There are very clear differences in the three stages of this game. This difference comes from the on-the-spot tactical adjustments of the two coaches and the difference brought about by the timing of substitutions.
In terms of their respective effects, both sides have achieved good benefits in the target stage, and they are evenly matched in terms of strategy and practice. This brought ups and downs in the trend of the game, and it became the most famous game in the history of the World Cup finals, and it also made the penalty shootout a more "fair" way.
In the first half, it was undoubtedly Argentina that had the upper hand. Their expected goals reached 1.57 times, while the French team even had 0 in this data. This is due to the somewhat emergency change of the Argentine coach Scaloni. He withdrew his previous absolute main force at the last moment and performed well. Acuña, who suddenly appeared "unwell", separated the two sides. The defender was handed over to Tagliafico, partnering with Molina on the other side. It can be seen that there may be some unexpected factors, or it may be Scaloni's temporary adjustments, but judging from the results, Tariafico did not perform Acuna's function, but made a change. Compared with Acuña's ability to use the ball on the edge, the starting left back in the final is obviously more defensive, including the right back Molina, who will only press the half when it is absolutely necessary to move forward on the third line .
Against the French team, it is very important to have enough numbers in the backcourt and a solid defensive position. If Acuña starts, he will inevitably press forward a lot to play his characteristics (just like France's Special Olympics). Of course, Argentina has a lot of handling points in the frontcourt, but the overall physical fitness is not strong enough, and it is easy to lose the ball in the face of France's confrontational strength. At that time, the space behind Acuña and the midfielder Enzo, who is used to relying on the upper half to participate in offensive conduction, will become a plain for France to display its counterattacks.
In this cup, many teams tend to use the frontcourt to siege the ball point, and lock the only offensive comber to make the frontcourt "offensive weapon" (the same existence in football) lose shells supply. This is not effective against Argentina. When Acuña is pressed, everyone in their frontcourt can get the ball, and they can play a beautiful break and grab cooperation, and then use Alvarez's activation to complete the reverse penetration and force the opponent. The central defender left his original position to supplement the defense. However, if it is the French team, because they have a player like Mbappe who maintains a counterattack posture at any time, their defense does not rely on an absolute high position, but arranges the first line at the back guarded by Rabiot and Chuameni. waist area. And their tyrannical physical fitness per capita also allows them to have a good individual matchup ability in low-post positional defense.
Therefore, Scaloni withdrew Acuna, refused to leave the space behind the two sides to the French "running back", and restricted Enzo's activities more to the midfielder's own area. On the offensive end, Argentina put the weight on the team cooperation on the right rib and the dribbling breakthrough after shifting to the opposite side. On the right side of Messi and Alvarez, Argentina has a playmaker Messi who, as the second goal does, can easily pick the ball out of the Frenchman's bushes, and also has speed Soon, Alvarez, who cooperated tacitly with Messi's passing and running.
At the same time, this side is still relatively weak in France's defense. Both Mbappe and Special Olympics need to attack with all their strength to play their characteristics. Therefore, when Messi and Alvarez start to cooperate, France often needs to let Rabiotra side, one-on-two, and then fill in with Pamecano's relay. At this time, France's defensive rotation has been tightened. Argentina only needs to guide the ball to Di Maria on the other side and let him play his dribbling ability, so that he can gain the operating space for a single breakthrough.
Judging from the results of the first half, this tactic was of course successful. Messi's ball breaking and offensive planning, Di Maria's 4/6 dribbling breakthroughs completed in only 64 minutes, and the goals and points after the breakthrough. It can be seen that when the Argentine attackers really get the physical confrontation of the French defenders, they are still very difficult to parry, even in a situation where Argentina has a big advantage, and the French midfielders are unbelievably "soft". Under the circumstances, the number of confrontation successes in the first half is still one time behind France. However, the quick cooperation of Messi and Alvarez, Messi's quick offensive decision, and the creation and utilization of space on the opposite side allowed Argentina to complete the offensive action before physical contact in some rounds. Let the offense flow.
