Between the Posts weekend preview: a look at the games we will write about during the international break
Welcome to the weekend primer of Between the Posts. In this article, you can find out which UEFA Nations League matches are going to be featured on our site during the international break, including a little preview of these games.
Friday (October 12th)
Belgium – Switzerland (League A, Group 2), 19:45 CET
The Belgian national team has a lot of reasons tonight to put in a good performance against Switzerland. If anything, it would be to give the football-loving public a welcome distraction after the very disturbing match-fixing and laundering that rocked Belgian football this week. After both teams trashed Iceland in their first group game in the Nations League, the group lead is there for the taking. In their last friendly, a 1-0 loss, the Swiss tried to match England’s 3-5-2 system with their own three-at-the-back formation. Whether this experiment by Switzerland manager Vladimir Petkovic proved fruitful enough to repeat it in a game with (some) stakes, remains to be seen.
Article to be written by Neill Barclay
Croatia – England (League A, Group 4), 19:45 CET
The last time these two teams met, a ticket for the biggest match in football was at stake. England lost the semifinal of the 2018 World Cup to Croatia, partly because they persisted in defending in a flat 5-3-2 shape, getting heavily overloaded When one team has more players in a certain area or zone than the other team, that is called an ‘overload’. on the flanks. Since both teams still play in the same formation – and with predominantly the same personnel – it will be interesting to see if and how England’s manager Gareth Southgate adjusted his team’s defense this time around. It’s rumoured Southgate is thinking about switching back to 4-3-3. Both teams are on zero points after losing to Spain. The 6-0 battering Croatia took in Elche was a shocker, especially considering Luka Modrić, Ivan Rakitić and all other star players where on the field, while England narrowly lost 1-2 at Wembley.
Article to be written by Peter M.
— HNS | CFF (@HNS_CFF) October 12, 2018
Saturday (October 13th)
Netherlands – Germany (League A, Group 1), 19:45 CET
A lot has been said about Germany’s early exit from Russia. Since this website focuses on the tactical side of the game, we are particularly intrigued by Joachim Löw’s clear statement. From now on, he said, his team will focus less on dominating the ball and transition to a more counter attacking style. The contrast in style was already on display in their last game against France.
Their opponents, the Netherlands, are in a transition phase too, after missing out on the last two major international tournaments. Once revered for possession-based football and technical players, their current manager Ronald Koeman takes a pragmatic approach. He sets his team up in a conservative 4-2-3-1 formation, after having tried a 5-3-2 too. The hugely talented Ajax duo Matthijs De Ligt and Frenkie De Jong have already made it into the starting eleven, but this team lacks elite attacking talent, with Memphis Depay being the sole exception.
Article to be written by Erik Elias
— Germany (@DFB_Team_EN) October 9, 2018
Sunday (October 14th)
Russia – Turkey (League B, Group 2), 17:00 CET
Russia was one of the surprise packages of the last World Cup, knocking out favorites Spain after penalties in the round of sixteen, before losing to Croatia. Their manager Stanislav Cherchesov favours a 4-2-3-1 formation and Route One football in possession. Towering striker Artem Dzyuba is a very important element for this side, being the focal point of Russia’s attack. Against Turkey – who nominally play in a 4-2-3-1 formation as well – it will be interesting to see who wins the battle in midfield. The Turks have had a rough spell of international football – the last time they qualified for an major international tournament was in 2008. With Enes Ünal, Çağlar Söyüncü and Cengiz Ünder, there is some exciting young Turkish talent on the way though.
Article to be written by José Perez
Poland – Italy (League A, Group 3), 19:45 CET
Italy is in transition mode, as they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. New manager Roberto Mancini has to deal with a host of problems. Most notably their lack of creativity in attack stands out – Lorenzo Insigne being the exception – while the defense still leans heavily on the aging central defenders Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci. Italy’s opponents Poland did play at the World Cup, but fell short of expectations by ending fourth in the group stage. The only game they won was against Japan, who – ironically – were defending heavily despite being 1-0 down, because a small loss would send them to the knockout phase. Robert Lewandowski is their only genuine world-class player, although Genoa striker Krzysztof Piątek is catching Serie A headlines at a rapid pace this season. The first match between these two teams ended in a 1-1 draw.
Article to be written by Om Arvind
Monday (October 15th)
Spain – England (League A, Group 4), 19:45 CET
The Luis Enrique era at the Spanish national team is off to a flying start. After beating England at Wembley (1-2) in their first game of the UEFA Nations League, Spain completely dismantled World Cup runner-up Croatia in their next match (6-0). The absolute star of that display, Isco, is still recovering from surgery for appendicitis and won’t be playing against England this weekend.
England, meanwhile, have lost three official games in a row. Coach Gareth Southgate – who has extended his contract after an admittedly very strong managerial start – is about to introduce some fresh faces to the national squad. With the call-ups of Jadon Sancho (Dortmund), Harry Winks (Spurs), Mason Mount (Derby) and James Maddison (Leicester), Southgate really shows his willingness to give a new generation of English talent a chance at the creative positions of the team.
Article to be written by Josh Manley
Meet the new boys. 👊 pic.twitter.com/bqNbwRaCtJ
— England (@England) October 8, 2018
Tuesday (October 16th)
France – Germany (League A, Group 1), 19:45 CET
In France’s first two games of the UEFA Nations League, coach Didier Deschamps barely changed a thing to his side in comparison to their World Cup run – only Alphonse Areola came in goal for Hugo Lloris. Which is, y’know, kind of logical, seeing that France won the darn tournament after all. France managed to get four points from their first fixtures with Germany (0-0) and the Netherlands (2-1), and lead the group.
As stated earlier, Germany looked very different in their first Nations League against the defending champs. In this matchup with France, we will see whether this tactical change was a temporary move to silence the criticisms after their World Cup debacle, or if the days of Germany’s possession-based dominance are truly over.
Article to be written by Sérgio Ramos Sampaio