Connect with us

World Cup 2014

World Cup: How do Argentina and Belgium’s key players compare statistically?

As we enter the latter stages of the World Cup and into what will turn out to be some of the most historic games of the tournament, we will statistically analyse some of the key players of each team based on the systems employed & opposition using Squawka‘s excellent comparison matrix.


Comparing the attacking heads

Coming into the tournament, a lot of people were looking at Argentina as potential winners. The incredible attack that they boasted was the key, and led by one of the best players in the world, Argentina were touted as a deadly cocktail of speed and skill. Of all the various resources talked about, it’s been only Lionel Messi who has really fired, carrying his team into the quarter finals. He, no doubt, is going to be the main attacking outlet for Argentina. Against him, we have Kevin De Bruyne. The player had a bit of a strange season at club level, sitting on the bench during the first half of the campaign at Chelsea, but a transfer in January really resurrected his form. De Bruyne has been a key performer for the Belgians in this tournament. His performance in the last round against the USA almost single handedly ensuring that the Belgians are here in the quarter finals, to take on Argentina. Both teams are going to be looking to these players for creativity and that attacking edge. While Argentina are heavily dependent on Messi for their attacking output, Belgium have De Bruyne, who takes up the role of the playmaker, and directs the attack. It’s crucial to the two teams chances that these players fire.

ARGBEL Attack Image

It’s clear to see from the above graphic that while they are the two main attacking avenues for their teams, they play in slightly differing roles. While Messi plays a little higher up the pitch, looking to find the back of the net as often as possible, De Bruyne is the player who is a little deeper, trying to set up his team-mates to score the goals.

Messi, focused on the goal-scoring aspects, has done a fine job, scoring 4 goals in his 4 games for an average of a goal a game, whereas the same stat for De Bruyne is lower, at 0.33. In terms of shots as well, Messi is well ahead of De Bruyne, with his 4 trumping the 2.67 the Belgium has taken per game quite easily.

However, the tables are turned when it comes of passing the ball. De Bruyne, tasked with the job of creating, has more assists, more forward passes, and a better pass completion rate. Again, this can be put down to the fact that their positioning on the pitch is different, with Messi playing much closer to the opposition goal.

Battle of the left backs

Marcos Rojo, the 24 year old full back from Argentina, currently plays at Sporting CP, but some of his performances at this World Cup have seen him linked to clubs across Europe. He has done well in the opportunities he’s had so far, and been impressive. He even managed to get a goal, but his main job will be to defend well, and provide the support his attackers need from him. Vertonghen, who is really a centre back, had a very mixed second season at club level, but has had a fairly solid World Cup. His poor foul conceded a penalty in the opener for Belgium, but in general, one cannot take away credit from him for Belgium’s excellent defending. While most full backs these days are worried about their attacking duties, and freedom going forward, both of these left backs are going to have to focus on doing their defensive jobs right. They will be up against players like Hazard and Messi, and so, any mistake on their part could prove to be fatal for their side’s World Cup hopes.

ARGBEL Full-Back Image

With the Argentines enjoying domination in almost all their games, it was only inevitable that the stats, especially the attacking ones, would be in favour of Rojo. The Argentine has more successful take ons, forward passes, backward passes, and chances created. While facing teams who have sat back and looked to play on the break against them, they have had to rely on the likes of Rojo to provide the right kind of support to the attack. With forwards being marked tightly, the likes of Rojo have rose to the occasion, with some sterling performances.

Defensively though, Vertonghen has been far more assured when he has had to defend. An average of 3 interceptions per game speaks volumes of his intelligence in positioning himself, and snuffing out danger from the opposition attacks. Rojo, on the other hand, averages 3 tackles a game, which shows that the midfield in front of him haven’t really been able to stop the counters that the opposition throw at his side. This could be important, because we could see the same pattern of game as far as Argentina are concerned, and they really dont want to give the likes of Hazard the chance to run at defenders.

Winning the midfield battle

As mentioned above, the midfield battle will be crucial. Belgium dont want to give the Argentine players the time and the space to be able to dictate play and get the ball to their menacing forward line, and Argentina have to be careful to not leave their defence too exposed. The 2 men that will take charge of this area of the game are Axel Witsel, and Javier Mascherano.

The latter, who plays for Zenit, has been quite a revelation this World Cup. He’s had a good tounrament, and Wilmots’ brains on the pitch are going to be the key to keep his side organised, and defending as a unit against the dangerous Argentine attacking force.

Mascherano, who is obviously a bit more experienced at this level, generally plays centre back at club level, but if anything, this will help him gain a fresh perspective on what’s needed of him.

ARGBEL Midfield Image

Defensively, Mascherano has had a lot more to do than Witsel. As mentioned in the previous point, with the Argentine team looking to attack at every given opportunity, teams have had a lot of joy on the break. This has necessitated an aggressive approach from their defensive players, who need to make tackles in order to stop opposition players in too much space. Mascherano averages an incredible 4.5 tackles a game, which dwarfs the figure that Witsel can boast of. He also makes more fouls, which is certainly a direct consequence of his tackling behaviour.

