In this week’s Backpage, footy writer and FIFA fan Darren Cross looks at the new strongest line-ups and tactics for the teams in Groups C and D…
With big players like Carles Puyol and David Silva missing out on the tournament for Spain, as well as exciting new additions like The Ox for England, plenty has changed for the teams in Groups C and D following the recent UEFA Euro 2012 squads update.
This week we’ll look at how I set those teams up now to work best in online and offline tournament mode. If you missed the original Team Guides for C & D, you can find them here:
There are two big changes to my original Spanish line-up.
Puyol missed the tournament through injury so he was cut from the in-game squad following the update, which means a reshuffle of my defence. I have Ramos and Pique as the two centre-backs now, but drop Arbeloa as the default RB and replace him with Juanfran, who is faster.
I also bring in Fernando Torres at the expense of Llorente. Pre-update I was using Llorente and playing a crossing game to take advantage of his heading ability, but post update I’ve played Torres and looked to mix things up between through passes and crosses, which has worked well.
Other than that I stick with the 4-3-3 and original line-up I was using…
There’s some work to do with Italy – I make four changes to my line-up from the original Group C guide. The squad is still short on wide players so I stick with my narrow 4-1-2-1-2(2) and start at the back, swapping Maggio out for Abate at RB and staying with the default Balzaretti at LB. I used to play Criscito there but he didn’t make Italy’s squad.
In the middle of the defence I replace Bonucci with Ogbonna, who I prefer as he’s quicker. If you do this then you’ll have two left footers at centre-back in Ogbonna and Chiellini, so keep that in mind when you’re in possession with them.
The final change is to bring Di Natale in next to Balotelli. Pre-update I partnered Balo with Pazzini, but he’s not in the squad and I like the speed and finishing ability Di Natale brings to the team anyway.
Here’s my new Italy starting XI…
CDM De Rossi
LS Di Natale
There are only two changes to my Ireland line-up and the first one is enforced – Seamus Coleman didn’t go to Euro 2012 so isn’t in the squad after the update, which means Stephen Kelly plays at RB for me.
I also bring in James McClean at LM and drop Stephen Hunt to the bench. There’s hardly anything in it but I now prefer McClean’s height and his extra star for skill moves.
I stick with the 4-1-2-1-2(1), which means my team now looks like this…
It’s mainly the defence that I have to change with Croatia, following the update. I bring Strinic in at LB now and shift Vida back to RB. There’s no Lovren so Corluka plays as my RCB and I have Buljat at LCB instead of Simunic, who’s so slow in the game he appears to be running in treacle.
My midfield stays the same but up front I now select Mandzukic to partner Eduardo, as Olic isn’t in the squad. As before, you have plenty of choice for your strike partnership with players like Jelavic and Kalinic also in the squad. Personally I’ve got on well with Mandzukic so I start with him and bring on Jelavic late game.
Here’s my Croatia line-up…
I stay with my favoured 4-1-2-1-2(1) with Ukraine and make a few defensive changes before kicking off with them.
My goalkeeper – Sokolski – has gone but his replacement Platko is decent, so no real loss there. My original right-back Fedirskyi also didn’t make it, so I pick Boiko as my new RB. In the centre of defence I select Kokkali ahead of Kachar because, at 6ft 7in, he’s a beast in the air.
This is the team that works best for me when I play as the co-hosts…
My Swedish line-up is completely unchanged and I’m still enjoying using them as much as ever.
The trusted 4-1-2-1-2(1) definitely suits them and there’s a good spine to the side with Mellberg and Safari at the back, Kallstrom and Larsson in the middle, and Zlatan up front.
Here’s the unchanged team…
The French squad has changed a fair bit since the update, but one thing I do keep the same is the formation, because I still feel the 4-1-2-1-2(1) I was using with them works best.
Lloris stays in goal and I also stick with Reveillere ahead of Debuchy at RB, but only just. In the middle there’s no Sakho, so I play Mexes at RCB with Koscielny at LCB. Clichy is in the squad now and he’s much quicker than Evra, so he’s my new LB.
Midfield stays the same but I’m forced to pick a new partner for Benzema up front, as there’s no Remy. I go with Giroud because I like to play a lot of crosses with France and he’s devastating in the air, but I should point out that he does feel quite sluggish on the ball, so he won’t be the best choice for everyone’s style. If you like more pace then Menez is an option, but his Finishing stinks.
So here’s my new France starting XI…
There’s one change for my England team and it’s an exciting one; The Ox comes in at LM in place of Downing. I usually like to keep left-footed players on the left and right-footed players on the right, but Oxlade-Chamberlain feels too good to leave out. Plus he has a 4* weak foot, so he’s fine at LM.
Here’s my line-up…
Okay, that wraps up this week’s Backpage and my UEFA Euro 2012 guide series. As always, thanks for reading and hopefully I’ll see you back here next week.
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