Wales-Belgium match analysis


1st half

Belgium stunned Wales with an early goal.Hazard gave the ball to Naiggolan and broke into the defence. Naiggolan got isolate and fired into the top corner.


After the go-ahead goal,Wales began to have a dominant role. Although their main strength is their quick counter-attacks, they showed a relatively good performance even in possession. Ramsey and Allen made vertical switches several times, Bale dropped back often into the right half-space for give passing options, but thanks to his speed, he was still able to cut behind the defence, so he was really useful. However they didn’t take a lot of risk with combinations breaking the defence-their don’t have still a really high level of technical skills.


Thanks to their right positional structure, Belgium had no space for their stunning counter-attacks we’ve seen against Hungary-even if Wales couldn’t press counter, they could run back easily-Belgian attackers were never in numerical superiority.

The picture you can see below shows well Wales’ defensive system and Belgium’s issues in possession. Wales’ defensive formation is basically a 5-3-2. But CM(Ramsey) steps forward next to the two CFs(Bale,Robson-Kanu). One of the wingbacks(RB in this picture) takes a higher position to press the opponent winger. He can do it without any risk, their is four teammates to cover him. This is the advantage of five-man chain.


In the same time, you can see also the problems of Belgian build-up. One of DMs is marked, the other one is disappeared in cover shadow.So, Hazard often dropped back to give balance in the structure. Drops of a winger might be advantageous, but not against a deep block.There, he had no chance to create 1v1s.

2nd half

In half-time, Fellaini, a central midfielder came in instead of Carrasco. Belgium’s formation became 4-3-2-1ish, they  hadn’t dedicated right-winger yet. With Fellaini’s movemenets between the defensive and midfield line and the roams of De Bruyne and Hazard, Belgium’s structure became more dynamic. But Fellaini never had high position enough to break into the defence, and Belgian fullbacks still didn’t get forward. Belgium hadn’t any width in possession and their attackers stayed isolated. They weren’t able to do any passing combinations to break the defence, just pump the ball into Lukaku’s head.


Plus, they started to apply high pressure, but their pressing movement was uncoordinated and uncompact as usual, making easier Welsh build-up.


Witsel changed in Mertens instead of absolutely unusual Jordan Lukaku, but it wasn’t helpful, Belgium’s penetration stayed awful. Finally, in the 86th minute, an other substitute, Sam Vokes hit the third after  Gunter’s great cross from the right wing.

I think Wales absolutely deserved this victory with their compact block and good possession game in the 1st half. Belgium showed us that eleven stars are still not a good team without a working tactics;their only strength is counter-attack which requires the least organisation from the coach. Their pressing was awful during all the tournament and they have absolutely no idea what to do against a defence sitting deep.





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