WORLD CUP TASTERS: GROUP F

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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.

GROUP F

SWEDEN

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Traditionally strong teams should never be underestimated, much like how a good scone should never be underestimated. Similar to the scone, Sweden are adapting to the modern world and putting some more moves and depth to their armoury than their traditional cream and jam of long balls, quick forwards and tall centre backs.

Defensively Sweden remain very poised and narrow to protect the penalty area at all costs. Covering the wider areas is of no concern, it’s the areas in and around the box that this side is concerned with. To support the bodies in the box mentality is the side having a three back in their case of formations. When they pull this one out, know it means business and that there will be very little room to manoeuvre for the opposition’s attack.

On the attack, Sweden are showing they’re much more than a one long ball over to a big centre forward type of side. Instead, they’re bringing the midfielders in to use width down the flanks, while keeping their centre forwards narrow to create plenty of bodies in the box.

UNITED STATES

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Oreos are clearly the biscuits of champions, as are the United States as they currently stand. They’ve got their traditional type of biscuit going on, in terms of the fitness, agility and strength they bring to the table. But also the middle cream is what sets the Oreo and US apart, because since 2015 this is a side who have developed tactical nous in a way previously unthought of to associate with the team.

No doubt this is a team to watch, gasp and enjoy. They know how to move the ball forward in attack. If one option doesn’t work, such as using the magician-like genius of their flying wingers, they can call upon the long ball over the top into the path of a forward behind the oppositions line of defence. However they decide to hit the ball forward will be deadly. It should really come with a caution sign attached.

Whilst their attack is pinging, unusually for a US side, their defence really relies on the tidy up of their shielding midfielder. But hey, it’s working for them.

CHILE

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Snap, crackle and pop, it’s all a surprise and there is some flipping excellent and exciting elements to their play, but it can all go to the wayside and POP at any moment if it’s not Chile’s day, much like our beloved cereal, rice bubbles.

When Chile are cranking and popping they’re a side who will press high up the park and demand any whiff of a loose ball as a goalscoring opportunity. Add on some flair, theatrics and cracking quick forwards and they can really set the field alight in the front third. For width they rely on overlapping fullbacks, however this merely means more bodies in and around the box.

If Chile wind up snapping, it’s because their defence have had a doozey and their protector of the realm in goals is forced to keep her side in the game. Expect for heads to snap and excellent goalkeeping though if Chile wind up with their backs against the wall.

 

THAILAND

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A caramel egg is hard to crack, but once cracked gooey and going everywhere. Thailand is a caramel egg. It’s going to be tough for any side to find that first goal against them, especially if they come out with a game plan of protecting the goal and fighting for every second ball. So, do they have the discipline to play to that level for an entire tournament, or will a gooey, soft centre be exposed?

It’ll be all hands on deck for Thailand to keep their opponents at bay, but don’t for one second think they hold no threat of fire power. The gooey side in attack is absolutely delicious. Brimming with pace and confidence, this is a side to be reckoned.

Essential to Thailand’s game will be their spirit to fight for every second ball and show no hesitation. This is a side who have that in their locker.

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