England Exploiting Set Pieces
The importance of set pieces has not been lost on the England national team at this summer’s World Cup. Manager Gareth Southgate has identified an area in which his team can exploit and, so far, it has worked very successfully for them.
As we demonstrated in a Facebook Live video here, Harry Kane scored both of England’s goals against Tunisia from a successful corner kick routine, and set pieces is something which Southgate and his coaching staff have recognised as being a key part of the game and an area they can take advantage of in Russia.
In his post-match press conference following the emphatic 6-1 victory over Panama, Southgate said: “We’ve identified them (set pieces) as key in tournaments and an element we felt we could improve upon.
“It helps if you have outstanding delivery and people who want to head the thing and we’ve got that.
“We give it the right sort of attention during training. No matter how much you control the game and possession, set plays at both ends are really important.”
The England manager has gone into great detail in this area and has spent time in America looking into basketball and American Football where set plays are a vital part of the game.
Studying and learning from NBA and NFL coaches, Southgate appears to have picked up on transferable skills on how players create space with subtle blocks, pins and the timing of runs. All underpinned by excellent deliveries.
This was perfectly demonstrated in England’s opening goal against Panama.
They also scored a goal from an excellently planned and executed free kick routine, where they capitalised on the element of surprise and by dragging defenders away from where they needed to be.
50% (four out of eight) of England’s goals at the tournament so far have come directly from set plays, while another was a penalty awarded following a corner kick.
They have done their research, meticulously planned out their routines and finally, but most importantly, the players have executed them perfectly.
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