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Pep vs. Brazilian Guardiola | Clash of Football Philosophies

 Pep vs. Brazilian Guardiola | Clash of Football Philosophies

Fernando Diniz Silva
Fluminense Head Coach Fernando Diniz Silva talks during the Press Conferences ahead of Final match between Manchester City and Fluminense at King Abdullah Sports City on December 21, 2023 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia(Image-Getty) 

Inscribed on the stone at the entrance to the Greek philosopher Plato's Academy was the inscription, 'Let no one ignorant of geometry enter.'

  The same goes for Pep Guardiola's football-school. If you don't understand the geometry of the field, you have no chance to become Guardiola's disciple. Players proceed to form an imaginary triangle-quadrilateral by weaving a garland of passes. Fernando Diniz's vision is also a garland of passes. But geometry has little connection with it. Diniz believes in outnumbering opponents in attack. This means that the players will move up after passing, then as many players as possible will go into the opponent's danger zone and create a fast passing attack—Brazilian football style like Arqui! If you don't believe it, listen to Guardiola himself.

After reaching the FIFA Club World Cup final, Guardiola said, 'I always remember what my father said. He said, Brazilians play very slowly. rise (up) together with the ball. Getting up with small passes and suddenly speeding up the game at the last moment - that is the essence (of Brazilian football).' Diniz, the coach of the Brazilian club Fluminense, reached the final of the Club World Cup with that essence in his heart. Manchester City will face Fluminense in the FIFA Club World Cup final today (12pm Bangladesh time) at the King Abdullah Sports City in Jeddah.

There is also an underlying battle at the juncture of this clash between the two clubs. It's Guardiola versus the 'Brazilian Guardiola'—or rather, the Guardiola that Diniz has always admired. The strategy in which he will try to beat City has many things in common with the Spanish coach. There is also division. As Diniz said before the final, 'The way Pep likes to keep possession, I'm the opposite. His game is possessional, mine is anti-possessional.'

The difference can be explained first. In Guardiola's possessional play, players create a triangle or diamond-shaped space on the field through passing. In this, whoever has the ball at his feet, he can move forward. The opposing player moves towards the player who has the ball at his feet to take possession of the ball. This creates opportunities for multiple passes and thus the game moves forward, which can be seen like the flow of water flowing through a stream of stones in a river of drought. Although Guardiola's philosophy of playing short passes with Diniz is quite similar, the style changes a little when the opponent is in danger.

Since Diniz is also the interim coach of the Brazilian national team, an example of one match of the Brazilian national team can be drawn under him. Brazil won 5–1 against Bolivia in the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. Within 3 minutes of the match, it was seen that 7 Brazilian players were moving in the danger zone of Bolivia. It seems that Brazil is playing seven-a-side football in a small place! In fact, it's all about putting as many players in a small space as possible to create scoring opportunities with fast-paced passes—a strategy that, if worked, could remind the five-time world champions of 'jogo bonito'.

Diniz himself is a fan of Brazil's 1982 World Cup team. Socrates-Falcaora returned empty-handed from the World Cup while playing beautiful football. But the difference between that Brazil and this Brazil is the players. This strategy also boomerangs when there are few talented and creative players. Because, if you lose the ball when the seven are up and don't get down quickly then danger is inevitable.

Why should it be explained further? Both coaches made the game from the defense. Centerbacks – Fullbacks often move up from their positions.

Bunch of passes in midfield. In this way, players advance the game with nutmeg, dummy, dribbling, backheel, body feint tactics, which are pleasing to the eye but also very important to fill the space left after losing the ball. This is precisely why criticism of Brazilian football's defense was once routine work. After Guardiola took over as Barca coach in 2008, he gave Brazil an intellectual makeover based on possession of the ball. The defense is solid there, as is the midfield. Attack part? It is actually an extension of the midfield—any midfielder who is scoring or creating goals. The defenders are not left behind in the same work. And this is how Guardiola is now one of the best coaches in the world after winning one title after another by revolutionizing European football.

The 49-year-old Diniz retired from the game in 2008. He started coaching the following year. In other words, Guardiola had his eyes on that revolution as well. Since the philosophy of both is the same, Dinij has also developed a strategy of his own by rubbing the same strategy. It is not always the same strategy. On paper, his team's formation may be 4-2-3-1, but on the field it becomes 4-2-4 or 4-1-5. Look, four or five in attack - that's creating a goal by placing more players in a very small space in the opponent's box. Dinij's strategy is also called 'relationism' by some. Where the game is made by the majority of players. Which in English is 'Numerical Superiority.'

Both coaches like to play high-press football. Play the defense line a little higher. Control out of space - this is their philosophy. Recover quickly if you lose the ball again. For this reason, these two coaches have no peace from the fullback to the midfielders. Passing, recovering the ball and narrowing the opponent's line of attack, marching midfielders into the box—all the while keeping the opposition busy.

Guardiola also has a 'spy' on hand to get to know Diniz better before the final. Brazil national team goalkeeper Illson, who also holds the City post. Guardiola said, "I have them."

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