Kinds of Football Game Strategies and Their Tactics and Formations!

Soccer Game Strategy – Soccer is a sport that prioritizes intelligence. In a match, each team has its own tactics, strategies and formations that will be applied. And that requires smart thinking on the coach’s part.

Usually the coach will give instructions to his players before the start of the game. This will show the player the tactics to use. Tactics are strategies or rationale that are designed and implemented in games by individuals, groups or teams to win matches in a sporting manner.

The use of tactics in football is an attempt to develop thinking skills and creativity. Tactics are also a form of improvisation to determine the best way to solve problems encountered in the game effectively, efficiently and productively. This aims to achieve maximum results, namely winning.

While the strategy is a strategy or sense that is designed before the game and is used by players and coaches to win games that are played in a fair and healthy manner. Each player’s strategy refers to the moves required in the game. The place of strategy in sports is intended to support the tactical aspects of sports.

So, there is a difference between tactics and strategy. But in reality, the two depend on and support each other to achieve the same goal, which is to win the game.

While the formation (system) is the arrangement, space and division of tasks for each player with the position he occupies. This applies to both attack and defense. With this system, each player knows his main mission, his own area or space, understands what he should do when attacking or defending and where to move.

Soccer Game Strategy

1. Strategy for guarding opposing players

The first strategy in the game of football is to defend opposing players by using a 1 on 1 system or man marking. Man marking or 1 on 1 means that each player is tasked with monitoring and tracking the movements of opposing players.

This strategy aims to block attacks carried out by the opposing side and players in one team to counterattack. The advantage of this strategy is that there is a clear division of tasks between one player and another, so that the team can play more cohesively.

Moreover, this strategy can train players’ concentration by reading and observing the opponent’s attack techniques. However, this strategy also has weaknesses, namely the opposing team’s superior control over the flow of a soccer match. Apart from that, this strategy also tends to weaken the defense, especially if the opposing team’s players are dominant and have strong marking skills.

2. Strategy to Maintain Your Own Area

The strategy of guarding one’s own area is a strategy in the game of football which is also known as zone marking or space covering. Zone marking or space covering means that each player has an obligation to protect opposing players who are in his area.

This strategy itself is very effective in reading the opponent’s attack strategy. In this way, the defense in your area will be more stable and the chances of conceding due to opponent attacks will also be less.

However, this strategy also has several weaknesses, one of which is that the area adjacent to the opponent becomes more open and easy to concede. Not only that, one team player will also be overwhelmed by the opponent’s attack and it will be difficult to counterattack.

3. Strategies to Press Opponents

The strategy of pressing the opponent or also known as force-checking is a strategy or tactic of trying to get or recover lost balls in the defense area. This force-testing or pressing strategy also requires good cooperation between players.

The advantage of this strategy is that the opponent does not have the ability to counterattack. However, this strategy is quite tiring when all players must exert all their attack power and the defense will also falter if the opponent tries to counterattack.

4. Strategy of Delaying Pressure on Opponents

The strategy of delaying the opponent’s pressure or fullback is a strategy or tactic that does not push the opponent into the mid lane. When the ball lands in the opposing team’s area, players remain in their own area until the opponent attacks.

The advantage of this fallback strategy is that the defensive formation is always well maintained. In addition, this strategy is also effective against counterattacks from the opposing team, making it suitable for use against strong opposing teams.

5. Opponent Attack Strategy

Attack strategy is a strategy carried out by individuals or groups to win matches in a sporting manner by carrying out attacks. The player in control, before passing the ball to his partner, will try to do some action with the ball, for example a touch of one or two wall passes.

This move is a very simple two player move. Player A passes the ball to Player B, then moves to a new position. Player B immediately passes the ball to A who is in his new position without holding the ball.

Phenomenal Tactics in Football Games

1. Total Football

Back in the 1970s, the term Total Football was too popular in the world of football. Thanks to these tactics, the Dutch national team won good results in several tournaments, both the European Cup and the World Cup. They even reached the World Cup final twice, in 1974 and 1978.

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However, the origins of total football actually go back to 1930. Around that time, a British man named Jimmy Hogan realized that the game of soccer had to be played in a loose, fully integrated and active style. This is the basis of Total Football tactics.

In Total Football, each player is not assigned a specific role. They can replace each other, switch positions on the fly, combine short and long passes to exploit space in the opponent’s defense.

Not only in the Netherlands, the Total Football system was also used by other teams, such as the Austrian national team in the 1930s, Hungary in the 1950s with Ferenc Puskas and Sandor Kocsis, and the Santos team in the 1960s. Total Football is a very flexible gameplay.

