England 3 – Mexico 1: England Wins but Reveals Vulnerabilities

Sports News - May 25, 2010

Last night England met Mexico in a World Cup warm-up, and while England found themselves victors, possession and shots on goal favored Mexico.

It’s the Formation, Stupid

Once the lineups were announced, it was all but certain USA’s southern neighbors would control the pace of the game. England strolled out in their traditional 4-4-2, and a 4-3-3 gave Mexico an extra man in the midfield, allowing them to stroll through England’s defense seemingly at will. Only poor finishing by Mexico allowed England to come out on top.

Unfortunately, the USA is unlikely to use a 4-3-3 in the World Cup, but the English did reveal another way to attack their formation.

The Trouble with Gerrard

FFG has previously noted that England uses a central attacking midfielder (Steven Gerrard) at left midfield, and since Gerrard’s not a traditional winger, he makes runs toward the middle of the field. When he moves inward, striker Wayne Rooney drops to the left flank, but if Rooney is involved in build-up play, he might not be able to cover that space. This forces the center midfielder or left back to fill-in for Gerrard, leaving extra space in either the middle of the pitch or on the left flank.

On June 12th, the US right back (Jonathan Spector or Steve Cherundolo) and right midfielder (Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, or Stuart Holden) need to be ready to exploit just such an opportunity.

England's Base Formation

England Properly Shifting

England leaving space on left flank

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