Go to contents


Defense followed by offense emerges as new trend in World Cup

Defense followed by offense emerges as new trend in World Cup

Posted June. 18, 2014 05:24,   


Choi Yong-soo, coach of FC Seoul in the K-League, said he was perplexed to watch the first match of Group F between Argentina and Bosnia-Herzegovina held on Monday. Argentina, which is considered a global soccer powerhouse and prospective winner of this year’s event, used a three-back tactic that is considered a thing of the past. In a four-back tactic, defenders on the both sides frequently join in reverse attacks. Experts say that a three-back tactic of defenders are engaged less in offensive, which is relatively defense-oriented. However, the newly used three-back tactic has overcome the general perception of the past, which suggests a three-back tactic is "defense-oriented." The Dong-A Ilbo examined a new trend of tactics that have emerged at the World Cup in Brazil.

○ ‘I never expected Argentina would use three-back tactic’

Hwang Sun-hong, coach of Pohang Steelers, said, “Glaringness has all but disappeared, and a trend seeking pragmatic gains has emerged.” Except Spain, the champion of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, other strongholds, such as the Netherlands and Argentina, have increasingly showed the tendency to reinforce defense with three backs before staging counterattack to score a goal, he added.

“The Netherlands used a three-back tactic to win over TikiTaka, the passing soccer of Spain. This represents a formation, in which two defensive midfielders are deployed to effectively have five players as defenders,” said Kim Dae-gil, KBS N soccer commentator. “However, unlike in the past, this is an offense-oriented three back tactic, in which the three defenders are mobilized toward the midfield to pressure Spain. If the midfielders and defenders block the ball, they immediately kick long shots to the front to launch a counterattack.”

○ Loosened pressure, three strikers

Hwang said, “Overall, pressure at the front and midfield has decreased. Due to hot weather and high humidity in Brazil, players see their physical stamina deteriorate rapidly. That`s why they seem to focus on defense as priority to seek stability.” At the 2014 Brazil World Cup, the organizers partially introduced “Cooling Break” during which players drink water amidst the match due to hot weather. To adapt themselves to such environment, participating teams have performed play seeking overall balance, and as a result pressure has been lessened, analysts say.