Joachim Low, in order to tackle Antonio Conte’s almost unbeatable 3-5-2 formation, decided to change his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation to 3-5-2. Germany took the lead through Mesut Ozil and Italy equalized through Leonardo Bonucci’s penalty. In the penalty shootout after the extra-time, 7 kicks failed to end up in the back of the net. Finally, it was Germany that managed to sneak through to the semi-finals of Euro 2016 just like Jonas Hector’s shot slipped under Gianluigi Buffon in the ultimate and decisive kick of the match. Here’s my tactical analysis of the game.
Germany (3-5-2): Manuel Neuer; Joshua Kimmich, Benedikt Howedes, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Jonas Hector; Sami Khedira/Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil; Thomas Muller, Mario Gomez.
Italy (3-5-2): Gianluigi Buffon; Alessandro Florenzi, Andrea Barzagli, Leonardo Bonucci, Giorgio Chiellini, Mattia De Sciglio; Marco Parolo, Stefano Sturaro, Emanuele Giaccherini; Eder, Graziano Pelle.
Although Germany and Italy were playing the same formations, both the teams had different approached when it came to actually executing their plans within those formations. Italy, while attacking was direct and tried to get the ball to the higher middle third in only three or four passes. Germany, on the other hand, waited and opened space to carry out the attacks.
Germany’s defending – High press, cover shadows and man-marking deep in the half. Italy’s attacking – beating the pressing frontline, bad shape, space opening by central midfielders
Germany high pressed Italy. There were a few man-oriented players in the German midfield and back line. The man-orientation and high pressing coupled with wide movements of Italy’s central midfielders was allowing space in the middle for the Italian attack. Germany, apart from man-marking and a few high press failures, were good at defending – especially with the use of cover shadows to push Italian players to take up bad positions.
Germany was pressing Italian goalkeeper, Buffon, while defending in the attacking third. Muller and Ozil were putting pressure on the wide center backs – Chiellini and Barzagli respectively, by positioning in the half-spaces. Striker Gomez was trying to disrupt Buffon’s short central passing options to Sturaro and Bonucci. To beat this frontline pressing by Germany, Italy was changing its shape as it has done a lot of times in this tournament. The central midfielders – Parolo and Giaccherini were spreading out wide to the wings while the wingbacks –De Sciglio and Florenzi were pushing higher up the pitch.
This article was originally published on outsideoftheboot.com. To read more about Germany’s defending, the use of cover shadows, Italy’s stretching of German midfield, Germany’s change in shape and Italy’s narrow and compactly layered structure, click here.