Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

Cross-Heavy One-Dimensional Spain Needs Runners

Spain needs runners like Ferran Torres and Oihan Sancet to open the wings up for the cross, but that was their only method to enter the box. They are very predictable.

Figure 1.1 - Ferran Torres passes to Jesús Navas and then moves.
Figure 1.2 - Ferran Torres continues his run, opening space for Jesús Navas.
Figure 1.3 - Jesús Navas fakes a cross. Oihan Sancet begins a run forward, and Álvaro Morata holds his run.

The faked cross bides time for Oihan Sancet to make his run so that Álvaro Morata is guaranteed space on the actual cross.

Figure 1.4 - Both Ferran Torres and Oihan Sancet's runs push Scotland's defensive line back, giving Álvaro Morata a run onside in space.

It was smart from Spain to force Scotland back so Álvaro Morata had the space to attack. That is one of the purposes of the runners: to make a run to drag defenders and create space. Those runs keep him onside once he gets past his man.

Figure 1.5 - Jesús Navas crosses into Álvaro Morata.
Figure 1.6 - Álvaro Morata heads it into the ground and scores.

Jesús Navas is Jesús Navas — he is and has always been class. No surprise his cross was on the money.

The crosses from Bryan Zaragoza and Mikel Oyarzabal on the left wing were particularly bad. If teams want to stop Spain, make them play the final pass through their left wing when either of those two is on the pitch.

It is when you see Rodri play in teams other than Manchester City that you see his quality. His greatest attribute is his ability to know when to occupy space, the timing. It’s like he knows something we don’t, and the reason for why he moves isn’t revealed until he plays the next pass.

Match: Spain vs Scotland, October 12, 2023

Back to top Share on Twitter Email this post Copy link