Chile vs Sweden will be the first game played in Group F of this year’s Women’s World Cup. For Chile, it will even be the first game ever that they play in a Women’s World Cup. Therefore, we may expect an interesting fight at the Roazhon Park in Rennes.
The European Champion from 1984, Sweden, is surely the favourite in this match-up and should, under normal circumstances, advance to the next round together with the United States in this group. However, their South-American opponent will give everything they have in order to prevent this.
The recent games have been mixed for both of them. Sweden had some good results, such as a 4-1 win over Switzerland or a 2-0 win over Austria. On the other hand, they also lost 2-1 both against Portugal and Germany. Chile, however, have not won a single game in 2019 yet. Alongside a devastating 7-0 loss agaisnt the Netherlands, they also lost to Germany and Jamaica. Against Scotland, Colombia and Catalonia, they were able to draw their games.
This tactical preview will show how Chile aim to do take a good result against the clear favourites from Sweden and why it will be an extremely difficult task for them against a strong Scandinavian side.
Chile will most likely try to use a compact and narrow 4-5-1 system, where they close the centre and focus on counterattacking. A lot will depend upon goalkeeper Christiane Endler from Paris Saint Germain. If she has one of those miraculous days, where everything seems possible, it may become possible to stop Sweden’s strong attackers.
Sweden, on the other hand, will most likely play the game in a 4-2-3-1 formation. While they also tried a back-three recently in some games, they tend to opt for the 4-2-3-1 against weaker opponents. Caroline Seger, Kosovare Asllani and Stina Blackstenius will be the players to watch.
Sweden need to balance the risk
For sure we can expect Sweden to have more possession than Chile. As the Scandinavians like to be active and control the game with a lot of possession, they will focus on having a lot of quality in their possession game.
Exemplary, this could take the following shape. Both holding midfielders would stay a bit deeper to provide short passing options, while the fullbacks stay wide. In this case, the opponent attacks with two strikers. If Chile decide to only attack with one sole striker, this would favour Sweden even more, since there wouldn’t be so much pressure. The aim of this structure is to have a stable build-up, but without needing too many players. Therefore, there is no falling back of a midfielder between the two centre backs. Against one striker, this wouldn’t be necessary anyway.
The reeason for Sweden to involve few players into the build-up is that they will try to have as many players as possible in the final third. Here, we see a four vs four situation. Because of this approach, it’s a balancing act to have as fewer players in the build-up involved as necessary. They will gladly take the risk to be under pressure in the build-up when there is the chance to get the ball into the final third in such a promising situation. This may even lead to less control in the midfield area. Thus, Chile could very well have a numerical advantage in the second third.
Chile have to defend well
For Chile, it will be vital to defend these situations where Sweden positions many players in the final third. There are two options for them to execute it. On the one hand, it can be a good idea to defend deep and don’t leave any space for Sweden.
Like in this example, it could be possible to stay deep and close the central areas. Minimizing the spaces between the lines will be important in such a case. However, a 4-3-2-1 structure lacks the necessary width to defend attacks through the wing. Nonetheless, with a few modifications that provide width, such an aproach could make sense.
Another option could be to put pressure on the first build-up line of the opponent.
With an aggressive high press like here, Sweden could be forced to play high, uncontrolled passes. This strategy would be somewhat riskier though. Huge gaps could occur if the press isn’t well coordinated. Also, it’s vital that the long balls that are forced will be uncontrolled. Otherwise, Sweden may create some good chances thanks to their structure in the final third.
Sweden will press high and leave gaps behind the back line
Offensively, it will be difficult for Chile as well. They don’t have the necessary skills to dominate the match, so they are likely to try to counterattack. Sweden, on the other hand, tend to press aggressively and play with a high back line. This is a risky approach and could be exploited by Chile.
Here, we see that Sweden attack with five players against four opponent players plus the goalkeeper. It’s absolutely impossible to build-up short against such high aggressiveness and such an offensive approach.
However, we see in this example that the back line takes a huge risk with their positioning. Therefore, if Chile is able to find a situation where they can play it long in a controlled manner, there could possible arise some interesting positions. We can also observe that despite the high positioning, the vertical compactness from Sweden isn’t that high. There is a lot of space between the two lines, which could be possibly exploited.
This tactical preview gave some ideas on how the game could take shape. There is a high probability that Sweden will have a lot more possession. Chile will try to defend properly and maybe use one of the few chances they will have to score. Sweden may well take that risk, knowing that they are the better side. For them, it’s important to attack strongly and score an early goal to break the opponent’s will. No matter how the game evolves, we can be sure that it will be an interesting clash.
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!