Connect with us

Tactical Analysis

World Cup Tactical Analysis: France 3-0 Honduras

France came into the World Cup with a lack of expectations in terms of success, but lots of expectations in correcting the tainted image of French football after the horror show an and off the pitch four years earlier. Qualification was a struggle, led by a hard-fought performance against Ukraine, but they’ll count their blessings at getting a somewhat easy group.

Easy primarily because of their first opponents, Honduras. The North American side consisted of players not playing at the top of World football, while their type of football was also one befitting of minnows with the emphasis on the defence. Nevertheless, they were a good physical side and over-looking any team at a World Cup can have monumental repercussions.

Formation & Line-Ups

France Honduras Tactics

France (4-3-3): Lloris, Varane, Sakho, Debuchy, Evra, Cabaye (Mavuba 65′), Pogba (Sissoko 57′), Matuidi, Valbuena (Giroud 78′), Griezmann, Benzema

Honduras (4-4-2): Valladares, Beckeles, Bernardez (Chavez 45′), Figueroa, Izaguirre, Najar (Claros 58′), Garrido, Palacios, Espinoza, Costly, Bengston (Garcia 45′)

Goals: Benzema 45′, 72′, Valladares OG 48′

ANALYSIS

Cabaye’s deep lying role, spreading play wide

PSG’s Yohann Cabaye hasn’t quite got a regular run of games while at French club PSG but he retains his place in the national team with Deschamps not letting the lack of domestic football influence the balance of his selection. Although Cabaye does like to sit deeper and dictate play, against Honduras we saw him play much more deeper than expected, giving us an idea of how they’re looking to set-up the midfield.

Cabaye was signficantly deeper than his fellow midfielders, Matuidi & Pogba, taking up that role somewhat central of his centre backs. He collects the ball from the back and really gets the play going from there. With Honduras looking to sit deep and not really favour a pressing strategy, Cabaye was afforded all the space in the World. But what was interesting was the type of passes he played, which again, gives an idea of Deschamps’ philosophy. Rather than play it into attack, Cabaye is required to spread play wide with the attack taking shape from these areas.

Cabaye's passing illustration (via Squawka)

Cabaye’s passing illustration (via Squawka)

As the illustration above displays, all of Cabaye’s passing was spread into wider areas with a couple of central ones not quite coming off. The plan with Cabaye for Deschamps was probably never to get him creating chances, but rather keeping the play moving from the back. It seems a bit strange that, given that Cabaye’s playmaking ability can prove to be a real attacking threat for the French.

Alternatively, credit must be given to Honduras too who we know rely on their defensive strength. Cabaye’s inability to get balls straight into the attack from central areas was down to how deep the Hondurans sat, even more naturally once the red card took place. But the fact that Cabaye barely attempted any penetrative passes makes one question the role he is playing. It’s not that Deschamps isn’t favouring a long ball strategy, just not favouring Cabaye putting them in.

Mathieu Valbuena wasted in his role out wide

That French side certainly looks capable of holding their own against top sides. That midfield, if used rightly, can be better than most others at the World Cup and on it’s day, who knows.

Valbuena is an epitome of the explosive fast-paced football France are employing. The tempo to the French’s game was remarkable (as was Honduras’ ability to fairly keep up with it). But while Valbuena may be able to put in a cross or two, playing through the centre certainly allows him to make a more powerful impact. His ability to take on players, close control and composure on the ball adds up well with his ability to combine with the front players.

MORE READING

 

The Marsellie man is someone who dwells on being given the freedom to move around the attacking third, helping him in terms of creativity as well. He has a natural tendency to drift in-field as we saw against Honduras. If you have your wide man constantly drifting in-field, it could create defensive problems for the side. His ability to track back is also lacking meaning he isn’t able to adequately cover Debuchy’s forward movement.

If I were to offer my two cents based on the performance of Valbuena and taken into consideration the performance of Griezmann, playing with the same XI, Deschamps should consider putting Valbuena permanently in the centre, Griezmann up top to form a front two while Pogba & Matuidi can provide the cover to when the full-backs add width to the French attack.

Benzema display helps the French system function

While enough praise can’t be levied towards the French system and their set-up in midfield (which is a bit raw but can be absolutely effective when pulled-off), the system is able to work & function primarily because of having a player of Benzema’s quality up top. He is by no means one who will only play off the shoulders of the last defender, but in stead someone who is willing to retrieve the ball in deeper positions & willing to press the defence up ahead too (the only French attacking player who pressed Honduras in advanced areas).

But the key to Benzema’s role which was evident yesterday, no matter how deep he may drop, he’s always in the right areas at the right time to get at the end of an attacking move. In fact, against Honduras, he spent as much time inside the box, as he did just outside it (according to Squawka). But as you can see in the illustration below, he made space for himself inside the box and all his shots were taken from within the area.

Benzema's shooting vs Honduras (via Squawka)

Benzema’s shooting vs Honduras (via Squawka)

The only shot he took from outside the box was actually a horribly worked set-piece routine that saw him attempt a header from the edge of the area. Having a goal-scoring striker of Benzema’s ability inside the box will be crucial to get the right results. All the set-up in midfield, the use of the flanks and the wide men in the attacking third are able to function effectively as a result of Benzema’s play.

