Switzerland vs France formations
Switzerland vs France formations

France continued their impressive run in World Cup 2014 by winning 5-2 against Switzerland. France were lethal in attacking and they made the most of Switzerland’s mistakes to bag all the three points. Switzerland lacked concentration in the first half. They staged a late comeback and netted twice to reduce the difference to three goals. Olivier Giroud, Blaise Matuidi, Mathieu Valbuena, Karim Benzema and Moussa Sissoko scored for France. Blerim Dzemaili and Granit Xhaka pulled two back for Switzerland.

Josip Drmic and Valentin Stocker were the absentees from Switzerland’s squad against Ecuador. Haris Seferovic and Admir Mehmedi were given the chance. Didier Deschamps selected Mathieu Debuchy over Bacary Sagna once again. Paul Pogba was rested and Sissoko played in place of him. Antoine Griezmann was left on the bench. Giroud started and Benzema was pushed onto the right flank.

Formations –

Deschamps stuck to his usual 4-3-3 formation. Cabaye, Matuidi and Sissoko formed the midfield trio. Cabaye played as deep lying playmaker, his preferred position.
Ottmar Hitzfeld used 4-2-3-1 formation. 4-4-2 was deployed as soon as possession was lost.


Swiss Wingbacks –

In their previous game against Ecuador, Switzerland’s forwards relied heavily on their wingbacks to add to keep up the attacking momentum. Even in World Cup Qualifications and recent friendlies, wingbacks played a major part in Switzerland’s success.
But yesterday, it was their wingbacks who let Switzerland down. Both the wingbacks lost the ball in more advanced positions. France also took care to mark the wingbacks to avoid overlapping.

Most of their forward passes (either to find a forward in a good position or for overlapping) were intercepted.

Lichtsteiner and Rodriguez misplaced passes - Four Four Stats Zone
Lichtsteiner and Rodriguez misplaced passes – Four Four Stats Zone

Switzerland’s tactical errors leading to goals –

4-2-3-1 is a reactive formation i.e. you sit back and defend for most part of the match and counter attack whenever possible. At least one of the two central midfielders slips back to defensive midfielder role to guard his central defenders during counter attacks. But in the case of Switzerland, both the central midfielders were eager to go forward. This coupled with the attacking runs of wingbacks resulted in the creation of gaps in Swiss half. France made the most of this and scored two goals by exploiting the space (Valbuena and Matuidi goals)

The third goal (Valbuena) was scored by France by counter attacking on a Swiss corner. A great pass from Raphael Varaen found Giroud with acres of free space in front of him. He squared the ball to Valbuena who capped of a great French counter attack with a goal.

Usually while taking a corner kick, attacking team’s wingbacks stay deep to defend the counter attacks. But look at this picture and tell me where the wing backs are. They are clearly out of position (Rodriguez and Lichtsteiner).
Photo source – Jason deVos.
Original tweet –

Poor defending
Poor defending

France –

France pressed very much and prompted the Swiss to give the ball away very easily. France’s athletic approach and physicality was much needed to dominate the Swiss. French won the balls near to the half way line.
Their main aim was to somehow get the ball to open areas –
Benzema found Sissoko completely free to his right and passes the ball. Swiss defenders were unable to get back to their positions.

Aware of Switzerland’s counter attacking threat, France maintained a deep defensive line. Debuchy was permitted to join the attack. Patrice Evra concentrated more on his defensive duties.

France defensive dashboard - Four Four Two Stats Zone
France defensive dashboard – Four Four Two Stats Zone

Substitutions –

Switzerland –

1. Steve von Bergen (out) – Philippe Senderos (in)
Injury to von Bergen in the 6th minute due to a high boot from Giroud.
2. Valon Behrami (out) – Blerim Dzemaili (in)
Behrami put on a poor performance. Subbed off at half time. Dzemaili scored a free kick in the 81st minute.
3. Haris Seferovic (out) – Josip Drmic (in)
To get a goal and bring down the goal difference.

France –

1. Olivier Giroud (out) – Paul Pogba (in)
To rest Giroud. Paul Pogba added more flexibility to French midfield and assisted Benzema’s goal.
2. Mamadou Sakho (out) – Laurent Koscielny (in)
Injury to Sakho.
3. Mathieu Valbuena (out) – Antoine Greizmann (in)
To rest Valbuena.

Conclusion –

An open game – both the teams had equal amount of goal scoring opportunities but only France converted its chances. Switzerland’s main concern before coming to this tournament was about their strikers. It was highlighted yesterday.
A few individual errors from Swiss players – Behrami’s back pass leading to Matuidi’s goal, Senderos failing to intercept Pogba’s pass which resulted in Bezema’s goal – and France’s superior midfield made the difference in Salvador last night.

Verdict –
Best performance – Karim Benzema – his sheer brilliance and individual skills posed serious threats to Swiss defence.

Worst performance – Valon Behrami

Feel free to comment.
Follow me on twitter – @NachikethRamesh


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