The Influence of Sliding Tackles on Italian National Team Defense -Game Analysis on Italian National Team in the Second Round of the 2006 FIFA World Cup-

Shigeru Sekine, Kouzou Ogawa and Yoshimi Nakatsuka

[Received September 3, 2007 ; Accepted September 2, 2008] 

Soccer is played with the aims of scoring goals while preventing the opponent from scoring goals. Today's soccer exhibits advanced techniques, speedy performances, and quick switches between attack and defense. In order to score goals, players are required not only to formulate systemic defense tactics but also to acquire sliding tackle skills. In the 2006 World Cup, the Italian team conceded only 2 goals throughout the tournament and won the title. These 2 goals resulted from an own goal and a PK, not from their failure in defense. Focusing on their defense capability, this study aimed to clarify the effect of Italy's sliding tackle skills on their defense in the second round through the analysis of their games using the methodology employed by Sekine et al., (2008). The Italian team calmly judged the situation of their opponents and the run of the game and chose suitable areas and timing for attempting sliding tackles, and effective ways to put pressure on the key players of the opposing team. Not individually but as a unified team, they systematically formed a block against their opponents and performed steady risk management by making multiple players move simultaneously for the sake of covering. Immediately after making a sliding tackle, the player would move on to the next performance, which often resulted in making a pass (purposeful sliding tackle).Though sliding tackles are essential for strengthening defense, any failure of sliding tackles in the penalty area, the vital area, can result in allowing the opponent to make a penalty kick/ free kick and can involve a high risk of conceding a goal. It is important to acquire good sliding tackle skills and to carry out purposeful sliding tackles (aimed at making a shot or sending the ball to a dribble/ pass course).

Keywords: Sliding Tackle, Game Analysis, Defense, 2006 FIFA World Cup, Italy National Team, 2nd Round

[Football Science Vol.6, 24-33, 2009]