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OC11 Tactical Analysis Of Three Top Level European Football Teams Counterattack — A Mixed Method Approach
  1. H Sarmento1,2,
  2. MT Anguera3,
  3. A Pereira1,
  4. J Campaniço4,
  5. R Resende2,
  6. J Leitão4
  1. 1Polytechnic Institute of Viseu, Centre for the Study of Education, Technologies and Health, Portugal
  2. 2University Institute of Maia, Portugal
  3. 3University of Barcelona, Spain
  4. 4Department of Observation, UTAD, Portugal


This study aimed to detect and analyse regular patterns of play in the counterattack of football teams, through the combination of the sequential analysis technique and interviews to first League Portuguese coaches. A mixed method design (QUAL/QUAL) was used. In a first stage 36 games (12 per team) of the Barcelona (BA), Inter Milan (IM) and Manchester United (MU) teams were encoded using the observational instrument developed by Sarmento et al. (2010), and the data analysed trough the SDIS-GSEQ software. Based on the detected patterns, semi-structured interviews were carried out to 8 expert high-performance football coaches and data were analysed through the content analysis technique (Nvivo9). In total, 245 counterattack sequences were observed. The MU performed significantly more counterattacks (X2(2) = 36.8; p = 0.00). The analysis of the results concerning the start of the offensive process (OP) through ball recovery possession by the goalkeeper has allowed to verify that there is a similar tendency in the MU and BA teams, that developed these sequences through the central (Z ≥1.96) and right side zones of the defensive midfielder, by the execution (MU) of the forward pass (Z = 2.00), or technical actions (BA) such as dribble (Z = 2.47) and conduction of the ball (Z = 2.71). In BA team, the shot with goal scored is activated by the crossing (Z = 2.82) and by the high (Z = 3.05) diagonal pass. Contrary to what happens with the other teams, the goal tends to be activated by the zones 8 and 11. Through the performed content analysis we could observe that coaches interpret these play patterns based their opinions, mainly, in tactical-strategic and tactical-technical aspects, and in the characteristics of the players on those teams. The potential in the combination of these types of analysis are evident because it allows detecting and analysing regular patterns of play which assume a practical application to coaches, but also because the content analysis which resulted from the interviews, has allowed complementing this approach with the know-how of the experts in the field.

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