FIFA World Cup 2018: Each Quarter-Finalist's Major Weakness
The World Cup 2018 quarter-finals are here and we are at a point in the competition where any weakness is magnified. This was clear in the Round of 16 as the weaknesses of several teams were exposed mercilessly. Argentina’s weak defence was torn apart by Kylian Mbappe, Switzerland could not get a goal from Haris Seferovic and Spain’s lack of a Plan B proved fatal against Russia.
All of those weaknesses led to those teams being knocked out in the Round of 16. Others (like those of teams below) managed to advance despite their flaws. So what are the weaknesses of some of the teams that made the quarter-finals?
France: Inability to Break Down a Deep Defense
This really should not be a ‘weakness’ for the Les Blues as they arguably have the best attacking talent of anyone in the competition with the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Lemar, Paul Pogba and Ousmane Dembele. However, Didier Deschamps has chosen to be conservative with his tactics: playing defensive midfielder Blaise Matuidi as a left-winger and preferring Oliver Giroud instead of more dynamic players.
This has led to a situation where France struggle to break down defenses which sit deep. They only managed to score two against Australia (with one being an own goal), one against Peru and none against Denmark. Even against Argentina, two of their four goals came as a result of counter-attacks while Benjamin Pavard’s goal won’t be repeated any time soon. Overall in the group stages, France only took 3% of their shots within the 6 yard box tied for eighth-least among teams in the tournament. This suggests an inability to break down defenses.
What makes this so worrying for France is that they are about to face one of the best defensive teams in the tournament: Uruguay. The South American team likes to sit deep and thus France’s attack may struggle in the game.