Many football commentators still believe in some form of divide between incumbents and substitutes. I think those days are over. Welcome to the era of the incumbent that just doesn’t start the game. That’s a small paradigm shift which has already happened in rugby for example. Today, football teams need to be flexible in finding ways to defeat their opponents.
Take the case of team A who plays the whole game with the same incumbent on the right side of their defense. Team B starts with incumbent left wing player 1 for 60 minutes and then changes for incumbent left wing player 2 for the last 30 minutes. Result? Team A’s defender is faced with 2 players who have a totally different take on the game. Knowing that he will only play 60 minutes, the first incumbent of team B can play full out and so can his replacement. Applied to the Euro, what about if Laurent Blanc did that with player 1 = Ribéry and player 1 = Ménez. That would put quite a lot of pressure if the opposing defender is the same for the entire game!
Maracanazos like to redefine.
Image credit: Maenie