Tac­ti­cal mas­ter­strokes and pos­si­ble changes Ben Strang

Nelson Mail - - SPORT -

takes a deeper look at where the All Whites out­played Peru in Welling­ton, and ex­am­ines what might change in Lima.

Smart press­ing

An­thony Hud­son was happy for Peru to have the ball on Satur­day, safe in the knowl­edge that they aren’t a side that will break down a com­pact unit.

But in al­low­ing Peru to have pos­ses­sion, he set the All Whites up to re­strict the space they could play in.

From the front, New Zealand pushed Peru to the wings, shut­ting off the mid­dle of the field where Yoshi­mar Yo­tun, Peru’s best passer, Re­nato Tapia and Chris­tian Cueva op­er­ate.

Kosta Bar­barouses and Marco Ro­jas were like sheep dogs, cut­ting off the in­side of the field and ush­er­ing Peru down the flanks. On those flanks, Peru were com­pletely in­ef­fec­tive.

Shut­ting down the wings

This was a mas­ter­stroke from Hud­son.

Once Peru played down the wings, they found a dead-end street. Their best at­tack­ing weapons, An­dre Car­rillo and Edi­son Flores, had nowhere to go.

It was the in­ge­nious po­si­tion­ing of Hud­son’s cen­tral mid­field­ers and wing­backs which caused the is­sues for Peru.

When Peru at­tacked down the right, right back Aldo Corzo would of­fer sup­port on at­tack. Thomas or Wynne would push on to him, forc­ing a ball for Car­rillo. The other man would pick up the winger, and then ex­pect sup­port from the other.

Car­rillo then had two op­tions. Try and take on two de­fend­ers, in the knowl­edge that Tommy Smith was lurk­ing in be­hind in de­fen­sive sup­port, or turn around and pass out.

With smart po­si­tion­ing and some se­ri­ous run­ning, New Zealand shut down Peru’s best at­tack­ing weapons and they barely fired a shot. What changes will be made? Ex­pect Peru to work harder on their move­ment in the final third.

Dur­ing the open­ing 30 min­utes, Car­rillo, Flores and Cueva were in al­most free roles, roam­ing the length of the pitch, and that caused New Zealand some is­sues.

Iso­lat­ing Jef­fer­son Far­fan

This was a byprod­uct of New Zealand press­ing Peru into the wide ar­eas.

Play­ing out of po­si­tion as Peru’s striker, Far­fan had a quiet game. Very sel­dom was he within 20 yards of a team-mate, and when he did get the ball he had Smith, Win­ston Reid and Michael Box­all breath­ing down his neck. What changes will be made? One of two things would ap­pear likely. Ei­ther they re­place Far­fan with a proper striker in Raul Ruidiaz, who is nick­named the Peru­vian Messi, or they play them up front to­gether.

The lat­ter would be a bet­ter op­tion if you’re try­ing to com­bat three cen­tre­backs.

All Whites pos­ses­sion

New Zealand were far from fan­tas­tic with the ball at their feet, but were given more time than usual on the ball.

Top sides usu­ally press New Zealand into mak­ing mis­takes on the ball. They lack con­fi­dence to string to­gether passes gen­er­ally, re­sort­ing to the tra­di­tional Kiwi hoof for­ward. Peru didn’t do that, though. They didn’t press high, al­low­ing New Zealand time to pick a pass.

That was with and with­out Chris Wood on the field. While Peru dealt OK with Bar­barouses play­ing a tar­get man role, as you’d ex­pect, Wood was an­other story. His size, phys­i­cal­ity and touch were all class in his cameo, and with sup­port run­ners giv­ing the holdup man sup­port, the All Whites found suc­cess in the final 15 min­utes. What changes will be made? For one, Wood is likely to start. Peru will have an­other thing to think about at the back from the start, shift­ing New Zealand’s at­tack­ing game out of neu­tral.

Ex­pect Peru to push higher and pre­vent New Zealand from hav­ing any time on the ball. They can’t re­ally shut down Wood, so they need to shut down his ser­vice.

In the process, Peru should cre­ate more goal scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. Most of their World Cup qual­i­fy­ing goals came when win­ning the ball in­side the op­po­nents’s half.

The All Whites, of course, will be more con­fi­dent in their abil­i­ties fol­low­ing their first leg draw. Ex­pect them to still hoof it for­ward, but with more con­fi­dence un­der pres­sure.

The for­ma­tion

Be­fore the game, I called for New Zealand to switch to four at the back and to have wide men up front.

Here’s the thing. When the All Whites shut down Peru’s at­tack they way they did, and Wood showed just how much of a threat he can be in just 15 min­utes on the field, for­get what I was think­ing.

Hud­son was right to play the 5-3-2 for­ma­tion. De­fen­sively, they were su­perb, and on at­tack New Zealand showed they have enough qual­ity to cre­ate chances.

Peru also lined up as ex­pected, with a 4-2-3-1 for­ma­tion. That may change for the sec­ond leg.

It would be no sur­prise to see more of a 4-4-2 for­ma­tion, with one of Cueva, Car­rillo and Flores drop­ping out for a sec­ond striker.

PHOTO: GETTY IM­AGES

Al­berto Ro­driguez and Michael Box­all com­pete for a ball.

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