Monday, June 30, 2014

The USA's Guide To Beating Belgium

We did it... I told you it would happen and none of you believed it. I also told you that if we made it out of the "Group of Death" I would write another guide for the USMNT, so here I am.
Belgium are certainly a good team, but after watching their group games, it is apparent that they are a more beatable team than their roster would indicate. Despite talented players like Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, and Kevin De Bruyne littering their roster, they still haven't gelled together in this World Cup. Thus, the US should be fairly confident entering this contest, as long as they put out the right players into the right system - that's what I'm here to do.
The tactical situation for the US against Belgium is a bit of a catch-twenty-two; Belgium are most dangerous on the counter, so setting out to hold onto the ball for much of the game could prove deadly, but Belgium are also willing to hold onto the ball themselves, so sagging back wouldn't make sense either. However, if one style has been rewarded in this knockout round, it has been the sit back and defend style (see: Brazil-Chile, Mexico-Netherlands, Germany-Algeria, Costa Rica-Greece). In all the example matches provided, teams with less talent brought teams with much more talent to the brink of elimination by simply defending and hitting on the counter. A team like the US, that is more talented than many of the underdogs listed, should excel using this approach, especially if Jozy Altidore returns to the starting lineup and is able to continue sparking the US counter. If we go with my suggested defend-and-counter style, the most suitable formation would be the 4-1-3-2, which would eventually morph into more of a defensive 4-4-2.
I know, I know, the formation looks rather attack-minded, but in actuality, it's fairly defensive. The four midfielders are all defensive minded, as Jones and Beckerman are traditionally defensive midfielders, Bradley usually plays as a deep lying midfielder, and Zusi is really overlooked when it comes to tracking back. Thus, the entire team, with the exception of Dempsey and Altidore will be sagging pretty deep for much of the game. The defensive is going to be well locked down, but offensively, just Dempsey and Altidore being isolated up top isn't going to get it done, so that puts a huge emphasis on Jones and Zusi being the connecters between midfield and strikers. Jones and Zusi are the perfect players for this job, as Jones has the stamina to run all day, and Zusi has the stamina to run like mad for 70 minutes, at which point he can be replaced by his mirror image, Alejandro Bedoya.
Klinsmann, I hope you read up, because these tactics are the way to do it against Belgium... Good luck USA!!

No comments:

Post a Comment