Fabio Capello says Spain has been found out and believes there is now a clear blueprint for success against Vicente Del Bosque's men.
The Russia coach believes the 'tiki-taka' style employed by the reigning world and European champion is no longer as effective, insisting the constantly evolving game will bring about new innovations in the years to come.
“I think Italy showed the way in the semifinals [of the Confederations Cup],” he told FIFA.com. “They played with three defenders and that unsettled the Spanish, mainly because they closed down the space in midfield, fought hard for possession and avoided playing long balls.
“That’s why Spain suffered and it allowed other coaches to see how they might be beaten. It was an innovation back then, when the custom was for forwards not to do any pressing. Obviously things have changed a lot and everyone does it now. In the modern game it’s virtually impossible to win if you don’t.
The Italian then gave his thoughts on the evolution of traditional formations and explained how tactics have altered in the space of just a few years.
“I also think it’s a little absurd that people still talk about 4-3-3, 4-4-2 and all that. To my mind the modern formation is 9-1," he added.
“You’ve got nine who defend and nine who attack. You need to have a block of players, even when you’re on the attack. You can’t have a team occupying an area of 40 or 50 meters. You just don’t see that any more. These days you have to be compact, with everyone in a maximum of 20 or 30 meters.”
Capello also believes that technological developments - with the global scouting of sides and performance analysis departments within teams - mean that less gifted sides have an even more difficult chance of success.
“The fact you can study how the game’s played all over the world has given coaches the chance to inform themselves and play a very tactical game," he said. "It’s difficult to win now if you don’t have very good players. Look at the first half of the Confederations Cup semifinal between Brazil and Uruguay, which was very tactical, with hardly any space anywhere. Both sides knew exactly what the other was going to do.
“It seems that these days, like the Italian journalist Gianni Brera said, ‘the perfect game is 0-0’."
Capello went on to describe the evolution of the game as he sees it.
"There have been three revolutions in recent football history," he said. "In the 1970s there was Ajax with their high offside line and pressing game. Then in the 1980s and 90s there was Milan, and now there’s Barcelona, who’ve shown how to keep the ball and how to win it back aggressively when they lose it. As we’ve seen, when people study these innovations and get a command of them, then you start to see new developments taking place.
“You get these revolutions every 15 years more or less. The Barcelona one happened not so long ago so I think we’ll have to wait a little longer to see how things turn out.”
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