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there is no style of football so
notorious as catenaccio, perhaps no
style so misunderstood
nowadays there is a tendency to use
catenaccio when referring to any
defensive style of play but its meaning
is quite specific and arguably not
necessarily defensive. It began in Geneva
in the nineteen thirties with Servette and
the Austrian coach Carl Rappan. Servette was
semi professional and often struggled
against fitter fully professional
foreign opposition. Rappan's solution was
to adopt a more defensive approach
looking to absorb pressure before
soaring forward on the counter-attack.
Most sides in Central Europe at the time
played a 235 formation
although in practice the two inside
forwards would be slightly withdrawn
what Rappan did was to pull back his
two wing halves to flank the full-backs
forming a back four, with the centre-half
and inside forwards creating the
midfield three. The primary function of
the withdrawn wing halves was to combat
the opposition wingers. The two fullbacks
then became in effect central defenders
playing initially almost alongside each
other although in practice if the
opposition attack down there right
the left of the two would move towards
the ball with the right covering just
behind and vice versa.
In theory that always left them with a
spare man; the bolt. Rappan became coach
of Switzerland and instituted the system
with great success.
Switzerland beat England in a friendly
shortly before the 1938 World Cup,
and then beat Germany in the first round
of the tournament itself.
But it was when the system moved to
Italy after the war that it really took
off. The romantic explanation is that the
Sanatana coach Giuseppe vianney
pondering his defensive problems on an
early morning walk by the coast, was
inspired by seeing a trawler using a
reserve net to catch the fish the first
net had missed. The truth maybe more
prosaic, there was significant Swiss
influence on italian football in the
forties and fifties but Viani was the
first to use the idea of the extra man
at the back with success in Italy,
leading Salernitana to promotion in
1947. That inspired others. Nereo Rocco use
the system at Triestina and then AC Milan
with whom he won the European Cup in
1963, but it was at Inter under
Helenia Herrera who became his greatest
exponents. By then the system was known
as Catenaccio a term that refers to the
chain on a door. Inter played a
lopsided system the right back tucking
in as a marker with the right-winger jer
shuttling back as cover, where
left-back the great Jacinto Feceti
was encouraged to get forwards. They
won the European Cup in 1964 and in 1965
before falling to Jock Stein's Celtic in
the 1967 final. An epic game that showed that
all out attack could still overwhelm
all out defense.
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Tactics Explained | Catenaccio

348 Folder Collection
Li Der-yu published on September 13, 2017
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