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The pretty sad thing for Santos in the Club World Cup final is that nearly every goal could have been prevented if the center backs could clear the ball. However that did not happen and as we know FC Barcelona went on to defeat the Brazilian club 4-0. This is a little look into just where Barca attacked from, how the goals were created, and where the shots from the players came from.

If you watched the final you know that Messi and Xavi ran the show. Now here is a little look into just how much.

Shots from FC Barcelona in the 1st half of the CWC final

red = shot on target
blue = shot off target
orange = shot on target but more of a cross

My view of shots and the view of FIFA and others is slightly different as you can tell. FIFA stats only had Barca with 6 shots on target for the entire match. That is just impossible if you go back and watch again.

Messi lead the way with 3 shots on target in the 1st half. However one of the shots was more of a chip to find a player so if you wish Messi had 2 shots on target and 1 off target. One of the shots was his goal from Xavi. That essentially means that Messi scored on 33% of his shots at the goal in the 1st half. Here is a look at the first goal of the match from Messi...

It's important to note here that the Santos defender did get a foot to Xavi's ball to Messi once again bringing up the point that Santos did have a chance to clear the ball and prevent this movement from happening.

The second goal of the match was perhaps the most impressive. Not just because it was Xavi that scored but that it showed just how influential Messi can be without touching the ball. Goals such as this go into showing how much respect Leo gets when going forward.

Even in this image you can see just how much Messi draws the defenders leaving room for other players to attack. In many ways the secret to the attack of Barca is more about the movement of players than the movement of the ball from a pass.

The 3rd goal of the half was a class in how not to defend. While the movement once again from Barca was incredible this goal is more about not clearing the ball when you have the chance.

Messi staying up instead of going down does allow for more space for Thiago and Cesc to get into the box. However none of this would have been a problem if Santos could clear the ball.

Unsung hero of the 1st half

While I mentioned that Messi lead the way with 3 shots in the 1st half, Thiago also had 3 shots. He was a bit unlucky to score and the majority of the attack was started down the left hand side where he was positioned or when he cut into the middle.

Of the 11 shots in the 1st half 3 were down the left (27%), 4 were in the middle (45%), and 3 down the right (27%). All 3 of Barca's goals were scored in the middle. Of the 3 shots on the right however 2 were off target (66%. one shot from Iniesta one shot from Alves). 2 of the 3 shots from the left were on target. One of the 2 on target hits was the Cesc strike that hit the post.

Here is a time log of the shots from the 1st half that I counted.

12:21 - messi (on target)
12:23 - thiago (on target)
12:56 - iniesta (off target)
16:22 - messi (on target:goal)
19:19 - messi (on target-ish)
20:14 - thiago (off target)
23:10 - xavi (on target:goal)
28:36 - cesc (on target:post)
30:20 - alves (off target)
44:19 - alves (on target)
44:21 - thiago (on target)
44:22 - cesc (on target:goal)

Shots from FC Barcelona in the 2nd half of the CWC final

red = shot on target
blue = shot off target
orange = shot on target but more of a cross

The 2nd half of the final was all about Barca being in cruise control. The game was essentially over and as such we see that there are less shots this half than the first. Barca put 8 shots on the goal with 3 of them (38%) being off target.

The only goal of this half came from Messi from a great play by Dani Alves.

The whole goal was created from Alves not giving up and fighting for the ball. The half saw more quality chances go the way of Santos and without Valdes coming up big on a few occasions we might have seen a different match.

Unsung hero of the 2nd half

As mentioned above without Valdes coming up clutch on a few key saves in the 2nd this match could have been different. Barcelona backing off a bit allowed Santos a few more looks. Neymar had 2 very good chances and each time Valdes was there to snuff it out.

Here is a time log of the shots from the 2nd half that I counted.

45:44 cesc (on target)
51:55 alves (off target)
53:24 messi (on target)
55:19 iniesta (off target)
77:35 cesc (on target)
79:12 alves (on target:post)
81:56 messi (on target:goal)
88:56 alves (off target)

Dani Alves

For the majority of the match Dani Alves played as a right winger. It is always talked about how he is a better attacking player than defensive player and while he was never really called on to defend this match certainly showed his attacking flair. Alves was directly involved in 3 out of the 4 goals in the match and could have arguably scored one on his own. He tormented Santos the entire match and they had no answer for him. While many will point out this was the Xavi and Messi show the real star was the Brazilian who might have shown everyone that he really is the best right back in the world.

While Santos did show more in the 2nd half (Ganso was quite good) they never really had enough control of the ball to really make a difference. One could argue perhaps that Santos could have scored a goal or two but it didn't happen and as a result we have a very lop sided victory. The entire Barca midfield was spectacular (I did not even mention how good of a match Busquets had) and Santos just could not match up with them. Messi put on a show and gave everyone something to talk about again. This final could not have been more different than the one in 2009 and that is a very good thing.


( 45 comments — Speak )
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Dec. 19th, 2011 12:16 pm (UTC)
I agree about Alves being a beast in this match, especially in the second half. He, like Thiago, was unlucky to have not scored at least once and provided a few more assists.

