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World Cup 2018 Analysis: Down & Out

Of the last three world champions now all have failed at the next World Cup in the group stage. We will try a short review of the (decisive) game against South Korea.

South Korea – Germany 2:0 (0:0)

South Korea’s plan against Germans build up

South Korea tried at the core two things: Either press high or defend deeply (a common method at the World Cup, first perceived a few years ago as Real Madrid completely unnerved Guardiolas Bayern). Germany again tried to build up the game with the help of Toni Kroos. In this game he completes the buildup in the center of the back three line especially at the beginning. His qualities at the box have no effect there. Khedira is playing higher, which makes sense in counter-pressing (to stop counterattack earlier) but in possession is not the best option.

A South Korean striker always had loose contact with Hummels, who should be excluded from the game. That was enough to keep the Germans on one side at the beginning.
The opening by Neuer is closed loose and the pressing started with the first pass. South Korea pushes situationally but not consistently #6 up(as in the picture). Actually, a good way for Germany to carry the game safely forward. Feels like the ball near full-back (Hector) is too high. With a pass he can dribble along the line at most and can be isolated, especially if the pass is too long (If the pass is shorter, for example, when Hummels is higher, Hector can play directly into the depth after a pass). If he positions himself closer to Hummels, Hector can move the ball along the line and into the middle of the field and, if necessary, open space between the chains.
In the game structure there are two rather unfavorable passes. The simple ball from Center-Back to a Full-Back and the pass at the line from the Full-Back to the Winger. Germany combines both in this scene. Through the wide back three line Süle gets the ball on the wing and plays along the line to Kimmich …
Another example from the back three structure. Khedira retakes the 6th position after Kroos completes the back three line …
as a result, Khedira does not get enough forward to get the ball out of the side again. A change in the roles of Khedira and Kroos would have advantages here.
Another example of a completely free #6 space.

In the attack surprised the position of Werner, who was on the wing against Sweden, the best man on the field. If he moved to the wing, he could use his pace better to create opportunities. Finishers for these opportunities weren’t in the field in the first half. In his role as a central point of attack against low-standing opponents, he still looks out of place.

Do or Die in the last Minutes

With the news from the match Sweden against Mexico Germany had to go increasingly more risk. The risk paid off numerous opportunities. Against a tired from the 70th minute acting South Korean team, the reigning World Champion played out numerous opportunities. Why none of them found their way into the goal remains unclear.

Typical situation in the second half (even before the out threatened). Germany falls into brutal counter-attack, because behind the ball is not worked early. At the end there is an outstanding combination to the goal. A few minutes later (79th) a similar scene.
With the right offensive changes Özil comes into the situation with greater responsibility to stop counterattack – not his outstanding ability. At that point, each counter-attacker could decide the game. Süle keeps Germany alone in the game at this time.

Korea escapes the pressure

In all problems of the German team to prevent counterattack, especially the Korean full-back have an excellent quality to free themselves with short dribbles from the pressure and so to break the counter-pressing.

Conclusion: In addition to all disappointing teams Germany is the first to miss the next round. Preventing counter-attacks kept causing problems throughout the tournament, and took momentum in good times. Why players on the other hand use scoring chances or just do not, is and remains probably the oldest unanswered question in football.

An analysis by Steven Turek

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