Despite being marred by rain, the final of the U20 World Cup between Brazil and Serbia was still a brilliant encounter that saw the underdogs win against one of the most talented squads at the tournament. Players were lacking in end product due to the conditions, though it was clear to see who was having the greatest effect on the game.
Here is a tactical report of the top 5 players involved in the match.
Once again, Zivkovic did exceedingly well to be the creative outlet of his team. The first half from a Serbian perspective was all about him releasing the other attackers onto runs against Brazil’s high line. Unfortunately, the rainy conditions thwarted him and his teammates preventing them from creating good chances and getting the final shot correct. He was the catalyst for the first goal and played an inch-perfect pass through the legs of the defender to Maksimovic to win the tournament in the 118th minute.
His movement and ability to maintain the tempo at a good pace was complimented by his propensity to weave past players throughout the game.
The captain of the team, the general of the force. What is it that he did NOT do? A brilliant outlet from deep, akin to a deep-lying playmaker. A constant menace and eager to win the ball back, akin to a ball winning midfielder. Taking on men and tracking back quickly to defend as soon as his team lost the ball, akin to a box to box midfielder. An occasion such as is this demanded a captain’s performance, and Danilo provided just that. This performance was almost perfect, one of the factors that helped him win the Silver Ball, despite not doing enough to achieve the Golden Ball.
A rock at the back, Veljkovic helped ‘keeper Rajkovic throughout the whole tournament although this game was one he starred in. A vast number of set pieces didn’t trouble Serbia too much because of the defender, who was able to head the ball away easily and proactively. Also efficient when playing out of the back, his team had no need to be afraid of anything with him guarding the goal along with Rajkovic.
Gabriel Jesus has been a consistent performer for Brazil and often underrated due to the exploits of Gabriel Boschilia and Marcos Guilherme. One reason for that is the fact that Jesus is adept at helping the team out in defence. He is a pressing machine and a sort of box to box winger on the flank. However, Jesus isn’t limited to his energy and defensive ability as his superb technical expertise aids his quest in getting past players, sometimes better than his compatriot Guilherme. Gabriel Jesus featured in a role similar to that of Willian in the senior side, one based on skill, hard work and defensive organization.
The man who changed the game for Brazil after lackluster performances from Boschilia and Guilherme, both of whom couldn’t take advantage of the space vacated by striker Jean Carlos. Andreas Pereira forced the play, like Danilo, but with more quality and skill to draw upon. This was evident in the goal where he took on a couple of players before slotting it past the Goalkeeper of the tournament – whose powerful hands couldn’t save the sheer force of that shot. His movement was needed and Rogerio Micale put him on at the right time, bringing forth an energetic dribbling display to take advantage of the tiring Serbian defence who would go on to play their 4th consecutive game spilling over to extra time.
For more reading on the U20 World Cup, head this way.
Written by Hamoudi Fayad
Hamoudi is a writer who admires tactically analysing football games whether it is the La Liga or the Lebanese Premier League. He also has an interest in the psychological side of the game. Written for ContinentalZone, Footynions, Justfootball. Co-Founder of Middle Eastern football website Ahdaaf(.me). Dislikes the lack of tactical intelligence in the English Premier League. Obsessed with defensive midfielders.
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