Futsal defense tactics

In futsal a good defense tactic can be the key for achieving positive results, especially when playing against a better team. Every coach has to prepare his team and individual players on several defense tasks. Futsal tactics in defense can be divided into three categories: (a) team tactic (4 players), (b) group tactic (3 or 2 players) and (c) individual tactic (1 player).
(a) Futsal team defense tactic
There are several factors that we have to consider when deciding how our team will play in defense (depending on both teams):
  • Technical skills
  • Tactical skills
  • Condition
Number of playersIn futsal it is very important to know how the opposite team is playing and based on that we decide for the right team defense tactic. We can choose from:
  • Low or zone formation: is a defense formation where all players are positioned low on the pitch (in front of the defending goal). Every player covers a certain part of the field and is focused on preventing shots on goal and not on stealing the ball.
  • Middle formation: is a defense formation where we make pressure on the opponent that hasthe ball in possession. Defenders are waiting the opponent player to make a mistake and/or a bad pass.
  • High formation or pressing: is a defense formation where every player marks his opponent across the whole playing area.
  • Formation on set pieces: is a defense formation when the opposite team has a set piece (free kick, corner kick or out). We can chose between player on player defense or space defense.
  • Forced formation (with a lower number of players): is a defense formation when your team has fewer players on the pitch than the opponent, that is, when the opposite team is playing with their goalkeeper.

(b) Futsal group defense tactic 
Group defense tactic is a defense tactic with two or three defenders, who have to collaborate in order to stop the attack. In a futsal game there are lots of counterattacks and this is normally when a team has to defend with less than four players. Group defense tactic can be divided into two segments. Defending with fewer players in counterattacks 4 on 3 or 3 on 2 players) and defending with lessplayers with one player is sent off.
When it comes to a four against three situation it is important that the three defenders try to cover the space in front of the goal and prevent attackers from getting scoring opportunities near the goal. This mean that defenders lets players shot from distance or from the flanks as this are difficult shots and the goalkeeper is likely to stop them. The most important task for defenders is to cover the space in front of the goal (as shown on the picture) and try to prevent any passes or shots from this space. Thedefenders try to slow dawn the attack so the fourth player can come back in defense.
In a three against two situation the things are a bit more difficult to perform. Both defenders have to act synchronically. First of all they have to find out with which foot the attacker is kicking the ball (usually the middle player has the ball). The defender who is on the side of the ball has to be positioned a bit more high than his teammate as he has to prevent a direct shot on goal if the attacker gets into the shoot zone (seen on the previous picture). The other defender has to mark the attacker on his side and prevent passes to him. In this situation we let one player on the side unmarked. If the player in the middle passes the ball to the unmarked attacker, the defenders has to mark the player in the middleand not try to run after the ball. It is true that we left the goalkeeper in a 1 on 1 situation but the attacker comes from the flank and the defenders cover all passing options. If the defenders run after the ballthey will make more scoring opportunities for the attackers, because the ball can go much faster than anyone can run. In this kind of situation we have to leave one player alone in a 1 on 1 situation with the goalkeeper, because it is more difficult to score with the keeper focused on the attacker than kickingthe ball in an empty goal after receiving a pass on the second post.
When there is a counterattack the attacking team has to finish the attack as quickly as possible because they won’t have numerical superiority for much time. But if one player is sent off, the defending team has to defend for 2 minutes with only 3 players. The attacking team has much more time to prepare their attack. First of all defenders have to notice with what kind of formation the opposite team will play. Basically there are two possible formations: diamond formation (1-2-1) or 2-2 formation.
If the opposite team is playing the diamond formation the defending team has to position one player in front and two players behind (as seen on picture). The first player is basically preventing passes between the three upper players, 2 back defenders are preventing shots on goal from the flanks and passes to the target player. It is crucial that the upper player is not standing to high, because he has to prevent direct passes from the 2 players on the flanks. When preventing the direct pass from one flank to another the defending team gets some time for positioning, because the ball has to go to the middle player before reaching the second flank.
If the opposite team is playing a 2-2 formation the defending team has to position 2 players in front and 1 player behind. With 2 defenders in front we prevent shots from the flanks. the defender who is near the player with the ball prevents a direct shot on goal and partially a diagonal pass on the second post the other upper defender has to help preventing the pass on the second post and at the same time be prepared to run on the flank if the attacker passes the ball on the other side. The third player has to cover the attacker on the side where the ball is. He has to run from one flank to another as the ball travels.

Whenever the defending team is in numerical disadvantage it is very important that all players know exactly what they are supposed to do, because if one player doesn’t do his job the whole formation breaks down. The first rule of defense is not let the attackers to score and not stealing the ball.

Futsal individual defense tactic – coming soon

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