July 4, 2018

What Does It Take to be a FIFA World Cup Defender

Stop, Tackle, Defend.

Defenders are the backbones of a football squad, preventing any goal to enter the safety net. They assist goalies from being prevented to dribble the ball towards the scoreline. When the midfielders are stuck in action with another set of midfielders, they are the one who makes space for the team and fewer ones for the opponents.

Playing the role in prestigious tournaments such as FIFA takes a lot of proficiency, sharpness, and agility. These defending skills aren’t just considered feats, these also maneuver the team as a whole in either victory or draw matches.

Key Roles:

-Defend the opponent’s forward in action to pass a possible goal

-Assist the team’s striker away from potential tackles from scoring

Types of Defenders:

The role is assigned not only to 1 man on the court but 4. These are Centre Back, Sweeper, Full Back, and Wing Back. Each one is placed in a tactical positioning all in the aim of stopping a possible goal from the opponents, whether it’d be executed from an elongated, swayed or inverted pass.

Centre Back

Are the ones who prevent the opposing team’s center-forward from striking the ball towards the goal line. Centre Backs assist their team’s playmaker from being targeted by a possible score intervention and also makes simple passes towards the goalie of the team. They faced the attacker, make a stronghold defense in order to let the goalies strike above or below where the goalkeeper can’t act to block. 

Honorable Mention: Jerome Boateng, Bayern Munich & Germany National Team

He was awarded as the 2016’s Germany Best Footballer, and notch the record for being the first defender to receive the award. We won’t be surprised if Jerome will be voted the FIFA’s best defender in the future World cup events.

Full Back

They are the guys who creates a wider margin for the striker to pass the ball onward the goalie,  and also creates a solid opposing defense from attackers. They usually intercept throw-ins and passes, They also mark on the opposing team’s winger, thus creates lesser scope for the rival to move and more for the team’s playmaker find his way towards the net.

Honorable Mention: Dani Alves, Paris Saint Germain and Brazil National Team

Alves was awarded the FIFA FIFPro World XI in 2017 and were also a holder of several champions and winner awards playing for FC Barcelona, Juventus and his current Paris Saint Germain team. Dani is considered the best full-back of his generation who can reverse from being a right back player to wing back. His pace, clean overlapping attacks and technical styles are admired during his appearances in Brazil’s World Cup matches.


They are the ones who create a better ball control and passing actions than center-backs, basically dealing with counter attacks. A sweeper is expected to employ focused field vision, long pass abilities and the transition from being the evasive counter attacker to being an exceptional ball passer.


Wingbacks are ones who tend to deliver a ingenuous style of defense. They are expected to play multiple roles and plays as a receiver, blocker, and even exhibit a run-on defense. They can also be placed as a full back or stay on a tight left end; this is all in the team’s coach discretion.

Honorable Mention: Sergio Ramos: Real Madrid, Spain National Team

Ramos is Spain’s main wingback man. He’s originally a central defender, but it was observed that the Spanish Football Player is a versatile man capable of playing different defending roles. This is primarily the reason behind he was also awarded the FIFA FIFPro World XI in 2017, and receive four UEFA Champion League winner playing for Real Madrid.

Here’s our top 3 essential skills a defender of any category should manifest while on the court:

Clean Tackling and Efficient Assists

And when we say clean, this should be done without a foul.

Tackling is the act of stealing the ball away from the opposing striker or midfielder in the run and should be done as cleanly as possible, or either the referee would raise his hand in a gesture of a foul. This is, of course, will have a proper transition after another guardian did an effective assist.

Agility and Speed

Intrinsic speed of a defender lies solely on how agile he could pass the ball towards the attacker  in action or yield space for him to get through the field.

Positioning and Timing

Speed without strategic positioning and adequate timing on the court is only a matter of velocity. A good defending player knows how essential right positioning is as it both  levels up the gameplay of any defending footballer.

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