A few hours from Portugal-France (3rd day of Group F of Euro 2020), Luis Campos was a requested observer. The former sports advisor of AS Monaco and Lille OSC knows like the back of his hand the two styles of football that clash this Wednesday. In the columns of O Jogo, he gave the recipe to the Lusitanians to master the Blues. “The only way to cancel this team, which is very physical in attack, is through a good overall defensive structure. And it is not by individually marking the French that we will be able to defend well. It must be the collective that holds them back. France has three attackers with a huge ability to unbalance and two midfielders, Pogba and Rabiot, who are released. That’s why we have to close all the spaces together ”, he explained, pointing to the difficulties in this area during the meeting against Germany (4-2).
“We defended very poorly against Germany. It is obvious, there is no need to be a specialist. And when we defend, when we occupy spaces badly, we do not even manage to make mistakes. The players were always very far from the ball, behind in all actions. The team were on the pitch but seemed to be offside, they never understood what was going on. The problem was much more complex than the mere performance of the defenders. I hope this will serve as a lesson ”, he analyzed. But the Lusitanian, for El Pais, indulged in a more philosophical comparison between the two football nations.
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Transition and power in France
“France has an incredible range, it has talents and it has a lot. The Cotonou agreements for development aid between the European Union, Africa and the Caribbean have enabled France to have a dominant position on the African market. This law allows clubs to field players from Africa. Cotonou was a starting point and the specialized training centers did an enormous job in parallel. The school for French coaches is also very good and I think that this set of things constitutes a unique training center. Brazil and Argentina have talents, but they do not have the same conditions to make them grow and progress ”, he first launched before continuing.
“Often, we say that the French teams are not tactical. I believe the opposite. They are, but in their own way. There are a lot of different styles. In France, the tactics are the same, the systems do not change, 4-4-2, 4-3-3 … But the profile of the player and what is asked of him is completely different from what happens in the Portugal or Spain. In Spain, it is combined play and proximity. In France, we distance ourselves because it is a football of rapid transition. Many of the French players are very powerful physically. This nature turns their football into something more physical, more intense, more distant and distant, because they often seek both offensive and defensive depth. In Spain, we try to be close to each other to combine with the ball. Thus, the physical impact is reduced. In Ligue 1, when the ball is in the middle, there are shocks, duels ”, he confided.
Portugal and the Bernardo Silva example
He then turned to Portuguese football. “Football in Portugal is more Spanish than French. But as there is also an African history, there is also this power and this intensity in the duels. This is why the adaptability of the Portuguese player is so great. Before, the methods of analysis and work benefited the more mature player. Often, those who had the most talent stayed away, even the most technically gifted. Today, there is a natural precocity, because young people have a better knowledge of the game. They are formed differently. This is the success of Portugal. Portugal do not have players of great physical dimension. Morphologically, they are not that strong. Cristiano is an exception. Now there are players like João Félix, Bernardo Silva … “, he explained before continuing.
“Boys who managed to be professional because they had an extraordinary knowledge of the game. They were all European champions U20, U19, U18, because, as they could not win the duels, they found d ‘other solutions. How? ‘Or’ What ? By being better tactically than the others ”, he summarized, illustrating with the example Bernardo Silva, whom he knew very well at the ASM. “Bernardo loved football so much that he knew perfectly well that he could not go to the duel. How to do ? Be faster intellectually. Bernardo’s speed of thought is very hard to find. He developed it because, morphologically, he couldn’t go into battle. When the defender charges him, he is already there because he thinks and executes faster. He developed his ability to anticipate because it is his way of surviving in modern football. He said to himself: “I’m thin, I can’t go to the duel or they’ll kill me. I have to make the right decisions before the others”. It is a natural form of moving towards intelligence, speed and agility ”.
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