For France's side, they seemed to have been affected by the flu in the first half, like their opponents Brazil in the 1998 final, and there was hardly any intensity in the midfield. Argentina's defense is of course more stable than before, but if it is a normal French team, with its average physical condition, whether it is Griezmann's ball-handling advance, or both wingers + Special Olympics' strong attack, including Giroud's kick The ball, pressing the central defender in the middle, all have the ability to forcibly break through defenses in positional battles. Throughout the first half, France basically did not play, lacking offensive methods.
At this time, Mbappe's problems in the positional battle were also fully exposed. It seemed that he had been trying to start overtaking after waving the ball, and turned the matchup into a speed competition. He is a good running back and finisher, but he only had a 4/11 confrontation success rate in the game, and his dribbling until overtime when the opponent's physical strength declined, all of which made him lack in positional battles. As the core method of holding the ball, it is also the reason why he has always been ineffective as a center forward.
At the same time, France routinely started Special Olympics and Conde, and allowed them to greatly overwhelm the assists, which also "give" Argentina the objective conditions to play its own offensive operations. Messi + Di Maria's transfer cooperation on the opposite side, as well as the threats on each side, made France's rotation very tight. Whenever Argentina launched an attack on one side, it seemed that the corresponding French full-back was always absent. France's starting lineup encountered Argentina's changes in the first half, and it can be said that it was a crushing defeat.
Towards the end of the first half, Deschamps made an adjustment. He "accidentally" replaced Giroud, and used Thuram Jr. and Mouani to partner with Mbappe to form a "three wingers" combination. In fact, in the last pre-match training, Deschamps tried a similar combination of Thuram, Mbappe and Dembele. What this combination emphasizes is obviously the high-position pressing and confrontation output in the frontcourt, and it has the ability to start quickly per capita. Since Argentina does not give room for counterattacks, France needs to actively create conversion opportunities in the frontcourt, and use young wingers with plenty of energy and good enthusiasm to exert mad dog-like pressure.
Under this idea, Giroud, who is tall, slow and older, is obviously not suitable, and the counterpoint break and oppressive defense he can provide has lost its full potential due to the lack of strength of the French starter. functioning space. Moreover, in 71 minutes, Deschamps replaced Koeman to further strengthen this point, and Camavinga cameo left back to replace Special Olympics, which is a relatively balanced choice. Camavinga, who is a defensive midfielder, not only guarantees a certain amount of forward pressure and robbery, but also can advance and distribute the ball, and is less aggressive than O.
On the Argentine side, they also made a seemingly surprising substitution in the 64th minute of the second half, replacing the outstanding Di Maria with full-back Acuna. In fact, this is not incomprehensible. Judging from France's first-hand adjustments, they have decided to maximize their strength in the high position, and they were almost overdrawn in the first half. And Di Maria's own physical continuity also made it difficult for him to continue to provide the individual role in the first half. Replacing Acuña, Scaloni's idea is similar to that of Didier Deschamps' use of Camavinga. They are all "offensive and defensive balance".
However, Argentina's inherent physical disadvantage was exposed when France's young freshmen entered the field and began almost endless half-court runs and group pressing. And Chuameni, who originally had the ability to mop up, also began to return to his normal robbery level with the defensive cooperation of his teammates. It's just that for some reason, the French starters failed to take advantage of this. Moreover, due to Di Maria's end, Argentina lost a player who penetrated one side of the ribs individually. Even though Messi's cooperation on this side is still adept, he missed the transfer breakthrough after forcing the rotation. This made Argentina's offense very "small" in the second half, and France's defense became more comfortable.
As a result, in the second half, the French team, through two steals from the midfield and making Argentine mistakes, quickly launched a conversion and a half conversion. The first time a penalty was created, and the second time gave Mbappe a very With ample handling space, he scored two goals in a row. Once Argentina's defense line loses its proper organization in positional warfare and is forced into a chaotic battle in the retreat, it is easy to be blasted by France. Especially when Scaloni held the substitutions very tightly, and almost all of Argentina's starting players fought for 81 minutes, it was even more difficult to avoid France's high-intensity pressing and blasting after conversion.
Didier Deschamps didn't see that Argentina gave him a chance to switch, so he could only create a chance for quick reversal. It is true that Mouani and Thuram do not have a strong single player, but their turmoil can provide Mbappe with the conditions of "space utilization" that he is good at. In the second half, France's xG hit 1.09, while Argentina's dropped to 0.36. Moreover, with France's upper strength and Argentina's physical decline, Argentina's disadvantage in the number of confrontation successes has been expanded to 15 to 36, and it only lost once in the first half.
