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Tactics Tutorial - For Beginners

Published by   Fathima at 2023-07-26 14:06 (10 months ago)

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I am no expert when it comes to tactics, but this article is written based on my experience with them in the game and general footballing ideas. I will try to explain what I know, so let's dive straight into it.

A Word About Player and Team Ratings

The match engine do not consider "ratings" as such. Instead it looks at each attribute required for a particular situation in the game. So do not be blinded by rating of a player, if you want to know him better then study his individual attributes. And try to relate how he might use those attributes in different situations. Like someone with 90 rating but 50 dribbling will struggle to dribble past a defender at 60 rating but 60 in tackling. Keep this in mind always - rating is just an indicator, just a quick summary of the player.

Similarly, the team ratings shown on the team/match pages are averages of player ratings. There might be great players and really bad players in that mix. So a team rated 80 might concede a goal from every shot if his GK is 30-40 rated. So look at the players, if you see your opponent's GK is 30 rated, then you should be planning how to get maximum shots on target.

How Tactics Work

Tactics are basically which part of the pitch your players will cover, and what they will try to do. Tactics do not win games by itself, you need the players to implement those tactics effectively. The vice versa is also true, players alone won't win you games, you need them to co-ordinate and function as a team to get the desired outputs.

Effects of Morale and Fitness

As far as I have seen, these two factors directly apply to your player's other attributes. Meaning a player with 90 morale and 80 passing will effectively have 72 passing (90% of 80). A player with 75 passing but 100 morale will pass better than him. Same is the case with fitness. So as a rule of thumb, try to keep your players at maximum fitness and morale at all times during a season.

Now I will try to go into each part of tactics in F4Football.


I don't plan to go through each of the formations in detail, since in F4Football you can have a large number of possibilities due to flexible assignment options for players. But generally, try to include your best players in the squad and work towards a formation that can accommodate them all. Try to not leave a big gap between players - think of players as dots, you should try to keep the dots atleast connectable to each other within 1 or 2 spaces on the pitch.

There are also positional penalties for playing players out of their natural position. I am listing all the natural positions for the players below, try to play them there when possible.

GK: Play as GK only. All other positions have high penalty. This applies to playing outfield players as GK too
CB: Can play at DC/DLC/DRC
WB: Can play as DL/DR/DML/DMR
WF: Can play at FL/FR/AML/AMR
CF: Can play at FC/FLC/FRC

Apart from these, CB can play at DL/DR without penalty and WB as central defense positions if they have maximum Flexibility. Similarly CF can play FL/FR and WF can play central if maximum Flexibility.
All other positions will have penalty. Penalty is more when they are played farther away from their natural position, and also for wide players playing central and vice versa. Penalty is reduced as Flexibility of the player increases.

Also choose wide or narrow formations as the situation demands. Wide players can help more with attacking, while narrow players can help with defending.


In the exhilarating world of F4Football, selecting the right playstyle is a pivotal decision that can make or break a team's fortunes. Playstyle is essentially how your team progresses with the ball when they have possession. With four distinct playstyles - Possession, Mixed, Direct, and Long Ball - at your disposal, it's essential to understand the nuances of each approach and tailor your strategy to your team's strengths and weaknesses. So let us explore when to use each playstyle and weigh their respective pros and cons to help you lead your team to triumph.

1. Possession
Highlights: More Possession, Less Chances but High Quality Chances

Possession-oriented teams dictate the flow of the match, controlling the ball and tiring out opponents by making them chase the game. This style focuses on methodical build-ups, creating opportunities through precision passing and movement. On the other hand, A possession-heavy approach can lead to your team being exposed to quick counterattacks, especially if your defense lacks speed. It will also be difficult to break down compact defenses, teams that park the bus can frustrate possession-based teams, making it challenging to find gaps in their defensive lines.

The possession playstyle is best suited for teams with much stronger players than the opponent with strong Passing, Marking, Positioning and Speed. Employ this strategy when your squad consists of skillful midfielders and defenders capable of maintaining possession and patiently building up attacks. Your team will create less chances but more high quality chances, so if you take your chances your team is more likely to succeed. You can also restrict the number of opponent's chances by not giving them more time on the ball to create any good ones.

WHEN TO PLAY: When your team have players with good Positioning, Speed and Passing so that you don't lose the ball easily. You will also need good defenders/midfielders with high Positioning, Speed, Marking and Tackling so that your recover the ball promptly when it is lost negating any chances for the opponents to create a good attack. You will also need a clinical finisher to convert every chances you create, since you don't expect too many chances for this style of play. So to summarize, your team need to be much better in all aspects of play than your opponent to actually succeed in such an approach. A couple of players with high Flair/Aggression will also make this kind of system perform well.

WHEN NOT TO PLAY: Do not try to maintain possession against teams stronger than you, they will easily win the ball and counter you leading to much worse results compared to other systems. Also if the opposition defense is stringer than your attack, then you will struggle to score since chances created will be few and far between.

2. Mixed
Highlights: Adjusts playstyle based on game situation

The mixed playstyle offers a balanced approach suitable for teams with a diverse range of players, not particularly specialized in one aspect of the game. It is a versatile strategy that can adapt to different opponents and situations. So if you are not really sure of how to play against a particular opponent, Mixed might be a safe choice. The mixed playstyle allows for adjustments during the game, making it easier to respond to changing circumstances. This approach can capitalize on both possession and quick counterattacks, making it adaptable to different situations easily.

