On December 5, FIFA filed disciplinary charges against Serbia for allegedly inappropriate behavior by players and fans during a match against Switzerland. The alleged inappropriate behavior included slogans during the match.
During a match that not only brought back ethnic tensions in the Balkans but also recreated the tumultuous confrontation that occurred during the 2018 World Cup, tensions flared both in the stands and on the field.
Granit Xhaka served as captain of the Swiss team during the match on December 2, and Xherdan Shaqiri scored the first goal of a 3-2 victory, which prevented Serbia from advancing further in the World Cup this year. Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri both come from Albanian families and have ties to Kosovo through their ancestors. In 2008, Kosovo announced its independence from Serbia; however, Serbia did not recognize Kosovo’s claim to independence.
According to the Associated Press, FIFA did not specify in its announcement on December 5 which incidents at the 974 stadium led to allegations of discrimination and “misbehavior by players and officials” (Serbia).
During the course of the game, one section of the Serbian crowd could be heard chanting anti-Kosovo sentiments. The first half was filled with insults directed at Shaqiri from these guys.
The match on December 2 was stopped in the second half because the Serbian coaching staff and substitutes had an inappropriate reaction to the referee after the team was not awarded a penalty when Aleksandar Mitrovi fell in the penalty area as a result of colliding with the Swiss defender.
The FIFA disciplinary process has not yet been given a definitive start or end date. If a sanction were to be imposed for this incident, it is likely that it would take effect when Serbia plays its next matches in the European Championship qualifying tournament in March 2023.
Earlier, FIFA initiated an investigation into Serbia after it was discovered that Serbian fans were wearing flags printed with territory belonging to Serbia, including the contentious region of Kosovo. In addition, the message “we will not surrender” was displayed in the dressing room that the Serbian team used during their match against Brazil on November 25.
Why did Brazil easily beat Korea?
Korea made the same mistake as the US, Poland or Senegal in the matches before thinking they could push the squad high and surprise the championship candidates at every moment in the match.
The Netherlands, France, England and now Brazil all did not drift away from possession and were pragmatic enough in attacking situations to finish the game.
Lost due to pressing
The first two matches of the group stage, Korea played mainly with a 4-2-3-1 system with Son Heung-min drifting to the left. Before Brazil, the Tottenham striker partnered with Cho Gue-sung in attack. Hwang Hee-chan’s return also allows Korea to have an additional quality attacking element on the left flank.
The Wolves striker, along with Cho Gue-sung and Son Heung-min, created the first pressing “barrier” as soon as the Brazilian defenders had the ball. Meanwhile, midfielder Lee Jae-sung starts on the right wing but tends to stick in, supporting the central midfield duo.
In theory, it is an optimal way to enter when ensuring both offensive and defensive capabilities for Korea. However, Brazil is the team with the most tactical flexibility and the most diverse quality of personnel in the tournament, so the Korean high pressure plan was completely bankrupt in the first 10 minutes of the match.
Brazil started with a 4-2-3-1 formation with Eder Militao and Danilo playing at full-back. But as soon as he got the ball, Militao bundled in and “Selecao” immediately switched to a system of three central defenders. This frees Danilo from the defensive role and Brazil has an additional “bridge” in the rotation of the ball as well as increasing the number of troops in the central area.
There were many times in the second half, when Militao advanced, Danilo stepped back to partner with two central defenders. However, the Real Madrid star is better at playing central defenders, so his frequency is not as high as Danilo.
The Juventus star now plays as a central midfielder with the duo Casemiro and Lucas Paqueta, helping the Neymar – Richarlison – Vinicius Jr – Raphinha quartet to play freely. At many points, Raphinha will kick a bit lower to support the defense of Militao’s wing when Brazil switches back to the formation with a four-man defense.
Brazil’s four attacking players not only surpass the Korean defensive midfielders or defenders in terms of skill, but their mobility and coordination are also impressive. This was reflected in all four goals of “Selecao” in the first half.
Hwang In-beom and Jung Woo-young had perhaps the most difficult first half of their careers when they were overwhelmed by the Brazilian midfield and attack, both technically and tactically. They not only made direct mistakes in the home team’s two goals when Jung Woo-young fouled Richarlison leading to a penalty or Hwang In-beom let the Tottenham striker pass in the goal to make it 3-0.
The defensive midfield duo of Korea did not receive good enough support from strikers or wingers in the context of Brazil’s system built to hit the opponent’s center.
Two of Brazil’s four goals against South Korea came from throw-ins but in reality it came from their attacking players successfully stretching the classic two-layer defensive structure. (4-4-2) of Korea.