All weaknesses of England were exposed in their semi-final fixture against Croatia, and Southgate’s failure to tactically adjust to situation on the field resulted with a devastating loss for this team everyone expected to go all the way.
1One of the most obvious ways to attack 3 man midfield line is to switch sides frequently and force central midfielders to cover a lot of ground , which results team’s horizontal compactness.
- Croatia managed to do exactly that throughout the whole match – retain possession on one part of the field, and then switch sides with long balls to find free man on the opposite part of the field.
Rebic and Perisic pinned down wing-backs, which prevented them from leaving their positions, which created big space for Vrsaljko to receive and deliver crosses into the box. This was the way they conceded the first goal.
- Belgium will definitely try to exploit this again, probably with even more threat when we consider Lukaku and Fellaini inside the box. Belgium became unpredictable since Japan match, and it’s not quite sure how they’ll line up against England, but taking into account they had much success against them in group stage Belgium might feature in a slightly altered 3-4-2-1.
England has shown a lot of issues to deal with opponent’s high pressing, and they don’t have options up front to make use of long balls, which Croatia used to the maximum. Belgium pressed them high in previous match, and they applied similar high block organization against France, so it is possible that they’ll try to regain possession high up the field or just force long ball play from England’s center-backs.