Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughHow to defeat the best sides in the world - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough How to defeat the best sides in the world - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

How to defeat the best sides in the world

It may have only been a friendly, but England proved on Saturday that the World and European  Champions are in fact, far from invincible.

Even without key players such as Wilshere, Gerrard, Terry and Rooney, England still managed to get the victory, but how? In my opinion, it was all down to the tactics.

Now, I’m no fan of Fabio Capello, but he got his tactics absolutely spot-on on this occasion. All England had to do was keep men behind the ball, soak up the pressure, frustrate the Spaniards and seize that one opportunity on goal, which was exactly what they did. It was a prime example of how football is supposed to be played against sides like Spain, Arsenal and Barcelona that pride themselves on fast-paced, one-touch attacking football.

Teams like Bolton and Stoke have been doing this against the top sides for years now- beating the likes of Arsenal, Manchester United and Liverpool fairly regularly with far inferior players, and it’s all down to these “negative tactics” that sides that like to play passing football simply cannot overcome.

Admittedly, it’s not pretty, but it is very effective. Spain were so frustrated at not being able to break through England’s defence that they were restricted to long-range efforts, and despite having 21 attempts at goal, only 2 hit the target- the same number England managed. It was evident that Spain simply did not know what had hit them- their players began putting in disgusting challenges (Sergio Ramos and Cesc Fabregas were very lucky to stay on the pitch) and despite Vicente Del Bosque’s best efforts, bringing on Santi Cazorla, Fernando Torres and Juan Mata, there was just no way through.

The Spanish really aren’t very happy about this result; England were adjudged to have been “boring” and “lucky” by the bitter Spanish media, but this simply wasn’t the case. It wasn’t an entertaining game by any stretch of the imagination, but England did what they had to do, and what they will have to do if they want to beat the top teams at Euro 2012. I think I’m not alone in saying that I would rather England won playing as they did on Saturday, than lost playing some fancy passing football.

Cesc Fabregas seems to think that England had no right to beat Spain, claiming that “We made England defend nearly the whole 90 minutes. You want teams to have a go at you and test you and see what happens” Now, we all know that if England would have “had a go” at Spain on Saturday, they would’ve lost heavily. I think if they want to learn anything from this, the Spanish need to stop being such bitter losers and acknowledge the fact that managers all over the world will have seen the tactics that England used to defeat them, and will no doubt be looking to play with similar tactics at Euro 2012 and beyond. They need to wise up, or they may find that the next European championships won’t end quite as well for them as the last one.

James Crook

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