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Deschamps vs Martinez: Tactical analysis

France vs Belgium: Analyzing Deschamps' and Martinez's opposing tactics

July 9, 2018 By Ali M.
This game will see two different philosophies clash for a spot in the World Cup final.

On Tuesday, France and Belgium will battle it out for a spot in the World Cup final. Fans eagerly await for their semi-final showdown, as both nations boast great squads with amazing attackers to entertain anyone.

However, the similarities between these two sides when comparing their managers. Didier Deschamps and Roberto Martinez sit on the opposite ends of the spectrum when it comes to their philosophies in football.

While the Red Devils boss is a fan of attacking football, one that leaves his team open at the back more often than needed, his counterpart is more pragmatic with his approach. For proof of this, one needs to look no further one man who constantly stars and the ones who haven't in Russia.

With Tolisso and Fekir, Deschamps posses a composed midfield maestro and a playmaker and goalscorer wrapped in one with the latter. Nonetheless, the Bleus boss prefers Blaise Matuidi and continues to play prefer him over the Bayern Munich and Lyon aces.

The Juventus man missed out on the 2-0 win over Uruguay only due to suspension and will likely return for Tuesday's game. His inevitable inclusion is for one simple reason: he offers defensive cover to a side that strives to keep everything tight.

Even when playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation, Matuidi still gets the nod in the left-midfield role, with Kante and Pogba being the pivot. However, this defensive solidness comes at a price, as it leaves a lot to be desired in the attack on occasions.

This could be the root cause for the criticism Deschamps has faced, as many accuse him of not getting the best out of France's youthful attacking talents. Regardless, he has led them to a final and has masterminded brilliant displays such as Mbappe's destruction of Argentina.

Martinez, meanwhile, has recently exhibited tactical flexibility. While his 3-4-3 formation has produced scintillating attacks and holes at the back at the same time, the Spaniard showed he could change things up in the unforgettable win over Brazil.

In what could be called a tactical masterclass, the Belgium boss exploited the Selecao's weaknesses by defending deep and hitting on the counter by using Hazard, Lukaku, and De Bruyne as a false nine.

The former Everton tactician faces two dilemmas, however. Firstly, Meunier is suspended, leaving him with little options. Secondly, while France is beatable, they will not be as open at the back as Brazil was. Thus, Martinez could revert to his previous methods, but he is not a one-trick pony.

Many are excited to see the likes of Mbappe and Hazard go head to head, but this battle can be won or lost by the men in the dugout.  Opposing philosophies will cross paths. Only time will tell which one will give birth to victory.

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