The advantages of having a player who doesn’t defend

We often look at a player who doesn't defend as a detractor. Players are told from a young age that they must defend, regardless of their position on the field. In many respects, this is true. But when you get to the professional level, roles can evolve in novel ways, and even incorporate a player who has limited defensive responsibility. It was refreshing to see two teams so clearly implementing a tactic around their attack-minded superstars at the 2022 World Cup, simply by having them prioritize the attacking side of the game. With that, I wanted to provide a potential argument into why having this type of tactic can actually be a valuable feature to a team going forward, without ruining their chances in defense.

Argentina *3-3 France – World Cup Final – Match Analysis

Wow. What a final. The 2022 World Cup showed quite a bit of promise for having a tournament halfway through the season, and the final lived up to expectation as one of the best in years. Argentina came out flying on all cylinders, with France looking shell-shocked for the entire first half. But through the efforts of Mbappé and a few others, they eventually clawed their way back to force the game into extra time, and then penalty kicks. Here is our analysis of the 2022 World Cup Final between Argentina and France.

Lionel Scaloni – Argentina – Tactical Analysis – World Cup 2022

Without a big job in management under his belt, many might have been skeptical of Lionel Scaloni's ability to manage big-game players like Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martinez and Angel di Maria. But Scaloni has demonstrated an incredible ability to manage all the moving parts of this Argentina team throughout the 2022 World Cup - arguably as the most flexible and adaptable coach at the tournament. Here is our analysis of Lionel Scaloni's team ahead of the 2022 World Cup Final.

Didier Deschamps – France – Tactical Analysis – World Cup 2022

After a legendary career as a player in the nineties, Didier Deschamps has made a name for himself across the last decade as one of the most dominant national team managers of all time. France have a plethora of talent continuously circulating the squad, but Deschamps has managed all the moving pieces incredibly - leading the French team to three major tournament finals in the span of eight years (World Cup 2018; World Cup 2022; Euros 2016). France could now become the first side to win succssive World Cups since Brazil managed the feat in 1962. Here is our analysis of Didier Deschamps' magnificence with the French national team this year, ahead of the 2022 World Cup Final against Argentina.

England’s midfield balance – 2022 World Cup Analysis

In light of Mason Mount's lack of form at the start of the 2022 World Cup and in the recent months for Chelsea, Gareth Southgate has since opted for an experienced pairing of Declan Rice and Jordan Henderson at the base of the midfield, pushing the fresh legs of 19-year-old Jude Bellingham further forward. This has worked like a charm, bringing out the best in each of Southgate's midfield men, and allowing Bellingham to play some of his best football of his career thus far under the freedom of an advanced role. Here is why the balance of England's midfield has been so successful in recent matches, and why the trio could be the key to success in unlocking France.

Gareth Southgate – England – Tactical Analysis – World Cup 2022

Three games down and England have made it out of Group B with seven points, on nine goals scored and two allowed. It sounds dominant, but skepticism remains among fans across the country as to how the Three Lions will react against a higher-quality, more expansive footballing side. USA were a tough matchup: tight marking and possession-oriented. Yet, England’s squad should still have blasted past the young Americans without too much trouble. Senegal next, and without Sadio Mané, they also lack world class talent; but their high pressing game and expert transitional attacks make them a dangerous opponent in the Round of 16. Here is our analysis of Gareth Southgate's England at the 2022 World Cup, after the group stage.

Reflections from Canada’s loss to Croatia – 2022 World Cup

After taking a few days to reflect on Canada's disappointing loss against Croatia, I have been able to take away many positives from the performance. Kamal Miller won't get much in the way of praise after being hung out to dry at the end of the game, but he had another brilliant performance at the back. Alphonso Davies meanwhile bagged the nation's first goal at a Men's World Cup inside just two minutes of action, waking my neighbours up as I yelled of joy. But in dissecting the game further, it's clear to see that Croatia operated at a higher level, with their fanciful one-touch triangulations causing chaos for Canada every time they had the ball. For what feels like the first time ever, a few things will need to drastically change from a tactical standpoint heading into the next fixture from John Herdman's team. Here are my reflections on Canada's 4-1 defeat to Croatia.

Belgium 1-0 Canada – World Cup 2022 – Match Analysis

Canada's much anticipated first World Cup match in 36 years lived up to the billing, with the Canadians dominating one of the best sides in the world in Belgium. The 1-0 loss will be a slight disappointment for Herdman and his men, but the Maple Leafs will take away the positives from the performance heading into their final two group games. Here is our analysis of Canada's 1-0 defeat to Belgium.

Moisés Caicedo – Player Analysis

Around this time last year, Brighton & Hove Albion made a stunning swoop for Ecuadorian midfielder Moisés Caicedo, who at the time, was playing for Independiente del Valle in the Ecuadorian Serie A. They swiftly sent him on loan to Belgian First Division side Beerschot for the beginning half of the 2021-22 season, where his success in Belgium prompted the Seagulls to immediately install him in the heart of their midfield for the remainder of the campaign. Now an Albion regular, Moisés Caicedo has been one of the Premier League's standout midfielders since his re-arrival in the Prem, as an up-and-down 'Shuttler' capable of covering ground all over the pitch. Here is our analysis of Ecuador's supreme midfielder Moisés Caicedo.

How Ecuador beat Qatar – World Cup 2022 – Match Analysis

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar has officially kicked off, with Ecuador rocking Qatar's world and walking to a 2-0 win. Boasting 53% of the possession and outclassing the hosts every step of the way, Ecuador were utterly dominant from start to finish, against the shaky Qatar defense that looked perplexed and out of solutions in handling the energy from Gustavo Alfaro's men. Here is our analysis of the opening match to this 2022 World Cup in Qatar, and how Ecuador easily beat the tournament hosts.

Breaking down Canada’s 2022 World Cup Squad

Canada has officially announced the squad for their first World Cup since 1986, and fans of Canadian soccer will be happy to hear that all of the big names have made the cut. Doneil Henry serves as the only major omission after his latest injury set-back, but even he appears to be set to join the squad in Qatar from the sidelines. So with that, we break down John Herdman's squad heading into a historic World Cup, and what to expect from the Canadians in Qatar.

How Canada used the 4-4-2 to success in World Cup Qualifying

After thirteen long, hard-fought games, Canada's Men's National Team has officially qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1986. With 8 wins, 4 draws and just 1 loss in the final stage of qualifying, John Herdman's men sealed their spot with a game to spare, after thumping Jamaica by a smashing score-line of 4-0. In the final stages of the competition, Canada smartly stuck by a 4-4-2 formation, maintaining consistency and chemistry en route to an impressive run to the finish line. Here is our analysis of how Canada used the 4-4-2 to success, and stood strong to stand on guard for thee.

Previewing the international break (March 2021) – Netherlands, Germany and Canada

The first international break of 2021 kicks off an exciting spring/summer in the world of football with three major tournaments: the Euros, Copa America and Olympic Games -  taking place in a few months' time. All three tournaments were supposed to take place in 2020, however due to the COVID-19 pandemic they were pushed to 2021. Here we will highlight a few teams and storylines to keep an eye on this international break.