There are certain teams in the history of football that just stand out from the rest. These teams largely change from person to person, but there’s always a few that are in everyone’s. For me those teams are the Holland 1974 team (my favourite, but unfortunately impossible to recreate on the FM match engine), Pep’s Barca side in 2010, the 1970 Brazil side, and the Brazil 1982 side. Until a week or so ago, I’d never actually seen a full game of the ’82 Brazil team, but as is modern culture, I’d seen an abundance of videos, as well as documentaries of the players involved in the side, particularly Zico. I used to regularly try to recreate historical tactics on Football Manager (I had particular success recreating Catenaccio and Le Carre Magique on FM11), but it’s been something I’ve avoided on more recent versions, using elements of historical tactics I like within my own tactical framework.
However, this has changed lately, and it’s started to interest me again. Undoubtedly, this is because of @Cleon81’s fantastic series looking at the famous 1970 Brazil side, and attempting to recreate it on FM15. It’s well worth a read at his blog sisportscentre.com. I also think this would be an interesting series for the blog, and perhaps something I can keep on doing if people are interested by it. I’m very much in-between saves at the moment, and a tactical challenge will give me plenty to do whilst I find the inspiration again. I also hope it will be interesting for people to see how I develop a tactic, how I plan it out, and get it working how I want it to. I’ll be using Santos for this project, a club that have a fantastic young squad with an awful lot of potential, and that can fit the style of play. If you haven’t had a save with them yet on FM15, I’d highly recommend them.
I will confess before I continue that I’ve already been developing this tactic. I wanted to make sure that it was something achievable first before I wrote about it and never continued the series. However, it’s not the finished article by any means, and I’ll still take you through my thought process and the stages I’ve gone through to get to this point.
Firstly, I think it’s important to go through the style of play, and then I’ll later go through the players, and try to examine what type of player they were, and what roles I can use on FM15.
In terms of ‘team instructions’, well, there weren’t really any. Brazil coach Tele Santana was very much from the Mario Zagallo 1970 school of sticking your best players in the same team and letting them play. It worked in 1970, so why wouldn’t it work in 1982? Unfortunately it didn’t, but this team is remembered as possibly the best team to never win the World Cup (I’ll always say this was Holland 1974, but they’re my all time favourites).
This was the typical ‘Brazilian Way’, perhaps the last side to truly play in that way. Flamengo, who made up a portion of the side, were said to play like they were dancing, and when you see them play, that’s very understandable. The tempo looks rather slow in comparison to today, but that’s because of the lack of modern style pressing. The ball flows very easily from player to player, and there’s a lot of fluidity, with players moving out of their positions. They do keep the ball, but it certainly isn’t the modern style of retaining possession, and the ball does move forward fairly positively. The team also did feature a large number of good long range shooters in Zico, Falcao, Eder and more, but there is a conscious attempt to work the ball forward towards the box. The team was given a bucketload of creative freedom by Santana, because he felt that instructions limited the ability of the players to create chances. As a tactician, I have to disagree with this, but there’s certain instructions I believe I can use without limiting the creativity of my players, and some I can select to actively encourage it. Very Brazilian.
Here’s the particular instructions I have in mind:
- be more expressive
- roam from positions
- work ball into box
- retain possession
These are fairly self explanatory for the style I need to play. I need to allow my players the creative freedom to move around and utilise their natural creativity, much like the ’82 Brazil side did. Therefore, ‘be more expressive’ and ‘roam from positions’ are obvious. The team kept the ball well and utilised possession, so team instructions like ‘retain possession’ and ‘work ball into box’ are needed. I need to see the team patiently working the ball forward towards the box, and hopefully these instructions should yield the style of play I’m looking for. More instructions will obviously be added to this (and already have), but these are the key ones for this style of play.
Now, the fun bit. Let’s look at the formation, how the team set out, and how this can be applied to FM15 in terms of player roles.
It’s a 4-2-2-2 box (old The Dugout members shrivel up at the mention of ‘box’), with very attacking full backs, a midfield square made up of four playmakers in Cerezo, Falcao, Socrates and Zico, and two strikers up top in Eder and Serginho. Eder is usually described as moving out to the left wing within this formation. It looks very rigid really, but it couldn’t be more the opposite. All of the players move fluidly around and interchange, leaving defenders clueless.
In order to do this project, I’ve watched a lot of the 1982 team. I’ve watched the group games and friendlies before and after the tournament. It’s been glorious watching and no hardship at all. However, I will say one thing:
What you can see on the right is utter rubbish. That is not the formation that they played. I think the formation is more like what you can see below:
I guess you could call it an asymmetrical 4-2-3-1. I largely disagree with those who say Eder moves out to become a winger, I just think he is a winger. Yes, he gets forward plenty and scored goals, but he spends almost all of his time out on the left wing, acting as a very typical winger. When you look at his performances for his club side Atletico Mineiro, he acts in the same way too.
Socrates also plays slightly deeper than Zico, and probably roams more than anyone in the team. At times, he would pop up next to Falcao and Cerezo, and then other times he’d be right up there with Zico. Largely though, I think he’s a hyper attacking central midfield playmaker, giving balance(ish) to the side, sitting slightly deeper than Zico, and combining with Leandro when needed down the right flank, which is left to Leandro to bomb on and cross.
