Freitag, 31.03.2017

Team Analysis: Valeriy Lobanovskyi’s USSR

Soviet_Union_football_federation

Pressing, Gegenpressing, total football … those are all terms usually associated with the Dutch national team from 1974 or, recently, with Pep Guardiola’s Barcelona and Bayern Munich. But, during history, there have been other divisive figures who contributed to modern football. Valeriy Lobanovskyi has long gone underappreciated but he put his mark on the sport, and his USSR team gave a strong contribution to the game.

1992 European Cup Final: Barcelona – Sampdoria 1:0

The two starting formations.

With the sad passing of one of football’s greatest yesterday, I decided to visit footballia and analyse his European Cup win with a great Barcelona side featuring numerous stars such as Guardiola, Laudrup and Koeman – all of whom would progress onto a coaching career. Their opposition was a talented Sampdoria side who, despite struggling domestically, found themselves in the final and challenged Cruyff’s side well with a squad containing Roberto Mancini and Gianluca Vialli.

1998 World Cup Final: France – Brazil 3:0

France98mascot

The 1998 World Cup final went down as one of the greatest days in French history as they won their first World Cup over a Brazil side containing legends such as Rivaldo, Cafu, Roberto Carlos and an (famously unwell) Ronaldo. The French team had their own players of similar stature too with the likes of Marcel Desailly, Lilian Thuram and eventual man-of-the-match Zinadine Zidane.

1995 CL Final: AFC Ajax – AC Milan 1:0

The starting lineups

A final played between two historic clubs in the Ernst-Happel-Stadion (named after the great innovator and coach) in Vienna, Austria. Both Louis Van Gaal and Fabio Capello were young coaches 20 years (!) ago at the time of this final. Neither team had any trouble reaching the final, as Ajax beat Hajduk Split 3-0 and Bayern Munich 5-2 – and AC Milan beat Benifica 2-0 and PSG 3-0 to reach Europe’s biggest stage. Though both teams were dominant on their road to the final, neither team played well enough to create more than a few chances – which resulted in the only goal coming in the 85th minute.

2010 CL Final: Inter Milan – Bayern Munich 2:0

The starting lineups

“The Special One” met his former mentor from their days in Barcelona on Europe’s biggest stage. Inter Milan had just come off of a legendary performance against Guardiola’s FC Barcelona, winning 3-2 on aggregate with only 10 men on the pitch. Van Gaal’s Bayern defeated Lyon 4-0 in the other semi-final (and got to that point by defeating both Fiorentina and Manchester United 4-4 on away goals).

2008 CL Final: Chelsea – Manchester United 1:1 (5:6 Penalties)

The starting lineups

The all English final. All of Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, and United were actually in this season’s Champions League quarter-final – an impressive showing for English football. Manchester United were able to narrowly beat a struggling Barcelona with Ronaldinho on his way out, and Chelsea were able to defeat Liverpool in extra time to reach this final. It was a great game which was dictated by Manchester United’s quick possession and combination play.