Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

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Girona Move Without Hesitation

Outside of their finishing, Girona’s ability to move without hesitation is what impresses me the most. They lose the ball then immediately set up a perfectly choreographed counter-press, which cuts off the pass forward and forces Atletico Madrid back.

Figure 1.1 - Savio crosses into the box.
Figure 1.2 - Cross goes everyone's head.
Figure 1.3 - Atletico Madrid reclaim the ball and Girona organize their counter-press.

The three players on the right are the key. The moment the ball is given back to Atletico Madrid, they spring into action.

There’s no thinking; it all looks so well-drilled that it’s muscle memory. As a unit, they advance; there’s no second-guessing, there’s no waiting.

Figure 1.4 - Coordinated curved runs to force Atletico Madrid back, baiting a pass to the free man central.
Figure 1.5 - Girona close off the passes wide and forward, forcing Atletico Madrid back.

It’s easy to get the curved runs and the shadow covering to block off the pass wrong, leaving a space free for a pass forward, but every player involved is on it. There are no mistakes.

Girona places the bait, and Atletico Madrid takes the bait. Unless they want to kick it long out of their end, they’re trapped, forced to pass backward.

Figure 1.6 - Iván Martin tackles and wins the ball. Savio notices this and begins his run.

I love the anticipation from Savio to see the play develop before it happens and make the run as Iván Martin is pressing the ball carrier. Then once Martin is ready to shoot, he’s there to get the rebound.

Figure 1.7 - Iván Martin shoots, and Jan Oblak saves.
Figure 1.8 - Ball falls to Savio. He shoots at the ground underneath Jan Oblak for the goal.

Like the goals from Valery Fernández and the winner by Iván Martin; the shooting technique from Savio is top. Side volley, at the ground, bounce underneath the keeper and into the net. Impossible for Oblak to stop that type of shot.

Match: Girona 4-3 Atletico Madrid, 3 January 2024

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