France – Turkey: Late Goals Result In Draw Despite French Domination (1-1)
Despite a very dominant game, the French had to wait until Olivier Giroud’s entrance to score a goal. However Turkey equalized a few minutes after, making it 1-1, meaning both countries are yet to be officially qualified for the Euro 2020.
Tactical analysis and match report by Simon Piotr.
France against Turkey was the clash between both leaders of group H.. They had the same amount of points before the game (18), with Turkey topping the group thanks to a better goal difference. Turkey had beaten France 2-0 in Istanbul at the end of last season, and the French certainly wanted to restore their honor – and become group leaders in the process – on Monday night in Paris.
Deschamps kept the same 4-4-2 lineup that was fielded in Iceland, with the exception of Wissam Ben Yedder replacing Giroud who was not fit enough to start the game. Some positions in midfield changed as well, despite having the same players on the field. Blaise Matuidi was back in the double pivot, Kingsley Coman was now left winger instead of right winger, and Moussa Sissoko switched to the right wing. Having the runners on the wings foreshadowed Deschamps’ will to make use of the width in this game.
Turkey came on the pitch in a compact 4-1-4-1 shape, which was different from the 4-3-3 system they used in their victory against Albania; a formation shape that announced something more defensive.
Griezmann one-man show
At the beginning of the game, both teams tried to play short passes from the back, while no one seemed eager to press high, which gave a slowish tempo to the game and no dangerous actions either side. However, France were already controlling most of the ball possession – 63% in the first half – as we could have expected.
Then came Antoine Griezmann on stage, grabbing the game by the scruff of the neck. In his usual second striker position, he enjoyed the freedom to roam literally all over the field and be the beating heart of the team. France would play how Griezmann decided it would play.
The action that really started the game in the 17th minute summed it up perfectly: Griezmann dropped 45 meters away from goal to receive the ball from a center-back, then combined well with Hernández on the left across the whole field, and finally ending on a one-against-one situation against the keeper, unfortunately in a closed and difficult angle. Sissoko had an opportunity to score Griezmann’s shot rebound but on his weaker left foot, Günok saved it. From then on, the French had the momentum until the fortieth minute or so.
The French 4-4-2 (4-2-3-1) system with Griezmann linking up anywhere against the compact and lower Turkish 4-5-1 setup.
Not only Griezmann would lead and organize his team – taking advantage from a much better tempo than against Iceland – but he was also the first defender, the only one to press and counterpress After losing possession, a team immediately moves towards the ball as a unit to regain possession, or at least slow down the pace of the counterattack. with such intensity in a pretty conservative team when it comes to pressing and keeping the defensive block A defensive block is the compact group of defenders that defends a particular zone, either their own half in a medium defensive block, or the zone around their own box in a deep defensive block. very high.
Without a target man, France mainly kept the ball on the ground and played through the wings. During their 25 minute momentum, France had very clear situations but a lack of quality in the finishing prevented Griezmann (21st minute, header on target) or Sissoko (25th minute, left foot shot again) to open the scoring.
Turkey were not very productive on the ball, to say the least, and their transitions were easily blocked by the French structure. They registered only one attempt during the first half, whereas France had twelve.
Second half: France pushes but quickly spoils their effort
Turkey came back from the dressing room in a new system, with Hakan Çalhanoğlu replacing Yokuslu, they were now organized in a 4-4-2 ish system with the newcomer in a number ten position. France still had possession, but the new formation helped Turkey on the transitions as they had two players up front instead of one isolated striker.
Minute 59, Turkey had a « counter transition » after a French situation but Yilmaz missed his one-against-one with Mandanda (above the bar), after a great volleyed pass by Çalhanoğlu.
After this action, the game somewhat lost a bit of its intensity, as both teams seemed to reach a physical limit after an hour of play. But France had many corner kicks, as they were exploiting the wings a lot during this moment. In the 70th minute, Varane had a good chance on a corner hit by Griezmann, which foreshadowed what would come next.
Four minutes after Olivier Giroud replaced Ben Yedder minute 72, the Chelsea striker scored a lovely header on a corner kick perfectly curled by Griezmann, his 38th goal in 95 games for the national team.
After the so long awaited opening goal, France relaxed and lost a bit of their focus. In the 81st minute, Corentin Tolisso did not follow Kahveci in midfield and it was Griezmann who had to defend and he fouled him in the process (got booked). On the set-piece, France held a high defensive line and Benjamin Pavard was late on Tosun who scored at the far post (thanks to some mediocre positioning from Mandanda as well). Turkey thus scored on their only attempt on target in the game.
Back to square one for France, despite the remaining ten minutes, they never really recovered a good offensive momentum and they had only two attempts until the end of the game, a Griezmann free kick, and a shot after an individual action from Lille forward Jonathan Ikoné replacing Coman in the last minutes.
The team seemed too tired to be more creative and the Turkish protected their box very well with their low block (five successful clearances during extra time).
The clash of the group H brought a pretty interesting game. The stake being topping the group, both teams never gave up whatsoever and deadball situations often decide the ending of such games. France lacked efficiency with nine shots on target for a goal, when Turkey needed only one to score. Günok had a great night and probably saved his team.
The remaining games will decide the fate of the group.
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