Football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross reveals five ways to avoid being tackled when you’re receiving a pass from a team-mate…
How many games of FIFA have you played where it felt like the opponent was predicting your every move, closing you down quickly and nipping in to nick the ball from your players' feet before you could get your attacks going?
I've had loads of matches like that and still regularly face players in FIFA 14 who are really good at reading the game and pressing aggressively in this way. It’s a risky defensive tactic but it can be very useful, and it was one that I struggled to counter consistently at first.
I don't mind facing players who do that now though. Actually I quite like it as it means that – as an overall strategy – being patient and moving the ball around my team should eventually result in gaps opening up in my opponent's defence, making it easier for me to find a way through.
Of course, that's assuming I can avoid being read then insta-tackled by the defending player in the first place, which most of the time I now seem to manage thanks to a handful of techniques I use to evade my marker, keep the ball and continue building my attack.
All five of the moves we’re about to look at work best in situations when you’re receiving the ball with your back to a defender, who is close behind and looking to make a tackle as quickly as possible. These scenarios pop up loads of times in a match, so if you can bring these tips into your game you should find it easier to either beat your marker when you're up against an opponent who likes to press, or to retain possession and start your attack again.
Mix these moves up a bit though; if you keep going for the same one then it won’t take too long for an opponent to figure you out and start winning the ball again, so keep them guessing by being unpredictable.
Through The Legs
I tend to save this move for moments when I know I can really make it count, as once I’ve done it a couple of times in a game most opponents will start to anticipate it and intercept the ball as it runs through, so I don’t waste it on one-on-one situations out wide or far from my opponent’s goal. I think the perfect time to go for this is when my striker is receiving the ball with just the last defender for company, because if I get it right then I’ll be in on the keeper.
All you have to do is hold RB or R1 just before the ball gets to you, which will make your player dummy it through his own legs, then be ready on the left stick and sprint button to turn and run on to the pass.
All of the tips we’re looking at this week work better the more aggressive your opponent is, as they rely on their impatience to win the ball back creating the space for you to turn and get away, but this one is perhaps the most effective when facing a player like that. There is almost no chance of recovery for the defender as long as you’ve put plenty of pace on the initial pass. Don’t go for this move if the pass is weak, as you won’t put enough distance between the defender and the ball after you’ve dummied.
Simple Spin and Flick Turn
As the name suggests the Simple Spin is easy to do, while the Flick Turn is more difficult but can be a lot more effective, as the defending player almost never anticipates it.
The Simple Spin involves moving with the path of the ball first – so if the ball is travelling down the screen then turn that way with it – before quickly going back in the opposite direction using the left stick. What should happen is the defending player will read the first turn and begin to position himself for an interception, which is the time to push the left stick back round and off towards the space he has just created. If the striker is quick, has good Ball Control and Dribbling then he should be able to get away most of the time.
The Flick Turn looks a lot better and happens faster, which helps to get away from your marker, but takes a bit more concentration and timing. To do it, start to turn with the path of the ball as above then hold sprint and quickly flick the right stick in the opposite direction, just like you did with the left stick for the Simple Spin. Your player should entice the defender in with the first part of the turn then flick the ball in the direction of your exit in one fluid motion, leaving the defender very little chance of catching up.
This one does take a lot of practice but it’s well worth putting the time in, as the move can be almost unstoppable. Plus it looks awesome.
Run Into The Pass
It’s very easy to rush attacks, I know because I still do it myself from time to time even though I’m always telling others not to, but this move serves as a good reminder of how going backwards can sometimes be more effective than trying to relentlessly move forwards.
To do this one, as you receive the ball you just use the left stick to run for a second or two in the direction the pass came from. This should hopefully bring the defender out with you, creating a gap that you can take advantage of by using a turn, a skill move or by playing a one-two with a team-mate. Although you’re seemingly retreating rather than advancing, what you’re actually doing is pulling the opposition’s defence out of shape, ready for when you do start going forward again.
As well as bringing a defender out of position, it also gives the opposition player something to think about. Once they realise you’re not always going to immediately turn left or right when you get the ball, they’ll probably begin to stand off a bit more, giving you time and space to plot your next move.
If you want to be really flash you can combine this with one of my favourite dribbling moves, the Face-Up Dribble Turn. All you do is run into the pass as above then hold both triggers or L2 and R2 as you’re running away from the defender. Your player should spin to face his marker, then you can burst away to the left or right by holding sprint and hitting the left or right stick in your chosen direction. Pull that move off and your opponent will be a lot less keen to press you instantly when you receive the ball next time.
Protect The Ball
This move works in a similar way to the one above, in that you’re not immediately trying to advance as soon as you receive a pass. With this one though you’re not going backwards either but just holding your ground and watching the defender before making your next decision.
As the pass comes in hold LT or L2 as soon as you receive it. This will make your player shield the ball from the defender with his body. What you do next depends on what the defending player does. Hopefully he’ll try to move around you to make a tackle, so you just turn into the space he’s created then burst away. If he stands his ground then you can try running towards your own goal to entice him out, or you can pass to a team-mate and take the move elsewhere.
This is another move that gives you a bit more time to make a decision so you’re not always instantly turning left or right, which a defending player can easily read.
The key to the success of this move is keeping an eye on the position of the defender just before you receive the pass, so you can see where the biggest gap is for you to flick the ball.
For example, if the defender is slightly to the left of your striker then you’ll flick the ball right with your very first touch, which you can do by holding the sprint button down and pushing the right stick in the direction you want to go. It’s a similar move to the Flick Turn but is a little easier to do because you’re not trying to fool the defender with a half-spin first.
I like to use this one on the edge of the opponent’s penalty area, where I can push the ball to the side of a defender with my first touch and create enough space to have a shot at goal with my player’s strongest foot.
So they’re my top five tips for getting past your marker. If you have other moves that work really well then please share them by commenting below or by tweeting me @darren_cross.
As always, thanks very much for reading and I hope to see you back here next week when we’ll be taking a look at more great Career Mode signings.