As the group stage comes to an end with two teams from each remaining in Brazil and the rest heading back home, we at Outside of the Boot have analysed each group, paying focus to four key aspects — the primary tactical system that was noticeably successful, the individual game changing performance that decided which way a result went, the most consistent and best young player across the three games (Talent Radar) with the players qualifying no more than 22-years-old and an XI of the best players from the group.
The only group that is flying the European flag high with both the representatives from Europe qualifying, was probably one of the easiest to call. France & Switzerland were significantly better than their respective opponents though the Ecuadorians caused problems to both. France qualify as champions and top scorers having scored 8 in their first two games but held to a clean-sheet in the last; Switzerland and their youthful side ranked high in the FIFA listings were smashed by the French but managed to pick up maximum points from the other two games.
Key Tactical System
What intrigued me most tactically in this group was France’s midfield set-up which personally I see as one of the strongest and well set-up on paper. Cabaye, Matuidi & Pogba/Sissoko form a nice balance in the three man midfield with specific roles for each. Cabaye plays as the creative head, dropping the deepest in midfield and spreading play, interestingly to wide areas primarily. The other two have the crucial box-to-box role but with a dominating French group stage performance, their attacking influence has been much more far-reaching.
Although this three man midfield isn’t innovative in the modern game, it’s effectiveness for France in the group particularly made it key. The more advanced midfielders are also crucial to protect and cover the attacking full-backs. Thus there’s a clear and efficient creative, defensive & attacking balance in the side. While a lot of credit will be given to their attack, Benzema in particular, their midfield has allowed this system to function with an important attacking contribution.
Although not as game-changing as it was impressive, Karim Benzema’s shift against Switzerland in their 5-2 victory was of particular note. The Real Madrid striker having just missed out on a hat-trick in the previous game, got another brace this time around also missing a penalty in the first half. He even set-up a goal against the Swiss living up to his reputation as France’s main man. Special mention must go here to Ricardo Rodriguez who did indeed change the game against Ecuador for the Swiss, with two perfect assists and a good overall performance.
Talent Radar Best Young Player
With plenty of youngsters in the side, it’s no surprise that it’s a Swiss player who gets recognition here. In fact, this group had more Talent Radar youngsters than any other. But the one that stood out, particularly in the final game, was Xherdan Shaqiri. The midfielder started off the group quietly with a rather poor first half performance vs Ecuador but allowed Swiss attacks to flow when shifted centrally. He capped of his group stage with a hat-trick against Honduras in the last game that confirmed their progress to the next round. Shaqiri was at No.11 in our Talent Radar list of 25 Young Players to Watch at the World Cup.
Players in red are Talent Radar youngsters
Read all our World Cup 2014 content here
Latest posts by Sami Faizullah (see all)
- 2017-18 Young Players’ Team of the Week #5: Dani Ceballos and Leroy Sane feature - September 26, 2017
- 2017-18 Performance Rankings: Top 10 Young Defenders – Edition 1 - September 26, 2017
- 2017-18 Performance Rankings: Top 5 Young Keepers – Edition 1 - September 21, 2017
100 to Watch
2017-18 Young Players’ Team of the Week #5: Dani Ceballos and Leroy Sane feature
A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Young Players Team of the Week with the best young...
2017-18 Performance Rankings: Top 10 Young Defenders – Edition 1
Football News 24/7 Our Talent Radar Rankings, along-with our Talent Radar Team of the Week documents the progress of youngsters across Europe,...
Tactical Analysis: Juventus 4-0 Torino | Home side too strong to play against
Ryan Tank writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Serie A match that ended Juventus 4-0 Torino. Torino suffered from...
Scout Report: Axel Tuanzebe | Manchester United’s defensive starlet
Ravi Inder Gill takes a look at Axel Tuanzebe, Man Utd’s young defender waiting in the shadows. In today’s game,...
Interview: Brandon Fernandes on experiencing football outside India, a longer ISL, and FC Goa’s upcoming campaign
Outside of the Boot gets the chance to sit down with FC Goa’s talented midfielder, Brandon Fernandes There’s been a lot...
