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ryan giggs
david beckham
defensive approach
game of football
The 4-4-2 Formation
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A formation in the game of soccer is the manner in which players line up on the field. The 4-4-2 formation is one of the most widely used formations in the game. This type of formation generally consists of 4 defenders, 4 midfield players and 2 forward players, hence the name 4-4-2. There are many variations of this formation and in an actual professional game of football you will find that teams rarely ever stick to one formation in a single game. The more likely scenario is that teams will adopt a more adventurous formation when in possession of the ball and will adopt a more defensive approach when the team is not in possession of the ball. A 4-4-2 formation generally consists of two 2 fullbacks, and 2 center backs in defence. Two wingers or wide midfielders and two central midfielders in midfielder and two forward players in attack.

The 4-4-2 formation is generally quite popular in British football although the 4-5-1 is also gaining in popularity. It is also used to great effect in other footballing countries such as Spain, but in Italy where traditionally football is more tactical teams will use a variety of formations. The 4-4-2 formation is generally seen as an attacking formation whereas Italian teams are well known for being masters in the art of defence.

Many great teams have been successful using this formation. The treble winning Manchester United side of 1999 normally lined up in a 4-4-2 formation. This formation had Gary Neville at right fullback, Dennis Irwin at left fullback, Jaap Stam and Henning Berg at centerback. These defensive players made for a solid quartet. The midfield was also packed with talented players at the peak of their powers. David Beckham was the right midfielder and his main strengths there were his overlapping play with Gary Neville and his pinpoint passes. Ryan Giggs was a threat down the left with his raw pace. Roy Keane was the midfield hard man and Paul Scholes was the creative force in central midfield. In attack United had the most feared twosome in Europe in Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole.

Players should first learn football playing the 4-4-2 formation because it is the simplest and most basic formation in football. Studies have shown that players first improve their technical skills at a young age and once they are in their late teens and early twenties they have probably reached their peak when it comes to technical skills and should focus on their tactical skills. The mental attributes that come with learning and practicing the tactical aspects of the game will be learned as players continue to play at a high level and this is what leads to what is commonly referred to as experience. It is important to use the 4-4-2 as the basis of learning how to play soccer.


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