A 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 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.
In the sport of association football, a defender is an outfield player whose primary role is to prevent the opposing team from scoring goals.
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.
Most managers assign at least one midfielder to disrupt the opposing team's attacks, while others may be tasked with creating goals, or have equal responsibilities between attack and defence. Midfielders are the players who typically travel the greatest distance during a match. Because midfielders arguably have the most possession during a game they are among the fittest players on the pitch.
In association football, a manager is an occupation of head coach in the United Kingdom responsible for running a football club or a national team. Outside the British Isles and across most of Europe, a title of head coach or coach is predominant.
Central or centre midfielders are players whose role is divided roughly equally between attack and defence and to dominate the play around the centre of the pitch. These players will try to pass the ball to the team's attacking midfielders and forwards and may also help their team's attacks by making runs into the opposition's penalty area and attempting shots on goal themselves.
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.
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.
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.
When the opposing team has the ball, a central midfielder may drop back to protect the goal or move forward and press the opposition ball-carrier to recover the ball. A centre midfielder defending their goal will move in front of their centre-backs in order to block long shots by the opposition and possibly track opposition midfielders making runs towards the goal.
The 4–3–3 and 4–5–1 formations each use three central midfielders. The 4−4−2 formation may use two central midfielders,and in the 4–2–3–1 formation one of the two deeper midfielders may be a central midfielder.
The term box-to-box midfielder refers to central midfielders who are hard-working and who have good all-round abilities, which makes them skilled at both defending and attacking.These players can therefore track back to their own box to make tackles and block shots and also run to the opponents' box to try to score. The change of trends and the deviation from the standard 4–4–2 formation to the 4–2–3–1 formation imposed restrictions on the typical box-to-box midfielders of the 80s, as teams' two midfield roles were now often divided into "holders" or "creators". Notable examples of box-to-box midfielders are Bastian Schweinsteiger, Yaya Touré, and Radja Nainggolan.
Bastian Schweinsteiger is a German professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Major League Soccer club Chicago Fire. A right-footed player, he usually plays as central midfielder. Earlier in his career, he primarily played as a wide midfielder.
Gnégnéri Yaya Touré is an Ivorian professional footballer who most recently played as a midfielder for Superleague Greece club Olympiacos. He played for and captained the Ivory Coast national team.
Radja Nainggolan is a Belgian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Italian club Inter Milan.
Left and right midfielders have a role balanced between attack and defence, similar to that of central midfielders, but they are positioned closer to the touchlines of the pitch. They may be asked to cross the ball into the opponents' penalty area to make scoring chances for their teammates, and when defending they may put pressure on opponents who are trying to cross.
Common modern formations that include left and right midfielders are the 4−4−2, the 4−4−1−1, the 4–2–3–1 and the 4−5−1 formations.Jonathan Wilson describes the development of the 4−4−2 formation: "…the winger became a wide midfielder, a shuttler, somebody who might be expected to cross a ball but was also meant to put in a defensive shift." Notable examples of wide midfielders are David Beckham and Ryan Giggs.
The historic position of wing-half (half-back) was given to midfielders who played near the side of the pitch. It became obsolete as wide players with defensive duties have tended to become more a part of the defence as full-backs.
Defensive midfielders are midfield players who focus on protecting their team's goal. These players may defend a zone in front of their team's defence, or man mark specific opposition attackers.Defensive midfielders may also move to the full-back or centre-back positions if those players move forward to join in an attack. Sergio Busquets described his attitude: "The coach knows that I am an obedient player who likes to help out and if I have to run to the wing to cover someone's position, great." A good defensive midfielder needs good positional awareness, anticipation of opponent's play, marking, tackling, interceptions, passing and great stamina and strength (for their tackling).
A holding or deep-lying midfielder stays close to their team's defence, while other midfielders may move forward to attack.The holding midfielder may also have responsibilities when their team has the ball. This player will make mostly short and simple passes to more attacking members of their team but may try some more difficult passes depending on the team's strategy. Marcelo Bielsa is considered as a pioneer for the use of a holding midfielder in defence. This position may be seen in the 4–2–3–1 and 4–4–2 diamond formations.
