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Swiss strategy vs. Spain was made in America

Gelson Fernandes scored the goal and Diego Benaglio produced the saves, but it was the United States that inspired the gameplan for Switzerland's 1-0 shocker over Spain on Wednesday.

Swiss Manager Ottmar Hitzfeld offered a tip of the cap to Bob Bradley and his staff.

Drawing from strategy implemented by the Americans against the Spanish at the Confederations Cup in South Africa last year, Hitzfeld devised a plan that conceded possession, clogged the middle of the park and counterattacked rapidly.

"We saw how the Americans played against Spain with a lot of interest," Hitzfeld said. "You know that if you are going to have a chance against [Spain] you need to do certain things very well. The USA did not try to do everything. They accepted the fact that Spain has pace and width and simply made sure they kept the center of defense as tight as they could. It is not a perfect system, but it was a very interesting tactic and it worked."

By Steve Goff  |  June 17, 2010; 10:11 AM ET
Categories:  2010 World Cup , Spain , U.S. men's national team  | Tags: Ottmar Hitzfeld, South Africa, Spain, World Cup  
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Next: World Cup 2010: Argentina 4, South Korea 1

Comments

Props to Bradley, but I thought the Swiss looked far better in defense. They really controlled the middle. The USA defenders were sliding all over the place in desperate attempts to block Spanish shots. The Swiss were a little better at shutting down the Spanish attack. It was a thrilling game, though -- for me, the best yet. Obviously, other teams will try to do the same to Spain. Can they do anything to punch through?

Posted by: fischy | June 17, 2010 10:17 AM | Report abuse

The Swiss were actually offside on that goal, but no one (including the Spanish) noticed.

Spain failed for not adapting their strategy. There was one play, around minute 30, where Iniesta was freed by running through -- that's what they needed to do, instead of the short passing. They needed to use their quickness to overcome the strength of Switzerland. When you have 8 defenders packed into a small space like that, there are no passing lanes or room to turn, or even shoot.

Posted by: Reignking | June 17, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

...and props to Goff, for providing this tidbit. I had figured the Swiss looked to Bradley's plan, but it looked to me as if they improved on it. On the other hand, the USA put up more goals, no?

Posted by: fischy | June 17, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Derek Rae obviously a fan of the Insider, as he announces things have gone all Pear Shaped for the Greeks...

Posted by: JkR- | June 17, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Hitzfeld should send Bradley a check, or at leeast some fine Swiss chocolate.

I'm waiting for Shaun Bartlett to say "pear shaped."

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 17, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Derek Rae obviously a fan of the Insider, as he announces things have gone all Pear Shaped for the Greeks...Posted by: JkR

If he starts over eggin' the pudding, it'll be certain.

Posted by: delantero | June 17, 2010 10:32 AM | Report abuse

Bunker Bob, a lowly American "soccer coach, influencing World football? Unthinkable. Next thing you know, a gringo will get hired to coach in the EPL.

Posted by: delantero | June 17, 2010 10:36 AM | Report abuse

This is why I wish we had a gameday thread...now all of the Greek comments are all over the place.


What's the Grecian formula to urn a win?

Posted by: Reignking | June 17, 2010 10:38 AM | Report abuse

Posts like these only further my belief that Bob Bradley is actually much more tactically astute than we, the US fans, give him credit for.

I think his results speak clearly, he knows how to defend and get results. If he coached Chelsea or Inter Milan we would be calling him the "Special One."

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 17, 2010 10:41 AM | Report abuse

If he coached Chelsea or Inter Milan we would be calling him the "Special One."

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 17, 2010 10:41 AM

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

Now THAT is over-egging the pudding...

Posted by: JkR- | June 17, 2010 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Also, brilliant dive by the Greece left back to earn the Nigerian player a straight red. Though, what was the Nigerian player doing by bring his leg up like that? If I was FIFA I would suspend the Greece player for diving. If we seriously want to end diving incidents it is necessary to punish players after the fact. I would have suspended Ronaldo too, and Eduardo's suspension in the CCL should have stayed.

