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Oct 8, 11 at 1:03pm ^The Magic - Recreating Le Carré Magique
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:: Recreating Le Carré Magique ::
This will be a FM tactical experiment written entirely in the first person, and my last SOMS before Football Manager 2012 comes out. I aim to use the FM tactics engine to recreate the famous French midfield quartet known as Le Carré Magique (or the Magic Square), who lit up the European Championships in 1984 with some of the best midfield play football has ever seen. Despite not possessing a top forward line, the French won the Euros on their home soil, defeating Portugal 3-2 in a thrilling semi-final before easily overcoming the Spanish 2-0 in the final. The main reason behind the French victory was the exhilarating play of Platini, Giresse, Tigana & Fernández.
As I did with my Catenaccio SOMS, I will take a club side and try to recreate something as similar as possible to the way the Magic Square played together using FM11. I feel that using a team in France makes the most sense, and the team I have chosen are a team that have strong connections with one of the men I am trying to emulate in Luis Fernández. I have chosen to use Paris Saint-Germain on the MUF update, so I will have a big budget to spend if needed on improving the midfield part of the squad and attempting to get them as close as possible to Le Carré Magique.
Whilst I will be using PSG, I will obviously be trying to get good results and have the team do well in Ligue 1, but my main focus will be working on the midfield quartet. I welcome reader participation, and if you have any recommendations for players, or tweaks to the midfield tactic, then I will listen. I will be using articles from across the internet and also information from 'The Perfect 10' by Richard Williams, and 'Inverting The Pyramid' by Jonathan Wilson which are both books that I would highly recommend.
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Oct 8, 11 at 2:25pm ^re: The Magic - Recreating Le Carré Magique
:: Le Carré Magique - A Brief History Lesson ::
Le Carré Magique was comprised of four men, Luis Fernández, Jean Tigana, Alain Giresse and Michel Platini. Platini is without doubt the most well known out of these four men, being currently the President of UEFA and one of the greatest players football has ever seen, but the other three men that made up Le Carré Magique were all great football players in their own right, and together they formed one of the greatest midfield groups to ever play football.
The foundations for the Magic Square were laid at Spain '82, where Platini, Giresse & Tigana were joined in midfield by Bernard Genghini to form what was called 'The Little Brazil', and it was the midfield who were the main reason for France's performance in the World Cup (along with the brilliance of Platini), with the team going all the way to the semi-final before being knocked out by West Germany in a controversial match that is remembered for Harald Schumacher's horror tackle on Patrick Battiston, leaving him with a broken jaw that received no punishment. Schumacher later went on to save 3 penalties as France were knocked out, but won the purist's heart playing some fantastic football.
Skip forward to 1984, with France hosting the European Championships and having new found confidence in their football team's ability to win and do well (it must be remembered France's international record prior to 1982 was pretty poor). The team had learnt from their disappointment two years earlier, and were determined to win the Euros at home as favourites. The midfield had also improved from '82, with Luis Fernández replacing Genghini to inject some youth into the team and give the midfield a combative edge. With the midfield seemingly perfected and all four men complementing each others abilities, Le Carré Magique guided France through the groups and to the semi-finals against Portugal, with Platini in scintillating form. The French went 1-0 down against Portugal and came back twice to end the 90 minutes at 2-2. With the match seemingly going to penalties after extra-time, France marched forward and Tigana laid the ball back for Platini to smash into the goal to send the hosts through to the final after one of the great matches in European Championship history. The final against the Spanish was significantly more straight-forward for Les Bleus, with Platini giving the team the lead from a free-kick, and a late goal gave France a 2-0 win and erased the memories of two years before.
France would go to the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, but again were knocked out in the semi-final by West Germany, but the European Championships of 1984 was the heyday for Le Carré Magique, showing some of the most amazing midfield play that football has ever seen. After Mexico '86, Platini played one more season before retiring as a player, signalling the end of Le Carré Magique - The Magic Square.
