The Death Of The Passing Game

Go down

The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by messixaviesta on Sat Jul 07, 2018 1:10 pm

This world cup has been the death knell for possession football. Counter attacks are ruling.

In the heydays of Xavi and Iniesta pretty much the only chance that opponents had against them was parking the bus. Their passing game at its very best left opponents with no chance of even fouling them, chasing shadows all along. They even made Arsene Wenger park the bus once in March 2011, maybe the only time he ever did that.

Then Atletico Madrid and Diego Simeone developed a strategy whereby a team could both defend and attack in numbers. Pace, fitness and selfless collective work was key. I think a lot of teams have learned from them.

Spain 2008-2012 took passing to extra terrestrial levels. Germany 2014 came close. This time not even one team has set high passing standards. Also Spain 2010 and Germany 2014 played the high line well. They did get caught out one or two times but not so easily. More importantly they had supermen in goal - Casillas in 2010 and Neuer in 2014.

So if we compare the 2008-2012 period with now, is it that the passing game standards have fallen or that counter strategies are much better developed? I think its more of the former.

The two main passing international sides have fallen big time. Spain against Iran showed that even if the opponent opens up space their own passing game is WAY weaker now. Germany's passing game relied heavily on fast off the ball movement and position interchange. This time they were just too static and slow.

In conclusion most passing and possession based teams have struggled at this world cup. Spain and Germany have fallen from their previously high standards. Brazil and Argentina just did not have the players for it with the latter even having a poor tactical setup. Belgium slyly switched strategy at the last minute. Whats worth noting is that Belgium have the players to play possession football but have weakened their midfield, are playing on the counter attack and its working for them. Had not seen this coming. Portugal in 2016 won the Euro as a counter attacking team. Against Uruguay they tried dominating the ball and got caught out. Never had the players to play possession football. Now only Croatia remain. They have played the passing game pretty well and perhaps do not have the players to play a counter attacking game. Lets see where they end up in this crazy tournament.

Brazil have this penchant for playing possession football without having the players for it. Brazil have probably not had a world class central midfielder since Socrates in 1986. Still quite often they feel that being Brazil they should be the ones dominating the ball and the game.

In both France vs Argentina and Brazil vs Belgium the team with inferior midfielders tried to play the passing game. Baffling!!!

Essentially any team that does not have players tracking back quickly, defending its box in numbers and blocking spaces for opponents is in big trouble. Just to clarify a little more parking the bus means having numbers in own box throughout the game. A good team will or at least should not park the bus. However every team will need to have numbers in its box during opposition attacks. This is why tracking back quickly is so crucial.

messixaviesta
First Team
First Team

Club Supported : Barcelona
Posts : 4207
Join date : 2011-06-06
Age : 40

http://twitter.com/messixaviesta , http://footballbydeepak.blogs

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by Jay29 on Sat Jul 07, 2018 2:14 pm

Two things stand out, and they're hardly revolutionary:

1) Passing with no verticality gets teams nowhere
2) Teams are fitter and more disciplined than ever before, and are therefore harder to drag out of shape with just passing

Spain struggled to create chances against Russia due to a lack of verticality. They had one forward and a team full of midfielders, so this was likely to be the case. Argentina struggled all tournament to work the ball to their forwards in advanced positions, necessitating Messi dropping deep to receive the ball off his centre backs and vacating the zones he can be a threat in.

Counters are now more successful because it's the best way to find and exploit space. Teams are fitter, more athletic and more disciplined. They can defend in deep blocks for much longer without losing shape. It's tough to find verticality against a deep block, but there's always space if you can draw players up the pitch and counter. This is where Belgium beat Brazil - they knew they could concede possession to a team who would attack them (unlike Panama or Tunisia in the groups) and happily dropped deeper to encourage Brazil to throw men forward.

This is an ideal position to be in for international football because the gaps in talent you find in most teams. No one can play an all-conquering, 70% possession every game style because they just don't have the talent to do that. You very rarely get a super team at this level, so teams have to adapt to compensate for their shortcomings. I feel the ones who do that the best tend to be the most successful.
Jay29
Jay29
World Class Contributor
World Class Contributor

Club Supported : Sevilla
Posts : 17835
Join date : 2011-06-05
Age : 25

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by The Madrid One on Sat Jul 07, 2018 4:02 pm

Even with their golden generation, it's not like Spain won the tournaments they did with huge margins, they had the players to play  "the passing game" on a different level but i don't know if i would call their winning days a trend or movement. You just got to look at the contexts of the teams in this world cup, those who defend well, find space to score goals, and are set up properly to endure will generally have better chances to win.

_________________
The Madrid One
The Madrid One
"Imaybeonthesideoftheangels..."

Club Supported : Real Madrid
Posts : 4493
Join date : 2011-06-05
Age : 24

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by Casciavit on Sun Jul 08, 2018 7:49 am

Possession football without good spacing and positioning has always been useless.

