One of the most used defensive systems in Europe (and outside it), marking with two lines of 4 players (defense and midfield) is an easy, very appropriate way to protect a team. This system, when used with zonal marking, avoids an unnecessary energy expenditure, what happens in pressing situations. Also, those two lines can occupy the most dangerous and “vunerable” areas in the defense, by congesting the midfield or wide opening the lines.

Check below an 11 vs 11 exercise that works to improve this system. 

FIELD OF GAME: The whole field. One of the halfs will be divided into 8 areas: 4 of them representing the four players in the defense line and the other 4 representing the four players of the midfield line.

PLACEMENT OF THE TEAM TO DEFEND USING THE 2 LINES OF 4 (DEFENSIVE TEAM):: each one of the players or midfield will be responsible for marking in its area. On other words, they must not let the other team develop the match in theirs respective areas. It’s not going to be allowed a player to assist a teammate marking in another area. Both strikers in the defensive team are the only players allowed to enter in any space of the game.

PLACEMENT OF THE TEAM WITH NO AREAS TO DEFEND (ATTACKING TEAM): this team has a free positionng and moving, according to the coach’s specifications. The areas do not rule the attacking team positioning.

GAME DEVELOPMENT: respecting the defensive and offensive rules, the player will have a formal game. However, by losing the ball possession, the defensive players should quickly return each one to theirs areas. One tip is to create a pontuation system where a goal suffered doubles per player outside his defensive area. The attacking team must press the other team in order to get the ball as soon as possible.


– Allow the defensive players to change areas or even help a teammate in one the attached areas, always controlling the maximum number of defensive players per zone.

– Control the maximum number of attacking players per zone..

– Chose some specific areas the ball must pass before shooting on goal.

– Use your creativity according to your needs.


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By Pedro Mendonça

About Pedro Mendonça: Real Madrid Foundation - Football Coach/Professor. UEFA B Football Coach. Physical Education Teacher. Author of: "Tactical Periodization: A Practical Application for the Game Model of FC Bayern Munich"

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