Both England and Argentina are unbeaten after one game each in group D of the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Argentina held Japan who are ranked 30 places above them to a well deserved 0-0 draw. England battled against ‘the auld enemy’ and came out on top 2-1. This tactical preview uses tactical analysis from both sides first game to understand where the game can be won and lost.
England could set out in a 4-1-4-1 again or may adapt their formation into a 4-3-3 formation for a quicker transition to attack once the ball is one in the middle third.
Argentina played a 4-2-3-1 before the FIFA Women’s World Cup but switched to a defensive 4-1-4-1 against Japan. It is more probable they will stick to the conservative 4-1-4-1 making their defensive transitions into a 5-4-1 easier.
Toni Duggan trained with the squad on Wednesday afternoon, after missing the Scotland game due to a thigh injury. Duggan could add to England’s firepower going forward.
Demi Stokes, Fran Kirby and, Millie Bright have also been seen training with the team after picking up knocks against Scotland.
Argentina have no injury problems and have a full squad to chose from.
Will Argentina ‘park the bus’?
It was clear Argentina were the ‘minnows’ against ex-World Cup winners Japan when they drew 0-0. Their formation of 4-1-4-1 with Lorena Benítez shifting to a defensive midfield position to create a 5-4-1 when under severe pressure or 4-5-1 to form a midblock to keep the play in the middle third and away from their goal.
Argentina like to get numbers around the ball carrier making it difficult for the player to pass or cross.
The back line is led by a monstrous player in Aldana Cometti. Cometti chipped half of her front tooth after being elbowed by the opposition. A physically strong specimen, she can shield the ball with her body knocking opponents off with ease. The English defence will have more success attacking the wings rather than going down the middle to meet Cometti.
England’s counter-attacking worry
If England become complacent going forward and concede possession easily then Argentina’s counter-attack cannot be underestimated. Benítez can be accurate at sending long balls in the perfect path for Sole Jaimes.
Jaimes, being a first-class striker likes to hang off the last defender anticipating the through balls. Close marking by captain Steph Houghton could prove to be a pivotal battle to ensure England keep a clean sheet.
Not from the back
Argentina avoids playing from the back and instead tend to hit the ball in the middle of the field. From there, Estefanía Banini or Benitez can win the second ball and create play from the middle. Goal kicks will certainly be heading towards the centre circle and passes from the back line may be aimed at the wings of Banini and Florencia Bonsegundo.
Phil Neville’s team can reduce the amount of influence Banini and Benitez can have on the game by pressing them in possession and being physical in the challenge.
England in attack
England may change to a 4-3-3 formation to optimise attacking potential against Argentina. This may see the wingers going high and wide as possible and try to occupy the space between the opposition’s defence and midfield.
Overloading the right side of the pitch could be key to the game. Ex-Manchester City star, Nikita Parris could make runs in behind the defence to exploit the more vulnerable left side defence of Argentina.
Another key could be long shots. Vanina Correa is quite susceptible at times between the sticks and often parries shots away in typical South American fashion. A possible goal could come from a long-ranging shot from outside of the box to the bottom corner of the goal to force Correa to dive and parry. Ellen White or Duggan could anticipate the parry and follow in for a tap in.
With Argentina expected to have a lot of numbers behind the ball, the Lionesses may have to go over rather than through. Keira Walsh hit a beautifully weighted pass towards White in the previous game against Scotland. Correctly ruled offside, but this type of pass could prove instrumental against Argentina.
This could be a chance for Kirby to make a dominant statement on the world scene once again. He strengths of being able to retain possession and manipulate the ball through defensive lines could help the wingers attack and pick out England’s forwards.
It’s quite visible that England have set routines and plays for corners and free kicks. This could prove to be key if they struggle to break down a super defensive Argentina from open play.
Argentina’s aerial capability isn’t one of their strong points and although they outmuscled Japan off the ball it will not be the case against England. If England can accumulate a decent amount of corners then they should be treated as a fantastic goal scoring opportunity.
Argentina will be hoping to scrape a result from arguably the hardest team they will face in the FIFA Women’s World Cup. Coach Carlos Borello will have a tough to job balance a defensive nature and containing the opposition. Playing too defensively will only work for a period of time before England find a way to hit the back of the net. Conversely, playing too far forward will give England the space to hit back hard once possession of the ball is regained.
England will want to show they have what it takes to win the FIFA Women’s World Cup. With favourites and three time World Cup winners USA recording a massive 13-0 against Thailand. England will want to prove they are just as good, if not, better by producing a big scoreline. However, Neville must be also wary of Argentinas counter-attack capabilities. Long balls towards Jaimes combined with her physical strength and speed could catch them out.
If you are following the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2019 then you will find our FREE tactical preview magazine the perfect compliment to the tournament. You can download it HERE – each nation is previewed and we also profile their key player and young player to watch. Enjoy!