Tactics Journal

by Kyle Boas

Analyzing football tactics


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Hungary, Brazil, and culture in tactics

Hungary is the most tactically interesting team in Euro 2024 because of the relational principles they are going to reintroduce. Thankfully, we have people like Jamie Hamilton and Jozsef ‘Hungaro’ Bozsik detailing the history and culture of those principles.

Jamie Hamilton in his article “THE HUNGARIAN CONNECTION”:

Players approach the ball carrier to offer the kényszerítő — kényszerítő (the Hungarian word for one-two) means ‘forcing’, as in ‘to force’ the opponent into a decision they don’t want to make — follow the ball? follow the man? or be left for dead.

I always appreciate Jamie’s deliberate thoughtfulness to try to incorporate the culture, the language ‘kényszerítő’, of the team into his writing. When you are talking to an English-speaking audience, the first thought is to make what you are saying familiar to the reader, but it is easy to forget about the language spoken by the team you are talking about.

This subject of culture and tactics is thought-provoking. I believe coaches should try to curate an environment that replicates the way you played growing up as a child into how you play as a man, because that is what will be most natural. How you grew up playing is inherently part of the culture of where you grew up.

The issue now for Brazil is that the players playing at the top level look more comfortable playing positionally. It is not natural because that is not how they grew up playing, but they look comfortable because that is how they play for their club. So to go to the national team and flip the mental switch is difficult, and you see it in the results when they try.

You could see that mental tug and pull when Diniz coached Brazil; players were not used to playing in that way and reverted to what was a familiar safe space when things went wrong.

Players like Vinicius, Rodrygo, Militao, and Endrick look comfortable because their club has adopted these principles, but the rest are used to how they play for their club. Brazil will be one of the first to benefit once the relational principles start to win matches and become more popular in the clubs these players train in. I don’t think it is a coincidence that these ideas resurfaced as Argentina lifted South America’s first World Cup in 20 years. Ideas that Lionel Scaloni subscribes to and uses.

That is why I am looking forward to seeing what ideas Hungary has for Euro 2024. I would like to see them make it out of their group. You do not have to agree or like the ideas, but you can’t change a player’s roots, the way they grew up.

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