Going forward as well, the Barcelona man is well ahead of his Zenit counterpart. With Argentina enjoying a lot of possession, Mascherano has had to take up the attacking role as well. He averages an excellent 71.5 forward passes a game, which is very impressive. This has also led to a few more chances created by him. With Belgium looking at counter attacks to score, Mascherano might again be required to set up a few chances for his side.


Thank you for reading. You can share this article through one of the buttons below. Do let us know your thoughts in the comments box below.

Vishal Patel

Vishal Patel

Massive Chelsea supporter. Follow Mourinho and love Ronaldinho. Enjoy discussing tactics anytime, anywhere. Enjoy watching the Italian National team as well.
Vishal Patel

100 to Watch

Latest

Talent Radar16 hours ago

2017-18 Young Players’ Team of the Week #7: Manchester City’s trio lead the way

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

Tactical Analysis16 hours ago

Tactical Analysis: Borussia Dortmund 2-3 RB Leipzig | Leipzig’s Press Beats Dortmund’s Possession

Ryan Tank writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Bundesliga match that ended Borussia Dortmund 2-3 RB Leipzig Line Ups...

Series16 hours ago

Tactical Philosophy: Paul Clement

While this website has made its name focusing on the lesser known youth of this beautiful sport, and combined it...

Interviews2 days ago

Interview: Ex-Premier League players on the Problem with Young Footballers

Outside of the Boot had the opportunity to speak with ex-Premier League players – Manchester City’s Paul Dickov, Leicester City’s...

Scout Report2 days ago

Scout Report: Nicolo Barella | Cagliari’s Complete Midfielder

Kaustubh Pandey provides a detailed scout report on Cagliari’s promising Italian midfielder, Nicolo Barella In a country that is as passionate...

Opinions2 days ago

Statiscal Analysis: Which team has the worst injury record in La Liga?

Luke Glassford provides us with a statiscal look at the injuries suffered by various La Liga teams over the past...

Scout Report3 days ago

Scout Report: Chris Willock | Benfica’s ex-Arsenal youth product

Hrishi Anand takes a look at youngster Chris Willock, whose move away from the Premier League could help blaze a...

Scout Report3 days ago

Scout Report: Marlos Moreno | Manchester City’s Colombian flash

Josh Sippie takes a look at Colombian international Marlos Moreno, whose Spanish education will make or break his chances at...

Opinions5 days ago

Analysing Kevin De Bruyne: Pep Guardiola’s Total Midfielder

Charles Onwuakpa analyses Kevin De Bruyne, who has quickly developed into Pep Guardiola’s most important player. When we talk about...

Scout Report5 days ago

Scout Report: Josh Sargent | USA’s rising star

Josh Sippie takes a look at USA’s brightest young star on the block, Josh Sargent With the Bundesliga’s new prerogative of...

Scout Report5 days ago

Scout Report: Timothy Weah | The talented encore to George

Josh Sippie analyses one of PSG and USA’s young starlets, Timothy Weah The United States trek towards international relevance is...

Indian Football1 week ago

Traveling Barefoot – The Story of Indian Football

Arinjay Ghosh details the topsy-turvy tale of Indian Football through the years.

Talent Radar2 weeks ago

7 Players to Watch at the U17 World Cup 2017 in India

Brian Hradek highlights seven players who could make an impact at the U17 World Cup 2017 The U17 World Cup...

Series2 weeks ago

Tactical Philosophy: Eddie Howe

While this website has made its name focusing on the lesser known youth of this beautiful sport, and combined it...

Interviews2 weeks ago

Tales of a Football Scout: Giulio D’Alessandro

Kaustubh Pandey gets the chance to sit down with Italian football scout and agent, Giulio D’Alessandro Contrary to popular opinion,...

Opinions2 weeks ago

Newcastle and the Loyalty Project

Josh Sippie takes a look at Rafa Benitez’s approach and style at Premier League newboys Newcastle United. Liverpool, Inter, Chelsea,...

Opinions2 weeks ago

What direction is football heading in?

Jonathan Roberts looks deeply into the direction football is heading in, using de Boer’s sacking as an example.  It’s easy to...

Specials2 weeks ago

In-depth Analysis: Why Lukaku makes Man United better than Ibrahimovic ever will

Alexiou Konstantinos provides a detailed comparison between Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic and why the former is an upgrade for...

Tactical Analysis2 weeks ago

Tactical Analysis: Monarcas 3-0 Xolos | Monarcas’ Pressing And Xolos’ Offside Trap

Brian Bertie writes a detailed tactical analysis about the Liga MX match that ended Monarcas 3-0 Xolos Monarcas and Xolos...

Scout Report2 weeks ago

Scout Report: Donny van de Beek | Ajax’s midfield star

Danny Lewis takes a look at Ajax’s new midfield anchor, Donny van de Beek. After last season’s European success, the...

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