Football tactics: Winning strategies on the pitch

In the exciting world of football, tactics and strategies are the compass that guides teams to victory. These specific decisions and actions are essential to achieve goals and ensure supremacy on the pitch. In this article, you will dive into the intriguing world of football tactics, where strategy and discipline are the keys to success.

Understanding football tactics

First, it is essential to understand what “tactics” means in the context of football. Tactics refer to the precise decisions a team makes during a match to achieve its objectives. This involves the positioning of players, the strategy of play and the execution of plays.

Difference between tactics and strategy

football tactics

It is vital to differentiate between tactics and strategy. While strategy focuses on the long-term plan, tactics addresses how short-term actions are carried out. Strategy is the “why” and “when”, while tactics is the “how”.

Para implementar con éxito una táctica en el campo, es crucial que los jugadores la entiendan y practiquen. Nuestras academias de alto rendimiento ofrecen a los jóvenes atletas la oportunidad perfecta para aprender y practicar diferentes estrategias y jugadas en un ambiente divertido y educativo.

To successfully implement a tactic on the field, it is crucial that players understand and practice it. Our high performance academies offer young athletes the perfect opportunity to learn and practice different strategies and plays in a fun and educational environment.

Now, let us continue to explore how these tactics are the very essence of the game.

Defensive football tactics: Protecting the fortress

Defensive tactics are the shield that protects the goal and keeps the opposing team at bay.

Line of four vs. line of five

The choice between four balanced defenders and five solid defenders can change the dynamics of the game.

High pressure vs. low pressure

High pressing makes it difficult for opponents to build up play in their own half, while low pressing focuses on defending close to their own box.

Man marking vs. zone marking

It’s about following an opposing player closely or covering a specific area, depending on the skill of the players and the strategy of the team. In our football quizzes, you can show your prowess in both approaches.

Exit from behind

It involves building play from the defensive zone, requiring precision passing and vision.

Defending forward, forcing offside

Look to keep a high defensive line to catch opposing forwards in an offside position.


Coordinated lateral movements of defenders to cover gaps and counter attacks on the flanks.

Offensive Tactics: Creating Goal Chances

On the field of play, offensive tactics are the arrows pointing towards the opponent’s goal.

Direct play vs. Possession play

Choose to move forward quickly or keep control of the ball depending on the team’s philosophy and the circumstances of the match.

Flank attack vs Central attack

Decide whether to attack the flanks or penetrate the box through the centre depending on the strategy and the strengths of the team.

Midfield Roles in Playmaking

Each position in midfield has a unique role in the offensive tactics.

Importance of the “False Nine”

A striker who drops back into midfield to create space and confuse the opposition defence.

Breaking Out of Play, Through balls, Through balls

Key skills for strikers, which consist of avoiding offside and executing accurate passes.

Transitions: Shifting gears and adaptation

Transitions are like changing gears in a sports car, quick and crucial.

Rapid counter-attack

They exploit the vulnerability of the opposing team in an offensive position, requiring speed and precision in passing.

Defensive redeployment and reorganisation

When possession is lost, the team must retreat and reorganise defensively to prevent counter-attacks.

Changes of pace in the game

Altering the tempo can disorient the opponent and create opportunities, either by speeding up or slowing down the game depending on the situation.

Set-pieces: Crucial moments

Free kicks, corner kicks and penalties are crucial moments in football where the right tactics make the difference.

Corner kicks

Opportunities to execute precisely designed moves and rehearsed movements.

Direct and indirect free kicks

Strategic decisions about shooting directly at goal or creating team plays based on distance and location.


They are decisive shots that can change the course of the game, in an instant of tension and skill, the player faces the goalkeeper in search of glory and disappointment, it is a real mental challenge.

If you dream of taking your game to the next level, our summer camps and performance academies are the place where you can hone your skills and receive elite training that prepares you to compete at the next level.

Tactical adaptation according to the opponent

Before the whistle signals the start of the battle on the field of play, there is a sacred ritual: the analysis of the opponent. At this precise moment, the strategy that could decide victory unfolds.

Analysis of the opponent

Like an archaeologist of the game, we dig into the past, research their style of play, study their key players and analyse every previous tactical clue. History reveals secrets.

