyptian star Mohamed Salah.