Let’s analyze the World Cup final between Fluminense and Manchester City, in a match with two very different playing styles, relationism vs positional play. Both teams with a good high press, the main difference was the number of players they involved in each phase of the game. Here Fluminense has 6 players to press 5 Citizens. Guardiola’s team always had 5-6 players involved in the build-up, which meant that they always had the alternative of playing long balls if they didn’t progress with short passes.

After this good press, Fluminense recovered and had one of the best attacks of the game with a quick combination that ended up being disallowed due to offside.

One of the keys of relationism is to accumulate many players close to the ball, here we see almost all of Fluminense on the left side overloading, with Man City also pressing with many players. When this occurs the idea is to take advantage of the weakness of the defense on the other side, switching the play. Marcelo’s decision is good but the execution is very poor, allowing Aké to recover.

The center back drives unopposed into the edge of the box, finishes with a great shot that hits the post and Julián Álvarez decides very well choosing his chest to score the goal.

In the second goal, we see the number of players that Diniz involved in the build-up. Practically the entire team in the first third but the ball progression wasn’t effective, having too many turnovers for the resources used in the first phase. Here the turnover occurs with Aké jumping, City recovers, Grealish with the pass to Rodri and we’ll see how the spaniard, as soon as he receives, scans around him, identifying the weakness in Fluminense’s defense.

Andre decides to jump on Rodri, leaving Foden free on his back. Rodri reads the game perfectly, great pass for the English player who finishes and takes advantage of a deflection to score.

And in the third, good counterpress with 3 players having the chance to win the ball back, Kovacic recovers, Julián Álvarez, who had made a great effort to press, runs into the box attacking space, Kovacic sees it and Foden runs through the central channel without any of the Fluminense players tracking him back, Julián Álvarez assisting Foden for the goal.

Man City became world champions without showing its best version against a Fluminense team that lacked the pace to try to win the final.

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