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 17, 2010 10:46 AM | Report abuse

This is why I wish we had a gameday thread... >>

Agreed. Game Threads. Keep it simple.

Posted by: delantero | June 17, 2010 10:51 AM | Report abuse

I'am only half kidding. We claim the Morinho is a tactical genius in one sentence and then bash Bradley in others. Yet, Morinho's strategy for Inter's away game against Barcalona was hardly different than USA v Spain. Inter simply conceded space on the wings and dropped in deep to not allow Barcalona to penetrate in behind. The only real difference was that Inter played more of a 4-2-3-1 and Braldey deploys a 4-4-2.

Posted by: grubbsbl | June 17, 2010 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Bradley told Hitzfeld, "When you make Spam, all the pigs are not the same."

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 17, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Y'all think Michael Orozco is smiling at the Nigerian red card?

Posted by: fischy | June 17, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

What's the Grecian formula to urn a win?
Posted by: Reignking

And the ref is reaching for his pocket, only question is, what color will it be . . .

Posted by: delantero | June 17, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

@delantero: "And the ref is reaching for his pocket, only question is, what color will it be..."

Ou, zo harsh!!!

Posted by: asfoolasiam | June 17, 2010 11:13 AM | Report abuse

This thread has gone olive shaped.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 17, 2010 11:16 AM | Report abuse

you guys are cracking me up this morning

Posted by: jtk7 | June 17, 2010 11:17 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Nigeria blew the best chance of the World Cup, 3 on 1 + GK.

Posted by: delantero | June 17, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Obasi just stabbed wide with the goal, um, agape.

Posted by: asfoolasiam | June 17, 2010 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Nigeria missed a shot that was... wait for it... wait for it... easy as Pi.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 17, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Many props to Univision.com's live video. Good quality. And it's the only stream that gets by the evil computer guys.

Posted by: delantero | June 17, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Eureka.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 17, 2010 11:30 AM | Report abuse

Nigeria missed a shot that was... wait for it... wait for it... easy as Pi. Posted by: I-270Exit1

The puns continue from antiquity . . ad infinitum

Posted by: delantero | June 17, 2010 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Yet another keeper fumble results in a goal...

Posted by: asfoolasiam | June 17, 2010 11:32 AM | Report abuse

Enyeama might have just blown a huge Euro contract...

Posted by: fischy | June 17, 2010 11:33 AM | Report abuse

Nigeria's missed chance is surely a tragedy.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 17, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

@I-270Exit1: Their inability to finish is their Achilles' heel.

Posted by: asfoolasiam | June 17, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

This thread has gone olive shaped.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 17, 2010 11:16 AM |

----------------------------------------------------------

When you're making olive oil, not all the olives are the same shape.

Posted by: fischy | June 17, 2010 11:38 AM | Report abuse

The USA, killing good, attractive soccer since 2009 (c)(tm).

Posted by: Boogie_Knight | June 17, 2010 11:39 AM | Report abuse

@Boogie_Knight: The US's second goal in the final against Brazil was about as gorgeous a counterattacking goal as I've seen since that Bergkamp goal against Newcastle.

Posted by: asfoolasiam | June 17, 2010 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: asfoolasiam | June 17, 2010 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Enyeama might have just blown a huge Euro contract...
Posted by: fischy
=============

Only if the league uses adidas balls.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | June 17, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

Well, then he's blown a modest MLS contract.....

I guess it falls to me to point out to all you sons of Greece that this is a marathon....

Posted by: fischy | June 17, 2010 11:58 AM | Report abuse

ESPN's headline: Greece lightning. Yawn. I think they need to hire us.

Posted by: Reignking | June 17, 2010 12:09 PM | Report abuse

I can't recall a European manager ever crediting the US game tactics. I would say the Swiss did defend a bit better than we did against Spain, but the speed of our counter-attacks exposed a weakness in the Spanish side: their midfielders do not run back with as much pace as they run forward. The back four of Spain are quality, but again they are not the fastest defenders in the world. Congratulations to the Swiss for a great plan and being part of a great game.

Posted by: rcdwriting | June 17, 2010 12:49 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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