Tactical Analysis: England 1-0 Spain | De Zerbi’s influence on the champions | Euro U21

England beat Spain in the Euro Under-21 final with a game plan that shows De Zerbi’s influence. 4-2-4 shape with the midfielders very close with a heavy emphasis on playing out from the back, taking advantage of the good technical quality of the team.

Spain tried to counter it with the highest press they used in the entire tournament. The central midfielders jumping on the double pivot of England and the defensive line going out of position to chase their marks. 

The solution for England was in long balls, with the midfielders not touching the ball, finding Gordon in plays like this, being superior to his defender in the duel, with Spain unable to stop these actions throughout the game.

The best solution for Spain was to have possession, with the classic 4-3-3, England defending in a mid block in 4-4-2 in which the key was Cole Palmer jumping to press.

The main resource to progress for Spain during the tournament was Miranda and the attacking midfielders. England avoided it with Palmer always blocking the passing lane between Pacheco and Miranda, as well as Gomes and Curtis Jones being close to Baena and Sancet so they couldn’t receive to build the play.

In the second half, Santi Denia made a tactical change, placing Sergio Gómez on the right wing. In that area, England didn’t press the centre back, allowing the Man City player to receive the ball and play 1 on 1. He did so, drifting inside or appearing in inner areas to put in good crosses or find teammates attacking the space to give them a pass to finish the play.

In the last minutes we saw Sergio Gómez dropping down to receive in the middle of the pitch to build-up, showing leadership. Spain missed a penalty in stoppage time.

England’s goal came from 2 individual mistakes. The first by Alex Baena who lost the ball after a poor first touch that started the attacking transition and ended with Palmer dribbling, getting the free kick scored by Curtis Jones.

England won the European Championship after winning its 6 games without conceding a single goal.

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