TEAM TUPPET VS TEAM LORD SINISTER TACTICS TEAM TUPPET Its hard to actually pinpoint the positions of players in static formation pictures when you have two players with as unpredictable movements as Cruyff and Boniek. Still the nominal formation is 5-2-3 with a rock solid defense and fluid unpredictable attack. Here are some questions I anticipate from a look on formation and their answers - Q. Why is Vogts playing as DM, I thought he was an RB ? A. He is not playing as DM or midfielder in general. He is a free defender on a man marking mission against Maradona. Although he was comfortable both as DM and CB and has played in those positions before. Davids and Ocwirk are playing as central midfielders in a double pivot system. Vogts' positions is hard to pin-point on the tactical picture as he takes his positional cue from Maradona's position. Q. Does Vogts have any hope of containing Maradona ? A. Maybe, peak Maradona is not someone you can contain easily. But FWIW man marking has made a difference against many all time greats in big matches. It doesn't necessarily require the biggest names either. Lambert marked Zidane out of the game in CL final, Pele was often marked by Bedin with great success, Zico & Maradona by Gentile, Eusebio by Stiles and of course Cruyff by Vogts in a world cup final. Marking is not a full proof method for sure but it does work and someone as dangerous as Maradona just can't be left open. Its also important to note that while Vogts is marking Maradona he is not the only one minding him, He has a solid defense behind him and a great defensive midfield shield in front. So then the question becomes of Vogts' ability to mark and that is beyond reproach. One of the truly great markers of the game, his pace, defensive intelligence and most importantly dogged determination which earned him the name of "Der Terrier" was behind him being such an excellent marker. He was in general a great defender, probably the greatest German defenders not named Beckenbauer. His 2 times German player of the year in the era of Muller & Beckenbauer shows as much and it was his passion and determination in part which drove the excellent Gladbach team of 70s. As mentioned before he has done it against Cruyff, but also the likes of Muller and Keegan. Here's an excerpt from a Bonhof interview - Bonhof then adds:" Yeah, but you have to add, that Gerd quite often played defender against Gladbach" Interviewer: Gerd Müller in defense? Bonhof: Well, at least I've watched Gerd staying in defense and Franz asking him:"What are you doing here, go forward." Gerd's answer:"I don't want anymore, you can go and play against Berti". Q. But the opposition still have Messi, even assuming Maradona is subdued how do you stop Messi ? A. I am certain that if any side has Maradona and Messi on the pitch at the same time, Maradona is the one who is going to take control. Messi is very dangerous but we can not put man marking on everyone or they would just destroy our defensive line. Messi would be dealt with more team effort. He is directly in front of the greatest defensive left back of all time Maldini, who is right footed and adapt at playing at CB. This makes him an ideal opponent to deal with right wing Messi who is often going to cut inside. When Maldini gets beaten Messi would be facing another complete defender in Thuram. In general Messi is operating in a zone Marshalled by Maldini-Davids-Thuram, its as solid as it could be and with this I think it won't be the first time Messi would look completely ineffective in a team not named Barcelona. Q. I don't understand your attack, how is that front 3 supposed to work ? A. Its a fluid hard working attack that is designed to drag LS' defenders around with dribbling, work rate and creativity. The inspiration is 2002 Brazil Ronaldo-Rivaldo-Ronaldinho attack. Ronaldo would be the number 9, not the 2002 version but his peak pre-injury version where he was one man attack able to create and finish chances. Cruyff is the creative forward. He is still the primary playmaker of my team in that he is the one who is setting the rhythm for my team and he is the one everybody looks to pass the ball. With Ronaldo up front he is free from the burden of scoring here and could use his devastating dribbling and the greatest tactical mind in the history of game to drop deep, pull wide, stretch the defense and create chances. Q. Explain Boniek's role, Why is he playing as number 10 ? A. Boniek is not the number 10 in traditional sense of the word. As mentioned before our trio is inspired from Brazil 2002 and Boniek's playing the very specialized Ronaldinho role of providing width on both sides (more on right side). In addition with his insane work rate he would press Beckenbauer when he has the ball. Beckenbauer is probably going to start as Libero and is important for LS' build up from deep, Boneik would look to close him down and hurt LS buildup game. That is a tall order but Boniek is perfectly suitable for it. He was simply a fabulous player with deadly speed, guile, determination, technical skill. He was best defined as a 'hard working-attack minded footballer', rather than as a 'great winger' or 'playmaker'. His ability to slip past defenders as well as work rate is the reason that we are able to sacrifice one of our player for man marking mission. Although he is not the shiniest name on the pitch, he is exactly the kind of attacker that is needed to provide platform for Ronaldo and Cruyff. Overall I think despite having slightly lesser names our attacking trio of Cruyff-Ronaldo-Boniek as a group is better than Maradona-Kocsis-Messi. Q. Your team has no width, how would you stretch LS defense ? A. I anticipate this question because it seem from formation picture that there are no wide players in my team. It doesn't take too much to see thats not true. An attack comprised of players as dynamic and comfortable drifting in wide areas as Cruyff, Ronaldo & Boniek is never narrow. Ronaldo was godlike picking the ball from wide