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Soccer, Global Differences

Updated on July 17, 2011

Different Homes, Different Styles


Northern Europe

Scandinavia, the countries of Denmark,Sweden,Finland and Norway, these countries tend to play defensive football.

Their tactics seem to rely on the defensive players. They will defend well and await an opening to attack.

They defend, then keep the ball between the midfield and defense. This tactic will hopefully test the opponent’s patients. As the opponents become annoyed and frustrated they send more defenders forward, in an effort to gain possession.

When the opponents have been drawn forward, the Scandinavians launch their attack.

Games involving these countries, tend to be a slow test of nerves, usually resulting in low scoring games.

Central Europe

The countries of England, Holland, Germany and France, these countries tend to play a midfield game.

In this game, the team is wary about using their defensive players as they do not want to afford their opponents any advantage from a bad pass.

They will keep the ball in the midfield between midfielders and forwards, hopefully, slowly moving the ball forward until a scoring opportunity arises.

These games are medium paced, resulting in a medium amount of goals being scored.

South America

Brazil, Argentina and the like, these countries like to play a fast attacking game.

Their tactics are to get the ball forward as soon as possible, affording the strikers maximum opportunities to score.

Although this would seem that they do not care about their defense and are therefore vulnerable is, to some extent a deception. By clearing the ball quickly from the defensive area makes up for the lack of defensive tactics.

Fast clearance from the defensive area and continuous, vigorous attacking hopes to demoralize their opponents into allowing openings.

These games are played at a fast pace and often result in high scoring matches.

Southern Europe

The likes of Spain, Italy and Portugal, these countries seem to play a mix of both central Europe and South America.

They combine active midfield play with sudden bursts of prolonged attack.

These matches also result in a mix of medium to high scores.

Rest of the World

Other countries play one or other of these styles, often depending on the nationality of the Manager. If he is a Dane, the team seems to play a defensive game. If he is a South American, the team plays an attacking game.

National Leagues

Each nation has its own leagues. Often these leagues can be dominated by a few good teams.

Most of the teams in the league will play similar tactics and the predominant teams are those that are best equipped for that style.

When a club, has to play against a team from another league, then that may be a different matter. Their expertise in one style may not be adequate to successfully defeat a different style.

Brazil 2014

World Cup

These differences in styles and types of play are what make the FIFA World Cup such a spectacular sporting event.

A national coach must bring together the best he can get, mixing star qualities with experience.

Whilst building on the strengths of his countries styles, for instance, the strikers of South America or the Defenders in Scandinavia, he must also be aware of his opponent’s strengths. In order to best cope with the different styles, often they will pick national players that have played in a different countries leagues, making use of their experience.

These aspects of the game are what make it hard to anticipate a World Cup winner.

The winner though, will always be the one that is not only good at its own style but also the one who is best prepared for the opponents style.


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    • SpiffyD profile image

      SpiffyD 6 years ago from The Caribbean

      This is a novel way of grouping the style of play to a region. However, I'm not sure if that approach fits with modern football. Maybe decades ago, these rigid stereotypes may have been fairer. Grouping the German style with Holland's based on midfield play may be somewhat questionable. Interesting hub though.