read more about it!
Computer software opens up new worlds. Article that appeared in the October 1995 issue of FIFA Magazine.



Previous Match Analysis ­

Malaysia 97 Final:
Uruguay v Argentina

South America's First U-17 Title:
Brazil v Ghana

1998 FIFA World Cup Qualifying:
Italy v England

1998 CONCACAF Gold Cup Final:
USA v Mexico

World Cup 98 Qualifications:
Japan v Iran
Coaches Corner - Revolutionising the way you see the game

Bring on the Goals

Italy vs England

Overview

Discover the world of computerised match analysis software and learn all about the performances and styles of teams and players. The match analysis software can provide a concise, unbiased evaluation of team players and opponents during the game played. This game analysis provides a deeper understanding and a unique view beyond what can be seen either in person at the game or viewed on video afterwards. For example, it sometimes happens that the unobtrusive player proves to be the most productive performer on the team. Often mistaken for a plodder, this is the player who drags their side back from the brink of defeat in the nick of time. Now, this match analysis software gives this player the recognition he deserves.

Bring On The Goals
Italy's Goal - Trace Back
Italy Goal - Trace Back

Click on the image above to enlarge

This chart shows the sequence of passes which led to the score. The Goal originated from an inter cepted pass off of Neville (#2) of England by Cannavaro (#5). Cannavaro (#5) intercepted the ball setting off a sequence of plays where by D. Baggio (#4) received the ball passing it back to Costacurta (#6) who then sent a long pass up to Zola (#11) in the penalty box which led to the only score in two qualifying games between these World Cup contenders.

One quest for coaches traveling to France is to come up with ways to beat packed defenses. And it is going to be hard because in the qualifying games it was tough for teams to score goals.

To demonstrate to you just how tough it was, SoftSport's Second Look match analysis software was applied to dissect the tactics used in the two qualifying games between Italy and England. The first game at Wembley ended in a 1-0 victory for Italy and the second game ended in a 0-0 tie in Italy.

The data shows exactly where players were throughout the 90 minutes. And while coaches may say they played 4:3:3 or 4:4:2, the computerized analysis data shows what actually happened.


FIFA Match Reports

  • England v. Italy    London, 12.Feb.1997
  • Italy v. England    Rome, 11.Oct.1997


  • Analysis of the Match

    • Italy System of Play
    • England System of Play
    • The Players
    • Conclusion


    • Italy System of Play

      Line-ups are dynamic and change with the circumstances of the game. SecondLook revealed that from where the Italian players spent most of their time during the game in England their system is best described as 6:2:2. Although it could possibly be construed as 4:4:2. At times Italy had nine players in the defensive 1/3 of the field and throughout the 90 minutes only Zola and Casiraghi foraged in midfield and on the attack.

      Examine the charts of where the Italians touched the ball and you will see that even Casiraghi came back to help defend.

      Italy System of Play
      In England
         Italy System of Play
      In Italy
      England England
      Italy Italy

      Click on the images above to enlarge



      England System of Play

      No wonder it was Zola that scored the winning goal, a beautiful strike after a build-up that involved seven players.

      At Wembley while Italy showed up with a defensive minded attitude, England was under pressure to win even before they conceded what was to become the deciding goal.

      The analysis would quantify their system as 3:2:5 in the first game. Apart from central defender Campbell, all of the England players crossed the halfway line to lend a hand on the attack ... to no avail.

      By the time the two teams met in Italy, the fortunes of the two teams had reversed and a draw suited England. They then reverted to 4: 4: 2.

      Italy needed a win to assure qualification and so while they did not abandon their defensive mindset, usually playing six at the back, they added a third forward. The system is best described as 5:2:3.

      England System of Play
      In England
      England System of Play
      In Italy
      Italy Italy
      England England

      Click on the images above to enlarge

      The Players


      The focus was put on the play of the England goalkeeper David Seaman in Game 2 (played in Rome).



      Seaman #1 - All Passes    Seaman #1 - Performance Summery
      Italy  
      England  

      Click on the images above to enlarge

      Obviously he did not concede a goal, but our analysis showed a flaw in his distribution of the ball. While all his short passes to England players in the defensive half of the field were completed, it was a different story with his long clearances.

      Only eight of 23 punts up the field went to England players, which begs a number of questions:

      • Did some of his long kicks lead to opportunities for Italy to build attacks?
      • Is the high ball an effective method of getting the ball into an opponent's defensive 1/3 of the field?
      • Should goalkeepers rely on passing the ball to a teammate where there is better control?

      On the Italian side, we looked at the performance of Vieri who was drafted to add more power to the attack. He took a total of six shots but not one was on goal.

       
      Vieri #9 - All Passes Vieri #9 - Performance Summery
      Italy  
      England  

      Click on the images above to enlarge

      Vieri touched the ball 31 times and passed successfully to a teammate 15 times, although none of his six passes into the England penalty area found a colleague.

      And although he played mainly from midfield to England's goal area in the center of the field, most of his completed passes were backwards.

      Conclusion


      What can be learned from this match-up? The most obvious conclusion from simply the results of the two games is that the defensive minded team achieved the result it wanted. Italy got the result it wanted away from home; likewise England. That leaves us with the big question as to why two teams with some of the best attacking players in the world could muster only one goal in two games?

      Looking ahead to France, does that mean that coaches will go into the game thinking "defense first"?, Will playing "not to lose" be enough for teams to qualify for the second round now that only two teams from each group move forward? Or, more importantly, will the coaches of teams such as England and Italy learn from the qualifying games how to score more goals?

      In essence, all of the games in France will be away games - except for the host nation of course. So will the prevailing tactics be ofensive or defensive?

      Your regarding Coaches Corner are welcome.


      A P P E N D I X

      Figure 1
      return to article

      Italy's Goal - Trace Back


      Figure 2
      return to article

      Each oval around the player represents the player's playing zone.
      (Each red dot represents each time the player touched the ball)


      Figure 3
      return to article

      Each oval around the player represents the player's playing zone.
      (Each red dot represents each time the player touched the ball)


      Figure 4
      return to article

      Each oval around the player represents the player's playing zone.
      (Each blue dot represents each time the player touched the ball)


      Figure 5
      return to article

      Each oval around the player represents the player's playing zone.
      (Each blue dot represents each time the player touched the ball)


      Figure 6
      return to article


      Figure 7
      return to article


      Figure 8
      return to article


      Figure 9
      return to article


      Copyright © 1994-97 FIFA. All rights reserved.
      Copyright © 1997 En-Linea, Inc. All rights reserved.

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