areas and running at defense. Cruyff's position on formation picture is always for notational purpose he would as usual drift all over the pitch especially on the left side. And as I mentioned before while attacking Boniek would act as wide forward pulling toward either side as needed but more on right. Combined with Zambrotta's attacking contribution on the right side we have plenty of width on the pitch. Other notes: 1. Blanc and Thuram were both fantastic in air, Kocsis especially without the all time service of Czibor / Budai is going to find it hard to dominate in air. He was a good complete striker but to think that his greatest ability was not heading is basically completely overlooking stats. I mentioned in this post that he scored around 400+ out of 493+ goals with his head, also score almost all of his most important goals with head. He in my opinion would want the ball to be crossed in the air all the time which is basically opposite of what Messi wants from the service. One of them is bound to get very frustrated. 2. Davids would be playing purely defensive midfielder while Ocwirk would be the deep lying playmaker. There is a lot of pace in our attack and with two brilliant passers from deep in Blanc and Ocwirk we can do a quick counter attack as well. 3. While attacking Vogts would drop deep as RB allowing Zambrotta to go forward. He is mostly going to battle it out with Carlos with support from Boniek. 4. The records of our attack vs LS defense. Ronaldo was probably the only attacker who gave Nesta nightmares, famously dueling and winning in UEFA 98 final. That match had been hyped as a meeting between the best attacker and the best defender in Serie A. Ronaldo destroyed his opponent. “It was the worst experience of my career,” he said. Nesta watched the match repeatedly on video, trying to work out what he had done wrong, until he finally had his Eureka moment: there was nothing anyone could have done. “Ronaldo,” he said, “was simply unstoppable.” Cruyff and Beckenbauer were the two biggest stars in 70s and when they met each other in 1973 European cup QF it was Cruyff who led his team to aggregate 5-2 victory. They met again in 74 in WC final and this time Beckenbauer was the one to get the victory but the credit to subdue Cruyff goes to Vogts who is in our team. TACTICS TEAM LORD SINISTER De Gea will be the calming and superhuman presence in the goal with his world class shot-stopping and command of area. Nesta will be replacing Stam, and he along with Förster will be told to keep tight, closely marking their zones, and not allowing Tuppet's attackers to attack the goal. The idea is to use Beckenbauer in a more advance role, so he can not only protect our back, but also start attacks from deep, engaging in the midfield more than he did in the last two outing. With Tigana as in the semis will now be unleashed being more dynamic and box-to-box, while Keane will be a more looking more to be settling the game with trying to keep the shape of the midfield. These four guys will look to pack the midfield and not give breathing space to Tuppet's midfielders while building a platform for Maradona, Messi and Kocsis to dominate pat's defense, ably supported by overlapping Gerets and Carlos. Gerets and Messi will form a partnership attacking the left side of pat, while Gerets will also track back to support the right side of our defense. Carlos will be owning the left flank like he always does, and since there is a lack of true right winger in pat's team, it will be an advantage , as Carlos will be marauding the left side looking to stretch the game and crossing to either Kocsis or stretching the play by , while he has the speed and stamina to get track back supporting the defense. Maradona will be operating in the between the midfield line and defense line of pat exploiting the space between them, and if they look to press/mark him, it will give room to Tigana or Keane to charge forward, depending on the sides. When on ball he will look to dribble and slip the ball for Messi and Kocsis to finish, or pass to Carlos, Gerets or even Tigana at times, so they can either cross to Kocsis or pass to Messi. Messi will get a more free role in the final attack roaming the front line, confusing pat's left side by sometimes going right flank to cross/pass to Kocsis or cutting in to play quick one twos with Maradona to get himself through, or go all the way from right channel taking on pat's defense and even at times slipping Gerets, to let him cross to Kocsis or play one-twos with Messi. Kocsis will be playing in front always moving east and west confusing his markers, looking to get behind the crosses, through balls and lob passes from Messi, Maradona&co, he will be key in forming a partnership with Maradona, while also at times letting Maradona go at defense at times, with him and Messi lurking just behind, in case rebound or loose ball in or near the box happens. Key points: Our midfield is set in a way we will have an midfield covering of all tuppet's midfielders so Maradona will have a free way go. Carlos can take care of the left side on his own with able support from Tigana, while Gerets will form a deadly partnership with Messi in the right. Messi, Maradona and Kocsis will be too much for any defense in the tourney. Messi will be given a free role from the right channel, getting into the box from the right or center, while also at times deceiving pat's defenders, by getting on the right and make lobbed passes/crosses to Kocsis or make lay off passes to an onrushing Maradona or Tigana or Keane. Maradona will the creator-in-chief and organised of the attacks. With an extra man in the middle he will given more freedom than in previous rounds. Beckenbauer anchoring my team is no less than having having Maradona in the hole orchestrating attacks. Tigana gets to play his best role, the tireless box to box midfielder. Kocsis will be played in more by Messi, Maradona and co with crosses, so he can fully utilize his aerial prowess and heading game.