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Below are 8 lessons about soccer tactics and strategy that I learned from the 2010 World Cup: 1. Soccer Formations and Tactics Make a Difference. If you listened to the commentators, they made some excellent points about this. Argentina, for example, played a 4-1-2-1-2 formation which left them defensively strong in the center (between the 2 goals) but vulnerable to attacks down the sideline. (They also had the problem of their Midfielders not going back to help defend). Spain was criticized for continuing to attack down the center when it wasn't working. The commentators felt they should have attacked down the sidelines and then crossed the ball in to the Center. Germany played a 4-2-3-1 which gave them more width. 2. Adaptability is Critical to Soccer Coaching Success. If you want to beat tough teams, you must be willing to adapt your formation and Style of Play and put players in positions where they can be effective against your competition. An example: The England coach played Defoe instead of Heskey in the critical match against Slovenia and Defoe scored the goal that won the game. 3. Never Give Up. The U.S. had 2 goals disallowed that should have counted -- one vs. Slovenia and one vs. Algeria -- yet they persevered. 4. "Boom Ball" Can Even Work in the Soccer World Cup. Some people mistake every long ball for a "Boom Ball". That isn't true, but I will go with that term here for fun. If you have an attacker pushed up and send the ball long and your attacker can win the ball, it is a "tactic" that can result in a scoring opportunity. In England vs. Germany, there were hundreds of short passes, but the first goal scored (in the 19th minute) was on a very long goal kick that Klose ran on to and onetouched for a goal. The fourth goal in that game was also a "Boom Ball" when on a counterattack Germany sent a long ball to a breaking attacker. The Netherlands first goal vs. Slovakia was also a breakaway on a long ball. And in the final, late in the match Spain even started booming the ball to get it away from their goal. 5. Short Corner Kicks ("Short Corners") are Better for Youth Soccer Teams. I loved the way Spain mixed up short and long corner kicks. Even the Dutch tried one and had a good chance with it. I recommend Short Corners for youth teams because they teach possession and control. 6. Great Soccer Goalkeeping Makes a Difference. In this World Cup we could see what a difference great goalkeeping makes. 7. Don't Disrespect Your Opponent, You Might Motivate Them. Maradona disrespected Germany and they crushed Argentina 4-0. 8. Organization and Discipline Usually Beats Lack of Organization and Lack of Discipline.
Germany, Spain, Netherlands and Uruguay are all well organized and disciplined.
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