How to Play the 4-4-2 Formation in Soccer


There are different formations used in the game of soccer. One of the more popular formations is the 4-4-2.

This formation is commonly used in Europe and played by a lot of European and South American teams. South American powerhouse Argentina also plays with the 4-4-2 formation. What follows is simple way of looking at this formation. This is by no means an exhaustive or detailed look at the formation but it is an easy introduction.



The four defenders in the back will be set up with two central ones and two outside defenders. The two central defenders are usually tall and stronger (not always) than the two on the outside. On the other hand, the two outside defenders are usually quick and able to run up and down the sidelines at a fast pace. Having players who will run with pace done the flanks only means that the other team will have an even tougher time in defending them.

The coach has the option of using a few different variations in the midfield. The midfield will be composed of four players. There is the diamond formation with a holding midfielder (a player with more defensive responsibilities), two outside wing players, and an offensive midfielder. An example of this would be to have someone in the style of Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard playing right behind the forwards.

This is one of the options available to the coach. The other common option is with two holding midfielders and two creating midfielders in front of them. Argentina is known to play with this formation. Players such as Gago and Mascherano will have much more defensive responsibilities while players like Rodriguez and Di Maria, for example, will attack on the wings.

Last Words

Finally, there are two forwards or strikers. Again, depending on how the coach's preference the forwards duties might be a little different. There can be all out strikers going for the goal or just one with the other one right behind him or her.

Playing soccer is not that difficult and having a proper formation on the pitch is ideal. With practice all the players should be on the same page.

One Last Thing


If you are still having problem understanding what the 4-4-2 formation is, check out the above video as it describes it in a very appropriate manner.

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