2. Tiki-taka

Tiki-taka or possession football is a variant of the Dutch total football system in the 1970s, Pep Guardiola was the one who sparked this tactic at the start of his coaching career at Barcelona, ​​​​the 2008/09 season.

At that time, Guardiola wanted his team to hold the ball for a long time, pass the ball to create space. So, unlike Total Football, tiki-taka or possession of the ball is not as smooth as Total Football. Players are always assigned a specific role.

The hallmark of Guardiola’s ball possession game is the presence of triangle roaming , or triangles on the field. Each time the ball is controlled or lost, players will form a triangle for the purpose of isolating the opponent.

Also, with this triangle, players have the option of having more people when passing the ball and have the option of having more people when defending. It’s no wonder that Barcelona along with other teams led by Guardiola such as Bayern Munich or Manchester City were so dominant when they had the ball.

3. Genpressing

Referring to Gegenpressing, we cannot ignore the name Ralf Rangnick. Not Juergen Klopp, Rangnick actually discovered this Gegenpressing. In 1998, he even explained Gegenpressing on TV.

Rangnick himself applied this Gegenpressing while coaching VfB Stuttgart, Hannover 96, Schalke 04, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim and RB Leipzig. According to him, Gegenpressing is essentially an active tactic. Pressing as high as possible is the hallmark of Gegenpressing.

Not only is pressing high, but pressing is also done in areas where the opponent is at risk of making a mistake. One of them is the wings. When the ball is won from a higher area, the distance to the goal is shorter and the goal is easy to concede.

This is the goal of Gegenpressing. Many were inspired by Rangnick’s tactics, such as Klopp, Thomas Tuchel, Julian Nagelsmann, Domenico Tedesco and David Wagner. However, Rangnick is not alone. Other coaches such as Arrigo Sacchi, Marcelo Bielsa or Mauricio Pochettino also apply this tactic.

4. Catenaccio

When the WM training system became popular in the 1930s, Karl Rappan had other thoughts. Instead, he uses a different system from the Swiss national team, where each player must adhere to a patent defense system that does not rely on individual abilities. This system is called Verrou, which is the forerunner of Catenaccio.

When Inter Milan became the rulers of Italy and Europe in the mid-1960s, the figure of Helenio Herrera changed the Verrou system to become this Rappan. Departing from the anti-defeat Italian culture, he formed a new tactic called Catenaccio.

With this Catenaccio system, there is one player who acts as a sweeper. He will be a player who sweeps the ball while breaking the opponent’s attack in the defensive area. The Sweeper will also work with three defenders to guard against opposing attackers.

Catenaccio itself if translated into Indonesian is a chain. Assuming this chain will be a barrier to prevent opponents from scoring goals, with a defense system that combines zoning and man to man marking. This system also worked in Italy in the 1960s.

5. Kick and Rush

Before the 1966 World Cup, nobody knew about the England national team. However, apart from the title won by the British national team in 1966, the tactics used by England in this event also appeared, namely kick and rush.

Simply put, the kick and rush is basically just a long pass tactic. Thus, the defender or goalkeeper kicks a long ball, which is then used by tall or fast attackers to penetrate the opponent’s defense. Kick, then rush.

Football Formation

Player formations are often used by teams in modern games. The squad develops according to the development of the world of football.

Each formation is chosen because it matches the quality of the players and the coach’s strategy. Usually, a tactician has more than one basic formation for his team. This is to predict various situations that occur in the game. Variations in formations and strategies will result in victory.

1. 4-3-3 formation

This 4-3-3 formation is quite disturbing because it consists of 4 defenders, 3 midfielders and 3 attackers. With this formation, each player must apply pressure starting from the opponent’s defense area.

The combination of right and left defenders, midfielders and attackers both in attack and defense will confuse your opponent. Large numbers of goals are often produced by teams that play with this formation. Liverpool is a team that likes to use a 4-3-3 formation.

2. Formation 4-2-4

The 4-2-4 formation originated in England and was a popular formation at that time. This formation places four defenders, two midfielders side by side diagonally and four attackers.

In attack, a midfielder will advance with right and left defenders. Midfielder, this striker will defend his area while supporting the right and left defenders in attack.

In the event of a counter attack, they will get down to their positions and coordinate with the other players on their side of the pitch to prevent the opponent from becoming a dangerous threat.

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Meanwhile, the 4 attacking players are tasked with breaking down the opponent’s defense. The two centre-forwards play a key role, while the other two cover the flanks like wings.

