Better to be born without penis than luck, GERvFRA analysis

After hosts France beat Germany in second EURO semi final we are slowly coming to conlusion of what once was the toughest football tournament in the world. Prior to the game France had quite clear startng line up while Joachim Loew had to make som e hard decisions due to suspensions and injuries.

Since Mario Gomez was injured he had no striker and decided to leave on bench Goetze while Thomas Mueller took most advanced spot in 4-2-3-1 formation. Khedira was out as well and Loew opted for Emre Can instead of Weigel while Hoewedes took the place of Hummels. The biggest problem for Loew was no proper striker in the squad and Khedira’s replacement. However, with Mueller up front Loew was confident he could create chances for others or himself. Style of play was changed since Gomez is less mobile but bigger threat in the air while Can took the role of coming from deep and adding to aerial power in absence of tall striker.

As the game started France came out as if they are going to tear apart Germany but five minutes were enough for Loew’s team to take controll on the pitch. They didn’t differ from their overall approach during the tournament. Plan was to get high, compress the opposition and then to create overload either by passing and movement or to switch the point of attack. Once France didn’t bother to press high, Die Mannschaft had little trouble bringing football forward and compressing France into their own half.

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Loew tried to break deep French defence by sending his center backs forward to create numerical advantage

Above you see a prototype of modern center back as Boateng is entering his midfield line to create a spare man. Advancing full backs are always creating an option on the wing, but what Loew preferes is overload in midfield which is allowed once Boateng enters the zone unopposed. He has number of options infront and Schweinsteiger with Kroos on his sides who can support him if he gets closed down. However, that isn’t preferred option. Actual plan is for Mueller to drag away Coscielny who leaves a gap for Draxler to get in and receive the ball.

France had great trouble stipping these passes through the middle and were only lucky not to get punished. You can see below how french failed to cope with their opponents roaming through their zones of responsability. Oezil is free on the ball and has an easy pass to Mueller who is coming to receive the pass. Before the move is over Die Mannschaft has created an overload on Payet and Mueller passes quick ball to flank for Kimmich who can go one on one with Patrice Evra and look for cut back, cross or recycle the possession with Oezil again.

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Despite France allowed numerous passes between lines, Germany didn’t have a man to convert chances created

Emre Can had an important role here as, while Oezil looked to drop deeper, Can was taking his position ready for run into the box replacing Gomez as an aerial threat in case his team mates chose to cross the ball. Despite numerous passes through French defensive lines, Germany failed to get anything out of their domination in the first half. One individual mistake from experienced Schweinsteiger gave Griezmann opportunity to score and he took it happily.

Germany had to be very disappointed going into the dressing room as they controlled the match and, while they didn’t create any extraordinary chances, France wasn’t any better. Start of second half was the same as the first with France pushing early on and then getting compressed in their half again.

While without the ball, Germany was, unlike France, trying to press high and disturb French transition into the middle third. It worked reasonably well but apart occasional break, French were always ready to get back and cover. Germany didn’t change their approach as they must have been fairly confident they will score with all the possession. However, another individual mistake, this time from Kimmich who carelessly lost the ball in his own area, essentially ended the game.

French kept to their feeble defending that Germany wasn’t able to break mainly due to lack of any inspiration from Mueller or Oezil and some great defending from new Barcelona star Samuel Umtiti.
As time went on Germany was ever more desperate since nothing they did went in, and France was happy to override its own midfield and ping direct long balls to Griezmann who was kind of player Germany missed to make this trully classic match.

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French were happy to send long direct balls for in form Griezmann bypassing their midfield while Mueller disappointed not being able to get on the ball. If that was Gomez, it would be fine, but player as Mueller should have participated more  (diagram source: @11tegen11)

If you look above you can see Fraance mainly attacked down left without trying to involve Pogba or Matuidi in the center. Deschamps put all his faith in Griezmann – Giroud partnership and got it right. Germany will be heavily disappointed with Mueller who was completely lost between French center backs.

To conclude, what Germany was lacking was an inspired player that France had in Griezmann for whole tournament. Their defending was apalling at times but theere was no one there who was able to punish it. In the end, they were collectively punished by elimination. Was Loew able to do something to overturn result? Not really, Germany had sound plan and executed it reasonably, just as French did. They didn’t have any luck though, and as they say were I come from, it is better to be born without a dick than without luck.

