The term ‘parking the bus’ has become synonymous with football games in which one team attacks and the other defends for the majority of the 90 minutes and here are five fixtures at the World Cup in Brazil that have this phenomenon written all over them.
1) Colombia v Greece
Whilst Colombia will undoubtedly be disappointed with the injury to Radamel Falcao that sees the Monaco hit man miss the tournament, they still have Porto striker Jackson Martinez and Monaco winger James Rodriguez going forward combining with Fredy Guarin in central midfield.
Colombia combine a dangerous combination of flair, pace and power in their forward ranks whilst Greece’s forwards lack pace via the likes of veterans Giorgos Samaras and Dimitris Salpingidis. They will have power in Kostas Mitroglou, but the Greek’s strength is undoubtedly in their defence. The experience of Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Vangelis Moras means they will likely be looking to stay compact and hard to break down against the Colombians.
2) Argentina v Bosnia-Herzegovina
The likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, and Angel Di Maria will likely ensure that Argentina dominate possession in this fixture and give Bosnia far too much of a scare to see them be able to mount a significant threat offensively.
The only real outlets for danger Bosnia possesses are striker Edin Dzeko and Miralem Pjanic and whilst the Manchester City striker and the Roma playmaker can certainly cause problems, I would expect Bosnia to find themselves limited to defending in their own half for much of the 90 minutes. Counter-attacks could prove their only path to beating Argentina as they are unlikely to see anywhere near a majority share of possession.
3) Argentina v Iran
For much the same reason as above, Argentina will undoubtedly have too much fire power and creativity for Iran who will, for that very reason, likely be under strict instructions to break up the play, waste time and hold firm with an organized defensive display but even then, I would expect Argentina to break through.
4) USA v Portugal
The USA will be very organized under Jurgen Klinsman who will tactically set his side out to withstand the barrage of Portugal’s attack, mainly via Cristiano Ronaldo. I full expects the Americans to gang up on the Ballon d’Or winner two or even three at a time and try to minimize his threat both on and off the ball.
The USA are very strong defensively and possess a lot of experience in their backline and will likely rely on Jozy Altidore and veteran Clint Dempsey to provide their outlet for counter attacks. The Sunderland striker will function as a target man to aim for when clearing the ball out of defence and Dempsey will likely function as a provider who will be under instruction to get forward and help him out as often as possible and break from midfield to support.
However, with Ronaldo likely being man-marked, William Carvalho. Miguel Veloso, Joao Moutinho and Raul Meireles who have several tournaments’ experience amongst them will dominate the midfield and I expect the game to be most played in the USA’s defensive half.
5) Australia v Spain
There is no doubt Australia will have some threat going forward via Tim Cahill and Josh Kennedy, both of them are a little past their peak and young winger Ben Halloran still has yet to prove himself at the top level.
However, defensively the likes of Mile Jedinak and James Holland will likely be deployed as midfield enforcers to break up Spain’s tiki-taka and interrupt their rondos wherever possible, by any and every means possible.
Spain will do what they always do – they will dominate possession, pass around their opponents until they’re dizzy, demoralized and tired and I expect this to be a very one sided match.