KEY PLAYER OF THE MATCH

It’s hard to choose one player who performed the best for France, with the obvious choice being Benzema. His near hat-trick performance deserves to be highlighted but it would be unfair to ignore the influence Valbuena & Griezmann have in the attacking third, with the former being used a bit out of position. Cabaye too has potential to do so much more for the French, but for this game alone, would have to give the goal-scoring instinct and general performance of Benzema as the key role.

WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE THEM

France were expected to win this one, and although they were helped by the red card, they were more than convincing throughout the game. Personally I have predicted them to finish among the top scorers in the group stage; can certainly see that taking place. A good solid win further enhancing their chances of progress, which they should achieve.

For Honduras, it doesn’t get any easier. They are the weakest side, they’ve lost arguably their most experienced player at the top level and a key man that holds the balance of midfield. Palacios will be missed vs Ecuador, and based on their performance against Switzerland, they should taste victory over Luis Suarez’ men.

Read all our World Cup content here
Sami Faizullah

Sami Faizullah

Co-founder and Chief Editor here. Obsessed with tactics. Keen follower of young players. Creator of #TalentRadar.
Sami Faizullah

100 to Watch

Latest

Talent Radar4 days ago

U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #16: Youri Tielemans and Patrick Cutrone feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

Brasileirão U-23 Young Players’ Team of the Season 2017: Talent Radar

As the 2017 Brasileirao season has finished, it is time for us at Outside of the Boot to recognize the...

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

2017 Meiji Yasuda J1 League: Top 5 U-22 Players of the Season

Steven Davies sits down and takes a look at, who in his opinion, have been the best of a bright...

Opinions2 weeks ago

The Resurrection of Nicklas Bendtner

Harry Burford writes about the resurrection of Nicklas Bendtner. Whilst Denmark’s Nicklas Bendtner has all but disappeared from our collective footballing...

Bengaluru FC2 weeks ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 0-2 Bengaluru

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 0-2 Bengaluru Bengaluru FC scored...

Indian Football3 weeks ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 1-2 Chennaiyin

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 1-2 Chennaiyin Chennaiyin FC came...

Talent Radar4 weeks ago

U-22 Young Players’ Team of the Week #15: Franck Kessie and Leon Bailey feature

A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...

Indian Football4 weeks ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Pune City 3-0 ATK

Naven Venkat discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Pune City 3-0 ATK Playing the...

Indian Football4 weeks ago

Mohun Bagan Vs East Bengal: The Enduring Allure Of The Kolkata Derby

Arinjay Ghosh looks at the significance of the Kolkata Derby and why in the ever-changing landscape of Indian football, Mohun...

Indian Football1 month ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Mumbai City 0-1 Kerala Blasters

Vatsal Dani discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Mumbai City 0-1 Kerala Blasters Iain...

Bengaluru FC1 month ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Delhi Dynamos 2-2 Bengaluru

Aakriti Mehrotra discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Delhi Dynamos 2-0 Bengaluru When Delhi...

Bengaluru FC1 month ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Bengaluru 1-0 ATK

Arnab Ray discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Bengaluru 1-0 ATK With the Indian...

Indian Football1 month ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Chennaiyin 2-2 Delhi Dynamos

Hrishi Anand discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Chennaiyin 2-2 Delhi Dynamos Chennaiyin FC...

Indian Football2 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 1-1 FC Goa

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 1-1 FC Goa FC Goa...

Indian Football2 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Pune City 5-0 NorthEast United

Naven Venkat discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Pune City 5-0 NorthEast United This...

Tactical Analysis2 months ago

Tactical Analysis: Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona | Los Blancos Implode in the 2nd Half

Om Arvind provides a tactical analysis of the La Liga game that finished Real Madrid 0-3 Barcelona Barcelona were 11...

Indian Football2 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: ATK 1-0 Delhi Dynamos

Arinjay Ghosh discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished ATK 1-0 Delhi Dynamos ATK rode...

Indian Football2 months ago

Analysis | Three Things We Learned: Chennaiyin 1-1 Kerala Blasters

Hrishi Anand discusses three talking points about the Indian Super League game that finished Chennaiyin 1-1 Kerala Blasters Chennaiyin FC...

Tactical Analysis2 months ago

Tactical Analysis: Manchester City 4-1 Tottenham Hotspur | Guardiola extends winning run to 16

Siyang Xu provides a tactical analysis of the Premier League game that finished Manchester City 4-1 Tottenham Pep Guardiola guided...

100 to Watch in 20182 months ago

100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2018 | Part 10 | Forwards

Football News 24/7  For the 5th year running, Outside of the Boot has returned with our year’s special feature – a detailed...

Talent Radar Award History

Subscribe via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this site and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Young Player Rankings 17-18

More on Outside of the Boot

Previous Next
Close
Test Caption
Test Description goes like this