Scout Report: Ousmane Dembélé | Barcelona’s Versatile Winger
Miles Olusina breaks down the abilities of the canny Barcelona and France winger Ousmane Dembélé as he embarks on his...
Scout Report: Steven Bergwijn | PSV Eindhoven’s rising star
Wang Yulin takes a look at PSV’s exciting Dutch attacker Steven Bergwijn When you think of the team ‘PSV Eindhoven’,...
Hanoi FC: The Vietnamese Champions struggling to connect with the locals
Trong Nhan Doan looks at the peculiar case of Hanoi FC Most of the time, the most successful team is...
Expected Goals: A Pioneering Method of Analysing Football
The Football Code has a look at expected goals, a new metric set to revolutionize statistics-based analysis of football Football...
Tactical Analysis: Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Atletico Madrid | Clash of two organised sides
Ryan Tank analyses the mid-week La Liga clash that ended Athletic Bilbao 1-2 Atletico Madrid The clash of two organized...
Tactical Analysis: Schalke 0-3 Bayern Munich | Ancelotti’s men secure hard fought win
Ryan Tank analyses the mid-week Bundesliga match that ended Schalke 0-3 Bayern Munich. Schalke: Fahrmann, Kehrer, Naldo, Nastasic, Caliguri, McKennie...
2017-18 Performance Rankings: Top 5 Young Keepers – Edition 1
Our Talent Radar Rankings, along-with our Talent Radar Team of the Week documents the progress of youngsters across Europe, with those featuring in...
Déjà vu on Tyneside: Why Newcastle are being left short-changed by familiar failings
Jeffrey Gamby-Boulger looks critically at Newcastle’s repeated failings in recent years and why Mike Ashley is the root of those problems. ‘It’s the same...
Hipster Guide 2017-18: UEFA Europa League | Part Two
Oliver McManus takes us on a journey through some of the more obscure parts of Europe as he tells us...
Tactical Philosophy: Leonardo Jardim
While this website has made its name focusing on the lesser known youth of this beautiful sport, and combined it...
Talent Radar 2017-18 Young Players’ Team of the Week #4: Pietro Pellegri and Joshua Kimmich feature
A regular feature on our website is the Talent Radar Team of the Week with the best young players compiled...
Tactical Analysis: Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Swansea City | Tottenham’s half space focus against Swansea’s compact block
Ryan Tank provides a tactical analysis of the Premier League game that finished Tottenham Hotspur 0-0 Swansea City Tottenham attacked...
Scout Report: Maxwel Cornet | Lyon’s latest starlet
Josh Sippie breaks down Maxwel Cornet, Lyon’s dynamic attacker. Olympique Lyon just have a knack for plucking supremely talented youth...
Scout Report: Marcos Llorente | Real Madrid’s young midfielder
Karan Tejwani provides the lowdown on Real Madrid’s talented midfielder, Marcos Llorente. Real Madrid have made smart purchases from Spanish...
Scout Report: Eddie Nketiah | Arsenal’s academy talent
Josh Sippie takes a look at highly-rated Arsenal academy striker Eddie Nketiah. Arsenal’s youth ranks are always going to be...
Talent Radar Award History
Subscribe via Email
Young Player Rankings 17-18
More on Outside of the Boot
Specials3 weeks ago
Analysis: Mourinho’s Manchester United defence and the 4-4-2
Talent Radar1 month ago
La Liga’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18
Opinions1 month ago
FC Barcelona and their Transfer Recruitment Circus
100 to Watch in 20179 months ago
100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2017 | Part 5 | Midfielders
Tactical Analysis3 weeks ago
Tactical Analysis: Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal | Klopp Exposes Wenger’s Stubbornness
Talent Radar1 month ago
Serie A’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18
Talent Radar1 month ago
Bundesliga’s 10 Young Breakthrough Players to Watch in 2017-18
Tactical Analysis1 month ago
Tactical Analysis: Real Madrid 2-0 Barcelona | Real’s Pressing Excellence