Soccer Attacking Tactics, Shooting Tips, One-Touch Soccer,Brave Defenders
More Soccer Coaching Tips from the World Cup
Part 2 of a Four Part Series

Note From David. Below is part of a 4-part series about Lessons from the 2010 World Cup.

  1. One-Touch Play is Critical in Order to Play Fast. Good soccer players must play fast. There often isn't time for 2-touch. The Dribble Around Cone & Pass Relay Race Practice Game can teach one-touch play.

  2. Teach Players to Block the Ball When they are Running Onto it Near the Goal Rather than Trying a Big Shot. Landon Donovan's goal vs. Algeria is a perfect example. He blocked it into the corner using the inside of his foot - there was NO backswing. The ball had plenty of power because he was running onto it. Think of how many shots went wide over the top because players kicked the ball too hard. Donovan kept his eyes on the ball, ran onto it and blocked it (one-touch) for the goal. You can see Landon Donovan's winning goal vs. Algeria at . The goal starts in the 16th second and the entire video is less than a minute.

  3. Best Attacking Style Mixes Short Passing and Long Balls. Germany and Netherlands used a mixture of short passes and long balls. Spain on the other hand, was criticized by the commentators for only playing a short passing game and not playing enough long balls. Yes, Spain won, but they didn't win because of their offense, they won because of defense. They only scored 8 goals in 7 games and the winning goal against Netherlands was due to luck when a long waist-high drive by Torres bounced off a Dutch defender, not because of a controlled attack. An analogy in American football would be a team that only runs or only passes. we know that their opponents would adjust to the one-dimensional attack. Mixing it up keeps the opponent off balance.

  4. Defenders Who Jump Out of the Way of a Shot Help the Opponent - Timid Defenders Cause Goals, Brave Defenders Prevent Goals. Ideally, you don't want to have any players on defense who are afraid of the ball. Ideally, you want every defender to be willing to body-block shots. On Uruguay's second goal against Netherlands, rather than stepping in front of the ball to block the shot, the Dutch defender turned his back to avoid being hit and didn't block the shot. The result was that the Dutch keeper was screened from the ball and couldn't react in time to stop the goal. An analogy would be when a team sets up a wall on a Free Kick and one kicker kicks the ball at one of his teammates who turns aside or ducks at the last second so the Keeper's view is blocked.

  5. If Your Team is Having Trouble Scoring, Remember How Spain Scored to Beat Netherlands and Win the 2010 World Cup. It was in the 116th minute (26th minute of overtime). The score was 0-0. Spain attacked on a fast counterattack started by Jesus Navas, a Winger, who made a 50 yard run with the ball from Spain's Defensive Third across to about 10 yards past the Halfway Line. The ball was kicked away from Navas by the Dutch but the loose ball went to Iniesta who made a back heel pass to Fabregas, who passed to Navas, who then passed to Torres. (This resulted in Spain having 4 players in scoring range who were defended by 6 Dutch players.) Torres sent a hard, flat drive about waist high toward Iniesta, but a Dutch player stepped in front to block it (the Torres pass was actually a bad pass that would have been behind Iniesta and possibly gone out of bounds). The Dutch player couldn't control the ball because the pass was so hard and waist high. The ball bounced toward Fabregas who passed it to Iniesta, who scored. Note that during the play even when he lost the ball, Jesus Navas kept attacking and was open for the pass from Fabregas, and after passing the ball to Navas, Fabregas overlapped Navas and ran to the top of the Penalty Box to be in scoring range - this Movement Off the Ball created the opportunity for the goal. The lesson is that if you are having trouble scoring, get scorers into scoring range, send the ball toward them hard, and hope for a lucky break. For all of Spain's possession play (they made hundreds of short passes, very few long passes, very few long dribbling runs, and controlled the ball for 64% of the match), they won the game on a lucky break created by a 50 yard dribbling run, a hard line drive bad pass, and because they had scorers in position to score. Obviously Torres didn't know it would work out the way it did, but his hard pass was the right thing because a pass on the ground would have been cleared and a typical soft lofted pass would have probably been cleared. The hard waist-high ball created the opportunity, combined with having scorers in position to capitalize on the opportunity. You can see the Iniesta goal for Spain that beat Netherlands in the 2010 World Cup Final at, (scroll to minute 4:57 and it shows again at 5:16). If you want to see the entire play and Navas' run, go to and start at minute 2:00 (scroll down to the box that says "Media" and then click "skip this ad"). The entire counterattack only took 25 seconds. This is another example of why mixing up play is good. All short passes is not as effective as a mixture of short passes and long passes and some long dribbling runs. The same analogy is true for most sports - if you use the same attacking style all the time (such as all long passes or all short passes) you become predictable and easier to defend. On the winning goal Netherlands did a good job defending. The goal was due to 2 lucky breaks and Spain's hustle and movement off the ball, it was not due to bad defending. The second video clip shows the importance of Movement Off the Ball (