WCQ Preview: Russia versus Germany

It is the big match-up on Saturday, with one of the world’s top teams all-but-securing a pass to South Africa while the other gets relegated to the UEFA playoff and one step closer to (what would be a shocking) exclusion from next year’s World Cup.

Over at sister site Russian Football Now I have a very long, very detailed preview of the match. Do you want to know about the differences in Germany’s 4-4-2 and 4-5-1 (sometimes called a 4-3-3 over the last two months)? Or, maybe you’re interested in the virtues of Arshavin’s deployment on the left as opposed to as a traditional number ten?

This preview is not for the faint of heart. I think The Kartik Report readers will enjoy it:

Hiddink must start by assessing his team, determining if he would be making an undo sacrifice with one of the formations. Do either of the two formations, independent of what Loew does, give him an appreciably better chance of winning? it’s possible he will decide playing Arshavin as the supporting striker is clearly his team’s best formation; however, an argument can be made that Russian’s 4-4-2 is just as effective. If Hiddink does not believe that argument, we will see the hybrid 4-5-1.

If, however, Hiddink believes in both formations, he needs to evaluate what Loew is likely to do. If Loew goes with a 4-4-2, Russia should go 4-5-1, use their superior speed and skill in the midfield to control possession and tempo, exploit the greater space in midfield, and get to the suspect German back line. In this scenario, you could see Aleksandr Kerzhakov or Pavel Pograbnyak supported by Arshavin, with Vladimir Bystrov, Konstantin Zyryanov, Sergei Semak, and Diniyar Bilyaletdinov in the midfield.

You can read the whole article here, at Russian Football Now, and more broadly, please let me know if there is an audience for this level of analysis (which really isn’t particularly deep, it’s just that most outlets don’t have a tolerance for it). Jonathan Wilson from the Guardian does this often, and I wish there were other outlets for it.