the transition

Image: Mike


The most common error in the transition is fear, more precisely the fear of launching the attack and taking the ball in the back

"Football is very simple: whoever has the ball attacks; who does not have defends” (Neném Prancha, former Botafogo manager, former beach soccer coach and philosopher of the ball).

In football, the transition begins exactly when you win the opponent's ball and start an offensive action. Experts say that the first task of the transition is to get the ball out of the pressure zone. The time taken for this procedure depends a lot on the team's style of play, since some prefer to quickly go on a counterattack, like Atlético de Madrid, while others opt for a slower construction, like Barcelona, ​​reorganizing the team to only then attack, which can lead the opposing team to recover.

Here it is good to clarify that just passing the ball to the other side of the field does not characterize an offensive transition, it can simply be getting rid of the ball, for example, through a kick, as usually happens with smaller teams under pressure.

The virtue of the counter-attack is to catch the opponent still defensively disorganized and some of their defensive players out of position. It can greatly facilitate the efficiency of the counterattack to reversals of play, as didactically happened in two goals from the Netherlands, in which the wingers served their teammate on the opposite side.

Machiavelli, coach of Florence, advised that the best way to secure the conquered field is to destroy any ability to react in your opponent, so he never stopped when winning a goal to manage an advantage. Serbia believed they had killed the game against Cameroon when they were leading three to one, but suffered a surprising reaction from the Africans, who ended up tying the game in two very fast counterattacks.

An efficient transition depends not only on a good defensive system, but fundamentally on a good midfield, with articulators capable of quickly activating their attackers. In Brazil, for example, the deadliest move is the one that discovers your well-placed left winger and triggers him.

The most common mistake in the transition is fear, more precisely the fear of attacking and taking the ball from behind, opening the space for the reaction of the opponent who seemed defeated. Driven by fear, the team tends to be very conservative, withdrawing and thus opening up space for reaction.

The catastrophe occurs, however, experts say, when a team that achieves an advantage, inadvertently believes that it can count on its team with players from its opponent. We all know that a good team starts with a good defense. So, imagine if you choose that defender who, until now, was defending the other team, hoping that he would give you confidence or gain the support of the opposing crowd. Doesn't seem like a good proposition.

Speaking of fans, we must emphasize that it has its importance. It's not just about sitting around passively watching the game. A team that trusts only in the impartiality of the referee and in the sports ethics of its opponents, and does not call its fans to play together, more concerned with responding to the opposing fans than encouraging their own, normally, when they need it, the fans will turn your back, when not, change teams.

The same coach from Florence mentioned here said that if you win the game with the support of the fans and on your own merits, you must fight to maintain this support, now if you win with the goodwill of the judges, the VAR or the regulations – there are teams in Brazil who are very good at it – according to the Florentine, they should seek to regain support from the fans to play together.

It is not sporting to make agreements of convenience, like Germany and Austria in the 1982 World Cup, known as the game of shame, in which the victory of one to zero for the Germans also classified Austria, taking out of the dispute Algeria and Chile. It's not pretty.

In transition, it is always good to emphasize that you are playing against another team and not with them. The opponent is there to stop you from reaching your goal and will do anything to make you lose the game. As we've said many times before, when you don't have a tactical plan and strategic clarity, you end up being part of the enemy's strategy.

You can have a great tactic, like Spain's ingenious touch that results in massive possession, but the goal is still to score. The one who spends the whole game making passes, at the time of the penalty, may be tempted to give a pass to the opposing goalkeeper. Long live Morocco.

Finally, the transition is just a moment. You have to decide if you're going to go on the offensive or hold on to the result, if you're going to play nice and with the fans or you're going to play bureaucratic football playing with the rules under your arm and waiting for the next game. But we are sure of one thing: it is impossible to please both fans.

Well, I hope I helped. Just to remember: everyone knows that Brazil's best chance is to play on the left.

* Mauro Luis Iasi He is a professor at the School of Social Service at UFRJ and a member of the Central Committee of the PCB. Author, among other books, of The metamorphoses of class consciousness (popular expression).

Originally published on Boitempo's blog.

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