Gustavo Alfaro passes a letter to Scaloni and reveals the 5-axis tactic he devised to complicate the Netherlands with Ecuador

Share This Post

- Advertisement -

We knew the match against Holland It was going to be complex and that’s why we researched it hard. We have seen him on the pitch four times during the Nations League (Belgium -2-, Poland and Wales), twice as a guest and twice at home.

- Advertisement -

The first thing you notice is that it’s a team that has an internal game development, through the center of the field: the axis is Frankie de Jong and finish on the sides. Holland is transformed dangerous if he can plant himself in the rival field and handle the ball in the final third. That’s when they throw to the wings, Denzel Dumfries right and Daley Blind to the left and culminates with up to four players inside the area. They are dangerous in quality and quantity.

From what we’ve seen in the field, Belgium had been the one that complicated it the most, despite the fact that they won 1-0 with a goal from Virgil van Dijk at the end. That day the Belgians stopped with a 3-4-3 and, although not a mirror scheme, they created problems for him. With Ecuador we decided what was best mirror based on the characteristics of our players and our idea. Argentina It has its own sign, its own shape, and I don’t think it will change.

- Advertisement -

I gathered the players and told them the game was going to have five big aces: 1) play in the mirror; 2) the battle in midfield; 3) time management; 4) effectiveness; 5) ball at rest.

mirror pattern

With this, what we are looking for is that they cannot spawn through the center of the field. The idea was be closed and let them out controlled ball And our pressure must have been felt when Dumfries or Blind crossed half the pitch. Our block had to be compact, no more than 25 meters, and wide.

middle battle

I spoke to Caicedo, Plata and Méndez and told them I needed the sacrifice of them because he had to have good players on the pitch to overcome rival pressure. Un de Jong, who usually throws himself to the left, must be taken and not let him grow. In the meantime, with our three forwards, we try to cover the midfielders so that the central defenders can lead and come from behind.

I recall information that graphically represents this factor. De Jong was the player who ran the most in the match, and the second was Gonzalo Plata, who ran 150 meters less than the Dutchman but played 8 minutes less than him, so on average he must have been the one who played more. I highlighted that at the time, because it’s an example of how talent is put at the service of the team.

Time management

The Netherlands is a team that usually puts pressure on them and doesn’t concede more than twice to break that hold. To counter Mendez’s sag to the bottom line, we moved Caicedo to the axis and Valencia and Plata to either side of him. So we created superiority and they couldn’t reference pressure.

Once we moved into their half, the intention was to move the ball from side to side to wear down their midfielders. We shouldn’t end attacks where we started them. Dumfries is a powerful footballer with integrity, but with difficulties behind him. You had to work in that sector with Valencia’s piqués or with Estupiñán in depth. It was not convenient to attack him one on one. Furthermore, if it had been Valencia that ran into that space, we would certainly have made Van Dijk move: then, the center had to be launched quickly to go and look for an advance.


As far as effectiveness is concerned, there isn’t much to say. They are usually games with few situations and you must take advantage of it. The Netherlands had two shots on goal for us, arriving with an average of six.

ball still

The Netherlands are a good height team, which is why we decided to incorporate Jackson Porozo (193cm). Gakpo is the one who handles set pieces and has good pace. Shipments usually go to the nearby post office, where they take a couple of footballers. Van Dijk is the most dangerous. Of course, they are also strong set pieces in defense. They place Gakpo at the near post and then make a zone line with Van Dijk in the centre. It also has a goalkeeper of great stature and command of the area. We did? We work the centers at the corner of the small area to look for the advance.

This was our plan and it didn’t quite work out due to small details; the coaching staff of the national team will have theirs. Argentina has everything to play a good match against the Netherlands this Friday. The boys are doing an excellent World Cup, I hope they continue like this.

*Gustavo Alfaro is the coach of the Ecuadorian national team who played the World Cup in Qatar and faced the Netherlands for the second round of Group A.

Source: Clarin

- Advertisement -

Related Posts