TCM Analysis: Spain v Germany

The game of the round before the World Cup was none other than Spain vs Germany. With 5 World Cups between them, the game didn’t disappoint in terms of a tactical battle.

Nov 28th 2022

Written by The Coaching Manual

Formation Both Teams

Spain: 1-4-1-2-3

Germany: 1-4-2-3-1


First Half Review

Billed as the game of the round before the World Cup started was none other than Spain vs Germany. With 5 World Cups between them, the game didn’t disappoint in terms of a tactical battle.

With Spain sustaining much of the possession, it was they who had the first chance, with Olmo shooting from the edge of the box for Neuer to tip it onto the bar. In the early part of the game, Spain’s transition was something to admire, not giving Germany much chance to attack on the counter-attack. 

As the game went on, Spain had the majority of the ball with Germany sustaining a high press, limiting Spain's options as they look to play in front of Germany, rarely troubling the space behind the defence. The half had some half chances for both sides, Torres and Gnabry hitting the ball wide of the mark on both occasions.

Though Spain had 68% possession of the first half, the best chance came from a disallowed Rudiger header from a free-kick, which was ruled offside. 

Coach playing under pressure like Spain in this practice:

Second Half Review 

The second half started where the first left off, with Spain maintaining lots of possession but Germany doing a good job of stifling much of the Spanish progression. 

The deadlock of the game was broken in the 62nd minute when the substitute Morata showed excellent movement into the box to get on to an Alba low cross at the front post. 

The game started to open up, with Germany looking to commit more players forward and looking to test the Spanish defence. Musiala, staying onside had a shot from a tight angle only to be saved by Simón. 

With Spain looking to kill the game and maintain possession of the ball, the Germany team kept pushing their players forward and they were rewarded in the 82nd minute with another substitute, Füllkrug, scoring his first international goal. 

As the game drew to a close, it looked like the Germans were finishing the strongest with some dangerous counter-attacking moments. However, both teams seemed to accept the point in a very good tactical battle between the international juggernauts. 

Germany looked to press Spain and force turnovers in the attacking half. Here is a small sided game to work on pressing:

Specific Strategy: Switching Play and Forward Runs


In the game, a lot of Spain’s success came from switching play, and especially in the first half forward runs to attack the full-backs' space. This was an effective move from Torres and Gavi, causing issues for Raum.

In this article and practice, coach players on how to switch play and make forward runs into the final third. 

Playing out from the Back and Possession 

Spain are famous for their positional possession and maintaining composure, especially when the ball is in the Defensive third. Though they could be adding an element of risk to the game, Spain continued to play short and almost always found a solution to the problem. 

In these practices by Steve McClaren and Mike Phelan, along with an article by Martin Hunter, learn how to pass the ball like Spain:


Spain and Germany will play their final group games on Thursday December 1st, against Japan and Costa Rica respectively.

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