Two of the best teams at the Confederations Cup, Chile and Germany, faced each other again in the final in a true battle between two vastly different football philosophies. The fast, talented and individualistic Chileans pounded the calm, individually mediocre but collective Germans for the first 30 minutes, just as in the game between them in the group stage. Nevertheless, this time Chile were unable to reap the rewards of their ruthless pressing with a goal, and ironically conceded a goal from a very simple mistake by Marcelo Diaz, a mistake that was exactly the same as Matthias Ginter's in the first game, which also cost the Germans a goal. Thus, the Germans managed to beat the Chileans with more or less the same plan and same tactics, proving collective strategy is superior to a bunch of fast, talented individuals that have been thrown together.
First of all, it was obvious that the Germans learned their lessons from the first game and they prepared themselves for the early Chilean storm this time. Unlike in the first game, there were no clumsy mistakes on the German side, they were much more alert when creating passing opportunities for their teammates and everyone had at least two passing options everywhere on the pitch. This fluency of passing allowed the Germans to prevent continuous Chile attacks, which were extremely dangerous if they found enough space and time. Jogi Löw's team narrowed the space whenever the Chileans had the ball, pushing them to play horizontally and keeping the ball away from their danger zone.
However, Chile were unable to respond to the German strategy with a different approach, and the growing frustration of the Chilean players revealed itself in occasional outbursts of temper and it was lucky for them that the new video assistant referee technology did not make the right decision at critical times. But, it was truly enlightening for me to watch Chilean players scatter in the second half as their collective organization was rendered futile against the collective German machine. Individually, almost every Chilean player performed well and at the end of the game they were beyond exhausted, but it was not enough.
Now, the question is, how come the individually superior Chile were completely dominated by Germany? In order to understand this, you have to accept that football is essentially a game in which 11 players try to create space and time for the final shot. A coach's first duty is to create tactics that develop patterns from the goal kick to the final shot, in a repeatable way. For instance, kicking the ball into the opponent's half and expecting talented players to make something of it is not coaching, but organizing every move up to the opponent's penalty box as Löw does is coaching. Just as in life, teams who know how to act together will always be better than those who do not create concrete plans. To paraphrase Gary Lineker, football is a simple game, and in the end the organized one always wins.
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