Defender (association football)

Last updated

In the sport of association football, a defender is an outfield player whose primary role is to prevent the opposing team from scoring goals.

Sport forms of competitive activity, usually physical

Sport includes all forms of competitive physical activity or games which, through casual or organised participation, aim to use, maintain or improve physical ability and skills while providing enjoyment to participants, and in some cases, entertainment for spectators. Hundreds of sports exist, from those between single contestants, through to those with hundreds of simultaneous participants, either in teams or competing as individuals. In certain sports such as racing, many contestants may compete, simultaneously or consecutively, with one winner; in others, the contest is between two sides, each attempting to exceed the other. Some sports allow a "tie" or "draw", in which there is no single winner; others provide tie-breaking methods to ensure one winner and one loser. A number of contests may be arranged in a tournament producing a champion. Many sports leagues make an annual champion by arranging games in a regular sports season, followed in some cases by playoffs.

Association football Team field sport

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Contents

There are four types of defenders: centre-back, sweeper, full-back, and wing-back. The centre-back and full-back positions are essential in most modern formations. The sweeper and wing-back roles are more specialised for certain formations.

Centre-back

Centre-back John Terry (26, blue) closely marks centre-forward Didier Drogba. John Terry Didier Drogba'14.JPG
Centre-back John Terry (26, blue) closely marks centre-forward Didier Drogba.

A centre-back (also known as a central defender or centre-half) defends in the area directly in front of the goal, and tries to prevent opposing players, particularly centre-forwards, from scoring. Centre-backs accomplish this by blocking shots, tackling, intercepting passes, contesting headers and marking forwards to discourage the opposing team from passing to them.

Shooting (association football) kicking technique in association football

Shooting is easily the most common way for goals to be scored. It is done using the feet; using the head, i.e. heading the ball, is the second most common way in which goals are scored.

Passing (association football) formation

Passing the ball is a key part of association football. The purpose of passing is to keep possession of the ball by maneuvering it on the ground between different players with the objective of advancing it up the playing field.

In association football, marking is an organized defensive strategy which aims to prevent a member of the opposing team from taking control of the ball. Several marking strategies exist in football, and they mostly differ from each other according to the duties assigned to defenders, positioning and off-the-ball style.

The common 4-4-2 formation uses two centre-backs. Association football 4-4-2 formation.svg
The common 4–4–2 formation uses two centre-backs.

With the ball, centre-backs are generally expected to make long and pinpoint passes to their teammates, or to kick unaimed long balls down the field. For example, a clearance is a long unaimed kick intended to move the ball as far as possible from the defender's goal. Due to the many skills centre-backs are required to possess in the modern game, many successful contemporary central-defensive partnerships have involved pairing a more physical defender with a defender who is quicker, more comfortable in possession and capable of playing the ball out from the back; examples of such pairings are John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho with Chelsea, Nemanja Vidić and Rio Ferdinand with Manchester United, or Giorgio Chiellini, Leonardo Bonucci and Medhi Benatia with Juventus. [1] [2]

In association football (soccer), a long ball is an attempt to move the ball a long distance down the field via one long aerial kick from either a goalkeeper or a defender directly to an attacking player, with the ball generally bypassing the midfield. Rather than arrive at the feet of the receiving attacking player, the attacker is expected to challenge the opposing defence in the air, with other attacking players and midfielders arriving to try and take possession of the ball if it breaks loose. In Continental Europe the style is called kick and rush. It is a technique that can be especially effective for a team with either fast or tall strikers. The long ball technique is also a through pass from distance in an effort to get the ball by the defensive line and create a foot race between striker and defender. While often derided as either boring or primitive, it can prove effective where players or weather conditions suit this style; in particular, it is an effective counter-attacking style of play in which some defenders can be caught off-guard.

John Terry English association football player

John George Terry is an English football coach and former professional footballer who played as a centre-back. He was previously captain of Chelsea, the England national team and Aston Villa; he is currently working as an assistant coach with the latter.

Ricardo Carvalho Portuguese footballer

Ricardo Alberto Silveira de CarvalhoOIH is a retired Portuguese professional footballer who played as a centre back.

During normal play, centre-backs are unlikely to score goals. However, when their team takes a corner kick or other set pieces, centre-backs may move forward to the opponents' penalty area; if the ball is passed in the air towards a crowd of players near the goal, then the heading ability of a centre-back is useful when trying to score. In this case, other defenders or midfielders will temporarily move into the centre-back positions.

