Chile vs Spain: A Game of Two Half’s

4 Sep

Spain Vs Chile: A Game of Two Half’s

This report is predominately focusing on Spain as a journalist scouting report.

Although not a competitive match those who enjoy the pure football of Spain and are aware of the excitement Chile provide through the innovation of their last  two managers would have been interested to see this clash.  The previous game resulted in a 2-1 win for Spain in 2010 World Cup, since then Chile have replaced Marcelo Bielsa with his fellow Argentinean Claudio Bhorgi changing Chile’s formation to 3-4-1-2 formation with the inform Sanchez leading the front line (See the excellent Defensive Minded Blog and Zonal Marking) and Spain seeming to be dominant at all age groups.

Spain with a number of inexperienced players lined up with a slightly different 4-2-1-3 as opposed to the 4-1-2-3 formation made famous by Barcelona with Alonso while being lined up as a more attacking midfielder with Xavi actually playing deeper with Busquets.

First Half

In the first half Chile were undoubtedly the team on top.  Spain lacked fluidity and urgency both in and out of possession and were easily closed down by a hard working and well organised Chilean forward and midfield line.  Building on the principles of the modern centre half (Zonal Marking) Busquets carried out this role with Marques and Albiol pulling wider however with Alonso also in the line up there was a lack of mobility and forward movement often provided by Iniesta and Xavi.  As a result Spain played deeper than normal allowing Chile to apply pressure in the Spanish half particularly well on the transition of play moments. This resulted in Spain leaving Xavi isolated between the defensive line and forward line which the Chilean defence cope with extremely well.

Pic 1. Spanish flat defensive line

1-0   Chile

Due to Spain’s reliance on FBs to provide added width the defence were often caught flat struggling to cope with forward balls between the FB and CB for a fast moving forward to run onto.  This was a clear weakness of the Spanish defence for the first half which Chile exploited by playing Sanchez and Vargras as inside forwards with Nadal playing as a false 9 pulling deep. As a result neither FB or CB committed to mark or cover.  This space was exploited for Chile’s first goal with a cross field pass into the space behind Arbeloa for Isla to run onto from midfield and finish emphatically.

Pic 2. Forward ball for Chile's first goal

2-0 Chile

Chile’s second goal came from a poor pass from Arbeloa which was characteristic of Spain’s first half.  However again Chile were been able to overload the midfield area 4-5 due the numbers pushing forward.  As a result even when in transition Chile are able to force Spain inside cutting the backwards outlet or the forward ball between players.As a result Chile quickly won the ball and were able again to exploit a flat lying defence with a quick give and go between Sanchez and Vargras.







Second Half

With Iniesta replacing Alonso for the second half the pressing midfield of Chile in the first half were forced into dropping deeper to defend the 18 yrd box.  As a result Chile kept 9 men behind the ball to cope with Spain’s 5 forwards and supporting full backs.

1-2 Spain’s First Goal

Phase 1









The  ball ends up with Xavi after a quick free kick interchange with Sergio on the left wing.  After the usual Spanish short pass interchange aimed at moving the defensive lines of their opposition the ball ends with Xavi carrying the ball forward committing the Chile CM before playing into space for Iniesta.

What’s always interesting about Spain’s attacks in this game is where the front 3 play.  One is always wide (in the second half Pedro) with the other 2 moving from the edge of the box trying to all ways stretch the  CB’s

or pull in the FBs to exploit the wings.  As seen above the 2 CFs always occupy a wide position between the edge of the box of the D.  This is also reflected in the way Spain defend from the front line with the forwards pushing as a 3.

Phase 2

Spains goal 2nd phase










As can be seen Silva has moved right to left to try and drag the defender out of place or to create space for himself.  At the same time Ramos arrives late to pull out the full back, while Xavi pushes to make a tight head 3 on the 18 yrd box.  By doing this Spain’s momentarily create a 5 against 5 with the 3 recovering defends now out of position to provide cover.  As always Busquets stays deep to provide cover.

Phase 3

Spains first goal phase 3










Chile’s defence look in a good position however they have a potential 2 v 3 in the box with the channel left open for Iniesta to play between 4 Chile defenders, play a ball wide for Ramos to play a driven ball for the 3 to attack near middle or far or for Iniesta to shoot.  In this case space is left for Iniesta to shoot resulting in a second goal.

Phase 4

Spain's first goal phase 4









Even with the goal you can see as with every shot Spain have they have 2 players ready for any knock downs with a
3rd for any play back.

2-2 Spain’s 2nd Goal

One of Spain’s most amazing traits is their high work rate to retrieve the ball once lost.  This was severely lacking in the first half due in part Spain having 2 holding CMs rather than one holding and 2 attacking as was played in the 2nd.

Spains second goal transition of play










Fabregas came on as a second half substitute for Xavi and gave Spain a new dynamic playing as an unorthodox No 10 joining the withdrawn 9  making Spain have in effect a 2-3-1-4 (Defence to attack)hence the problem Chile had in the 2nd half to put the level of pressure they did on Spain in the first half so well.  Here Silva has pressured Chile’s 3 man midfield winning the  ball back to Busquets to start the attack again.









As seen in the two pictures the problem with Chile’s 3 man defence as with all 3 man defences is the gaps that appear between the 2 markers and sweeper when 2 stickers are being marked.  In addition the sweeper is ahead of the 2 markers which is exploited by Fabregas (remember a CM but playing more like a No 10).  Again Spain have 7 players immediately in the attack due to the large amount of players they commit forward  enabling them to pressure higher up the pitch and force back the oppositions team.

Spain's second goal Fabregas playing as No 10










With Chile having a man on the floor after a dreadful dive this has created even more space for Iniesta to play the ball through to Fabregas acting as a no 10 who plays a first time shot to the net.


I won’t into the 3rd goal after the dive by Arbeloa and the unfortunate scene’s afterwards, however this was an excellent game by two well coached teams.  The key change came in the second half with the introduction firstly of Iniesta changing Spain from 4-2-1-3 to 4-1-2-3 and Fabregas replacing Xavi  to provide further support for the forward acting as a fake No 10.


3 Responses to “Chile vs Spain: A Game of Two Half’s”

  1. Adrianna Tschirhart October 2, 2011 at 6:23 pm #

    Adrianna Tschirhart
    Great blog site! Do you have any recommendations for aspiring writers? I’m planning to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything. Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely overwhelmed .. Any tips? Kudos!

    • the counter attack October 12, 2011 at 3:49 pm #

      Sorry for the late reposne this was filed under spam! As an amatuer I would just start with the free blog like this one and build it up. Wrote about what your passionate about and make sure you get a twitter account and facebook account as thats how you get your message out.

  2. nose rings November 15, 2011 at 12:51 am #

    An all ’round great blog post!!

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