lunedì 2 giugno 2014

Australia fitness work is a key

When it comes to under dog teams entering into a World Cup tournament, fitness and tactics have to be the main points of concern. While tactical aspects of Ange Postecoglou’s team has been highly scrutinized, Australia’s physical condition is a point still needed to be stressed. Not that a correlation between them doesn’t exist. In fact, playing offensively  requires a lot of energy which means that team fitness needs to be at the top. This is the case for Postecoglou’s squad as the new head coach supplanted his predecessor obsession for two defensive banks of four with a more attacking-oriented 4-2-3-1 formation. Truth is that coach’s favorites playing guidelines will be hardly put on the pitch as will face three attacking, ball dominating teams as Chile, Holland and Spain into the group stage. So Australia is expected to defend strongly and play on the counter attack. The way in which they will do it would play a huge role in changing the expectations that predict Australians unable to progress from this group. Postecoglou's major adjustment will be to ask his side to don’t site too deep in their own final third of the pitch. The challenge for Australia is to close down their opponents as high as possible, in the way to break their buildup, denying them the chances to play easy passes and favoring Australian designed counterattacking play. Being proactive in reactive play should be Postecoglou’s approach. It doesn’t mean parking the bus but to build a defensive structure able to force other sides into ordinary and interceptable sideways passes. They need to put them under constantly pressure. And they need of a strong fitness base to do it. For Australia, have a chance at making a run into the World Cup means to be fit.  This is the reason why Postecoglou added fitness guru Andrew Young to his coaching staff. Young, a former conditioning coach in EPL, is an expert in sports science. Young’s methods are expected to have an impact on the players’ fitness and it could made the difference between to be competitive or to go down yielding. On the field, training sessions was pushed high with Postecoglou and Young often splitting the players into small areas to play extensive small sided games requiring heavy pressure and quick movements. This is the kind of work Australians are doing in the way to try to survive in a group where they will probably be without the ball for a long spell of time. Whether this will be enough to achieve team’s goals remains to be seen.

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