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Press on, Pressing Strategy

Posted March. 04, 2003 22:56,   


“Revived ‘Pressing Strategy’ will rule the future soccer world.”

This is a conclusion from `Game Content Analysis Result` report published by the Korea Sport Science Institute (KSSI) base on the 2002 Korea-Japan World cup Soccer Game.

Recently the KSSI has analyzed 64 matches of the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan and came up with a report, which contains various summation of the game contents. Only after several months since the end of the World Cup, the report was finalized. The report took such a long time to complete due to confirmation process by interpreting of video records and various information analyses for accuracy.

According to this report, the ‘Pressing Strategy’ which appeared in the 1990 Italy World Cup has made a comeback as a main strategy in the 2002 World Cup. According to observations, this trend will continue in the future.

In the 2002 World Cup, there were total of 161 goals among the 64 matches, which is an average of 2.52 goals per match. This is a lowest record in twelve years since the 1990 Italy World Cup, which has recorded an average of 2.21 goals per match. 1994 U.S. World Cup recorded an average of 2.71goals and 1998 France World Cup recorded an average of 2.67goals.

According to analysis, the reason for these low averages is due to ‘Pressing Strategy’. This is mainly a defense strategy, which requires strong physical endurance. The ‘Pressing Strategy’ is based on ‘3-5-2’ formation which emphasizes the mid-field force. This is a defense-oriented strategy popular in the 1990 World Cup. But in the later Games, a ‘4-4-2’ formation based offense-oriented strategy became more popular.

The average physique among 32 participating nation`s team members are a height of 1.81m with a weight of 76kg. It is shown that for use of ‘Pressing Strategy’ players with superior build and endurance are preferred. Due to low goal records, more matches are settled by penalty kicks. In the 2002 World Cup, five matches were settled by penalty kicks compare to 3 matches in the 1994 and 1998 World Cup.

In the preliminary 48 matches, there was a phenomenon. 60.8% of the total 79 goals were scored in the second half of the matches when players` endurance were at it`s lowest. Also due to characteristic of ‘Pressing Strategy’, all players regardless of their position can participate in the offense. This has resulted 18 goals by defense positions in the 2002 World Cup. This is a better result compare to 15 goals in 1998 and 13 goals in the 1994 World Cup.

“The new Korean National Team Head Coach, Kuellyo has announced the use of ‘Pressing Strategy’ as a main strategy. His decision is result of current observation of the world soccer trend,” says professor Shin Dong-seoung of KSSI.

Soon-Il Kwon stt77@donga.com