Black Stars Playbook: How Ghana can beat Ronaldo’s Portugal in Qatar

Black Stars Playbook: How Ghana can beat Ronaldo’s Portugal in Qatar

Ghana’s 2022 World Cup campaign kicks off in some model, dealing with off with 2016 Euro champions, Portugal, at Stadium 974.

Africa’s campaign this year has began in bitter style. None of Senegal, Tunisia or Morocco – top-rated African sides – have gained their opening games in the match; one defeat and two attracts has been the story to this point.

A story which additionally contains a clear slate for Africa’s attackers who’ve performed to this point, and this can be a development Otto Addo and the Black Stars will want to break if they need to get their campaign off on a superb observe.

But up against a Portuguese aspect which brews high quality, boasting of a really imposing forward line – a controversy-wrapped Ronaldo – precisely how do the Black Stars navigate themselves to an historic win?

“We have one aim – to win, which will be very, very difficult.” Otto Addo couldn’t get it extra proper in his pre-match press convention. But as he and his assistants will already know, regardless of their expertise, Portugal’s model affords the Black Stars some room to profit on November 24.

But to perceive the place the Black Stars can flourish, there’s the necessity to perceive how Portugal play, and their method can be divided into three fundamental segments; buildup, assault and defence.

Portugal’s buildup

In all of Portugal’s 12 2022 World Cup qualifying games, the Selecao das Quinas adopted a single method in build-up. They began all however one, of their games in a 4-3-3/4-2-3-1, which shifted to a 2-4-1-3 throughout buildup.

In this new form, there was a twin pivot in midfield flanked by two fullbacks. Ahead of them was a frontline of three, however in between them and the 4, was a midfielder or forward given a free role.

However, in some conditions, they can alternate to a extra traditional 3-4-3 in construct up, with one of many midfield pivots dropping into protection, and the free role midfielder dropping into the pivot. And although they’re in a position to play by way of opposition, they aren’t afraid to combine it up by going lengthy.

Portugal have been pipped to top spot in their group by Serbia, and consequently couldn’t acquire automatic qualification to the World Cup. They solely certified to the World Cup after beating Turkey and North Macedonia in the playoffs – in March.

As a consequence, it can be argued Santos’ men will have developed a brand new method however in their last pre-World Cup pleasant with Nigeria solely every week in the past – that was removed from the case.

Nonetheless, the roles in the 2-4-1-3 form weren’t fastened; with Diogo Dalot, who performed proper again, taking positions as considered one of Portugal’s entrance 3 in the form, whereas a midfielder performed in his RB role. Also, the buildup form generally adjusted to a 2-5-3; two midfielders flanking a single pivot.

Portugal’s assault

When the Portuguese advance into the ultimate third, they keep the 2-4-1-3 form, with the free role player dropping deep to choose the ball and hyperlink play. In other eventualities, one of many three in the attacking line drops into midfield as they search to progress the ball.

Most usually than not, when the additional man in midfield receives the ball, he appears to play out to the suitable the place Portugal will have a bonus with the numbers. Bruno Fernandes’ opening goal in the pleasant with Nigeria got here from the same sequence.

Meanwhile, the overload of the right-wing is generally an excellent scenario for the Portuguese in their attacking method.

In their World Cup qualifying run, the Portuguese scored 22 goals in complete, with 9 of them straight coming from the right-hand aspect, and three coming not directly from the suitable, through profitable a penalty and press.

The overload of the right-hand aspect usually happens with a winger hugging the touchline, a midfielder taking part in by way of the right-half area and one other forward making an underlapping dart into the 18-yard field.

As a results of the need to overload the suitable, throughout build-up and their attacking section, the three entrance men of Portugal shift inward; the left-sided forward vacating his position on the left. As a consequence, this leaves Portugal with a slight imbalance because the left-back is now accountable for width from the left. However, he receives help from the left-sided midfielder, leaving them with the tendency to be potent from the left as properly.

Four of their World Cup qualifying goals got here straight from the left, whereas three have been oblique through counterattacks and corners.

In the pleasant with Nigeria, Portugal adopted a extra expansive and balanced method, and ended up scoring three of their 4 goals from the left-hand aspect – 2 straight and one not directly through profitable a penalty.

Portugal’s defence

In defence, Portugal undertake a 4-1-4-1 and in addition a 4-4-1-1 or it’s variation; a 4-4-2. But the defensive form employed depending on the section of defending.

In their press, both of Portugal’s wingers step up to provoke depending on the ball’s position, whereas the striker does a job on the other defender.

In a midblock, the Portuguese implement a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 form in an try to stop central development. And in a low block, they make use of the 4-1-4-1.

But deep into their half, they appear to play in a backline of 5 because the ball-sided winger drops to help out his fullback.

How can Ghana profit?

Portugal’s method play with players dropping from their forward strains to hyperlink play, and their obsession with creating from extensive means the Black Stars would possibly want to begin in a again 3.

Starting with a again 3 affords the Black Stars the chance to have one central defender comply with a forward into midfield in order to stop him from receiving the ball in area. Also, the again 3 will afford Ghana the chance to play with wingbacks who can defend aggressively by stepping out to Portugal’s fullbacks, whereas additionally offering safety in the extensive areas against Portugal’s makes an attempt to crowd out these areas.

Meanwhile, stepping out is a trait Portugal’s fullbacks have a tendency to present. But with out the additional body of a 3rd centre-back, it means they create gaps in their defence.

In moments the place your complete backline shifts to account for that hole created, on the other wing. Moreover, their defensive form of a 4-1-4-1, leaves quite a lot of central areas which can be exploited when Portugal’s centre-backs are both sluggish to step out or fail to accomplish that.

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