Final before the final! The match that threatens to leave behind Belgium match against Brazil as the biggest tactical battle on this year’s World Cup.
RRoberto Martinez surprised us all with his tactical switch in quarter finals to dynamic 4-4-2 diamond formation. It helped Belgium cope with Coutinho by putting Fellaini against him, and block influence of Brazil’s left flank triangle combinations with Lukaku on the right side to cut off Marcelo.
- Maybe Martinez could use the same approach against France to cope with diamond structure in midfield when Matuidi moves inside and Griezmann drops deeper.
With Fellaini added in the first XI, Belgium could pose a threat from set-pieces, but also from open play. He can attack Kante in long ball situations and give Belgium quick access to France’s half of the field.
Whichever formation Martinez choose to field, it is expected that Belgium has the same problems. France is good in quick switch of sides which could unsettle Belgium’s defensive organization, like in the match against Japan. With high positioning of Pavard and Mbappe on the right flank, Vertonghen may find it tough to cope with their dynamic movement and pace. Without Meunier in this match, similar could happen on the left flank.
- Belgium has shown the most vulnerabilities in transition, with Vertonghen’s high position and wrongly timed reactions being used in matches before the World Cup, and as well during the competition. Mbappe will definitely look to exploit his lack of pace and bad body postures in 1v1 situations.
Maybe Deschamps will give us a surprise in this match, by fielding Dembele out wide and Mbappe up front with Griezmann. Giroud may find it tough to play against 3 central defenders, but Griezmann could draw defenders out of position and create space in behind for Mbappe to exploit. Dembele could create same problems for Vertonghen in transition as Mbappe.