Initially, a defensive midfielder, or "destroyer", and a playmaker, or "creator", were often fielded alongside each other as a team's two holding central midfielders. The destroyer was usually responsible for making tackles, regaining possession, and distributing the ball to the creator, while the creator was responsible for retaining possession and keeping the ball moving, often with long passes out to the flanks, in the manner of a more old-fashioned deep-lying playmaker or "regista". Early examples of a destroyer are Nobby Stiles, Herbert Wimmer, Marco Tardelli, while later examples include Claude Makelele and Javier Mascherano, although several of these players also possessed qualities of other types of midfielders, and were therefore not confined to a single role. Early examples of a creator would be Gérson, Glenn Hoddle, and Sunday Oliseh, while more recent examples Xabi Alonso, and Michael Carrick. The latest and third type of holding midfielder developed as a box-to-box midfielder, or "carrier", neither entirely destructive nor creative, who is capable of winning back possession and subsequently advancing from deeper positions either by distributing the ball to a teammate and making late runs into the box, or by carrying the ball him or herself; recent examples of this type of player are Yaya Touré, and Bastian Schweinsteiger, while Sami Khedira and Fernandinho are destroyers with carrying tendencies.
A deep-lying playmaker is a holding midfielder who specializes in ball skills such as passing, rather than defensive skills like tackling.When this player has the ball, they may attempt longer or more complex passes than other holding players. They may try to set the tempo of their team's play, retain possession, or build plays through short exchanges, or they may try to pass the ball long to a centre forward or winger, or even pass short to a teammate in the hole, the area between the opponents' defenders and midfielders. In Italy, the deep-lying playmaker is known as a "regista", whereas in Brazil, it is known as a "meia-armador".
Writer Jonathan Wilson described Xabi Alonso's role: "although capable of making tackles, [he] focused on keeping the ball moving, occasionally raking long passes out to the flanks to change the angle of attack."
The historic central half-back position gradually retreated from the midfield line to provide increased protection against centre forwards – that dedicated defensive role is still commonly referred to as a "centre-half" as a legacy of its origins.
William Carvalho plays generally as a defensive midfielder, although he can also be deployed as a central midfielder or a central defender. Known for his passing range and accuracy, ability to control a game and composure on the ground, he is praised for his good physicality.
An attacking midfielder is a midfield player who is positioned in an advanced midfield position, usually between central midfield and the team's forwards, and who has a primarily offensive role.
Some attacking midfielders are called trequartisti or fantasisti (Italian : three-quarter specialist, i.e. a creative playmaker between the forwards and the midfield), who are usually mobile, creative and highly skillful players, known for their deft touch, vision, ability to shoot from range, and passing prowess. However, not all attacking midfielders are trequartistas – some attacking midfielders are very vertical and are essentially auxiliary attackers who serve to link-up play, hold up the ball, or provide the final pass, i.e. secondary strikers.
According to positioning along the field, attacking midfield may be divided into left, right and central attacking midfield roles but mostly important he is a striker behind the forwards. A central attacking midfielder may be referred to as a playmaker ,or number ten (due to the association of the number 10 shirt with this position).A good attacking midfielder needs good passing abilities, vision, the ability to make long shots, and solid dribbling skills.
These players typically serve as the offensive pivot of the team, and are sometimes said to be "playing in the hole," although this term can also be used as deep-lying forward. The attacking midfielder is an important position that requires the player to possess superior technical abilities in terms of passing and dribbling, as well as, perhaps more importantly, the ability to read the opposing defence in order to deliver defence-splitting passes to the striker.
This specialist midfielder's main role is to create good shooting and goal-scoring opportunities using superior vision, control, and technical skill, by making crosses, through balls, and headed knockdowns to teammates. They may try to set up shooting opportunities for themselves by dribbling or performing a give-and-go with a teammate. Attacking midfielders may also make runs into the opponents' penalty area in order to shoot from another teammate's pass.