Falcao plays slightly higher up than Toninho Cerezo, but both are undoubtedly playmakers. As you can see, I’m going to have to fit 4 playmaker roles into that midfield diamond/square shape. This should be interesting.
So, which roles am I going to use? Well, I’m going to go through player by player and say which role I’m going to be giving them, and then at the end I’ll show you the formation in full on FM15 with Santos.
Peres – Goalkeeper (Defend)
- This is fairly standard. Peres wasn’t a sweeper keeper type, and he wasn’t really that good at goalkeeping. He would usually pass the ball out to the defenders if he could, so I’ll be asking him to do this in order to aid ball possession too.
Leandro – Complete Wing Back (Attack)
- Again, fairly self-explanatory. Leandro was in the typical Brazilian full backs mould and would bomb on down the right flank. Bearing in mind he has the entire flank to himself, I’ll need him to be very attacking as well, and needs to be a high quality player to play this role.
Oscar and Luizinho – Central Defender (Defend)
- Again, very standard. They weren’t great defenders, and they’ll just be left as CD-D’s. Neither were really a ‘stopper’ or cover man. They’re just there to do very simple jobs – get the ball to the attacking players.
Junior – Complete Wing Back (Attack)
- Much like Leandro, Junior bombed on down the left flank, providing plenty of attacking support. If I had the choice, I’d probably have this role on ‘support’, but for the sake of recreating Brazil ’82, I need to select ‘attack’.
Cerezo – Deep-Lying Playmaker (Defend)
- As I said above, Cerezo generally stayed deeper than Falcao, but was himself a wonderful playmaker. He often gets remembered for the pass that allowed Paolo Rossi to score in that famous game, but he was far more than that. Elegant, creative and a good tackler on top of that. DLP-D seems the best role not only to recreate Cerezo, but also to balance the side.
Falcao – Regista (Support)
- Here’s where things get interesting, and just a touch attacking. Falcao’s movement is somewhat open to interpretation (you could say Roaming Playmaker), but he starts very deep alongside Cerezo, but moves up higher than him. In the bigger matches, he tends to stop just outside the box ready to unleash his fantastic long range shooting. Therefore, Regista seems more fitting. I’ll also not be telling him to shoot less often, like I usually would with a Regista.
Eder – Winger (Attack)
- Like I’ve said above, I think Eder is the classic attacking winger, and therefore this role selection is pretty obvious. I’ll need this role to provide us with width down the left, and bag a few goals hopefully too.
Socrates – Advanced Playmaker (Attack)
- This was probably the hardest role to decide. I’d been discussing this with Cleon and he suggested using two Trequartista’s, but on testing this didn’t work at all, so I went back to the drawing board. In the end, I decided on an Advanced Playmaker on an ‘attack’ duty, with instructions to ‘Roam From Position’ which will hopefully get him moving all over the pitch like Socrates did.
Zico – Trequartista (Attack)
- This one was certainly a no brainer. Zico was a fantastic goalscorer and creative player, and is arguably the 2nd most loved player in Brazilian history after Pele. I’ll need this role to almost do everything in an attacking sense. Score goals, create goals, and be our talisman. I’m not expecting much. Trequartista seems to be the best role for this.
Reinaldo – Deep-Lying Forward (Support)
- No, I’m not going blind. If you have ever watched the 1982 Brazil side, one thing stands out like a sore thumb – Serginho. Possibly the most useless striker in a good team I’ve ever seen, he just doesn’t fit in. He’s a big lump of a man, and all that I could use would be TM-S, which I’ve heard doesn’t work well on FM15. Therefore, I’ve got a backup option. Serginho wouldn’t have got anywhere near the side had Reinaldo or Careca been fit, and I believe Reinaldo will be the best fit for the tactic itself. Reinaldo played for Mineiro with Cerezo and Eder, and was exactly the kind of striker I like. He’d drop deep, move the play wide before moving into the box. He was fantastic from all the footage I’ve seen of him, and it’s a shame he wasn’t fit. I apologise for this little change, but I don’t want to ruin the style by utilising a Serginho clone upfront.
So, how will this all fit into FM15?
Well here it is in all it’s glory on the right. As you can see all the roles are as they were above. This still certainly needs work, but this is how it stands currently a little bit of the way through the State Championship.
Eder generally does very little when defending, but does move deeper than Zico, so I’ve put his role at ML for now to aid with ball movement and defensive shape. The Socrates role was a difficult one, but he’s at CM for now with instructions to roam and get further forward. This role still will need some work, which you’ll see when I do some analysis on this tactic. The Socrates role being at Central Midfield tends to provide us with the best passing as we move forward though, and Socrates did sit deeper than Zico as the ball moved forward (usually through him).
As you can see, we’ve now got that odd asymmetric diamond/square shape to our midfield, with the Regista sitting further up, and moving quite high up the pitch. Combine that with the Eder role, and we’ve got a good shape, with our right flank being our only real weakness. But hey, the Brazil 1982 team was hardly strong defensively! The idea is to score more than the opposition, and do it playing beautiful football. Hopefully we can do that.
The next post will look at one of the matches we’ve played with this shape. I’ll analyse what’s going well, what needs to be tweaked, and where we play like the 1982 Brazil side. This certainly isn’t the finished article yet. I hope you’ve enjoyed reading, and as always please ask any questions you may have.