While the mixed playstyle is versatile, it may not fully optimize your team's potential, especially if your squad excels in specific areas. Shifting between possession and direct play can sometimes also lead to confusion among players, impacting overall team cohesion, so there is also the possibility of a potential inconsistency in player performances throughout the game.

WHEN TO PLAY: When you are unsure about how to best deal with an opponent, or your player skills are too diverse to focus on a specific system.
WHEN NOT TO PLAY: When your players are good at a particular set of skills (eg. keeping possession). It is better to use a different system in such cases where you can make use of your players' skills better.

3. Direct
Highlights: Less Possession, More Chances but Slighltly Less Quality Chances

Direct play is ideal for teams that boast pacey forwards and wingers, as well as strong aerial abilities. Utilize this strategy to exploit your opponents with rapid attacks and capitalize on set-pieces. Direct play relies on quick transitions, allowing your speedy players to catch the opposition off-guard and create goal-scoring opportunities.

WHEN TO PLAY: When your attack is better than your defense and you want to use your ball possession to create chances before the opposition can regroup and get possession back from you.
WHEN NOT TO PLAY: Direct play heavily depends on players' physical traits (Speed, Stamina) which can be a disadvantage against teams superior in these. Teams using the direct playstyle may also struggle against high-pressing opponents who have the defenders/midfielders capable to disrupt their build-up play.

4. Long Balls
Highlights: Does not keep Possession, Quick counters but very Less Quality Chances

Teams with robust and fast attacks can exploit the long ball playstyle effectively. This strategy involves launching long passes from deep positions, aiming to bypass the opposition's defense. The long ball playstyle benefits from strong forwards who can reach the ball and win duels against opponent defenders (Positioning, Speed, Dribbling, Heading) and create scoring chances by themselves. By bypassing the midfield, long balls can catch defenders off-guard, leading to rapid counterattacks. But teams employing the long ball strategy may find it challenging to maintain possession and build sustained attacks. Relying heavily on long balls can also make your team predictable, allowing defenders to adjust to your attacks easily if they are good.

WHEN TO PLAY: Against stronger teams where you have no chance of a patient build-up, but the opponent's defense is slightly weaker and you have the attackers to capitalize on that.
WHEN NOT TO PLAY: If you do not have good forwards to capitalize on opponent's weaknesses in defense. Many think that always playing longball may be good against stronger teams, but Mixed might give you better results if you do not have great forwards.


This is how hard your players will work on the pitch. Playing higher intensity can boost your team's performance but your players also get tired faster. So manage intensity effectively to get the best out of your players.


Hard tackling can win you more tackles but your players also risk getting more cards and injuries too. It can be disastrous sometimes especially if you have high Aggression players that already have a high susceptibility to getting cards during the game. Choose it wisely and use harder tackling options in tough matches only if possible.


Man marking is where each defensive player is assigned to mark and closely track a specific opposing player throughout the match. The objective is to deny the marked player time and space on the ball, making it difficult for them to receive passes, make plays, or create scoring opportunities. In man marking, defenders stay with their assigned opponent regardless of their location on the field. This means that if the marked player moves to a different part of the field, the defender will follow them, trying to stay as close as possible. The aim is to neutralize the impact of key players on the opposing team by denying them the freedom to move and exploit spaces.

Zonal marking, on the other hand, is a system where the team's defense is divided into zones or areas on the field. Each defender is responsible for covering a specific area rather than an individual player. When the opposition enters their assigned zone, defenders are tasked with closing down opponents, intercepting passes, and contesting aerial duels within that area. In zonal marking, players are less concerned with marking specific opponents but instead focus on protecting their designated territory. This system aims to prevent the opponents from finding open spaces in dangerous areas and relies on communication and teamwork to cover the entire field effectively.

Both man marking and zonal marking have their strengths and weaknesses. Man marking can be effective in nullifying individual threats and disrupting the opponent's attacking rhythm, but it requires excellent individual defensive skills and can lead to gaps if players are dragged out of position. Zonal marking, on the other hand, can be more organized and easier to execute as a team but may struggle against highly skilled individuals who can exploit spaces between zones.

WHEN TO USE MAN MARKING: When your opponent have one or two attackers that stand out from the rest of the team and are the biggest threats. Then you can deploy your best defenders in the area that player is likely to play and nullify him totally.
WHEN TO USE ZONAL MARKING: When your opponent's players a equally good and you do not want one of them to exploit any gaps in your defense.

Offside Trap

When activated, your players will try to execute an offside trap against opposition attackers by holding a tight line between them. Be informed that your players will still try to play the trap if possible, but it wont be as frequent and desperate as when the setting is ON.

The offside trap is more likely to succeed against slower attacking players who might struggle to time their runs accurately. It can also be deployed easily against lone strikers or generally less number of attacking players. Play the offside trap when your defenders have good Speed, Positioning and Marking, and the opposition attackers lack Speed and/or Positioning.

Against quick and skillful attackers, attempting the offside trap can be dangerous. Mistiming the trap could leave them with a clear goal-scoring opportunity. Also, do not attempt the traps when you have too many players in your defense, or one of the players in your defense is weak. One weak link can totally make a trap ineffective.

As said earlier, use this article as just a guide, there are much more factors that can decide the outcome of a game and you should read match reports to understand how your plans are working, and adjust your tactics accordingly. Also let me know if you like this in the comments below, also shout out your disagreements if any. Thank you all for reading.
Last updated by   Fathima at 2023-07-26 14:06 (10 months ago)