Where a creative attacking midfielder, i.e. an advanced playmaker, is regularly utilized, he or she is commonly the team's star player, and often wears the number 10 shirt. As such, a team is often constructed so as to allow their attacking midfielder to roam free and create as the situation demands. One such popular formation is the 4–4–2 "diamond" (or 4–1–2–1–2), in which defined attacking and defensive midfielders replace the more traditional pair of central midfielders. Known as the "fantasista" or "trequartista" in Italy,in Brazil, the offensive playmaker is known as the "meia atacante," whereas in Argentina and Uruguay, it is known as the "enganche."
The false attacking midfielder description has been used in Italian football to describe a player who is seemingly playing as an attacking midfielder in a 4–3–1–2 formation, but who eventually drops deeper into midfield, drawing opposing players out of position and creating space to be exploited by teammates making attacking runs; the false-attacking midfielder will eventually sit in a central midfield role and function as a deep-lying playmaker. The false-attacking midfielder is therefore usually a creative and tactically intelligent player with good vision, technique, movement, passing ability, and striking ability from distance. He should also be a hard-working player, who is able to read the game and help the team defensively.
The "false 10" or "central winger"is a type of midfielder, which differs from the false-attacking midfielder. Much like the "false 9," his specificity lies in the fact that, unlike a traditional playmaker who stays behind the striker in the centre of the pitch, the false 10's goal is to drift wide when in possession of the ball to help both the wingers and fullbacks to overload the flanks. This means two problems for the opposing midfielders: either they let the false 10 drift wide, and his or her presence, along with both the winger and the fullback, creates a three-on-two player advantage wide; or they follow the false 10, but leave space in the centre of the pitch for wingers or onrushing midfielders to exploit. False 10s are usually traditional wingers who are told to play in the centre of the pitch, and their natural way of playing makes them drift wide and look to provide deliveries into the box for teammates. On occasion, the false-10 can also function in a different manner alongside a false-9, usually in a 4–6–0 formation, disguised as either a 4–3–3 or 4–2–3–1 formation. When other forwards or false-9s drop deep and draw defenders away from the false-10s, creating space in the middle of the pitch, the false-10 will then also surprise defenders by exploiting this space and moving out of position once again, often undertaking offensive dribbling runs forward towards goal, or running on to passes from false-9s, which in turn enables them to create goalscoring opportunities or go for goal themselves.
In modern football, the terms winger or wide player refer to a non-defender who plays on the left or right sides of the pitch. These terms can apply to left or right midfielders, left or right attacking midfielders, or left or right forwards. Left or right-sided defenders such as wing-backs or full-backs are generally not called wingers.
In the 2−3−5 formation popular in the late 19th century wingers remained mostly near the touchlines of the pitch, and were expected to cross the ball for the team's inside and centre forwards.Traditionally, wingers were purely attacking players and were not expected to track back and defend. This began to change in the 1960s. In the 1966 World Cup, England manager Alf Ramsey did not select wingers from the quarter-final onwards. This team was known as the "Wingless Wonders" and led to the modern 4–4–2 formation.
This has led to most modern wide players having a more demanding role in the sense that they are expected to provide defensive cover for their full-backs and track back to repossess the ball, as well as provide skillful crosses for centre forwards and strikers.Some forwards are able to operate as wingers behind a lone striker. In a three-man midfield, specialist wingers are sometimes deployed down the flanks alongside the central midfielder or playmaker.
Even more demanding is the role of wing-back, where the wide player is expected to provide both defence and attack.As the role of winger can be classed as a forward or a midfielder, so this role blurs the divide between defender and midfielder.
A winger is an attacking midfielder who is stationed in a wide position near the touchlines.Wingers such as Stanley Matthews or Jimmy Johnstone used to be classified as forwards in traditional W-shaped formations, and were formally known as "Outside Right" or "Outside Left," but as tactics evolved through the last 40 years, wingers have dropped to deeper field positions and are now usually classified as part of the midfield, usually in 4–4–2 or 4–5–1 formations (but while the team is on the attack, they tend to resemble 4–2–4 and 4–3–3 formations respectively).