The 4-2-4 formation was used by Brazil when they won the 1958 World Cup. At that time, Brazil had many famous names, such as Pelé and Garrincha.

3. 4-4-2 formation

The 4-4-2 formation is commonly used by the Indonesian National Team (Timnas) and several top European clubs. This squad has 4 defenders, 4 midfielders and 2 attacking players.

This formation relies heavily on wing attackers on both sides of the field. The winger is supported by right and left defenders. Goals are often scored through diagonal passes and crosses that open up defenses.

4. Formation 4-5-1

The 4-5-1 formation is more defensive because only one player can attack inside the penalty box. Even so, this formation is also very good for counterattacks. Usually coaches adopt this formation when they have the upper hand and want to hold their position to win.

5. Formation 4-4-1-1

The 4-4-1-1 formation is a variation of the 4-4-2 formation. The difference is, the attacking players will be behind their teammates who are closer to the penalty box. This player becomes the second striker, supporting the main spearhead of his team.

6. Formation 4-3-2-1

The 4-3-2-1 formation uses four defenders, three midfielders, two wingers and one striker. This formation has many players in midfield so that one team can control the ball better.

However, teams with this formation often have to have attacking players with good physical and technical abilities. This is because attacking players must be able to reflect the ball so that wingers or midfielders can enter the penalty box to create opportunities.

7. Formation 4-3-1-2

The 4-3-1-2 formation is a variation of the 4-3-2-1 formation. The difference is, the 4-3-1-2 formation uses two attackers and has a playmaker behind him. The player’s job is to deliver a pass that damages both strikers. This formation also allows a team to have better ball control.

8. 5-3-2 Formation

The 5-3-2 formation supports a solid defense. The squad has three centre-backs, two full-backs, three midfielders and two strikers. In attack, one midfielder will drop to support the three centre-backs, while the full-backs and two other midfielders will step forward to support the two attackers. In defence, the full-backs and midfielders need to get back into their proper positions.

9. 5-4-1 formation

The 5-4-1 formation is also very defensive, just like the 5-3-2 formation. The squad has 3 centre-backs, 2 full-backs, 4 midfielders, including 2 wingers and 1 striker. The full back and two wingers will move forward to support the lone attacker. The job of a lone striker in this squad is quite important because you can’t waste every opportunity that comes your way. This formation is great for counter attacks.

10. Formation 3-6-1

The 3-6-1 formation is rarely used in matches. This formation puts 3 defenders at the back, 3 centre-backs on equal footing, 2 centre-backs in front of the 3 centre-backs and a central midfielder to support a lone striker. This formation is suitable if a team really wants to survive from the start.

11. Formation 3-5-2

The 3-5-2 formation uses 3 centre-backs, 5 midfielders and 2 attackers. Midfielders are defensive midfielders who focus on defense. The advantage of this formation lies in the strong attack power when placing many players in the middle, helping to better control the ball. However, there was also a lack of defense on the fragile left and right.

12. 3-4-3 formation

The 3-4-3 formation has three centre-backs, four midfielders, two on the right and left flanks who also act as full-backs and three strikers. The full-back is set forward to support the 3 strikers.

Meanwhile, the two midfielders in midfield are in charge of passing the ball to the strikers or full-backs when attacking. In defense, two full-backs and two central midfielders will act as a filter for the opponent’s attacks.

13. Formation 4-1-4-1

The 4-1-4-1 formation uses four defenders, one defensive midfielder, four attacking midfielders and one attacker. The 4-1-4-1 formation is a variation of the 4-5-1. The difference is, the 4-5-1 formation focuses on defense, while the 4-1-4-1 formation focuses on attack.

14. 4-2-2-2 formation

The 4-2-2-2 formation has 4 defenders, 2 defensive midfielders, 2 attacking midfielders and 2 attackers. This formation is a variation of the 4-2-4 formation. The defensive midfielders focus on defending the area while the right and left defenders appear to support the attack. At that time, attacking midfielders needed to play wide or in the middle to be able to support the two attackers on the front lines.

15. Formation 4-2-3-1

The 4-2-3-1 formation uses four defenders, two defensive midfielders, three attacking midfielders and one attacker. This formation is very solid because it is balanced in defending and surrendering. With this formation, a team can control the ball better when they have a large number of players in midfield. This squad has become popular since the 2010 World Cup until now. Several top European clubs still use this squad as the main benchmark because of their solidarity.


Thus a review of the various strategies, tactics and formations in the game of football. For Sinaumed’s who want to understand about other soccer game strategies, you can visit to get related books.

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Author: Ziaggi Fadhil Zahran

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