Monday, March 21, 2011

Azkals Strategy : The 4-2-3-1 formation

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This first appeared on March 21,2011 on the award-winning sports blog, Fire Quinito.  

News reports coming in from Myanmar, thanks to Craig Burrows, suggest that the Azkals will employ the 4-2-3-1 formation later tonight in the AFC Challenge Cup qualifiers against Myanmar. This is a more defensive variation of the 4-5-1 midfield formation. 

The projected line-up tonight would be: 






In this line-up, Simon Greatwich and Aly Borromeo essentially act as defensive midfielders to protect the back four. This grants freedom to the attacking four up front to do their business up field. This is a slight deviation of our previous formations, where only Jason de Jong was used as a defensive shield.

This is an interesting formation by Coach Weiss, no doubt influenced by the defeat to Mongolia. Ray Jonsson returns to the left-back slot where which he was very effective. Roel Gener, a versatile utility man, will start at right-back, ahead of Jason Sabio.

Anton del Rosario,no stranger to central defense, will partner Rob Gier who is back after missing the Mongolia game.

Neil Etheridge will be back on goal, and it would be a huge psychological boost for the Azkals.

Obviously, Coach Weiss is taking a very conservative and defensive approach to this game, a bit of a contrast to the attacking style he installed against Mongolia. Having two midfield shields will help deflect Myanmar’s attacks and keep the spaces in midfield tight. 

His strategy may be to absorb the pressure of Myanmar’s attacks, dispossess them of the ball, and dump to either James or Chieffy on the wings for the counter-attack.

Back to the tropics after chilling conditions in Ulan Bator, our speed should now not be compromised. Angel Guirado provides a very interesting option to the Azkals. Majority of the Azkals fans have yet to see him play, and have no idea how he can perform on the pitch. Neither do the Myanmar scouts, which is good news.

Guirado occupies the very crucial central midfield slot, where no Azkal has yet to put a stamp on since the absence of Chris Greatwich. Will Guirado be a 6’3 target man for the crosses of James and Chieffy? Or will he be able to use his size to dribble his way to the goal? We will soon find out.

With Phil Younghusband injured, the pressure is squarely on the shoulders of Ian Araneta to deliver. In the last Suzuki Cup, he came very close on many occasions to score against Myanmar. For the Azkals sake, we do hope he nicks one in today.

Aly Borromeo as a midfield anchor is a good choice, but I certainly hope Simon Greatwich is able to do the job alongside him. Jason de Jong would certainly get the nod over him if Jason were available. 

Being the literal 'away' side, this is the most suitable formation for the Azkals as this presents a 'safety first' approach to the game. How the players adapt to this continuous changing of formations remains to be seen.
Interestingly, the 4-2-3-1 formation is the very same formation Spain used to win the FIFA World Cup in 2010, with Sergi Busquets and Xabi Alonso as the midfield shield. This formation was also used by Holland, Germany, Ghana and Brazil in South Africa. Count the Azkals as one of the new converts of this formation.


  1. It seems sir that you have used the old Burmese flag. The new flag for Myanma is a horizontal yellow-green-red tricolor with a silver star in the middle.

  2. yeontura :

    Many thanks for spotting the error! It has since been corrected.
    Thanks again!