Corner kick method of restarting play in association football

A corner kick is the method of restarting play in a game of association football when the ball goes out of play over the goal line, without a goal being scored, and having last been touched by a member of the defending team. The kick is taken from the corner of the field of play nearest to where it went out. Corners are considered to be a reasonable goal scoring opportunity for the attacking side, though not as much as a penalty kick or a direct free kick near the edge of the penalty area.

Penalty area

The penalty area or 18-yard box is an area of an association football pitch. It is rectangular and extends 16.5m to each side of the goal and 16.5m in front of it. Within the penalty area is the penalty spot, which is 10.97 metres (36.0 ft) or 12 yards from the goal line, directly in-line with the centre of the goal. A penalty arc adjoins the penalty area, and encloses the area within 9.15m from the penalty spot; it does not form part of the penalty area and is only of relevance during the taking of a penalty kick.

Midfielder association football position played on both ends of the field

midfielder is an association football position. Midfielders are generally positioned on the field between their team's defenders and forwards. Some midfielders play a disciplined defensive role, breaking up attacks, and are otherwise known as defensive midfielders. Others blur the boundaries, being more mobile and efficient in passing: they are commonly referred to as deep-lying midfielders, play-makers, box-to-box, or holding midfielders. The number of midfielders on a team and their assigned roles depends on the team's formation; the collective group of these players on the field is sometimes referred to as the midfield.

In the modern game, most teams employ two or three centre-backs in front of the goalkeeper. The 4–2–3–1, 4–3–3, and 4–4–2 formations all use two centre-backs.

The goalkeeper, often shortened to keeper or goalie, is one of the major positions of association football. It is the most specialised position in the sport. The goalkeeper's primary role is to prevent the opposing team from scoring. This is accomplished by the goalkeeper moving into the path of the ball and either catching it or directing it away from the vicinity of the goal line. Within the penalty area goalkeepers are able to use their hands, making them the only players on the field permitted to handle the ball. The special status of goalkeepers is indicated by them wearing different coloured kits from their teammates.

There are two main defensive strategies used by centre-backs: the zonal defence, where each centre-back covers a specific area of the pitch; and man-to-man marking, where each centre-back has the job of covering a particular opposition player.

Sweeper (libero)

The 5-3-2 formation with a sweeper Association football 5-3-2 sweeper formation.svg
The 5–3–2 formation with a sweeper

The sweeper (or libero) is a more versatile centre-back who "sweeps up" the ball if an opponent manages to breach the defensive line. [3] [4] This position is rather more fluid than that of other defenders who man-mark their designated opponents. Because of this, it is sometimes referred to as libero. [5] [6]

Though sweepers may be expected to build counter-attacking moves, and as such require better ball control and passing ability than typical centre-backs, their talents are often confined to the defensive realm. For example, the catenaccio system of play, used in Italian football in the 1960s, employed a purely defensive sweeper who only "roamed" around the back line; Armando Picchi was a leading exponent of the more traditional variant of this role in Helenio Herrera's Grande Inter side. [7] [8]

The more modern libero possesses the defensive qualities of the typical libero while being able to expose the opposition during counterattacks. The Fundell-libero has become more popular in recent time with the sweeper transitioning to the most advanced forward in an attack. This variation on the position requires great pace and fitness. While rarely seen in professional football, the position has been extensively used in lower leagues. Modern libero sit behind centre-backs as a sweeper before charging through the team to join in the attack. [9] [10]

Some sweepers move forward and distribute the ball up-field, while others intercept passes and get the ball off the opposition without needing to hurl themselves into tackles. If the sweeper does move up the field to distribute the ball, they will need to make a speedy recovery and run back into their position. In modern football, its usage has been fairly restricted, with few clubs in the biggest leagues using the position.

The position is most commonly believed to have been pioneered by Franz Beckenbauer, Gaetano Scirea, and Elías Figueroa, although they were not the first players to play this position. Earlier proponents included Alexandru Apolzan, Ivano Blason, Velibor Vasović, and Ján Popluhár. [9] [11] [12] [13] [14] [15] [16] Other defenders who have been described as sweepers include Bobby Moore, Franco Baresi, Ronald Koeman, Fernando Hierro, Matthias Sammer, and Aldair, due to their ball skills, vision, and long passing ability. [9] [11] [12] [17] Though it is rarely used in modern football, it remains a highly respected and demanding position.

A recent and successful use of the sweeper was made by Otto Rehhagel, Greece's manager, during UEFA Euro 2004. Rehhagel utilized Traianos Dellas as Greece's sweeper to great success, as Greece surprisingly became European champions.

