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Belarus national football team performance analysis in 2017

Belarus finished the qualifying campaign for the 2018 World Cup in the last place in the group, but looked smart at the finish of the qualification. The national team played well against both France and Holland despite losing 1:2 and 1:3.

Belarus manager Igor Kriushenko signed a new contract with the Belarusian Football Federation specifically for the League of Nations, which will start next autumn.

The task is to take the first place in the tournament. Belarus will face other underdogs of qualifying campaigns, such as Luxemburg. True, Belarus lost even to that country and drew in the reverse fixture during the 2018 WC qualifying. So the battle will not be easy.

Belarus ended the season in the Caucasus, where the national team played two friendly matches against Armenia and Georgia. The results can be called mediocre, if not lamentable: a major defeat in Armenia (1:4) and a draw in Georgia (2:2).

Let’s analyze Belarus’ performance and draw some conclusions.

Belarus does not have a clear picture of the game. In March 2017, Kriushenko spoke about the balance between the bright game and the result. But we have nothing. The result in the qualification is terrible. The last place in the group (below Luxembourg) and the painful big defeats from Sweden. In just one year the national team suffered big losses four times.

No system

Kriushenko has the highest defeat rate among all coaches of the national team - 73%.

There are no bright game combinations. There is no certain system in the actions of Igor Kriushenko. It's not entirely clear what the coach wants to build, what kind of team he wants to see.

Anatoly Baydachnyi once promised to create a strong European team, and his national team played on equal terms with Scotland and Slovenia. Georgy Kondratiev instilled vertical football, introducing long passes to Sergei Kornilenko (it looked dreary, but at least explainable). What does the current team play? It's difficult to answer.

Inability to dictate the play

Since the League of Nations is approaching, this is a very significant problem. So far, the Belarusian team is rated third in its division. This means that the rivals in the League of Nations group are mostly of a lower level. It will be necessary to break the defense of, say, Kosovo, Gibraltar, Luxembourg or Armenia. However, the Kriushenko team does not know how to dictate the play. The last matches in the Caucasus have clearly shown this.

The chance of tactical formation did not help either. Igor Kriushenko refused to counterattack 3-5-2, replacing it with 4-3-3, more fit to control the ball. But there was no control.

Against Armenia, the team conducted just one positional attack. With Georgia... Guess how many... Zero. All threats to the goal, including the goals, came after quick counters. Georgians, on the contrary, made many interesting combinations, and enjoyed the game.

Problems in defense

During the nine months, the manager could not build a reliable defense.

In 11 games (unofficial games in Thailand are not taken into account), the national team conceded 25 goals - almost 2.3 goals per game.

The coach constantly shuffles combinations in defense, hoping to catch the right performers, but that rarely works. Players constantly make mistakes. Sergei Politevich is more stable than others, but the defender alone cannot defend himself. The partners do not act in the best way.

Nikita Naumov was to blame for Armenia’s third goal, while against Georgia, the same defensive mistake was made by Alexei Gavrilovich.

Weak set pieces

Almost every corner or set piece causes panic and leads to consequences for Belarus. In the same matches against Armenia and Georgia, the team conceded three times after corners. And the goals are similar: the players put the ball into the goal without being covered.

Interestingly, according to midfielder Stanislav Drahun, who commented the match vs Georgia for television, Kriushenko devotes a lot of time to the set pieces during tactical exercises. Not only before the official matches, but also before friendlies.

Many debutants who are simply not good enough for the national team

New faces and rejuvenation are good. But there are way too many new faces. Even players admit this.

It would be okay if these newcomers matched the national team level. But this is not the case. They either play at an average level or make mistakes that lead to goals (Naumov and Gavrilovich). By and large, of all of the "people of Kriushenko" only two look decently. Striker Anton Saroka showed himself well in the game vs France: he fought, clung to the balls and shot on goal. He had a few good moments, in one of which he scored. He scored against Armenia too.

The second is from Shakhtyor Soligorsk - Yuri Kovalev. The midfielder looked confident with both top teams in the qualifiers (he made an assist at Stade de France) and in the friendlies. With Georgia, he almost earned a penalty and deserved it actually.

Meanwhile, 17 people made their debut in the national team during the nine months under Kriushenko.

Belarus national football team performance in 2017