While many teams try to play the
game as much as possible in the opponent’s half, counter-attacking teams are
different. They like to play much deeper, soaking up pressure in their own
half and then breaking out in an organized way through an opposing defense
that may have pushed up too far for safety.
Unlike long ball teams who
essentially “hit and hope,” counter-attack teams play more controlled
possession soccer even when moving at top speed on the attack. The strikers
in particular play a very different role.
Attacking systems -
The figure above looks complex,
but in practice it is fairly simple:
Ball starts with defender A1
Striker A3 makes a run back into his half to receive the ball,
bringing with him defender D1
The entire defense is playing very high up the pitch, having
been drawn upfield by the defensive setup of their opponents
A3 quickly lays the ball off to attacking midfielder A4, who
can see the field in front of him and may not be closely marked
As the ball is coming back to A4, the opposing winger A2 makes
a run through the middle of the field, behind the defense which is now
stretched much to far upfield.
Variations on the counter-attack
may focus on releasing one of the wingers along the sideline, or switching
the ball diagonally across field into undefended space.
when playing against counter-attacking teams, it is
critically important for the defense to keep its shape and to not get sucked
too far upfield. Someone has to stay home at the back
all teams need counter-attacking skills, so that when
they are under pressure, they can still attack effectively and maintain