Although this position has become largely obsolete in modern football formations, due to the use of zonal marking and the offside trap, certain players such as Daniele De Rossi: [18] , Leonardo Bonucci, Javi Martínez and David Luiz have played a similar role as a ball-playing central defender in a 3–5–2 or 3–4–3 formation; in addition to their defensive skills, their technique and ball-playing ability allowed them to advance into midfield after winning back possession, and function as a secondary playmaker for their teams. [18] [19]

Some goalkeepers, who are comfortable leaving their goalmouth to intercept and clear through balls, and who generally participate more in play, such as René Higuita, Manuel Neuer, and Hugo Lloris, among others, have been referred to as sweeper-keepers. [20] [21] [22]

Full-back

Full-back Philipp Lahm (right) marks winger Nani. Nani - Philipp Lahm 20120609.jpg
Full-back Philipp Lahm (right) marks winger Nani.

The full-backs (the left-back and the right-back) take up the holding wide positions and traditionally stayed in defence at all times, until a set-piece. There is one full-back on each side of the field except in defences with fewer than four players, where there may be no full-backs and instead only centre-backs. [23]

In the early decades of football under the 2–3–5 formation, the two full-backs were essentially the same as modern centre-backs in that they were the last line of defence and usually covered opposing forwards in the middle of the field. [24]

WM formation of the 1920s showing three fullbacks, all in fairly central positions. 3-2-2-3 formation.svg
WM formation of the 1920s showing three fullbacks, all in fairly central positions.

The later 3–2–5 style involved a third dedicated defender, causing the left and right full-backs to occupy wider positions. [25] Later, the adoption of 4–2–4 with another central defender [26] led the wide defenders to play even further over to counteract the opposing wingers and provide support to their own down the flanks, and the position became increasingly specialised for dynamic players who could fulfil that role as opposed to the central defenders who remained fairly static and commonly relied on strength, height and positioning.

In the modern game, full-backs have taken on a more attacking role than was the case traditionally, often overlapping with wingers down the flank. [27] Wingerless formations, such as the diamond 4–4–2 formation, demand the full-back to cover considerable ground up and down the flank. Some of the responsibilities of modern full-backs include:

Due to the physical and technical demands of their playing position, successful full-backs need a wide range of attributes, which make them suited for adaptation to other roles on the pitch. Many of the game's utility players, who can play in multiple positions on the pitch, are natural full-backs. A rather prominent example is the Real Madrid full-back Sergio Ramos, who has played on the flanks as a full-back and in central defence throughout his career. In the modern game, full-backs often chip in a fair share of assists with their runs down the flank when the team is on a counter-attack. The more common attributes of full-backs, however, include:

Wing-back

Wing-back Caitlin Foord in action with Australia at the 2017 Algarve Cup. Caitlin Foord in action at 2017 Algarve Cup.jpeg
Wing-back Caitlin Foord in action with Australia at the 2017 Algarve Cup.

The wing-back is a variation on the full-back, but with heavier emphasis on attack. This type of defender focuses more heavily on attack than defence, yet they must have the ability, when needed, to fall back and mark opposing players to lessen the threat of conceding a goal-scoring opportunity. Some formations have wing-back players that mainly focus on defending, and some that focus more on attack. Wing-backs are almost exclusively used in a formation with 3 centre-backs and are sometimes counted as midfielders instead of defenders.

In the evolution of the modern game, wing-backs are the combination of wingers and full-backs. As such, it is one of the most physically demanding positions in modern football. Wing-backs are often more adventurous than full-backs and are expected to provide width, especially in teams without wingers. A wing-back needs to be of exceptional stamina, be able to provide crosses upfield and defend effectively against opponents' attacks down the flanks. A defensive midfielder is usually fielded to cover the advances of wing-backs. [31] It can also be occupied by wingers and side midfielders in a three centre-back formation, as seen by ex-Chelsea manager Antonio Conte.

See also

Related Research Articles

Catenaccio

Catenaccio or The Chain is a tactical system in football with a strong emphasis on defence. In Italian, catenaccio means "door-bolt", which implies a highly organised and effective backline defence focused on nullifying opponents' attacks and preventing goal-scoring opportunities.

Forward (association football) Association Football position played near the opponents goal

Forwards are the players on an association football team who play nearest to the opposing team's goal, and are therefore most responsible for scoring goals.

There are various individual skills and team tactics needed to play effective football. Football is in theory a very simple game, as illustrated by Kevin Keegan's famous assertion that his tactics for winning a match were to "score more goals than the opposition". However, well-organised and well-prepared teams are often seen beating teams with supposedly more skillful players, even over time. Coaching manuals and books generally cover not only individual skills but tactics as well.