Identifying strengths

Each team is a treasure trove of skills, some hidden in plain sight. We identify the jewels in their crown, the individual skills and the collective symphony that makes them stand out.

Recognition of weaknesses

Even titans have weaknesses. Our aim is to find them, map the cracks and point out where they may fail.

Adjusting strategy and tactics

Modify your tactical approach to exploit their weaknesses and counter their strengths.

Conclusions: The future of tactics in football

Football, like a skilful striker, keeps moving forward and surprising us!

Technological advances and data analytics are transforming tactical decision-making, giving teams a strategic advantage in every match.

Innovations in formations and roles are lurking, like those unexpected dribbles that leave everyone speechless. The development of young talent is like a club’s youth academy, where future stars take shape. And, of course, positional play remains the foundation, like that silent captain on the pitch, guiding his team to victory.

So, dear fan, stay tuned for these exciting changes as we celebrate football and its timeless tactical charm.

Now, let’s clear up some more questions in our Q&A field.

Football in questions and answers

What are the 7 technical fundamentals of football?

The essential pillars of any football player are:

Ball control: The ability to dominate and manipulate the ball with the feet, thighs, chest or head to maintain possession and set up plays.

Accurate passing: The ability to deliver the ball accurately to a teammate, whether short, long or deep, to maintain possession or create attacking opportunities.

Dribbling: The skill of dribbling and dribbling past opponents with the ball through changes of direction and speed, while maintaining control of the ball.

Shot on goal: The technique of shooting the ball accurately and powerfully towards the opponent’s goal with the aim of scoring a goal.

Head: The ability to strike the ball with the head, whether in defence or attack, to clear it, direct it to a teammate or score goals. 

Driving: The art of moving forward with the ball under control, keeping it close to the feet while moving down the field.

Defence: Defensive skills include the ability to mark opponents, intercept passes, clear the ball and maintain the integrity of the defensive line to protect the goal.

What is collective tactics?

Refers to the strategy and organisation of a team as a whole to achieve specific objectives, emphasising teamwork and coordination of movements to overcome the opponent in both offensive and defensive situations.

What is neutral tactics in football?

The neutral tactic is characterised by maintaining a balance between defence and attack, adapting to the circumstances of the match. It does not focus on extreme strategies, such as high pressing or ultra-conservative play, but on a balanced mentality to control the game in a versatile and effective way.

It is based on the ability to adjust tactics according to the specific needs of the moment, seeking to maintain control without over-exposing oneself in any area of the field.

What is better tactics or strategy in football?

Both tactics and strategy are fundamental, but they complement each other in different ways. Tactics focuses on how short-term actions are executed, while strategy encompasses the long-term plan.

It is not a question of choosing one over the other, but of combining them effectively to achieve success on the playing field.

Something else!

In the exciting world of football, the understanding of techniques resembles the skill of a midfielder controlling the ball: essential and refined.

Just like in our youngsters who hone their skills at our summer camps, or in our high-performance academies. By combining tactics and strategy, we unlock the potential of these passionate footballers, celebrating the true art of the game on the pitch and beyond.

Join our community where football and learning merge!


Borbón, M. R., & Alvarado, E. S. (2013). Guía Didáctica del Curso: Táctica y Estrategia en Futbol. MHSalud: Movimiento Humano y Salud, 10(1), 6-40 [citado 09 de septiembre de 2023]

García S, Rodríguez A, Garzón A. Conceptualización de inteligencia táctica en fútbol: Consideraciones para el desarrollo de un instrumento de evaluación en campo desde las funciones ejecutivas. Cuad. Psicol. Deporte [Internet]. 1 de enero de 2011 [citado 09 de septiembre de 2023]

Teoldo, I. C., da Silva, J. M. G., Greco, J. P., & Mesquita, I. Principios tácticos del fútbol: conceptos y aplicaciones. [citado 09 de septiembre de 2023]

Conceptualización de inteligencia táctica en fútbol: Consideraciones para el desarrollo de un instrumento de evaluación en campo desde las funciones ejecutivas | Cuadernos de Psicología del Deporte


and last time updated 13 de September de 2023