_________________
Casciavit
Casciavit
Fan Favorite
Fan Favorite

Club Supported : AC Milan
Posts : 6694
Join date : 2012-08-05

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by zenmaster on Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:53 am

Like everything else everyone enjoys the result. Passing game if does not bear the fruit then there is no point sticking to it. Counter attack will always be there because it takes a pase and accuracy and brings goal which is most important.

Passing game is useful if the core members of the team knows each other and have a good chemistry developed over a period. It just does not happen overnight. With changing players every season in starting XI , it is fair to say that we will barely see such team. Which does the passing and also covert fair amount of goal with this strategy. Other wise this is just another boring ball movement fest.

_________________
no clinging no resisting

zenmaster
zenmaster
Starlet
Starlet

Club Supported : Barcelona
Posts : 540
Join date : 2014-05-01

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by jibers on Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:06 am

What does passing game even mean? Football is a passing game Laughing

City seemed to do alright this season. Like every other style you have to have the right coaching, right players and right execution. Hierro was clueless and didn't evenselect the right players.

Spain didn't have any tactics, they just passed the ball around pointlessly. Napoli played a short passing game, Shaktar play a short  passing game, Real Betis play a short  passing game, many other teams play that 'style'  effectively without many issues. it is the application that is the issue.

Too many football fans look for absolutes...

_________________
jibers
jibers
World Class Contributor
World Class Contributor

Club Supported : Manchester United
Posts : 10087
Join date : 2011-06-06

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by urbaNRoots on Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:12 am

Speed is every thing in this era of football. Bayern’s new manager Niko Kovac summed it up very well:

"Without speed, possession doesn't do much nowadays. And if the players move far up the pitch in endless combinations, possession football is dangerous, because it opens up space for the opponent to counter-attack if the ball is lost," Kovac writes in his column for FAZ.

"You used to say that the big ones eat the little ones. Today, the fast eat the slow. The trend is clearly towards players who can combine speed with technical ability. They make the difference, because they can still create something in extremely tight spaces. And switching the play, both offensively and defensively, is obviously very dependent on pace," Kovac writes.
urbaNRoots
urbaNRoots
First of his name

Club Supported : Arsenal
Posts : 16068
Join date : 2011-08-11

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by Hapless_Hans on Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:17 am

Bayern München with pace - ffs we're going to play like Sir Pardew's Newcastle :bow: :bow:

_________________
Hapless_Hans
Hapless_Hans
Ballon d'Or Contender
Ballon d'Or Contender

Club Supported : FC Bayern
Posts : 26062
Join date : 2013-09-17

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by juvealbanian on Sun Jul 08, 2018 11:46 am

I don't think the passing game has died. It just got countered by another way of playing football.

That is pretty obvious when you see for example Spain. From playing with Villa or even Fabregas as a false 9 to adapting to a more pure striker like D.Costa.They have tried to be more vertical this way and still not giving up entirely on their old way of playing (high possesion). Still they are not even close to what they did back in 2008-2012.
Such way of playing requires players who are all fantastic at technical levels. (Xavi , Iniesta , Xabi , Silva , Cazorla , Pedro , Villa etc.) were all players capable of creating chances 1vs1 or even by an unexpected pass.
Nowadays the quality has drastically fallen and probably only Isco remains a young player of such philosophy whilr Iniesta & Silva have declined.

Plus the teams are much more organised on their own half when defending against teams that like high possesion. Even smaller teams tend to get organised and defend in numbers typically in 2 lines.


That said, possesion and passing game horizontally or back becomes useless and frustrating.

Nowadays we all see that pacy players with a good technique and eye for goal are considered to be the future stars of the game.
From Bale , Ronaldo ,Robben to Salah , Sane ,Costa , and now the wonderkid Mbappe these players are becoming more and more useful.
They are deadly on a counter.They run a lot and have enough skills to upset defenders 1on1. Give them space and they might kill your long efforts to get a result via high possesion.

This year 2 teams with such players got into the CHL final. Before that Juve reached the final and couldn't keep up with a such direct , quick and clinical team such Real.
I'm glad we finally got Costa who's delivering and Cuadrado/Bernardeschi too.
juvealbanian
juvealbanian
First Team
First Team

Club Supported : Juventus
Posts : 2289
Join date : 2011-06-06
Age : 24

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by sportsczy on Sun Jul 08, 2018 12:46 pm

The high defensive line is the issue. Makes teams highly susceptible to getting countered. So in order to play possession football, you need very good pressing from the forwards so that the pass over the top is difficult AND very fast CBs.

In the end, you need to pick the strategy that fits the squad. You can't blindly force a team to play possession football when the player aren't the right ones.

