The key tactical points of Ange Postecoglou’s controversial 3-2-4-1 formation in possession

A video analysis of the key tactical points of the Socceroos new 3-2-4-1 system of play

Key points

  • Back three split across width of penalty box, and goalkeeper supporting build up as sweeper
    • If space in front they can inject to create overload centrally
  • Midfield two starting position behind opposition first line; one can drop in front or outside of the first line to receive
    • If receive facing forward look for a vertical pass into near-side 10
  • Two #10s positioned higher between opposition midfield and defensive lines; look to face forward with movements towards the outside of their nearest opponent facing forward
    • Create a box midfield to overload the opposition in central areas
  • Wingers high as possible while remaining in a line of pass with the ball
    • Movement to attack space in behind the opposition last line if 10 or 6 receives facing forward
  • 9 starting position as high as possible centrally; can move off the line to receive vertical passes if open (often when a player in back three injects)
  • Fluid movements; players can assume other roles and move to nearest position within the system if quicker than returning to their nominal position

Key principles

  • Face forward, play forward
  • Verticality
  • Combination play
  • Movement to get free
  • Penetration from wide areas

By Tim Palmer

Tim is a football coach, writer, analyst and sports scientist. He is currently Assistant Technical Director, Head of Player Development & Video and a coach at NWSF Spirit, as well as working with the Pararoos. Previously, he has worked as an analyst with the Socceroos, and in the A-League.


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