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soccer tactics The Evolution of Systems episode 2 - 5.0 out of 5 based on 1 vote
soccer tactics

In Italy, Vittorio Pozzo, an undistinguished player who, as a coach, had a great interest in soccer tactics, coached the national team.

For the 1934 Italian World Cup team, he devised a scheme based on the classic 2-3-5 as played by the Austrians, Czechs and Hungarians, the so-called Danubian School of soccer.

The Nubian School had emerged from the Scottish short-passing game brought to central Europe by a remarkable Englishman named Jimmy Hogan. His philosophy was that soccer was a game in which the ball belonged on the ground,soccer tactics drills and he used the phrase «keep it on the carpet «to describe how he wanted the ball to be passed.

The Danubian style, based on the 2-3-5, was faithful to Hogan‘s artistic approach to the game. By 1934, the Austrians had raised the style to its pinnacle under national coach Hugo Meisl. The Austrian”wunderteam“was considered the strongest in continental Europe.




Pozzo could   not simply copy the Danubian model because he lacked the player to fill the vital playmaking center half role. This role was taken over by two players, the inside forwards, who were withdrawn into tactics books Thus Pozzo‘s metodo, as it was called, retained elements of the 2-3-5 (particularly the marking assignments under which the fullbacks guarded the penalty area and the wing halves marked the opposing wingers), but  used  the  M formation for the forward line The metodo proved ideally suited to the Italian player. It stressed methodical defense and gave birth to the lightning counterattack, which was to be the basis of the Italian game for a long time. As one journalist put it, «The other team does all the attacking, but Italy wins the game. “

In the 1934 World Cup final, the method triumphed over the Nubian 2-3-5 of the Czechs. However the general feeling was that it was Italian strength, stamina and ruthlessness that actually determined the 2-1 outcome.

The 1938 final resulted in a similar match-up, the Italian metodo against the Hungarian 2-3-5. It was an easy 4-2 win by the Italians, whose system proved capable of accommodating a new, faster, more athletic type of game.

The 2-3-5 was stagnating and the tactics of its defensive system were about to be exposed. As the world prepared for war, there were three systems of play throughout the world: The W-M, the standard formation in England;soccer tactics game the Italian method, part W-M, part 2-3-5; and the 2-3-5, the Pyramid, still favored in South America, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Austria.

The “Swissbolt”

Within the various systems, soccer had become a game for specialist players, each with certain rather limited functions (i.e., wingers). There was one system that went against this trend, a system that at the time didn’t receive the study it deserved. In part this was because it was developed in Switzerland, which was not considered a bastion of soccer thought, and in part because it was a difficult theory to put into practice.

Karl Rappan, a former Austrian international who from 1931 on coached club soccer in Switzerland, concocted the system. The aim of the “bolt” system was to create a team that would outnumber opponents in both attack and defense. On attack, the bolt had a 3-3-4 shape complete with an attacking center half, with all the players, including the three-man fullback line, moving well up field.

When ball possession was lost, all 10 players retreated. The function of the four forwards was to harass the opponents and slow down the attack. The other six players raced deep into their own defensive half of the field. The attacking center half now became the center back, while the former center back retreated to an ultra-deep position behind everyone else. soccer tactics software From this  deep position that player could move laterally across the field, covering the other three backs and functioning as the sliding ”bolt“ to lock out opposing forwards.

The bolt system required great fitness from its players.  They had to be capable of high-speed running and have the ability to function both as attackers and defenders.

The system was not widely utilized, but it did introduce the two ideas:soccer formations a retreating defense and the lone fullback playing deep.

Uruguay‘s 2-1 victory over Brazil in the 1950 World Cup final remains the most astonishing upset in World  Cup  history.  The Brazilians produced an attack-oriented version of the W-M that they called the diagonal system to start the tournament and dismissed Mexico, 4-0. They then were held to a

2-2 ties by Switzerland, which frustrated them with their bolt system. Changing to a more traditional W-M,soccer strategy   the Brazilians regrouped and defeated Yugoslavia, 2-0, Sweden, 7-1, and Spain, 6-1.

Meanwhile, the Uruguayans were plodding along with their version of the metodo. In the final the Uruguayans utilized a deep-lying fullback and tight man marking everywhere on the field.  In reality soccer tactics the team looked more like the 4-3-3 of the future than the metodo. Although the Uruguayans trailed 1-0 at halftime, their counterattacks exposed the fragility of the Brazilian defense to capture the Cup. The Uruguayans, an Italian journalist commented, had become the world champions of marking.


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