7-sided football is a very common format of street football or futsal. 7-a-side games are also played professionally. This format is very different from the classic 11 sided football. However, it has its own uniqueness and fun. There is a lot of planning and tactics behind playing 11-sided games. The same apply to 7-a-side football as well. We are going to talk about one today. This article is about counter-attacking in 7-a-side and how players apply it during the game. We are also going to compare with long ball tactic and any other 7-sided tactic so that you can understand better. 

What is Counter-Attacking? 

Counter-attacking basically means to catch your team when they are at the back foot. It is about grabbing your opponents when they least expect it. In other terms, counter-attacking in 7 aside means to attack your opponents when they are the most vulnerable.Counter-attacks are very fast and requires every player to be very careful with their touches. A simple mistake from any player involved in the counter-attack can ruin it. Therefore, players have to think and act very fast during a counter-attack.  

This also applies to counter-attacking in 7-a-side because the area of the pitch is already pretty small. Therefore, it is easier for the defenders to chase the attackers or come back to their mark. Hence, faster counter-attacks with few to no mistakes ensure goal scoring opportunities. Many coaches like their team to play with a counter-attacking approach. This is because counter-attacks ensure many goals and it is very hard to stop them. However, some managers also prefer other techniques such as repeated  long balls or crosses into the box. However, that tactic is not of our concern for this article.  

When is Counter-Attacking Essential? 

Counter-attacks can be useful during any moment in a game. However, counter-attacking in 7-a-side is the most essential when the other team loses the ball while attacking you. This is because the opposition players are going to be very high up on the pitch while the attack. Therefore, it is also possible that the defenders are also higher than their normal positions and it is easier to catch them off guard. A quick counter during such moments can usually lead to goals or goal scoring opportunities. 

Counter-attacking in 7-a-side is also essential when your opposition players lose their marker trying to snatch the ball. This usually happens when a team keeps a lot of possession for a lot of time. The opposing players can get frustrated and hence, try to press and attack you from all ends. This usually results in their disadvantage. They leave huge spaces on the pitch since they get out of position. This makes it even easier to rotate the ball. Furthermore, these quick passes and precise touches can lead to a very effective counter-attacks. Such attacks are very hard to defend.  

Which Formation is Best to Counter-Attack with? 

We are going to talk about a few common formations and discuss them individually. Then we are going to determine which one is the best forcounter-attacking in 7-a-side. Before we begin, it is always important to always keep a few things in mind regardless of whatever formation you are playing. This applies to 7-sided as well as 11-sided games. The first major thing is to always keep a good balance in your line-up. You can never play a line-up with 5 defenders and 1 striker and then expect to win the game. This will only create a mess for your team. 

Similarly, you cannot play too many attackers and 1 or no player on your defence. You might have this idea that playing more number of players on a specific position helps you attack or defend better. Now this does apply to some cases. However, it is always important to keep a good balance in your line-up.Counter-attacking in 7-a-sideis also possible when all your players are positioned in proper way that they can rotate the ball and catch the opposing team by surprise at any point. The second point is similar to the first one. 

You must place your players where they feel the most comfortable. You should not ask a player who prefers attacking to play defence just because you need to stop goals. There is no one specific formation which works every time. You always have to play to your player’s strengths in order to bring out the best results from your team. You might have 4 players who enjoy defending more than attacking. Then you have to place 3 as defenders and 1 with a better passing ability as a Central Defensive Midfielder. Thereis no dream formation which ensurescounter-attacking in 7-a-side. However, there are a few common ones which teams mostly apply. 

  • 2-3-1  

2-3-1 is the most common 7-sided formation. Not only does it help incounter-attacking situations, but it also helps in stopping the counter-attacks. The 3 players playing as midfielders are the most active players when playing this formation. They have to support their striker and play killer passes to him. Furthermore, they also have to track back again and again and help their defence as only 2 players are playing in that position. Normally, 2 midfielders participate more actively in attack while one of them stays central throughout the game. 

The main job of this player is to always stay in the centre so that he can provide a passing option to every team-mate, but is also present when the other team attacks. This formation ensurescounter-attacking in 7-a-sidesimply because it allows the players to rotate the ball. Furthermore, any team playing with a man mark approach finds it difficult to mark players playing this formation simply because all the players are scattered out throughout the entire playing surface. 

  • 3-2-1

3-2-1 is another formation commonly seen in 7-sided games. This is similar to the one we discussed above. However, the major difference is that now we have 1 extra defender. This reduces the defensive duties from the midfielders and therefore, they can focus more on rotating the ball and creating attacking opportunities. Having 3 or 2 defenders depend upon a few factors. One factor is that if the team has scored first, they bring 1 player to defensive position and then defend their lead for theremaining game. Another common factor is if a team is playing against a stronger opponent, then they try their best to not concede goals. 

Stronger teams have the ability to initiate attacks out of nowhere and score goals. They also know how to defend their lead once they have taken it. Therefore, it is best to not let a team score if your chances of scoring against them are also less.Counter-attacking in 7-a-sideis indeed, the strongest tactic to score goals against any team. However, it might not always work. Therefore, playing an extra defender can help a team to not concede a goal. This can often lead to penalty shootouts if it is a knockout game.

How to Counter-Attack? | Tactical Analysis 

Counter-attacking in 7-a-side requires tactical planning and mental and physical involvement of every player. Having possession and rotating the ball swiftly is essential in order to counter-attack in this format as well as 11-sided. The explanation behind keeping ball possession is simpleHaving the ball makes the opposing team uncomfortable. Players run here and there in order to snatch the ball. However, if they are unable to do so, they get exhausted both physically and mentally.  

Physical exhaustion is being out of breathe because running here and there, making short sprints is a real test of anyone’s fitness. Mental exhaustion is because not having the ball makes your team vulnerable. When the other team has the ball, it means that your team is prone to attacks, and also conceding goals. Therefore, players can get infuriated and can also start blaming each other for not putting enough effort or making mistakes. This restlessness can allow the other team to catch their opponents off guard and initiate a quick counter. The physical exhaustion can prevent the players to track back in time and this can lead to a goal.  

Conclusion

This is all you need to know about counter-attacking in 7-a-side games. Every player has his own responsibility during a football game. These attacks are an entire team effort and no one can get a single credit for initiating counter-attacks in football. Football is a team sport and a collective team effort is the only way to victory. Counter-attacking in 7-a-side is one of the most popular and most effective attacking strategies which many teams in the world follow. Quick counter-attacks often lead to beautiful team goals.