Spain v Uruguay: Final 1/3rd Zone Entries (2nd Half)

Clive Mason

First of all, apologies are in order. This article was due to feature zone entries for the full game, but the internet police shut down the stream I was watching. The search for a new stream cost me 10 minutes of game time and God knows how many zone entries took place during my blackout. I did consider scrapping the article all together, but to hell with it, I will post what I have: zone entries for the 2nd half of this one sided Spain victory.

A guide to what Zone Entries entail can be found here (link) and Danny looked at this very topic in deeper detail which involved player zone entries (link).

What we shall be looking at is pretty straight forward: the number of times Spain or Uruguay entered the oppositions final 1/3rd, the method of that entry and the outcome.

Final 1/3rd Zone Entries


Spain Uruguay
Entries 26 23

It is worth noting that the final possession battle finished 71 to 29 in favour of Spain. Clearly Uruguay were entering the final 1/3rd more frequently per possession time than Spain were.

Method Of Final 1/3rd Entry


Spain Uruguay
Pass 14 16
Long Pass 2 3
Carry 7 3
Turnover 1 1
Head 1 0
Throw-In 1 0

Small N and small differences between the teams here. The Game State (Spain at +2) will have had an effect on these numbers.

Pass Entry Numbers are pretty similar - after all these are two passing teams. Uruguay with a slight edge in the second half.

Turnovers Low

Carry Spain with 7 to Uruguay's 3. It would be foolish to read too much into such small numbers, but hey. Spain seemed to have more space once they broke through Uruguay's midfield, Spain also has more players capable of attacking with the ball at their feet and at speed. Fabregas. Iniesta, Pedro are all players who more than capable of breaking the opponents lines and creating options with the ball at their feet.

Outcome Of Zone Entries

Spain

Spain Pass Long Ball Carry Turnover Header Throw
Shot 3
2


SoT 2




Incomplete 2


1
Complete 12 2 N/A N/A
1







Total 14 2 7 1 1 1

Spain created 2 shots from their 7 carries into the final 1/3rd zone. Although Final 1/3rd Zone Entries is such a new stat I would (blindly) forecast that carries into the zone results in a shot at goal around 30% of the time. A carry into the final 1/3rd is usually done at pace with the runner attacking into space at a back-peddling defence with team-mates providing options. It's all theory for now, but I would not be surprised to see a ~30% figure.

As for the best method of entering the final 1/3rd zone it's pretty c;ear that passing into the zone carries the least risk and the highest reward-retention of the ball at close proximity to the opposition goal. Spain, an excellent passing team and clearly a cut above Uruguay, completed 12/14 passes into the oppositions final 1/3rd for an 85.7% completion rate. No other method of zone entry will will be as successful in retaining the ball as passing it in (ahem, Stoke).

Uruguay

Uruguay Pass Long Ball Carry Turnover Header Throw
Shot 2
1


SoT 1




Incomplete 8 3



Complete 8
N/A N/A








Total 16 3 3 1

Uruguay went 0/3 when trying to enter Spain's final 1/3rd using long balls. As for turnovers Uruguay went 1/3. But we really want to look at the passing numbers: Uruguay attempted 16 passes into the final 1/3rd going 8/16, 50% for those mathematicians out there, and this number is way down on Spain's completion %. reasons for the lower completion number? Spain were quite tight at the back at +2 GS, superior level of defenders and opposition tactics or it may well be purely down to Uruguay's lack of cohesiveness when attacking - I'm looking at you Suarez and Cavani.

Final Thoughts

This article is a mere snapshot into the hows and outcomes of zone entries by the respective teams. We only have a tiny sample in the data above (shitty streams, internet police) but we can clearly see one team was fore more accurate and controlled with their zone entries, and that team was Spain. Quality of opponent, quality of opponents tactics and an off day for Suarez and Cavani may have all contributed to Uruguay's lack of controlled entries into the final 1/3rd.

I firmly believe that Final 1/3rd Zone Entries turns up some pretty cool information during a full 90 minutes. That normal information becomes even more interesting when we track two completely different teams in a Premier league fixture. A passing team like Swansea away at Stoke or West ham should be a riot of clashing styles. A bigger sample and a wide spread of teams should turn up some cool information on the method of zone entry and the success rate of that method.

Keep an eye out for us really pushing Zone Entries next season.

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