Oct 9, 11 at 10:00pm ^re: The Magic - Recreating Le Carré Magique
:: Putting The Pieces Together ::
Now I've gone through some of the history of Le Carré Magique, it's time to go through the players who will play in my Paris Saint-Germain midfield and decide the formation . Firstly, despite Le Carré Magique meaning the Magic Square, the midfield did not actually line up in a square formation, unlike the great Brazilian team of 1982. Instead, the team lined up with a diamond midfield with Luis Fernández at the base of midfield, Jean Tigana and Alain Giresse alongside each other in central midfield, and the star of the team Michel Platini at the head of the midfield. Despite the team being lined up in a diamond, the nature of the players in the team meant that at times the formation became more of a square. More on that will be explained later, but this update is mainly to reveal the players who will play in my version of Le Carré Magique.
:: The Combative Element ::
This is the first position to be filed in my midfield, and whilst it may not be the most glamorous position or the most interesting to work on, it is crucial as whilst Platini and the others had the spotlight, Fernández gave the side the combative element and tackling ability that it had been missing at Spain '82. The player I choose for this position needs to have strong defensive stats in order to be the rock in midfield for my PSG side, but also needs the passing skill to be able to get the ball to the more creative elements in the midfield. As I am on the MUF update, PSG's Summer spending prior to me starting the game helped me this this decision. I looked through the squad and saw Blaise Matuidi, but I felt his defensive stats weren't strong enough for the side. The player I went for in the CDM position was another of PSG's Summer buys in former Liverpool and Juventus midfielder Mohamed Sissoko. With Sissoko having very strong defensive attributes, I feel he can be the Fernández of the side.
:: The Box to Box ::
The second role to be filled in the team was occupied in Le Carré Magique by Jean Tigana. Tigana was a tireless midfielder, who defied his lack of size by being a strong box to box midfielder who also had a creative side. With Tigana playing a Box to Box role, it gave the side the first part of the 'square' with Fernández and at times Tigana playing deeper. So I needed a strong, tireless midfielder with the ability to march forward. I had decided which player I wanted as soon as I set the position as Box to Box. I spent £14.25M of the Qatar Investment Authority's money on Toulouse midfielder Moussa Sissoko, who I am confident will be exactly what I need in the Tigana role. With Sissoko still being a young player, he will continue to improve and has the attacking side I need the player in this position to have.
:: The Midfield Artistry ::
Next was the second central midfield position, and this position was rather more difficult to choose. Alain Giresse took up this position for the France '82 and '84 teams, and despite his lack of size (only 5'4"!), was a key part of the French squad. Giresse was a talented dribbler who would move up to play almost alongside Platini to complete the square, so I needed a midfielder who could move up and attack and create a threat alongside my 'Platini'. Looking through the side there didn't seem to be a natural player who could fill this role, so I went for Nenê as an experiment and set him to be trained in central midfield. Nenê has good dribbling stats and high attacking stats so hopefully he will be strong in the position. In the initial inter-team friendly he bagged two assists and a goal, so hopefully this experiment will pay off. If not I still have a considerable amount of PSG's budget to play with.
:: The Number 10 ::
This is quite possibly the key position in midfield, the attacking midfielder and the Number 10. One of the greatest players to ever lace up a pair of boots played in this position for the French team, Michel Platini. Platini was a great dribbler who had amazing creativity, vision, and an eye for goal. Platini could be quite possibly the greatest playmaker to ever play football, and also was a key reason for France's victory in 1984, scoring a massive 9 goals for Les Bleus. Whilst this position is an extremely difficult position to fill, the player I have chosen is known as being one of, if not the best AMC's on the game. PSG Summer buy Javier Pastore will be my team's AMC, and will be the key player in my midfield. I have no actual experience with Pastore on FM11, despite having the game a long time now, so it will be interesting for me. If my version of Le Carré Magique is to work, I have to get the most out of Pastore.
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