It's incredible to see how at ease our players were in weaving in and out of positions. It's like they time-synchornize with each other so well. When Messi dropped back a bit, Xavi webt forward, when Cesc and Thigao running back to defend they somehow went back up front to score / provide a cross (Ces especially does this a lot).
Dec. 19th, 2011 12:21 pm (UTC)
so many people talk about the passing of barca and while it is very important the most deadly thing about this team is the movement they posses. the scary thing is cesc still hasn't grasped everything completely and it's pretty easy to see at times.

the game could have been a whole lot worse for santos if alexis had played too. thiago was very, very good on the left in the 1st half and he isn't a winger. imagine the pace, speed and cutting ability of alexis in the 1st half.
(no subject) - elizaberglund - Dec. 19th, 2011 12:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - problematique - Dec. 19th, 2011 03:08 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 19th, 2011 12:19 pm (UTC)
a few thoughts on neymar btw:

santos never had enough of the ball for him to really get involved. on the few chances he did have he over thought the play. you can see that he has a lot of talent but it's still very, very raw. he's a good player but he needs time.
Dec. 19th, 2011 12:25 pm (UTC)
He's 19! People seem to forget about this. No one is complete at the age of 19 and what you can do in a game depend a lot on your team mates and tactics too.
(no subject) - bleeding_dry - Dec. 19th, 2011 05:00 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tobleronebb - Dec. 19th, 2011 12:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - elizaberglund - Dec. 19th, 2011 12:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - effingusernames - Dec. 19th, 2011 05:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - effingusernames - Dec. 19th, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tobleronebb - Dec. 19th, 2011 05:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - effingusernames - Dec. 19th, 2011 06:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - elizaberglund - Dec. 19th, 2011 12:57 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - effingusernames - Dec. 19th, 2011 05:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 19th, 2011 12:23 pm (UTC)
Dec. 19th, 2011 12:23 pm (UTC)
Great post and you have a point there!

On the other note, what is the trophy or Capi dearest is holding here? At first I thought that Leo gave him his to hold or something, but the awards Leo and Xavio got looked totally diferent. So ... anyone knows?

title or description
Dec. 19th, 2011 12:25 pm (UTC)
The FIFA fair play award :)
(no subject) - elizaberglund - Dec. 19th, 2011 12:27 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - elizaberglund - Dec. 19th, 2011 12:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 19th, 2011 12:44 pm (UTC)
HOLD IT HERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic
Dec. 19th, 2011 12:46 pm (UTC)
I thought it'd be some tough game for us. but guess I was wrong :D
Dec. 19th, 2011 12:49 pm (UTC)
ok now in a more serious note this post is awesome and so useful for me, thanks for the hard work bb.
i couldn't pay 100% attention to the match cos of reasons so this is perfect <3
Dec. 19th, 2011 01:37 pm (UTC)
I still haven't watched this game cos my dl is taking forever -_-
Dec. 19th, 2011 01:38 pm (UTC)
to be perfectly honest it was a bit boring
2nd half most of all

pretty goals however
(no subject) - tobleronebb - Dec. 19th, 2011 05:44 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - serendip - Dec. 20th, 2011 11:14 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - pris_stratton - Dec. 20th, 2011 01:52 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 19th, 2011 01:46 pm (UTC)
I thought it'd be a very difficult game for us but we dominated the game in a way that it was actually kind of scary. It's so good to see the players are finally understanding the new tactics and getting used to what Pep wants.

Great post, thanks! :)
(Deleted comment)
Dec. 19th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
Frankly I did not expect more from Santos. Saints defense is horrible, and I say this because I watched a lot Santos in Brazilian league games. They are good offensively, es with Neymar but not more than it.

In Brazil there are other teams who like to play the ball and is not the case with the Saints. Santos thought they could surprise on counterattack, but How do that without the ball?

In the second half there was not much to do, then Santos ventured a little further. Maybe they respected Barcelona more than anything and didn't play everything that they were playing during the whole season.

I am very impressed with Cesc. Even with the Barca Allowing everyone to play, I did not expect to see hin so into the team and adapted so easily. It offensively Every game it better.

ps.: OP should replace Dalgish as Liverpool manager. You're better than him :P
Dec. 19th, 2011 02:47 pm (UTC)
4-4-2 should be banned from anfield forever
(no subject) - robinsparkle - Dec. 21st, 2011 06:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - problematique - Dec. 19th, 2011 03:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - effingusernames - Dec. 19th, 2011 05:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - tobleronebb - Dec. 19th, 2011 05:48 pm (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 19th, 2011 03:00 pm (UTC)
OMG this... is... just... EPIC <33
Love it! Im going to read this digit for digit.
Dec. 19th, 2011 04:24 pm (UTC)
I get to rub another victory in my madridista co-worker's face today :D
Dec. 20th, 2011 01:53 am (UTC)
HA! I love your icon!
(no subject) - yim_yames - Dec. 20th, 2011 03:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Dec. 19th, 2011 05:05 pm (UTC)
It's funny how many of you guys were expecting a hard match. I was expecting a slaughtering, but I'm Brazilian and I know both Santos and Brazilian media's delusion and hyping techniques.

They went into this match with no real tactics whatsoever, just a lot of motivation. Whenever asked about how they would play Barça, they said they were gonna attack and that they had Ganso and Neymar. When asked how they'd get the ball, they replied they would get it from us. Really, it was all very delusional.
Dec. 19th, 2011 05:37 pm (UTC)
dunno how you picked a momt, to me it was the whole team! :3

Santos is lucky we didn't score 4 more on them, to be completely honest..
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( 45 comments — Speak )

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