In the midst of the busy season, there are several good matches that initially pass under the radar due to the sheer number of fixtures. In this series, our authors analyse some of their favourite games from the 2015/2016 season.
The final day of the 2014-15 season saw Brendan Rodgers’ Liverpool side get thrashed 6-1 by a mediocre Stoke team. After challenging for the title in the previous season, the transfer of Luis Suarez and poor health of Daniel Sturridge created big issues and performance dropped off a cliff. Whilst Rodgers was previously able to rely on his talented personnel, he struggled to implement a consistent strategy from this point onwards. He was granted the start of the 2015-16 season to rectify the issues, but was unable to do so. He was sacked after a 1-1 draw with Everton in October. A few days later, Jurgen Klopp was hired.
As the competition has progressed, we have been able to witness a number of tactical trends shared by many teams in the tournament. Whilst there hasn’t been a particular pattern in terms of formations like we saw with the back 3 in the 2014 World Cup, there have been clear trends in marking schemes, attacking strategies and other tactical features.
In this article I will be taking a look at the two most prevalent themes we have seen in this year’s international competition.
The European crown is on the line on Sunday, when Portugal will meet France in Saint-Denis. Be sure to follow our live blog during the game.
The final of EURO 2016 is upon us. The hosts, France, are met by Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal after they overcame Germany and Wales respectively in the final four.
Hosts France will join Portugal in the final of Euro 2016 after a 2-0 victory over Germany. Despite the Germans’ dominance for most of the game, Joachim Low’s side were unable to find a breakthrough in Marseille, and instead found themselves crashing out of the tournament they were so heavily fancied to win.
Wales met Portugal in the first semi-final of Euro 2016, as Real Madrid teammates Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo went head to head for the first time at international level. With both teams landing on the more favourable side of the knockout draw, each had the opportunity to make an unexpected finals appearance.
In stark contrast to the previous night’s tight affair, France made their way to the semi-finals with ease as they breezed past a disappointing Iceland side. Deschamps opted for an interesting asymmetrical 4-4-2 formation with Pogba at the 6 whilst Iceland went for the same 4-4-2 which knocked England out in the last round.
Accipicchia! Meine Güte! Probably the two best teams of the Euro tournament had to battle each other in the quarterfinal. After 120 minutes full of tactical brilliance, passion and drama, Germany won the penalty shootout and sent Italy home.
Wales and Belgium contested the second quarter-final of the 2016 European Championship in Lille on Friday evening. Throughout the tournament Wales have established a reputation as one of the strongest outfits in the competition from a tactical perspective. Belgium on the other hand are rightfully seen as a case of misguided talent as they frequently fail to show the levels of performance their players are capable of.