Soccer Coaching Blog | Professional Soccer Coaching Advice

Euro 2008 – and the winner is…?

Greece won Euro 2004 scoring a mere 7 goals along the way. I suspect Euro 2008 will be won by a team scoring a lot more goals.

Arrigo Sacchi (former AC Milan and Italy coach) predicts that the tournament will be won by the teams with the best individuals rather than the most organised or systematised. Slaven Bilic, coach of Croatia, agrees, saying “Systems are dying. It’s about the movement of 10 players now.”

Results so far would seem to bear this out. The domestic European competitions and Champions League commitments are so hectic these days that international sides rarely get the chance to get together to work on specific systems or styles of play.

Greece’s Euro 2004 victory was the result of an extremely well-organised but not particularly gifted group of players following their coach’s instructions to the letter, stopping their opponents playing, and nicking the odd goal to secure victory. You can’t fault their approach. It’s not a million miles away from what Italy have done so successfully for so many years (with all due respect to Italy’s great players, and Greece’s for that matter).

So far both Greece and Italy (the reigning Euro and World Cup holders of course) have lost their opening games. In both matches both teams attempted to play their traditional holding games and both teams failed to score, Greece losing 2-0 to Sweden and Italy losing 3-0 to Holland.

That’s not to say that tactics and formations aren’t important. But the teams who are doing well are made up of players with all of the following three key attributes – the ability to follow tactical instructions, high levels of physical fitness, and crucially, a willingness to play at a high tempo and attack, attack, attack.

No team in Euro 2008 is sent out to play without specific tactical and formation instructions. But the successful teams are the ones who will allow their most gifted players to fully express themselves – the teams that are less concerned with the opposition and more concerned with doing their own thing.

That’s the way it should be. That’s why this has been such an entertaining tournament so far, and that’s what I hope to achieve with my own young teams in the future. Just tell them to play their own game.

Having said all that, I wouldn’t be too surprised if Greece or Italy go on to win the whole thing. That’s called hedging your bets.

Dwyer Scullion, Publisher, Better Soccer Coaching


1 Comment so far
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By the looks of it, its either Germany or Spain now. heh.

Comment by Free Soccer Tips

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