Soccer Coaching Tips from the World Cup
Soccer Formations, Positions, Tactics, Qualities of a Great Soccer Goal Scorer
Part 4 of a Four Part Series

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

  1. What Makes a Great Soccer Goal Scorer? In this World Cup, Klose of Germany and David Villa of Spain were 2 of the best. Both of them are smart players who anticipate where the ball will be and move to the right place. They are persistent, opportunistic and determined. I don't think either of them would win a skills contest, but they know how to score. Klose isn't flashy, but he is very smart.

  2. Teach Your Attackers to Stay a Step or 2 Behind the Ball on a Counterattack. If you watched Klose, he would stay a step or 2 behind the ball on a fast counterattack. This gave him 2 advantages: he was less likely to be called offside and he could run onto the ball and block it into the net.

  3. If You Push Up Slow Defenders Against Faster Attackers You Risk Giving Up Breakaways on Fast Counterattacks. For example, on Germany's fourth goal against England, the German attacker blew by England's right side defender (Barry, a midfielder). I don't know where the Fullback was - probably pushed up trying to score since they were behind 3-1. England might have been better off leaving a fast player deep to play like a Sweeper to stop breakaways.

  4. Formations and Tactics Make a Difference. If you listened to the commentators, they made some excellent points about this. Argentina, for example, played a 4-1-2-1-2 formation which left them defensively strong in the center (between the 2 goals) but vulnerable to attacks down the sideline. (They also had the problem of their Midfielders not going back to help defend). Spain was criticized for not continuing to attack down the center when it wasn't working. The commentators felt they should have attacked down the sidelines and then crossed the ball in to the Center. Germany played a 4-2-3-1 which gave them more width.

  5. All Forwards Should Pressure the Goalkeeper Like David Villa. I was very impressed with David Villa of Spain, not just because of his scoring but because late in the Germany game (75th minute and later) with Spain leading, he kept pressuring the German goalkeeper. That didn't let the German Keeper take his time on punts or kicks off the ground. (Remember, a player can't "harass" the Keeper, but a player can pressure them to pick up the ball). I thought his hustle set an example for his team. At that point he had scored 5 of Spain's 7 goals and had assisted on another, so he was responsible for 6 of the 7 goals, and if he had just stood there like most Forwards no one would have said anything.

  6. Organization and Discipline Usually Beats Lack of Organization and Lack of Discipline. Germany, Spain, Netherlands and Uruguay are all well organized and disciplined.

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