Soccer Coaching Books & Videos | Our online store for coaches!

World Cup 2018 Analysis: Belgium wins with some Problems

Belgium showed some inconsistencies in the build up. But finally gets a clear result.

Belgium – Panama  3:0 (0:0)

Belgium with Problems in the Build Up

After an eventful opening minutes, there was a clear division of roles. Belgium has the ball – Panama gave them a 4:5:1 task that should remain unsolved until half-time. Belgium simply missed it simply to get more players behind the opposing midfield row while at the same playing ineffectively out of the back three. Too often, Witsel and De Bruyne came into the ball and sought out ball-contacts near the three center-backs. The lack of players in the depth seduced Panama to start their pressing and Belgium to long balls.

Typical scene of the first half. Belgium builds up from the back three and De Bruyne comes into the ball and stands with Vertonghen at one spot. Not one player by Panama is outplayed that way.


A few seconds later, the ball is at De Bruyne. This puts four of Belgium’s defenders in front of Panama’s 4:5:1 defense block. A safe way not to lose the ball, but not more…
Same picture. Actually, the three central defenders are responsible for the build up…
The best chance of the first half happens followed. The build-up takes place via Alderweireld. No central midfielder comes in addition to the build-up. Alderweirelds positions himself higher on the ball far side and is passed to…
Panama’s Barcenas now has a problem, he can not just press because he has players in his back. Seconds later, Hazard gets the ball between the lines and shots after a great dribbling

“Belgiums greatest attribute is clearly their counter attack. We will see how they have developed in possession” – Steven Turek before the World Cup

Mertens scores a great Goal

Who expected tension for the second half was quickly disappointed. A superb shot from Mertens decided the game after only a few minutes. The last hope for a big surprise was finally taken Lukaku, who provided in combination with De Bruyne for the 2-0.

De Bruyne has the ball. Lukaku moves in the back of the center-back and …


blocks to the wing-back. The ball is perfect. Easy for Lukaku

Belgium’s biggest weapon – counter attack – finally showed up in the 3:0, which also was finished by Lukaku.


After many teams, some of whom had extreme problems in their opening games, Belgium at least got a clear result. In possession of the ball, however, one notices the team still has potential in terms of dominance in possession (especially to the opposing penalty area).

An analysis by Steven Turek

Steven Turek WM Analyse

More Stories
Coaching Soccer Tactics: Pressing in Soccer (4) – Counter Pressing