Charles Aránguiz [Brazil vs. Chile]


Saturday 28th June, 2014 FIFA World Cup, Round of 16, Estádio Governador Magalhães Pinto



Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 08.59.22Brazil12. Júlio César; 2. Daniel Alves, 3. Thiago Silva, 4. David Luiz, 6. Marcelo; 5. Fernandinho (16. Ramires 72′) 17. Luiz Gustavo; 11. Oscar (19. Willian 106′), 10. Neymar,  7. Hulk; 9. Fred (21. Jô 64′)

Chile1. Claudio Bravo; 5. Francisco Silva, 17. Gary Medel (13. José Rojas 108′), 18. Gonzalo Jara; 4. Mauricio Isla, 20. Charles Aránguiz, 21. Marcelo Díaz, 2. Eugenio Mena; 8. Arturo Vidal (9. Mauricio Pinilla 87′); 7. Alexis Sánchez, 11. Eduardo Vargas (16. Felipe Gutiérrez 57′)


Aránguiz’s starting position was deep, almost alongside Díaz. Out of possession, he tracked Fernandinho’s forward runs, but roamed quite freely when Chile had the ball. Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 09.35.12

In the second half, he moved out to an inside right role and became increasingly more restricted as the pace of the game eased off.

High press

Chile’s relentless pressing is the most important part of Jorge Sampaoli’s game plan and it was key to unsettle Brazil. The way they do it is well orchestrated and incessant. For around 65 minutes, Aránguiz was an important cog in this collective approach. His role was to back up the front three – Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sánchez and Eduardo Vargas – with secondary pressing to pin back Luiz Gustavo and Fernandinho and block the easy pass out of defence, which forced Brazil to go more direct and wide.

To spread the workload, there was a rotation of who pressed when. Sometimes, Aránguiz would be highest up – often when Chile had cleared long or just defended a set-piece. At other points he rotated with Vidal or sat to occasionally let Marcelo Díaz press.

Forward runs

Much of Aránguiz’ work came out of possession – Chile were comfortable trying to build from the back, but often went direct. To aid this tactic, Aránguiz’ runs from deep were key. He’d often break forward beyond Fernandinho and Luiz Gustavo to try and get in behind Brazil’s defence, which was sat deep. When the build up was more patient, his run was staggered, as he looked to join the attack late. In doing this, he created two big chances. The first came from the right at the end of the first half, when he was played in by Sánchez, but got closed out. The second also came from the right, but his shot from Mauricio Isla’s cutback was well saved by Júlio César.

On both those openings Aránguiz was unmarked. Fernandinho struggled to track his runs throughout the 72 minutes he had on the pitch. The 29 year-old was often too deep alongside Luiz Gustavo, or pulled out of possession to press higher up.

Midfield rotation

As well as rotating to press, the Chile midfield also did so when in possession. Usually, Díaz would be the deepest player, with Vidal at the point and Aránguiz in-between. The latter two, however, constantly interchanged, particularly in the first half. If Díaz went forward, then Aránguiz would hold, or sometimes the two would sit together, which allowed Vidal and the two wing-backs – Mena and Isla – to push higher. To try and close out the Chile midfield three, Oscar would often come narrow, with Luiz Gustavo sometimes pushing out of his holding position to close higher up.

After Gutiérrez was brought on, Díaz stayed deep and the shape was more rigid. This helped Chile keep better possession, which was required once the high press eased off.

In possession

As mentioned above, the key aspects of Aránguiz’ role for Chile came out of possession. On the ball, he was fairly unadventurous and looked to recycle it quickly. Throughout his 120 minutes on the pitch, he completed just 28 [out of 30] passes, with only Eugenio Mena [of those who played the whole match] attempting less.

Screen Shot 2014-06-29 at 10.41.11

As the diagram shows, much of Aránguiz’ passing was short and simple. This was either as part of a more methodical build up – hence why the passes are directed wide, where Chile frequently attacked from – or to relieve pressure. The player he passed most often to was Díaz, who is Chile’s best ball-player and orchestrated when the approach was measured.

Change of position

With the introduction of Felipe Gutiérrez for Vargas on 57 minutes, Aránguiz’s position changed. He initially started deep and to the left of Díaz, but he was now moved slightly higher and to the right. This meant he was now up against Marcelo, rather than Fernandinho. Out of possession, he had to track the left full-back, with Isla taking Hulk.

It was around this time that Chile eased off with their relentless pressing and Aránguiz started sitting deeper, with Gutiérrez [centre], Sánchez [left] and Vidal [right] given licence to push on.

When Chile had the ball, Aránguiz combined with Isla, while his forward runs between Marcelo and David Luiz – with Vidal deeper – could have caused more problems, though almost led to a goal [as mentioned above].

Extra time

Chile had the best chance in extra time – Mauricio Pinilla’s shot that hit the bar – but Brazil largely controlled proceedings. The tiring visitors were happy to sit deep, soak up the pressure and then use Sánchez’s pace on the counter.

With Chile holding, Marcelo became increasingly adventurous, while Neymar moved to a wide left position. These two players were tracked by Isla and Aránguiz, who began to cramp up in the closing stages. By sitting deep inside of Isla and ahead of Francisco Silva, Aránguiz was able to block off Marcelo and Neymar, with the play getting forced inside and to the right, where Hulk threatened.

Aránguiz’s final contribution to the World Cup was arguably the best penalty in an otherwise forgettable shootout for Chile.


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