Counter attack  






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 - counterattack

 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.


Key points

·         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 possession.