Catenaccio makes a comeback

Even today, Catenaccio is regarded as the polar opposite of o jogo bonito (the beautiful game). The architect of this ultra-defensive style of play was Argentinian Helenio Herrera, who coached Inter Milan to a host of honours, including three championships, two European Cups and the Intercontinental Cup. EA SPORTS™ has restored this classic approach to the basic tactical options available in FIFA 11. We take a closer look at the pros and cons of Catenaccio.

Safety First
Five defenders, four in midfield, and just a single striker - the basic purpose of this formation is obvious at first glance. Having the players lie deep in their own half closes down the space an opponent would need to unleash attacking moves. The system opens up the opportunity to strike on the break and hit your opponent with counter-attacks. As your opponent throws men forward in an effort to carve open gaps in the tightly-packed defence, his or her own rearguard becomes vulnerable to rapid thrusts down the wings or through the middle.

Catenaccio produces goals with long balls bypassing the midfield and working the ball to the target man as fast as possible. The striker needs to be in the Didier Drogba or Mario Gomez mould. He needs to be good in the air and physically strong. He must also be capable of winning and holding up the ball, before picking out midfielders following up in support.

Missing from the modern game
Very few teams deploy this defensive formation in the modern game of football. It's sometimes used by teams lacking the skill or talent to compete with seemingly overpowering opponents. Catenaccio most frequently rears its head when teams are deep in the relegation mire and every point matters. The premise in this situation is that it’s better to settle for a draw than lose!

When to use it
The 5-4-1 tactic is only suitable in specific situations when playing EA SPORTS™ FIFA 11. For example, if you’ve taken the lead, you could switch to this formation to establish a double line of defence and protect your advantage. However, starting a match with Catenaccio is very risky and somewhat outdated in today’s football.

Could you see yourself winning regularly at EA SPORTS™ FIFA 11 using Catenaccio?
We look forward to hearing your opinions on this tactical approach. Tell us what you think by submitting a comment below.