It’s finally that time. No, not Christmas. THE WORLD CUP. It’s just around the corner, and if you squint real hard you can probably see the sleepless nights and heart-thumping contests already. But to warm you up, here’s your dose of group tasters. It’s where you’ll get to experience a taste of each side, before you see the real deal next month. For the month of May, every Tuesday and Thursday will be a dose of food for thought with each group drop.
So sit back, be ready to drool, and enjoy.
A Twix mixes up a chocolate and biscuit, much like this particular England side mixes up a tradition “English” style of play with more emphasis on possessional football in stark contrast to some recent English sides, but still utterly delightful and definitely a worthy chocolate.
Honestly, the possessional style of football England are currently playing suits them. No longer do they look scared of teams, trying to shut up shop and merely getting by with a super fast counter off the long ball. This is a side who is looking to build play from the back quite often, work the channels and particularly love involving the fullbacks in different ways.
The problem for England will be who steps up in the absence of Nobbs. Nobbs was a stand out during Euros and qualification, without her pulling the strings in midfield it’ll require someone to step up. The side has the quality, but will those players have the experience often required for the world stage?
They’re a side who will sit back, pretend to not be cool, then absolutely fly with some absolute unique talents, much like a Curly Wurly in how they sit on the shelf for spells but then everyone remembers they’re actually a decent chocolate and a bit unique with it’s patterns.
Being no fools, Scotland won’t be looking to install a high press often. Instead they’ll be sitting back, allowing sides to play at them. Within this, they’ve got a strong core of defence to allow that to happen. Add on a magician or two in the middle of the park and some dynamism further up the field and this is a side who is a very exciting Curly Wurly.
At the Cup, expect this side to be defensive, employing two defensive midfielders to protect the backline, along with two tight banks of four when defending. On the attack though, it’ll be all about the width and trying to play their centre forward through.
Depending on what day you get a fizzer, it can either be harsh and crack or it can be malleable and stringy, Argentina have these two sides to it. At their best, they will be a side who create absolutely delightful opportunities in the final third and finish them. At their worst they will be breaking apart in defence and look slightly like a lost Fizzer at a swimming pool.
Argentina are a side who have built around their assets, which is a wise move. They know where their creativity is going to come from at the top of the midfield and adjust by having a couple deeper midfielders to allow the attacking mid freedom to move.
The most concerning area of the pitch for Argentina has to be their defensive lapses. At times the defence can look a bit messy and organised is a word that eludes this backline. However this all makes for some excellent last ditch challenges and goalkeeper saves, so can we really complain?
A box of Rose chocolates, you can expect the unexpected but you know essentially you’re going to have a box of chocolates. Japan are constantly tearing up the rule book and have taken to bringing young squads to go head to head with the “big dogs”, such as this years She Believes Cup.
No doubt that Japan will likely bring a bit more experience to the squad to the World Cup, however does this really matter? Any Japanese side we see will play a similar style of game and be mind boggling to watch in all the right ways. They will out pass and out think sides, creating an overload on the flank to flood players in attack. The small spaces? Doesn’t phase them.
The remain disciplined in their press of opposition midfields, able to utilise a spare player to shut down space if up against a three player midfield whilst fielding a four themselves. And when all else fails? Their first string goalkeeper is fabulous and will protect the goal at all costs.