The responsibilities of the winger include:
The prototypical winger is fast, tricky and enjoys 'hugging' the touchline, that is, running downfield close to the touchline and delivering crosses. However, players with different attributes can thrive on the wing as well. Some wingers prefer to cut infield (as opposed to staying wide) and pose a threat as playmakers by playing diagonal passes to forwards or taking a shot at goal. Even players who are not considered quick, have been successfully fielded as wingers at club and international level for their ability to create play from the flank. Occasionally wingers are given a free role to roam across the front line and are relieved of defensive responsibilities.
The typical abilities of wingers include:
Although wingers are a familiar part of football, the use of wingers is by no means universal. There are many successful football teams who operate without wingers. A famous example is Carlo Ancelotti's late 2000s Milan, who typically play in a narrow midfield diamond formation or in a Christmas tree formation (4–3–2–1), relying on full-backs to provide the necessary width down the wings.
An inverted winger is a modern tactical development of the traditional winger position. Most wingers are assigned to either side of the field based on their footedness, with right-footed players on the right and left-footed players on the left.This assumes that assigning a player to their natural side ensures a more powerful cross as well as greater ball-protection along the touch-lines. However, when the position is inverted and a winger instead plays inside-out on the opposite flank (i.e., a right-footed player as a left inverted winger), they effectively become supporting strikers and primarily assume a role in the attack.
As opposed to traditionally pulling the opponent's full-back out and down the flanks before crossing the ball in near the by-line, positioning a winger on the opposite side of the field allows him or her to cut-in around the 18-yard box, either threading passes between defenders or taking a shot on goal using his or her dominant foot.This offensive tactic has found popularity in the modern game due to the fact that it gives traditional wingers increased mobility as playmakers and goalscorers, such as the left-footed right winger Domenico Berardi of Sassuolo who achieved 30 career goals faster than any player in the past half-century of Serie A football. Not only are inverted wingers able to push full-backs onto their weak sides, but they are also able to spread and force the other team to defend deeper as forwards and wing-backs route towards the goal, ultimately creating more scoring opportunities.
Other midfielders within this tactical archetype include Lionel Messi and Gareth Bale, as well as Megan Rapinoe of the USWNT.Clubs such as Real Madrid often choose to play their wingers on the "wrong" flank for this reason; former Real Madrid coach José Mourinho often played Ángel Di María on the right and Cristiano Ronaldo on the left. Former Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes often played the left-footed Arjen Robben on the right and the right-footed Franck Ribéry on the left. One of the foremost practitioners of playing from either flank was German winger Jürgen Grabowski, whose flexibility helped Germany to third place in the 1970 World Cup, and the world title in 1974.
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.
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.
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.
A formation in football refers to the position players line up in before the start of a down. There are both offensive and defensive formations and there are many formations in both categories. Sometimes, formations are referred to as packages.
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.
Gustavo Boccoli is a retired Brazilian-born Israeli footballer. He was a versatile midfielder/forward who played most of his career for Maccabi Haifa.
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.
The following are the positions in the Gaelic sports of Gaelic football, hurling and camogie.
Osvaldo Bagnoli is a former Italian football coach and player who played as a midfielder.
Leigh Michael Broxham is an Australian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder for Melbourne Victory in the A-League. A natural defensive midfielder, Broxham can also play as an attacking midfielder, central midfielder, centre back, left back or right back.
Antonio di Gennaro is an Italian former footballer who played as a midfielder.
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 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.
Tiki-taka or Tiqui-taca is a Spanish style of play in football characterised by short passing and movement, working the ball through various channels, and maintaining possession. The style is primarily associated with La Liga club Barcelona, especially during the era of manager Pep Guardiola; however, Guardiola distanced himself from the style stating his view that "I loathe all that passing for the sake of it". Its development and influence goes back to Johan Cruyff's tenure as manager in the early 1990s all the way to the present. Tiki-taka methods were eventually embraced by the Spanish national team by the managers Luis Aragonés and Vicente del Bosque. Tiki-taka moves away from the traditional thinking of formations in football to a concept derived from zonal play.
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.
Association football was first codified in 1863 in England, although games that involved the kicking of a ball were evident considerably earlier. A large number of football-related terms have since emerged to describe various aspects of the sport and its culture.
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.