All of us are different. We all have different personalities, different views of what works and does not work and we all have our style. When I stay style, I am not referring to the clothes on your back; I am referring to your life style. We all walk differently, talk differently and live differently.
It can be argued, however, that the country you live in provides you with certain characteristics without even realizing you have them. For example, the French are known as romantics, Canadians as the nicest people and etc. So sometimes where you live moulds you into a certain style.
To further prove my point of style, let’s now move to the realm of soccer. Every soccer nation has a style which it plays and which it is known for – more often than not.
When I ask you what type of soccer the English play, your answer might include:
- A lot of running;
- Long balls and crosses;
- Hard tackling;
- Rough; and etc.
When I ask you what type of soccer the Spanish play, your answer might include:
- Very technical;
- Skillful – a lot of tricks;
- Passing; and etc.
When I ask you what type of soccer the Dutch play, your answer might include:
- Very tactical;
- A lot of passing;
- Strategic movements; and etc.
The list can go on for many countries; everyone has their style.
The reason the World Cup is one of the best and most refreshing tournaments on the planet is because the different styles of the world collide to form beautiful soccer. The best teams all over the world are truly challenged because their style is put to the test versus the style of another country.
Suddenly, the free-flowing attacking style of Brazil is challenged by the Italian side which creates a defensive wall that is very difficult to penetrate. The team that will win will usually be the team that stays true to their style, but makes minor adjustments that are necessary to win the game. The reason coach’s are paid so well, and respected so much, is because they have a great understanding of what changes to make without affecting the style of the team.
What style is the best? There is no best style. Countries play a certain type of soccer because they find it works for them. When you are comfortable with what you are doing, things flow much easier and much more effectively.
The idea of this blog is to raise your awareness of soccer styles. When you watch the World Cup, instead of just watching it to find superstars or nice goals, open your eyes to the bigger picture. People have completely lost respect for the essence of soccer. Instead of praising teams and coaches, we praise certain players.
This time, try to understand how teams move the ball; how teams create scoring chances; how the different players on the field are setup; how teams get the ball from the defenders to the forwards – is it via the midfielders and short passes, or wingers and long balls?
If you want to study styles and understand how countries will play, take some time and watch league games from that country. For example, watch and English Premier League game and see if the national team plays anything like the league team. Watch a Spanish La Liga game and see if the league and the nation match up. I am going to suggest to you that they do. The ways the leagues of the country are setup are the way the national team will be setup.
So, watch the world cup and approach it from an angle you would have never approached it before. Understand styles; understand the different tactics and flows of the game. You will slowly, but surely, begin to appreciate soccer and the World Cup a whole lot more.