5 Soccer Defense Tips from the World Cup
Soccer Defense, Finishing, Tactics
Part 1 of a Four Part Series

Note From David. I hope you enjoyed the World Cup. I enjoyed it, but I also tried to see what I could learn from it. This is part of a 4-part series about Lessons from the 2010 World Cup.

  1. Never Give Up. The U.S. had 2 goals disallowed that should have counted - one vs. Slovenia and one vs. Algeria - yet they persevered.

  2. A Packed in Defense Gives Weaker Teams a Better Chance. North Korea played tough against Brazil (2-1) using a Packed In Defense and Defending Deep so they didn't give up breakaways or fast counterattacks. But in the next game they tried to play a more aggressive attacking style against Portugal and got killed 7-0.

  3. Classic Team Finishing is Beautiful and a Fast Break Can Originate from the Goalkeeper. On the winning goal vs. Algeria, the U.S. attack started with a fast outlet throw by the Keeper to Landon Donovan. Donovan then made a great pass. Watch the classic finish on You Tube. The onball attacker comes down the right side, a Second Attacker runs toward the Near Post, a Third Attacker runs toward the Far Post (both staying a step or 2 behind the ball so they could see the play and wouldn't be called offside) and Donovan trails the play to pick up a rebound, which is exactly what he did to score. Germany had some beautiful team counterattacks against Argentina. To me, there is nothing more beautiful than a fast team counterattack. The best video I found showing the Landon Donovan goal in USA vs. Algeria is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRgE1qP2vyw&feature=related. The goal starts in the 16th second and the entire video is less than a minute. Watch the beautiful runs on goal and watch how Donovan just blocks the shot using the inside of his foot (no backswing) which is how you want to teach your players to finish when they are running onto the ball because it is much more accurate. You don't see such a perfect attack very often. Notice what team speed and endurance this shows by the USA. This goal was in the 91st minute. Also notice that is wasn't an uncontested goal - there were 2 Algerian players running with the play.

  4. Adaptability is Critical to Success. If you want to beat tough teams, you must be willing to adapt your formation and Style of Play and put players in positions where they can be effective against your competition. An example: The England coach played Defoe instead of Heskey in the critical match against Slovenia and Defoe scored the goal that won the game.

  5. A Great Dribbler Who Can Break Down the Defense is Very Valuable, BUT He Must Know When to Pass. Messi is the ultimate example. He uses the dribble to set up the pass. He pulls defenders out of position to create space for a teammate and then passes the ball and follows up the shot. Arjen Robben is also a great dribbler and can disrupt defenses, but he has the reputation of sometimes dribbling too much when he should pass.