I’ve only written one set-piece article on women’s football before this one and I want to write more. It’s a corner of the football world that deserves more attention and I genuinely find their set-pieces fascinating. That’s why I also wanted to focus on national teams. They don’t play as many games are domestic clubs, but their corner routines are very interesting nonetheless.
I’ve chosen to look at Sweden National Team as they seem to have particularly interesting routines and have been quite successful with them. In this analysis I not only look at the the successful corners routines that have resulted in a goal, but I also look at the deliveries of the set-pieces: where did they go, which were used the most and what the first ball contact was like.
I’ve looked at the last 60 attacking corners Sweden haven taken and made the analysis below. The video footage is from Wyscout.
Delivery of set-pieces
In the image above we see the deliveries of every corner that is taken from the left. There are 27 corners taken from the left and as you can see in green, there have been scored 5 goals from it. This is a successrate of 18,52%. What is quite interesting is that the majority of the corners has been delivered to the near post and the specific zones related to them: front post near, front centre and front far.
From the 27 corners taken, 12 shots are generated from the attacking routines. 7 of them did not result in a goal, but they were 3 blocked shots, 1 shot on target, and 3 shots on target. The rest has resulted in duels where the first contact was won by the defending side rather than by Sweden.
In the image above we see the deliveries of every corner that is taken from the right. There are 33 corners taken from the right and as you can see in green, there have been scored 2 goals from it. This is a success rate of 6,06%. What is quite interesting is that the majority of the corners has been delivered to the near post and the specific zones related to them: front post near, front centre and front far. They have been concentrated on the near post a lot, more than from the left side.
From the 33 corners taken, 7 shots are generated from the attacking routines. 5 of them did not result in a goal, but they were 0 blocked shots, 4 shots off target, and 1 shot on target. The rest has resulted in duels where the first contact was won by the defending side rather than by Sweden.
Sweden vs USA
In the video above we see Sweden against the USA with an attacking corner. The corner comes from the left from a right-footed player, meaning the ball will swing in towards the six-yard box, rather than swing out. We see a pass option on the left which can be used as a shorter pass option, after which that particular player will swing the ball into the box.
In the six-yard box we see two players a four player zonal structure with two man-markers. Just outside the six-yard box there is another player who makes a run forward. On the penalty spot we see two players who are trying to make a run forward against their man-makers, and just inside the penalty area we see a player unmarked who might anticipate the cleared ball.
As soon as the ball is kicked we see a lot of movement to the near post, but the deciding factor in this set-piece is the way the 2v2 is won by Sweden at the penalty spot and both players can go forward quite easily. This results in a header from the near post, guided to the far post, scoring a goal for Sweden.
Sweden vs Austria
In the video above we see corner routine number two and this is the game of Sweden against Austria. We see the corner taken from the right side with a right-footed player, meaning the ball will swing out rather than in. On the right there is an option for the short pass.
Just outside the penalty area we see a player who is tasked with the cleared balls, but also serves as the first line of defence in case of a counter-attack. Further more, we see one player in the six-yard box and a line of five players between the penalty spot and the six-yard box, waiting to make their runs forward.
As soon as the ball is kicked we seen that the unit of five breaks. Three players of that unit join the player in the six-yard box and move as an unit of four towards the near post. The other two players move to the central area with a bit more emphasis on making a run to the far post, which results in a very decent header into the goal of Austria.
Sweden vs Slovakia
In the video above we see Sweden in their game against Latvia. The corner is taken from the left by a right-footed player which means that the ball will swing in rather than out and that the runners have more possibilities to come in. We see the option for the short pass again, but this player is relatively marked tight by their opponent.
In the penalty area we a very characteristic set up by the Swedish outfit. We see one player in the six-yard box and then we see two units of two. Two player play wider from each other just outside the six-yard box, and on the penalty spot we see two player playing closer to each other. Deep in the penalty area we see another player who is looking to make run behind the defence.
As soon as the ball is kicked, the player sitting deep moves behind the defence and moves into the far post zone. She can do that because the other players all make runs forward to the near post. The ball is not cleared well enough by Slovakia and the unit of two that is playing close to each other, moves forward and can finish the set-piece and score a goal.
Sweden vs Latvia
In the video above we see Sweden play against Latvia in their attacking corner routine. The corner is taken from the left side by a right-footed player which means the ball will swing in rather than out. There is a player for the short pass option who can swing the ball in as well.
We see one player outside just inside the penalty area tasked with the cleared balls and/or rest-defence in case of a counter-attack. There is another player just outside the six-yard box who makes run into that box. The six-yard box is packed with four players trying to make the most of the ball swinging in.
This routine is different because the players are not making runs into the six-yard box, but are already there and anticipating the ball in that particular area. It’s all about winning aerial duels in that position. As soon as the ball is kicked the player just outside the six-yard box moves into that box and the five players make life very difficult for the defending side. The duel is won by one of the Sweden players and she converts the ball into a goal.
The Swedish national makes very interesting runs going forward with their attacking corner routines as we have seen in the examples above. They have shown that the attention to the smallest details can give you an edge over the opposition when using set-pieces well.