Lars Lagerback: I can handle Argentina.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Lars Lagerback
By Kazeem Busari

Super Eagles coach Lars Lagerback has said he is not scared of facing Argentina in their group game of the South Africa 2010 World Cup on June 12.

In a video interview posted on, the Swede talked about his favourite formation, Argentina's weaknesses and ways of tackling the reigning World Player of the Year Lionel Messi, who is expected to pose the greatest threat to Argentina's opponents at the World Cup.

He said, "Argentina are more likely to play the 3-4-3 formation as they did in 2002. This formation originated from the Netherlands but it is flawed because the defence will be weak and each time the team loses the ball, the players rush back to defend.

"I never like to play it because you need to have really skilful players to play like that.

"The 4-5-1 is good but it is dependent on a lone striker possessing good heading ability who is capable of holding the ball up and running tirelessly. It is easier to defend the ball because you have nine players behind the ball.

"To combat a creative midfielder, especially when faced with someone like Zinedine Zidane, the closest player is expected to mark as fast as he can but must not be beaten. He doesn't necessarily have to win the ball but must face force him to pass.

"If you play against a more offensive midfielder like Ronaldinho or Messi, the philosophy is the same. Such a player is known as a shadow striker and we must have the cooperation of the defensive line and the defensive midfielder (to mark him out).

"I have a rule that the closest defender to the playmaker must move in as fast as possible to pressure while the other three cover for him. The defensive midfielder must fall back to assist in pushing the opponents out."

Although Lagerback loves spoke favourably of his diamond formation, suggesting he might adopt at the World Cup.


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