A group of 10 performance analysts and assistant coaches will be Brazil coach Tite’s eyes, ears and insta brain processor at Qatar as the Selecao attempt to win the World Cup they last won 20 years ago.
While videos and match footage is inseperable from top teams at the FIFA, Brazilian support staff member Thomaz Koerich told Portuguese Globo.com that four members will also be present in-person at stadia of opponent matches to take in the panaromic view, and keep an eye on movements that the TV doesn’t capture or linger on.
Koerich stressed on “in loco” (on the spot) analysis, gleaned by the human eye as crucial to the campaign, just as much as videos collected with drones and overhead cranes. “At the stadium we didn’t miss any details of the game, tactical behaviors that sometimes the TV camera cuts by approaching and giving a close-up on only a certain athlete or by showing the replay. We don’t miss any detail of that moment,” Koerich explained.
“In loco” these human eyes and ears were able to follow the positioning of the defenders and midfielders when the team’s attack was finishing its move, he told Globo. “We were able to follow the movement pattern of the defenders in this play, while the TV is focusing on the attackers, we cannot see the defenders. Or the opposite, see the positioning of the attackers when the team is defending in a low block, and the attackers are out of the TV image. How is their positioning?”
Koerich elaborated that in stadia analysts observed things like the height of the defense line when the opponent has the ball, and if plays high or not. “If you play high or, leave space behind. Being in the stadium, we have this dimension, this vision, we don’t lose this detail,” he said.
If something needed to be transmitted to Tite more urgently, during the game, the quartet would send videos to Cléber Xavier and Matheus Bachi, assistants on the bench, carrying a tablet. With the help of a radio communicator, they pass on the information to the coach.
Feeling, observing; not just watching
World Cup detailing can go right down to “feeling the game”. Koerich explained: “Another issue is what we call game atmosphere: feeling the game, not just watching the game. On top of the atmosphere, how the game unfolds. If a team loses or wins, what’s the atmosphere and behaviour when results are in favor, or against. A wealth of details that TV cannot convey and justifies the importance of being “in loco”.
“These observations will be shared with the entire technical commission at the CBF to present their analysis and this material served as a basis for us to continue the analysis of these teams,” Globo quoted.
All this is in addition to realtime analysis the coach will receive, and the team draws from performance analysts of Brazil’s top tier football league clubs. Koerich added that the first goal was the three teams in the group stage, though all 31 get swot-analysed eventually.
Explaining the division of work, he told Globo four analysts will be in the stadiums for the aforementioned panaromic view.
“Raony Thadeu, who is also an analyst at Corinthians, will be responsible for filming the matches. With him will also be analysts Bruno Baquete and Thomaz Koerich. While the first will select and “cut” images, the other will edit the videos. Next to them will be assistant César Sampaio, contributing with opinions about the match,” Globo wrote.
Globo quoted Koerich as saying this was the tech flow already used in qualifiers. “However, the fact that we don’t have a fixed stadium, we don’t always play at home, and the infrastructure of some stadiums we play in made it difficult to use this tool,” hThomaz Koeric told Globo.
Videos that are not so urgent to be sent, are edited and shown to the athletes in the intervals of the matches, he added. A screen and projector are set up in the locker room. “It is important that these images are easy for the athletes to understand,” commented Koerich, who stressed that only the essentials are passed on to Tite and his assistants, so as not to distract them. The four analysts discussed, talked and filtered the videos.
The traditional Videos are also part of the team’s training routine, used for technique correction and coaching technical committee for strategizing. “In addition, videos are prepared and shown before tactical and set-piece training. It is not uncommon for Tite to be seen using a notebook or even a TV monitor in the field,” Globo wrote.
Before the matches, the athletes receive short videos, specific to their positions. “A left-back, for example, will receive a short video with the characteristics of the opponent’s right winger, which is probably a confrontation he will have during the match. Already after the game, the technical commission has made the filter with positive aspects and corrections made and these images are passed on by Professor Tite in a meeting with all the athletes the next day,” Koerich detailed.
Raony films with the tactical camera, with an open image, which includes the 22 players. On Raony’s side, with two computers connected to this camera, stand Bruno and Koerich, who is responsible for easy to understand sketches. “He already separates some images that can be used in the interval and sends it to me. On my computer, I draw it so that it is as didactic as possible for the athletes to understand this information, thinking that during the break the coach has little time,” he explained.
Three more professionals – Lucas Oliveira, Palmeiras performance analyst, Fernando Lázaro, Corinthians assistant coach, and coach Ricardo Gomes, complete this team. “They will be in charge of watching the games of our future and likely opponents “in loco” at the stadium, developing reports and mainly an image filter with the movement patterns of that team. This is the basis of our work, to show the coaching staff, which will subsequently pass on to the athletes, images of how that team plays, what are the strengths and weaknesses to be explored by us,” he told Globo.
Quizzed whether all 31 teams are analysed, Koerich said: “In general, all teams end up being studied at some point. For example, we recently faced four teams that will be in the Cup: Ghana, Tunisia, South Korea and Japan. One of the games we studied before facing Tunisia was against Iran, another team that will also be in the Cup. Regarding the European teams, we made a plan to follow them closely, “in loco”, to have a greater wealth of information. Germany, Portugal, Spain, England, apart from the teams that will be in our group.”
To study the Netherlands, the Brazil staff watched their game against Wales, another team that will be in the Cup.
Globo noted that Cameroon was the only opponent of Brazil in the first phase that was not observed in person. When asked if this could have a bearing, Koerich said, “No, I believe that this fact does not make the selection of Cameroon unpredictable. During a World Cup, any team hardly changes its movement patterns. As they will be our third opponents, we will have all past games and two more Cup games as a reference. Even the Cup matches will be a much more reliable reference than those friendly matches.”
Qatar easier on teams because of less travel
In Russia four years ago, Brazil’s club analysts had helped the CBF by producing reports on the other teams. “The 2018 project was really cool. Not only the Serie A clubs participated, with the exception of Flamengo, which did not want to participate in the project, but we also used former students of the CBF Academy performance analysis course to support the project clubs. It was pretty comprehensive. For this Cup we are trying to be more instinctive and objective, attacking the more traditional teams.”
The analysts gig runs to clockwork: “Training, separate videos for the lecture, the game itself, the return of the games preparing material to give “feedback” to the athletes the next day, already starting the strategic videos of the next opponent.”
Koerich noted the big difference at Qatar was the absence of long flight travel between venues, which will only be between the hotel and the stadium. “Just the fact of not having to fly to the games optimizes our work, which is quite exhausting. The more rested we are, the more we will be productive. The difference is also the presence of Lucas, Fernando and Ricardo in our daily lives, staying at the same hotel, so we have immediate access to information, as well as having them close by to support any extra demand that sometimes arises.”
‘Off the ball’ analysis is an entire department for World Cup teams. And it’s down to what analysts notice beyond what is broadcast.