Attacking Play against a Un-Organized Defense (Counter-Attack)

Counter-Attack – Definition:

A rapid attacking movement following a positive change in possession!

When Do We Counter?

  • Positive turnover
  • Space available
  • Defenders un-balanced/recovering

Where Do We Counter?

  • Beginning from any player and any position

Why Do We Counter?

  • Coaches’ preference/style
  • Environmental factors
  • Physical attributes of team
    • Speed/Endurance
  • Technical/Tactical attributes of team
  • Needs of the game
    • Losing/State of the game
    • Man down
  • Opposition’s strengths/weaknesses

How Do We Counter?

  • Direct ball
  • Playing off a striker
  • Playing under the striker
  • Dribbling/Run it!
  • Switching Play

Counter-Attacking Traits

Area of the field that a transition begins:

  • Majority of counter-attacks commence by regaining the ball in the defending and middle thirds of the field.
  • Majority of counter-attacks begin in the central channel of the field.

How do the best teams in the world effectively counter?

  • They are able to switch quickly between defense and attack.
  • They bypass the midfield quickly and make accurate, well-timed final passes. Teams such as Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Brazil, Ghana, Argentina and Japan are all specialists in this regard.
  • They pass the ball around quickly, trying to take as few passes as possible before taking out the opposition’s defense.
  • They are able to put immediate pressure on the man in possession if the ball is lost. By doing so they force their opponents into losing possession, which they then exploit as the opponents are still on the front foot.

In the 2010 FIFA World Cup’s second and third phases, far more goals were scored on the counter-attack than in the first phase, which was due to the teams being more attack-minded.