It is becoming the unwritten rule that in whichever country Pep Guardiola coach, the national team has success on the big scene.
EEngland is showing glimpses of successful positional play, something they lacked pretty much on previous competitions. But, the thing that helped them the most in group stage is something they have kept throughout their history, and that is set-piece play.
- Corner-kicks are one of their main weapons on this World Cup, and even though opponents are well aware of that they have had too much problems in dealing with unpredictability of England’s set-piece routines.
With Pekerman leading them, Colombia became one of the toughest sides to beat. They switch between 4-4-1-1 and 4-3-3 formation, so changes during the match can occur. They are very organized defensively and opponents had real issues to create platforms for penetration through their medium block. With Mina and Sanchez at the back Colombia has some pace at the back, so they are quick to cover exploited areas in between the lines.
In possession there is a tendency to attack down the right flank. Arias and Cuadrado can rotate on that side of the field, with Arias moving inside from that right back position in order to create space for Cuadrado to receive and get into 1v1 situations down the touchline.
A lot of balls were directed in behind the defensive line from deep in order to use Falcao’s excellent off the ball movement, with compact structure following the long ball in order to counter-press and win second balls.
Colombia is tough to play against due to solid defensive mechanisms, but they had issues to deal with counter-attacks organized down their left flank. Mojica often push high up the field to provide width on the left because of James’ movement inside, leaving big space at the back in transition.