Formation (association football) in association football (soccer), position of the players

In association football, the formation describes how the players in a team generally position themselves on the pitch. Association football is a fluid and fast-moving game, and a player's position in a formation does not define their role as rigidly as for, for instance, a rugby player, nor are there episodes in play where players must expressly line up in formation. Nevertheless, a player's position in a formation generally defines whether a player has a mostly defensive or attacking role, and whether they tend to play towards one side of the pitch or centrally.

Association football positions

In the sport of association football, each of the 11 players on a team is assigned to a particular position on the field of play. A team is made up of one goalkeeper and ten outfield players who fill various defensive, midfield, and attacking positions depending on the formation deployed. These positions describe both the player's main role and their area of operation on the pitch.

Rugby union positions

In the game of rugby union, there are 15 players on each team, comprising eight forwards and seven backs. In addition, there may be up to eight replacement players "on the bench", numbered 16–23. Players are not restricted to a single position, although they generally specialise in just one or two that suit their skills and body types. Players that play multiple positions are called "utility players".

In certain sports, such as football, field hockey, ice hockey, handball, rugby union, lacrosse and rugby league, winger is a position. It refers to positions on the extreme left and right sides of the pitch, or playing field. In American football and Canadian football, the analogous position is the wide receiver. Wingers often try to use pace to exploit extra space available on the flanks that can be made available by their teammates dominating the centre ground. They must be wary however of not crossing the touchline, or sidelines, and going out of play. In sports where the main method of scoring involves attacking a small goal in the centre of the field, a common tactic is to cross the ball to a central teammate.

A rugby league team consists of thirteen players on the field, with four substitutes on the bench. Each of the thirteen players is assigned a position, normally with a standardised number, which reflects their role in attack and defence, although players can take up any position at any time.

In sports, a starting lineup is an official list of the set of players who will participate in the event when the game begins. The players in the starting lineup are commonly referred to as starters, whereas the others are substitutes or bench players.

In the sport of Australian rules football, the half-back line refers to the positions of the 3 players on the field that occupy the centre half-back and left and right half-back flank positions.

Australian rules football positions

In the sport of Australian rules football, each of the eighteen players in a team is assigned to a particular named position on the field of play. These positions describe both the player's main role and by implication their location on the ground. As the game has evolved, tactics and team formations have changed, and the names of the positions and the duties involved have evolved too. There are 18 positions in Australian rules football, not including four interchange players who may replace another player on the ground at any time during play.

In association football, a playmaker is a player who controls the flow of the team's offensive play, and is often involved in passing moves which lead to goals, through their vision, technique, ball control, creativity, and passing ability.

This list of rugby league terms is a general glossary of the terminology used in the sport of rugby league football. The sport has accrued a considerable amount of jargon to describe aspects of the game. Many terms originate from the Laws of the Game. A number of aspects of the game have more than one term that refers to them. Different terms have become popularly used to describe an aspect of the game in different places with notable differences between the northern and southern hemispheres.

Flanker (rugby union) playing position in rugby union

Flanker is a position in the sport of rugby union. Each team of 15 players includes two flankers, who play in the forwards, and are generally classified as either blindside or openside flankers, numbers 6 and 7 respectively. The name comes from their position in a scrum in which they 'flank' each set of forwards. They compete for the ball – most commonly in rucks and mauls. Flankers also assist in pushing in a scrum, but are expected to detach from the scrum as soon as the ball is out to get to the play before the opposition's forwards. Flankers also participate in line-outs, either being lifted to contest or win possession, or to lift other players. Flankers are usually the key participants in the tackling process. The flankers, especially the openside, are often the fastest forwards on the team but still relied upon for tackling.

In association football, channels is the name given to certain areas of the pitch, created by the space between players and groups of players.

Squad number (association football)

Squad numbers are used in association football to identify and distinguish players that are on the field. Numbers were originally used to also indicate position, with starting players being assigned numbers 1–11, although these numbers often bear little or no significance in the modern game other than the players' favourite numbers and the numbers available. However, numbers 1–11 are often still worn by players of the previously associated position.

Cross (football) term in football

In association football, a cross is a medium- to-long-range pass from a wide area of the field towards the centre of the field near the opponent's goal. Specifically, the intention of a cross is to directly bring the ball into the box from an angle that allows the attacking forwards to more easily aim for goal with their head or feet. Crosses are generally airborne (floated) to clear nearby defenders, but can also be hit with force along the ground (drilled). It is a quick and effective move.

