Futsal Game formations - the tactical systems of play

The individual skills of players are essential in order to win a Futsal match, however, a well organized team can be more efficient than the individuality of those players. Tactical system is related to the way a team applies set positions combined with coordinated movements to create advantage over opponents. The term System is the way players are distributed or positioned on the court and Tactics the art of combining individual actions of players in their different positions, to obtain maximum performance during the match. There are several tactics and team formations that can be used to improve the efficiency of a team. We'll be discussing the 2 x 2 formation, the 2 x 1 x 1, the 3 x 1, the 4 x 0, and the 5 x 0.

The game system is chosen taking into consideration the physical and technical characteristics of the players on the team. So, it is necessary to observe some aspects before deciding what to apply: who are you playing against? What are the characteristics of the players on your team? And What is the fitness level of the players on your team?

It is important to remember that the dynamics of futsal is very complex and the change of positions between players is constant. Sometimes teams modify their system, within the same match, based on the system used by the opponent or the situation of the game.

2 x 2 SYSTEM

The first one is the 2 x 2 system. This is the oldest system in Futsal, created in the 1950s, which is characterized by the positioning of 2 players in the defensive half and 2 others in the offensive half. It's a very simple system that requires little movement from players. The two at the back are responsible for the defense while the 2 at the front are responsible for the attack; It is a more static system compared to others thus fewer exchanges of positions and consequently of functions. This system is more used in smaller age groups or in less technical teams due to the low level of complexity and easy execution, but high-level teams would also use it in certain times in the game.

2 x 1 x 1 SYSTEM

The second system is the 2x1x1 or the Y. As the numbers indicate, there are two players positioned on the defensive court, one in the middle of the court and the other on the offensive court. It can be seen as a variation of the previous system 2 x 2. However, it is worth mentioning that when the player positioned in the middle of the court returns to the defensive court, system 3 x 1 is characterized. Because it is simple to perform, it is also indicated for young age groups. This system is commonly used in goal clearances, or throws from the goalie.

3 x 1 SYSTEM

The 3 x 1 system is responsible for the name of the positions adopted in Futsal. It is one of the most common formations, as it offers a good balance between the defense and the attack. It's characterized by a player dedicated to attack (pivô), one to defend (fixo) and two wingers (right and left), called Alas, responsible to support the defense and attack. This system features constant movement and exchanges of positions and functions, mainly by the three lower players, the fixo and the 2 alas, while the Pivot has a more defined function, being almost always in the offensive half-court.

4 x 0 SYSTEM

The 4 x 0 in Futsal is the most complex system that exists, commonly used by high level players, like professional teams. The idea is to have all 4 players moving at once, promoting movements that allow many options for 1-2s/give and gos, space occupation and attack opportunities. It's a very similar system to the 3 x 1 with the most significant difference being that the Pivot also enters the rotation. It's a system where the changes of roles by each player are constant as their movements, creating and filling the empty spaces, thus forcing mistakes from the opposition and making it more difficult to defend.

5 x 0 or 3 x 2 SYSTEM

The last system or the 5 x 0 or the 3 x 2, occurs when the goalkeeper (5th attacker) leaves his area to participate in his team's attacking moves. Usually the goalkeeper is replaced by a field player, to make this system more efficient offensively. With this formation, players do not change their positions as often. They try to wear out defenders, by passing the ball quickly in all corners of the court. It's commonly used when a team is losing a game. It's important to note that the goalie is positioned on the attacking court, like in the image here, this is because the Futsal Rule restricts the goalkeeper's possession of the ball in the defensive court, so they just change positions with another player when in possession of the ball.

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