Overtime was another sudden change. Scaloni's backhand made four consecutive substitutions, allowing Argentina to regain its physical advantage. On the French side, Mouani and Thuram Jr., who played early, began to have physical problems under the continuous high output, not to mention other starting players, and the quality of France's defense began to decline again. And Argentina also adjusted their offensive methods, began to avoid France's high defense, and tried high balls from the midfield, allowing new players like Lautaro to directly attack behind France's back, and Montiel's playing also provided a side Road ahead. As France's physical fitness began to dry up, the defender's presence rate and defensive effect began to decline. Argentina got more space to receive and handle the ball. In addition to one goal, Lautaro also scored two goals that could almost kill the game. Opportunity.
On the French side, in the second half, they relied on the idea of "poor physical fitness and high-position press to make conversions", which began to weaken as the overtime game deepened. Had it not been for an unnecessary handball by Paredes, the game could have ended within 120 minutes. Near the end, they did not grasp the two chances in front of goal. This seems to be a kind of hidden guidance, which made this game go into a penalty shootout.
As far as tactical adjustment is concerned, Scaloni and Deschamps each have the upper hand, so the title of the championship will be handed over to the "spiritual" and even "luck" aspects other than "tactics", and the penalty kick that will test the will and destiny will be used Let's compete.
As a result, although the quality of Koeman and Chuameni's penalty kicks is not absolutely bad, "fortune" and "will" almost inevitably came to Messi's side. This championship is for him, as well as Di Maria and Otamendi's generation of players. Even though they are old, they still strive to maintain excellent condition. The best compliment that never gave up.
After the last competition, almost everyone thinks that the golden championship period of the Messi generation has passed. The runner-up in 2014 is their best chance at the peak, while the top sixteen in 2018 is their decline. Reasons for "abandoning". However, Di Maria maintained his form, and Messi transformed into an "offensive libero" who no longer held a lot of balls and won the America's Cup.
However, before the start of the World Cup, Scaloni's "Lo Celso ball system" for Messi like this was no longer feasible after Lo Celso's injury and retirement, which made Argentina from the position of favorite to win the championship. Falling, the first defeat against Saudi Arabia also confirmed the embarrassment after the collapse of the Argentine system. But Scaloni still did not give up, even though "the core of the system is not there, bad luck" seems to be a very reasonable excuse. He quickly built a new ball-handling combination of McAllister + Enzo + Acuña, and continued to improve as the schedule progressed, leading the team to the finals. In this system, Messi, who has successfully transformed in the twilight years of his career and has a huge game influence, and Di Maria, who has not made a major transformation but has maintained his breakthrough power, have been given full play.
This victory made Messi's career completely complete. The last World Cup became the best World Cup. This kind of "winning the trophy in the last year" undoubtedly increased Messi's legend, and also paid back all his efforts in constantly adjusting the game mode and competitive habits. Scaloni, on the other hand, added some "tactical" rationality to Messi's legend full of emotional rendering.
Messi's last dance got what he wanted, and France needn't be too upset. Mbappe's hat-trick in the final is full of gold, which is enough to become a good story in the history of the World Cup, and he is only 23 years old, and he has several chances to "score twice" for the championship. Not to mention Chuameni, Upamecano, Conde, Mouani, Konate, Camavinga, Special Olympics, Dembele, Thuram Jr., these players who played in the final almost There are still at least 1-2 World Cup opportunities. The strong lineup of the French team will continue and even become stronger with the further growth of these young people.
Before the start of the game, everyone said that this is a World Cup belonging to Messi, Ronaldo, Modric and other veterans, and it is the "last dance" of a generation of superstars. Well, the fulfillment of Messi's dream is undoubtedly the best footnote for this "farewell" World Cup. This year will be his farewell to the World Cup, and if the news of joining the MLS is true, it will be his farewell to the mainstream football world.
And the smile when holding the Hercules Cup will definitely make Messi's farewell, fade away the sadness of separation, and become the happiest graduation ceremony.