Zona mista, often referred to as Gioco all'italiana, is a tactic used in Italian association football mainly from the second half of 1970s to the mid-'90s. The introduction of this system has been attributed to Luigi Radice and Giovanni Trapattoni, then coaches of Torino and Juventus, respectively. The tactic reached the highest sporting level with Trapattoni's Juventus becoming the first club in history to reach the European Treble having won the three seasonal UEFA competitions and, in 1985, the first European side to win the Intercontinental Cup since it was restructured five years before, and the Italian national team, managed by Enzo Bearzot, which won the FIFA World Cup in 1982, for the first time since 1938, with notable participation from the Blocco-Juve; making both teams acclaimed as among the greatest in sports history.

References

  1. Rob Bagchi (19 January 2011). "Judges have a blindspot when destroyers like Vidic play a blinder". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  2. Paolo Bandini (13 June 2016). "Giorgio Chiellini: 'I have a strong temperament but off the pitch I am more serene'". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 February 2017.
  3. BBC Sports Academy
  4. Evolution of the Sweeper
  5. "DIZIONARIO DI ITALIANO DALLA A ALLA Z: Battitore". La Repubblica (in Italian). Retrieved 21 April 2016.
  6. Damele, Fulvio (1998). Calcio da manuale. Demetra. p. 104.|access-date= requires |url= (help)
  7. "La leggenda della Grande Inter" [The legend of the Grande Inter] (in Italian). Inter.it. Archived from the original on 19 October 2012. Retrieved 10 September 2014.
  8. Mario Sconcerti (23 November 2016). "Il volo di Bonucci e la classifica degli 8 migliori difensori italiani di sempre" (in Italian). Il Corriere della Sera. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
  9. 1 2 3 "BBC Football - Positions guide: Sweeper". BBC Sport. 1 September 2005. Retrieved 5 January 2008.
  10. "Positions guide: Sweeper". BBC Sport. 1 September 2005. Retrieved 21 June 2008.
  11. 1 2 "Remembering Scirea, Juve's sweeper supreme". FIFA.com. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  12. 1 2 "Franz Beckenbauer Biography" . Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  13. Rotting fruit, dying flowers The Guardian
  14. Czechoslovakia World Cup Hero Jan Popluhar Dies Aged 75 Goal.com
  15. VELIBOR VASOVIC The Independent
  16. "Evolution of the Sweeper". Outsideoftheboot.com.
  17. "Franchino (detto Franco) BARESI (II)" . Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  18. 1 2 "Daniele De Rossi and the strange story of the Libero". forzaitalianfootball. Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  19. "L'ANGOLO TATTICO di Juventus-Lazio - Due gol subiti su due lanci di Bonucci: il simbolo di una notte da horror" (in Italian). Retrieved 5 January 2015.
  20. Tim Vickery (10 February 2010). "The Legacy of Rene Higuita". BBC. Retrieved 11 June 2014
  21. Early, Ken (8 July 2014). "Manuel Neuer cleans up by being more than a sweeper". The Irish Times. Retrieved 11 July 2014.
  22. Wilson, Jonathan (13 February 2014). "Tottenham's Hugo Lloris is Premier League's supreme sweeper-keeper". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 May 2017.
  23. "Football is Coming Home to Die-Hard Translators". Article on the Translation Journal. 1 April 2008. Archived from the original on 27 March 2008. Retrieved 14 April 2008.
  24. "England's Uniforms — Shirt Numbers and Names". Englandfootballonline.com. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  25. Ingle, Sean (15 November 2000). "Knowledge Unlimited: What a refreshing tactic". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  26. Lutz, Walter (11 September 2000). "The 4–2–4 system takes Brazil to two World Cup victories". FIFA. Archived from the original on 9 January 2006. Retrieved 22 November 2018.
  27. Pleat, David (6 June 2007). "Fleet-of-foot full-backs carry key to effective attacking". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 December 2008. David Pleat explains in a Guardian article how full-backs aid football teams when attacking.
  28. Pleat, David (18 February 2008). "How Gunners can avoid being pulled apart by Brazilian". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 December 2008. David Pleat explains the team effort in marking an attacking player stationed in the outside-wing position.
  29. Pleat, David (18 May 2006). "How Larsson swung the tie". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 December 2008. David Pleat explains how the introductions of Barcelona full-back Juliano Belletti and striker Henrik Larsson in the 2006 UEFA Champions League Final improved Barcelona's presence in wide areas. Belletti eventually scored the winning goal for the final.
  30. Pleat, David (31 December 2007). "City countered by visitors' Petrov defence". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 December 2008. David Pleat discusses the tactical implications of full-backs and other defenders marking wingers in a Guardian match analysis.
  31. "Positions guide: Wingback". London: BBC Sport. 1 September 2005. Retrieved 21 June 2008.