For the bant

Spain’s 4-6-0 Formation – Good or Bad for football?

Vicente del Bosque could possibly have the easiest job in world football at the moment with the quality of  players he has at his disposal. But while nobody can argue with Spain’s results in Euro 2012, with 9 goals scored and only 1 conceded from their  5 games so far, the same could not be said for their performances. Yes Spain will always have more possession of the ball then their opponent will and generally create more chances. But by flooding the midfield with 6 players are they damaging their performances.

Without doubt their midfield the strongest area of the squad. Especially when you take into account players like Mata, Pedro and Fabregas are not considered 1st choice in the starting XI. When you have players like Xavi, Iniesta, Alonso, Silva and Busquets playing in midfield, why is their a need to play a 6th midfielder? The 5 players already playing are probably the best in the world at holding possession and carving out chances. Playing another midfielder means they lack a vocal point for their attacks. When the opposing team gets men behind the ball in numbers 40 yards outside their goal, Spain need a player who will play high up the pitch, on the line of the defence making runs off the centre halves.  This would straight away open up more space in midfield for players like Xavi, Iniesta and Silva to work their magic to create chances which a quality striker would thrive on.

Everybody knows Torres has had a torrid time in the last couple of years but as he proved against Ireland in the group stages, he will score when the opportunity arises. He may not be as technically gifted or as good a passer as the rest of the Spanish team, but what he offers is his willingness to stay as far forward as possible occupying both centre halves, as a result creating more space for the more creative players to flourish. By a team not playing a recognised centre forward, we will miss exciting battles between central defenders and centre forwards.

I hope clubs and other football nations don’t buy into this new formation of football as it will only deprive us of quality forward play, excitement and goals.

By Alan O’Brien


4 responses

  1. Exactly, Vicente del Bosque is an IDIOT. Spain looks like crap right now because they don’t have any forwards. Spain has the players and quality to play an attacking style, not this sit back and hope that you get a break for the defense to make a mental lapse. Look at how they played in Euro 2008 and the 2010 World Cup. With Torres and Villa up top, it opened up the midfield and allowed Xavi and Iniesta to do what they do best, pick apart the defense. Right now, they don’t look like they know what they are doing or where they are going because everything is so condensed. Italy has a better D than everyone Spain has played so far, and have a very good counter-attack that isn’t limited to just one player like Portugal(Ronaldo).

    June 29, 2012 at 2:33 pm

  2. Darren

    Insulting commentary. Tactics, styles, and even the kits worn come in cycles. What Spain are striving for is a type of total football that was first developed in the early 70s by the Dutch. What people fail to remember is that the Dutch did this with little flair, the Spanish have added their own ideals and style to the system to create their own style of the same basic idea. While it may eliminate ‘quality forward play’ (of which, let’s be honest, there is relatively little of in the world today) it creates a more diverse attacking style. The system is actually built around producing more goals and more excitement, which shows how mediocre your analysis of this style is. Has Spain been boring at times in the Euro? Absolutely, I will not dispute that, but don’t criticize the tactic/formation for the execution. If IBM had made a shitty laptop the first time (and they did) what if people had said, ‘Jesus I hope no other companies make a laptop because it would deprive of us the ability to always use a computer tied to an office/home desk’ ? Same deal, the idea of a 4-6-0, is basically trying to give a formal name to an abstract creation. It is basically a system that uses 2 recognized Central defenders, two wide players for the wings, and 6 midfielders. By definition the midfielders should be able to move box to box and thus defend and attack equally, being provided width by the two wide players. I don’t see why a ‘forward’ (in name only) needs to be included to create goals and excitement. If other teams employed a similar style they would add their own group of players (precious few teams have 6 quality midfielders, the name issue here) to the system at which point that would create more diverse and systems of playing. Space creation can be done in a variety of ways with a variety of different players.

    Detriment to the game? Hardly. Adding variety, cyclical style addition, and innovation? Yes. Now that sir, is truly exciting.

    June 29, 2012 at 3:32 pm

  3. Tulga Aziz

    hahaha both comments here are obviously not from people understanding what football is all about….. and to say there won’t be any excitment of goals makes u both sound silly now that the final has been played and won by spain 4:0 – its always going to have critics – well you got it all wrong again hahaha.

    July 2, 2012 at 2:47 pm

  4. Brent

    The Spainish philosophy of play has been an absolute validation of everything I believed about how soccer should be played. The philosophical underpinnings of this style has analogs in other areas of life as well. Its expression probably appeals to certain personality types more than others. I suspect, architectural types are absolutely blessed by the Spanish style while folks that are execution (direct) oriented are in pain watching their endless control.

    To me the Spainish style emphasize perfection in the fundamentals, a algorithmic approach to ball movement and a requirement that opportunities must inordinately be expressed through combinational inter-dependence .. teamwork.

    When people work together there is a multiplier effect. When the most gifted work together they are unstoppable. That is Spain over the last 4+ years.

    What is very interesting is how David Silva was arguably the most productive offensive threat on Spain, but in my opinion continually broke the flow of the Spanish onslaught. Also, consider Torres, who plays the “big old” striker role without variation. This too, me shows how the Spanish philosophy of a super-strong and thoughtful midfield is the building block on which other philosophies can thrive.

    July 2, 2012 at 6:33 pm

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