It's an era where you need flexibility.

_________________
sportsczy
sportsczy
World Class Contributor
World Class Contributor

Club Supported : Marseille
Posts : 17654
Join date : 2011-12-07

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by messixaviesta on Sun Jul 08, 2018 2:38 pm

Thanks for the replied guys. Some very interesting thoughts.

Since many of you mentioned Spain I'll start with that. I think the problem was the lack of pacy players on the wings. If not from the start then they at least needed to be used more. In Euro 2012 after his midfielders had tired out the opposition Del Bosque often introduced Pedro and Navas to run the channels. Even in WC 2010 he used Pedro very effectively. I saw very little of that this time.

I completely agree with the points on better fitness, organization and discipline.

Do the teams that adapt the best become most successful? Perhaps yes. The risk in the coach changing tactics too often can be that sometimes his own players can be more confused than the opposition. When it works though as it did for Begium vs. Brazil it can be quite something. You can catch the opposition unaware and make the most of it.

Passing game takes time to develop with the same players at the core for a long time? For Euro 2008 Spain began building the whole passing game that worked wonders later just a few months after WC 2006. The players were picked one by one and fitted in. By the end of 2006 they had the basic style, formation and personnel almost worked out. Then they went on a very long winning streak. For WC 2018 also I understand they did build the core meticulously but this time it came nowhere near. The last minute change of coach I believe hurt big time but was there any change of playing personnel as well?

When I say the possession style of football may be dead I do not mean no team plays it or will play it. However in the last few years how many major tournaments have been won using this style? Real Madrid are like the antidote to it. They are often outplayed in midfield and still end up winning the game. Even Barca 2015 was so different from its earlier possession style. In international football after Spain 2012, Germany 2014 could be said to have used the possession style but certainly not Portugal 2016. Instead when the same Portugal tried to play more with the ball against Uruguay they got caught out. Now we have a semi final between France and Belgium in which both teams may prefer sitting back instead of dominating the ball. Then we have Croatia, the only team left here that still plays in that style, and we have seen how hard it has been for them to knock out very inferior teams like Denmark and Russia.

Speed is everything in this era of football? I would think so. More and more we are seeing pace make the difference. I have never seen Mbappe dribbling anywhere near the level at which Messi used to do in his earlier days but his pace already has the world ready to crown him king.

A word on David Silva. Why has this player never been able to excel beyond league football??? In international football his great performances have come in qualifiers and friendlies but hardly ever in an actual tournament. In UCL any time he has had a good game its been in a losing cause. Is there that one match or moment when we can say David Silva lit up the stage and became a true star and legend? Maybe just a few matches in EPL and La Liga before that when he was man of the match. Too little for a steady player of this kind of talent I would say.

I completely agree that pressing is very important and a high line without pace makes it difficult.

In an era of flexibility the most flexible team has been Belgium. So are they winning the cup??? Smile


messixaviesta
First Team
First Team

Club Supported : Barcelona
Posts : 4207
Join date : 2011-06-06
Age : 40

http://twitter.com/messixaviesta , http://footballbydeepak.blogs

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by zigra on Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:39 pm

But speed has always been important. Be it mental speed or physical speed. Basically it's always better to be able something in less time. Every player has good ball control while jogging but the best players still have the ball glued to their feet while in a full sprint and if you need half a second to pull of a pass it's better than if you need a whole second to pull the same pass off.

Btw Germany had more possession than Spain in the 2008 final. And that was the best spanish team, not 2010 or 12.
zigra
zigra
First Team
First Team

Club Supported : Ajax
Posts : 4008
Join date : 2013-08-15
Age : 27

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by messixaviesta on Sun Jul 08, 2018 10:25 pm

@zigra wrote:But speed has always been important. Be it mental speed or physical speed. Basically it's always better to be able something in less time. Every player has good ball control while jogging but the best players still have the ball glued to their feet while in a full sprint and if you need half a second to pull of a pass it's better than if you need a whole second to pull the same pass off.

Btw Germany had more possession than Spain in the 2008 final. And that was the best spanish team, not 2010 or 12.


You are right that speed has always been important but the physical side of the game including pure pace has become even more significant nowadays. As for mental speed maybe hardly any players or teams have enough of it to get the better of those blessed with immense physical speed.

