In this article we take a closer look at the 4-3-3 formation and consider the advantages and disadvantages of this popular tactic, which has been employed to great success in recent years by the Netherlands and Barcelona. For the FIFA Interactive World Cup, 4-3-3 is not only a popular starting formation, it can also be used as a tactical variant during a match, especially if you need to score quickly after going behind.
How does the 4-3-3 formation work?
The basis of the 4-3-3 formation is building from a flat back four with a defensive midfielder just in front. The other two midfielders are more offensively-minded and attempt to apply pressure on the flanks. The three forwards consist of two wingers and one central striker, who should have good aerial qualities in order to convert the many crosses arriving from wide positions.
The main advantage to this formation is the ability to form attacks quickly. As soon as your team wins possession, the two full-backs charge forward to join the move and, along with the wide midfielders and wingers, provide crosses. This enables you to exert an enormous amount of pressure from wide positions.
Midfield danger zone
Such a well-staffed attack is always going to bear the risk of a weakened midfield, so your central midfielder will need to be a strong all-rounder with good passing skills and the physical presence to stop opposing counter-attacks.
Your wingers should automatically drop back to help defend as soon as your team loses possession, though naturally this takes a lot of energy. Consequently it makes sense to bring on a fresh pair of legs in wide positions for the second half where possible.
Going for broke
For those who like to get forward and are willing to take a risk at the back, the 4-3-3 system is the ideal formation for you.
What are your experiences of this tactical system? Do you have advice for other players keen to try it out? If so, please make use of the 'Add your comment' function at the bottom of the page to share your opinions!