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Albicelestes - Argentina (1986-1990) - Who's your Maradona?

Aug 31, 2012
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Argentina (1986 - 1990) 352 Tactic

La Selección (national team), also known as the Albicelestes (sky blue and whites)

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I have always been fascinated by the Argentinean teams over the years, They have always produced some of the most talented players around the world, the combination of not only the flair and technical ability of most South American players but also the discipline and aggressive defensive style seen in a number of European teams.

I remember watching Argentina late 80s and early 90s and being amazed at what Maradona achieved during that time , What caught my attention was their playing style and the way Maradona was free to do what he did best - run at defenders and score some of the best goals in World Cup History (OK excluding the hand of god goal against England).

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Bilardo is known by fans and the media as el narigón (big nose)

“In this life you need a measure of good luck – in football even more so. Whether a ball hits a post and goes in or comes back out can permanently change a coach’s career.” Carlos Bilardo

In 1986, Carlos Bilardo took his Argentine side to Mexico on an unimpressive run of form despite the presence of the finest footballer on the planet within his ranks. He decided, maybe in desperation, to unveil to the world a new formation in order to bring success – the 3-5-2.

Bilardo’s reasoning was that with teams no longer using wingers then there was no real need for full-backs – they could be converted to midfielders/Wing Backs and played higher up the field. By the Quarter Finals, Maradona was operating as a support striker making it closer to a 3-5-1-1. As Bilardo put it: ”When we went out to play like that, it took the world by surprise because they didn’t know the details of the system”. The rest as they say is history as it took them all the way to World Cup victory.
In Order to emulate this tactic I needed to consider a number of the things:

  • The tactic needs to be solid defensibly and incorporate a player sweeping the ball behind the defensive line.
  • The midfield who have to act as 1st defensive line and support the attack are made up of a ball winning midfielder and box to box supported on the wings by the wing backs and backed up by a deep play maker.
  • AND the million dollar question: Who is the modern Maradona; a player that can create something out of nothing, and be able to do almost everything (score, run , dribble pass defenders, be strong and creative)
  • I also need to figure out a way to defend against wingers and attacking full backs.

I am very close to releasing this tactic which will be my first tactic , I just need to do further testing before I make it available.
I am currently testing it with Palermo first season and the results have been really good. however I need to perfect the Maradona role little more as i feel the player needs be more involved, this may well be because the players haven't gelled yet, or Iago Aspas isn't good enough to play in that role (the closest player I can get first season with Palermo


I decided to upload the tactic today, apologies no screen shots just yet, but if anyone out there would like to test this please feel free, let me know how they get on here....

Download the Tactic:
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Player attributes

Goalkeeper defend;I am using a traditional goalkeeper

Wingbacks Attack: Good going forward and tracking back, they need to have high stamina, and pace

Central defenders; One Limited and one ball playing, both need to have high stats in positioning, marking, tackling, in addition to creativity, passing and anticipation for the ball playing defender.

Sweeper: needs to have a good defending attributes be able play behind the Centre backs , anticipation, decision and pace is important here.

Deep Play Maker: He will play in DMC with defend duty, his main responsibility is to start the attack look to move the ball forward, pick the ball from deep and look to move it to attacking players.

Ball winning midfielder; a player with high stamina, tackling, team work, and pace is desired . He will travel a lot of distance and covers the whole midfield. his main responsibility is to win the ball and play simple short pass.

Box to Box midfielder
: one of the important roles, he will move into spaces, so will need to be able to do both defend and attack, once again high stamina stat is vital... other important stats are typical stats a BBM should have .. team work, passing, tackling, etc... think of someone like Fellaini

Trequartista; Comes deep to get the ball, runs with the ball often, good anticipation, decision, pace, strength, dribbling, and technical skills are needed (really a player that can do it all) ... who you have here in this position could change the tactic from being a good to tactic to a great one. the team will look to use on this guy almost all time. ideal players (my opinion) Messi, Ronaldo, Aguero, Tevez, and if these are expensive for your club try Aspas, Erik Lamela

Poacher: pace, strength , and finishing...

ps: if you need help with finding the right players please ask and I will try to find you some suitable for your team.


I Start the pre-season on very high Team Cohesion; rotating weekly between Team Cohesion and Tactics, and 20% Defending Set pieces

Once the season starts I drop the the intensity to low and switch to attack or defending depending on who i am playing that week.

Download the Tactic:
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