Germany had more possession than Spain in the Euro 2008 final? I had no idea of that. Am shocked to be honest.

messixaviesta
First Team
First Team

Club Supported : Barcelona
Posts : 4207
Join date : 2011-06-06
Age : 40

http://twitter.com/messixaviesta , http://footballbydeepak.blogs

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by titosantill on Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:06 am

i was just about to post something similar to zigra; the best spanish team was the team in 08, they were still considered underdogs (despite the enormous talent) at the time, and they weren't winning by passing the ball all the way into the opponents goal. they often caught teams on the break and made some long passes too

their "passing" game was more a defensive strategy than anything else. especially in 2010, which was hold the ball until villa can work some magic or until we get a bit of a break

and, no 'passing' isn't dead, neither did teams all of a sudden wake up and grow tactically. it's like x and o, one team decides to hold unto the ball another decides its wise to seat back and block pockets. we've seen it with arsenal even during the invincible era, where they'd want to just walk the ball into the net and another side just chills at the back. thing is, in those moments u need a bit of genius from someone offensively. spain over-thought the process
titosantill
titosantill
First Team
First Team

Posts : 3885
Join date : 2013-09-22

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by Doc on Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:15 am

@jibers wrote:What does passing game even mean? Football is a passing game Laughing

City seemed to do alright this season. Like every other style you have to have the right coaching, right players and right execution. Hierro was clueless and didn't evenselect the right players.

Spain didn't have any tactics, they just passed the ball around pointlessly. Napoli played a short passing game, Shaktar play a short  passing game, Real Betis play a short  passing game, many other teams play that 'style'  effectively without many issues. it is the application that is the issue.

Too many football fans look for absolutes...

A comment that mirrors my own thoughts on this issue. Can't really add anything further.

_________________
People of Eternia! I stand before the Great Eye of the galaxy. Chosen by destiny to receive the powers of Greyskull! This inevitable moment will transpire before your eyes, even as He-Man himself bears witness to it. Now. I, Skeletor, am Master of the Universe!
Doc
Doc
World Class Contributor
World Class Contributor

Club Supported : Real Madrid
Posts : 12699
Join date : 2011-06-05
Age : 32

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by Mr Nick09 on Mon Jul 09, 2018 5:49 am

Sounds to me like that Niko Kovacs lad is a proper numpty who says obvious things lol, speed has never gone out of style. I can't remember a time in football when coaches wanted to have slow attackers lol.

Gtfo with that hipster fraud, imagine being praised for saying that fast technical players are key rofl and Hans is here praising that shit Laughing

_________________
Madridista naci.. Vikingo sere y Merengue Moriré
Mr Nick09
Mr Nick09
Ballon d'Or Contender
Ballon d'Or Contender

Club Supported : Real Madrid
Posts : 29054
Join date : 2011-06-05

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by Babun on Mon Jul 09, 2018 12:45 pm

Let's talk in your terms messixaviiniesta:

1. The best Spanish NT was the one in 2008. They used ball possession to park the bus which means for defence. While they were defending by starving the opposition of the ball, certain awesomly talented players like Xavi and Iniesta were looking for gaps in the defensive shape to start vertical movement where the Spanish NT had the most vertical players for a long time in their history in Torres and Villa. They were really fast, literaly fast, they made runs, didn't side pass too much. While David Villa was the better forward, Torres' runs were needed to bring the defence out of shape.
2. The Spanish NT of 2010 had aging players with older Villa and out of form Torres. Their game became more lateral. Iniesta had to be more involved in attack than usual, Spain therefore had to play even more attention to defence = even more ball possession.
3. 2012, Villa and Torres were no more. The only element of movement in the final 3rd were Iniesta and players who played in direct leagues lie David Silva. They had sudden acceleration and burst of speed in final third with possible shot on target.

Passing game is never dead. Ball possession!= supremacy. Where passing game has been important in all of the footballing history is the final third. Ball possession there means actually something, combine it with some players off the ball movement = the recipe to destroy good defensive formations. Ball possession in the middle of the park means control of the pace of the game. Ball possession in front of the own half means the ability to string an attack or counter from the back to the front in a planned manner.
The football game is won by scoring more than the opponent. Of all three types of passing, the passing in final third is the most important to the cause of winning a game. The other two supplement it tacticaly but don't necessarily lead to a win.

_________________
Babun
Babun
Fan Favorite
Fan Favorite

Club Supported : Real Madrid
Posts : 6199
Join date : 2011-06-05

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by GRude on Tue Jul 10, 2018 1:28 pm

Pretty much all the anti football teams have been beaten by possession based teams or atleast the teams they ceded possession too.
GRude
GRude
Prospect
Prospect

Posts : 66
Join date : 2017-03-14

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by messixaviesta on Wed Jul 11, 2018 10:21 pm

Brazil played on the front foot. Belgium caught them out. Then Belgium played on the front foot and France caught them out. In this world cup quite often teams which sat back, defended in numbers and played on the counter got better results than teams that tried to dominate the ball and/or tried to create more attacks.

messixaviesta
First Team
First Team

Club Supported : Barcelona
Posts : 4207
Join date : 2011-06-06
Age : 40

http://twitter.com/messixaviesta , http://footballbydeepak.blogs

Back to top Go down

Re: The Death Of The Passing Game

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum