Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics

The Netherlands are too right side dominant

When you offer that third man on the wing, Cody Gakpo’s run inside becomes more fearsome. The Netherlands need to balance things by placing someone behind Gakpo to worry Scotland’s right-back when he ventures inside.

Figure 1.1 - Memphis Depay drops as Cody Gakpo makes the run in-behind. There's no one occupying the left-wing.

Even if Virgil Van Dijk ignores that run. He did in this instance. That run from Gakpo opens up to a pass to the man on the wing, but they haven’t placed a man on the wing to occupy the space Gakpo vacates.

This is the type of counter movement that Liverpool offer. There’s always someone holding width. Gakpo isn’t explosive, his third touch is always close to his second touch, so without someone on the overlap it’s easy for his marker to mark close to him.

Figure 2.1 - Scotland attack the right-wing behind Cody Gakpo. No one for the Netherlands is occupying the left-wing out-of-possession.

Scotland had better balance. Because no one is behind Gakpo, Ake is further back acting as a left center-back, there’s no one to cover that space on the wing. Scotland have free reign on their right-wing.

Figure 3.1 - The Netherlands overload the right-wing, with the threat of the runs from Cody Gakpo and Memphis Depay.

The combination of this overload on the Netherlands’ right-wing mixed with the runs from Depay and Gakpo should cut open Scotland, but it doesn’t because Depay isn’t particularly quick.

Depay makes a run forward, acceleration isn’t there, Gakpo moves inside, and there’s no one on the left-wing to worry Scotland’s right-back. Scotland can easily force Depay and Gakpo backwards, and then the ball circulates once more.

Figure 4.1 - Donyell Malen crosses into the box behind the Netherlands' left-winger.
Figure 4.2 - First-time shot.

Put someone on that left-wing to cross in or make runs on the overlap/underlap and then the Netherlands are able to quickly create high quality chances in the box at speed.

Without that balance and an inability to progress through the side they’re overloading (the right side), the Netherlands will rely primarily on the individual brilliance from long-range shots, like that of Tijjani Reijnders’ for his goal, after slow careful and methodical progression up the field.

Match: Netherlands 4-0 Scotland, 22 March 2024

Back to top Share on Twitter Email this post Copy link