Moscow: For the last four decades, the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) has analysed matches at international tournaments and highlighted the latest trends in the game. The panel established in 1965 began studying matches since 1965 with 1966 World Cup in England being their first assignment.
On Thursday, a five-member panel of TSG met media personnel for a briefing at the Luzhniki Stadium to discuss in depth their findings of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, before they publish their technical report on the tournament in September later this year.
Carlos Alberto Parreira (Head of the TSG), Marco van Basten (FIFA’s chief officer for development), Bora Milutinovic, Emmanuel Amunike and Andy Roxburgh attended the briefing answering various questions.
The highlights of the sessions were the panel could not stop heaping praise on Croatia captain Luka Modric for carrying his team into the finals of the World Cup, the effect of 'Pep Guardiola' on the playing styles of teams in 2018, the positive impact Video Assistant Referee (VAR) has had on the tournament and Van Basten asking Neymar to stop play-acting.
Play-acting and Guardiola effect
Former Dutch player Marco van Basten spoke on the various aspects of the game and the key issue he touched was the recent play-acting antics by Brazilian superstar Neymar, which has seen him being ridiculed by fans and pundits worldwide.
“It’s not a good attitude in general. You have to try to do your best and be sporting and if you act too much, it is not going to help. That’s a point in which I think he should personally understand his situation,” he said. “It’s always nice if we have some humour in the game and he makes people laugh and that is positive.”
The Technical Study Group also highlighted the impact Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola is having on the World Cup despite the fact every team bringing their own variety.
"In the Champions League last year, it was basically three schools of football among the top teams, three philosophies," Andy Roxburgh, former Scottish player told reporters.
"Here you get this incredible variety of styles, of schools of thought and schools of football and that makes things incredibly exciting.
Van Basten pointed out the fact how good a trainer Guardiola is as the World Cup winning teams of 2010 and 2014, Spain and Germany, had a large number of players playing for Guardiola at that time as in 2010, former Spain international was a coach of Barcelona and Bayern Munich respectively and one cannot deny that he has had effect on how England played in the World Cup, as Guardiola is at the helm of Manchester City.
Video Assistant Referee (VAR) made its debut in this edition of the World Cup and as the tournament has progressed, there has been less talking points about it.
It brings development for the game, this brings fairness - referees are human beings, they can make mistakes," said Carlos Alberto Parreira, the Head of FIFA's Technical Study Group.
"I remember the final between Germany and Holland in 1974, in the first minute there was a penalty against Holland. If this was nowadays, if you come to the VAR, it would not have happened. Now everybody respects it, they know it works," he further added, saying that the VAR has brought fairness to the game and will continue to play a huge role in the development of the sport.
The TSG will also announce the awards for the Golden Boot - the top goal scorer, Golden Glove- Best goalkeeper and Golden Ball award for the best player of the tournament at the end of the World Cup after the final between France and Croatia would be over.