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England 2018, Simeone’s Atletico and the 10 best set-piece teams in history

10:15 EAT 11/07/2018
Harry Maguire England Sweden World Cup 2018
The current England side have scored eight of their 11 World Cup goals via set-pieces, but who else have based their success around such a record?

  • Harry Kane Gareth Southgate England World Cup 2018

    #1 ENGLAND 2018

    Gareth Southgate’s men have exceeded everyone’s expectations by reaching the semi-final of the World Cup, and their 11-goal tally matches their previous best when winning the competition for the only time in 1966. And their eight goals from set-pieces dwarfs the return of every other side such has been their supremacy when attacking dead balls.

    Two Harry Kane goals from corners against Tunisia began the trend and the captain has since added three penalties to go with two John Stones finishes from corners against Panama and Harry Maguire’s deadly header from Ashley Young’s corner-kick in the quarter-final against Sweden.

  • Angelos Charisteas Greece Portugal

    #2 GREECE 2004

    It wasn’t so much the volume of Greece’s set-piece goals as their importance as they stunned an entire continent to win Euro 2004. While only three of their seven goals came from dead-ball situations, Otto Rehhagel’s side carried much of their threat when given the chance to begin attacks close to goal.

    And the further they went in the competition, the more vital such opportunities became with Traianos Dellas’ semi-final silver-goal decider against the Czech Republic and Angelos Charisteas’ unforgettable winner versus Portugal in the final both coming from right-wing corners that their opponents simply couldn’t deal with.

  • Dave Challinor Tranmere Rovers

    #3 DAVE CHALLINOR AT TRANMERE ROVERS

    John Aldridge’s Tranmere Rovers around the turn of the century were set-piece masters, and despite struggling at the bottom end of the second tier of English football for much of that time they became known for their ability to upset the odds.

    Their not-so secret weapon during this time was Dave Challinor, a defender who had the ability to throw the ball more than 45 metres. Tranmere reached successive FA Cup quarter-finals and the 2000 League Cup final on the back of Challinor’s extraordinary ability, with all of their five goals in the semi-final and final of that League Cup run coming via one dead-ball routine or another.

  • Diego Simeone Atletico Madrid

    #4 DIEGO SIMEONE'S ATLETICO MADRID

    Diego Simeone’s arrival at Atletico Madrid in late 2011 was to change the fortunes of the Spanish capital club in a way few could have envisaged. The Colchoneros became a team very much in their coach’s image as they battled and scrapped their way into the same conversation as Barcelona and Real Madrid.

    They also developed into one of the most effective sides of the modern era from set-pieces as they pocketed a 2014 La Liga title win as part of an unbroken six-year spell of top three finishes. Across three seasons between 2012 and 2015 they racked up a total of 80 league goals from dead balls, including a phenomenal 32 of their 67 strikes in 2014-15.

  • Lawrie Sanchez Wimbledon Liverpool

    #5 WIMBLEDON'S CRAZY GANG

    Named after a 1930s British entertainment group, Wimbledon’s 1980s underdogs were handed the same moniker despite their style of play not being to too many people’s liking.

    But even their harshest critics could not suggest they were not effective of set-pieces, with their uncompromising physical and mental presence resulting in many an opponent wilting under the barrage. Their 1988 FA Cup win was typical of their style, with Lawrie Sanchez’s first-half winner coming from a left-wing free-kick sent in by Dennis Wise.

  • Zinedine Zidane Real Madrid

    #6 REAL MADRID UNDER ZINEDINE ZIDANE

    There is a very good reason why structural organisation and a reliance on set-pieces would not be the first thing you would think of in relation to Zinedine Zidane’s Real Madrid spell. Because, quite simply, Los Blancos could score from pretty much anywhere during the Frenchman’s two-and-a-half year reign.

    But it just so happens that one of their seemingly endless weapons was their attacking ability from set-pieces. Incredibly, they netted 85 times from just such opportunities during Zidane’s time in charge, including a mind-boggling 37 goals in 2016-17 as they became the first club to successfully defend the Champions League with a 4-1 win over Juventus in Cardiff.

  • George Graham Arsenal Liverpool

    #7 GEORGE GRAHAM'S ARSENAL

    George Graham’s spell as Arsenal manager was notorious for his side’s uncompromising style, with many being switched off by the one-dimensional and dull approach. One thing that existed throughout his tenure, though, was an ability to make the most of set-piece chances.

    Even when clinching the League title in dramatic fashion against Liverpool in 1989, Alan Smith’s often-forgotten opening goal came thanks to a well-worked free-kick. Their three finals in 1993 when completing the first-ever cup double also included set-piece goals in every game, including Andy Linighan’s 122nd-minute winner in the FA Cup final replay against Sheffield Wednesday.

  • Tony Pulis Middlesbrough Joe Ledley Derby County

    #8 TONY PULIS PRETTY MUCH EVERYWHERE

    Having originally made his name as a more than competent lower-league manager, Tony Pulis brought his organisation-first tactics to the Premier League when achieving promotion with Stoke City in 2008.

    Since then, sides managed by Pulis have scored a total of 119 goals from set-pieces in the Premier League in what amounts to around eight-and-a-half seasons of football. His five years in the top flight with Stoke garnered 68 goals from dead balls, including 18 in 2011-12. He would later match that figure with West Brom in 2016-17, his final full season at The Hawthorns.

  • FC Ingolstadt

    #9 INGOLSTADT 2015-16

    After winning a first-ever promotion to the Bundesliga by clinching the second-tier title in 2014-15, Ingolstadt manager Ralph Hasenhuttl knew his side were going to have to be hard to beat and liable to take whatever chances came their way if they were to survive in the top-flight the following season. Hasenhuttl proceeded to oversee a season-long defensive masterclass, with their 42 goals against being bettered by only three teams.

    But what was even more phenomenal was the fact that of their 33 goals scored – which happened to be the second-worst return in the entire division – they netted a league-best 18 from set-pieces. Hasenhuttl was promptly snapped up by RB Leipzig and Ingolstadt were relegated the in 2016-17.

  • Andreas Brehme West Germany Sergio Goycochea Argentina

    #10 WEST GERMANY 1986 & 1990

    Under Franz Beckenbauer, West Germany had a great record for scoring at will from open play in group stages, netting 12 of their 13 first-round goals in 1986 and 1990 from free movement. However, when it came to the latter stages they became far more methodical in attempting to dissect the opposition.

    Over the course of the two tournaments they scored 10 goals in knockout football, with seven of them coming via set-pieces. Their successes in the 3-2 loss to Argentina in 1986 came from Andreas Brehme corners, and it was the full-back who netted the revenge winner four years later from the penalty spot having also scored via a deflected free-kick in the semi-final against England.