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Germany too German for Slovakia – an analysis

Sometimes you stumble upon a game of football where usual rules of minnow having always a chance just doesn’t apply. Die Manschaft was so overpowered and early goal didn’t fool them at all. They kept plugging and took themselves so seriously that Slovakia could do very little on the day. Germany was huge favourite in this match up and prepared as such.
They went for high pressing in offensive zone and despite not being able to win any significant advantage in terms of scoring chances, they did manage to disrupt ball distribution of Slovakia team very well.

Once Germany got possession they relatively slowly went up field controlling possession and taking their passes wisely. After all they are blessed with two center backs, Boateng and Hummels who can distribute ball and once Joachim Low decided to put Gomez in CF slot, they were dangerous from all positions.

The versatility of their attack is impressive. They can go on solo runs via individual quality of Draxler, Muller, Ozil… Creativity of players such as Kroos, Ozil and Muller allows them to use vertical through balls… Off the ball skills of Muller, Ozil, Draxler serves them well to receive those balls… Potent full backs allow them to overlap and overload wide areas as well as cross for tall and strong Gomez that is still a class striker. He might lack technical ability to play wall balls, but there are Ozil, Muller and Draxler to compensate.

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Everybody participates in German play, a true team effort

They don’t just have those possibilities, they also use them. Germany is extremely versatile on the ball and they can hurt you however they want, or, wherever you are weak. If you take a look at the diagram from @11tegen11 above, you can see ball usually travels via Kroos who is playing sort of deep lying play maker, but you also notice Germany is using all players in roughly equal manner emphasising that versatility. They go left, right and centre. Lone player who seems cut off is Mario Gomez. However, his role of designated finisher is the reason. When Goetze plays false nine role that changes, but that kind of approach puts them in cul de sac position too much as they try and pass the ball in the net with so many creative players upfront. With Gomez their game looks much more clean and efficient.

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Above is an example how far two centre backs go with Hummels and Boateng deep in Slovakia half. Slovakia defence is all set up in two banks of four but off ball movement of Kroos, Draxler and Muller is quickly disrupting well positioned defence and Hummels can chose where to pass as defenders are occupied by number of opposition players that exchange positions.

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A team can defend these movements so long as it is keeping its shape. Above you see what happens once a defensive shape collapses. Slovakia Right winger Kucka failed to block the pass or mark the overlapping Hector and at this point the Slovakia defence collapses. Hector plays it quickly into space for onrushing Draxler coming from inside. In meanwhile, Horovsky has to cover for Pekarik who had to cover for Kucka. Once Draxler is one on one with Horovsky he uses his skills to go past. Collapsing defence chain reaction continues as now Skrtel has to step up and cover for Horovsky, This leaves Gomez in front of his marker Durica and as Skrtel is late to close down Draxler, German CF has little trouble to put Germany two nil in front.

It all happened some 35-40 meters away and quickly escalated to goal after only one mistake that Draxler used really well to go by his marker and pass it for easy finish.

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Above you can see how high RB Kimmich plays widening the field. This allows Muller to come deeper and inside, looking for his forward runs between the defenders breaking through the pentagon created by his team mates. Notice how whole German side shifts as Ozil goes wide in place of Muller while Draxler pushes inside to allow more space for Hector (out of picture) to receive the ball without pressure.

Slovakia could do little against their opponents on the day. Early goal and impeccable movement as well as high pressing constrained them to look how to survive. Once Germany was firmly set on result they came out much more cautious in the second half and Slovakia tried to change their fortunes. Their manager Jan Kozak decided to break German dominance in midfield. Substitution of Weiss by CM Sestak meant that Hamsik is free to go more forward. Although, Slovakia retained retaining 4-3-3 formation, Hamsik didn’t play as wide as Weiss and Kucka came more central as well. This allowed Slovakia to control the central zone better letting the Germany have wide areas.

However, Germany changed their approach in second half. Their Full backs didn’t go so aggressively forward while Boateng and Hummels occupied much deeper position. Additional security was given to Kross who was often sitting between centre backs in possession.

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Above is an example of more conservative German play with RB Kimmich and LB Hector playing much deeper while Ozil is making horizontal movement between the lines to search the space for a pass. Although Slovakia looked more lively the third goal and, again, poor marking at corner, allowed Draxler to score the third goal which made the game effectively over. Slovakia didn’t have nor quality nor will to make any significant change to the game.

Only changes that were made were those that saved Khedira and Howedes from receiving the yellow card that would make them unavailable for quarter final.

While in theory minnows can upset favourites, that needs quite a few additional factors. Poor day of opposition, luck, an extraordinary defensive performance, an inspired player… Slovakia didn’t have anything and confronted highly professional German teams that knew what to do and how to do it.