How To Defend in Futsal
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How To Defend In Futsal: Complete Guide

Whether it’s football or futsal, we all enjoy watching some great goals. The defensive side of the game might not be as entertaining, but if you don’t know how to defend in a futsal match, you will not get any expected results. 

It is natural to go for the goal as soon as a player comes in contact with the ball. This undermines the importance of defending. In this piece, we will highlight how crucial it is to defend in a futsal match as a unit. 

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The purpose of this article is to provide an all-inclusive guide to futsal defending. We will break down the basics, discuss how it could bail you out against stronger opponents and how it can help you win.  

defend in futsal

Basics of Defending

Besides football, futsal shares a lot of similarities with basketball. Defending is one of the converging aspects of both of these games. So, studying basketball defending could be useful for futsal defenders.  

In basketball, every single player falls back and creates a barrier between the opponent and the hoop. The idea is to keep the enemy line as far away as possible.  This is futsal defending 101 as well. To learn how to defend in a futsal match, you need to learn doing it as a cohesive unit. Since the pitch is compact, no players can afford to avoid their defensive responsibilities.  

In a 1v1 scenario, basketball players close down opposition attackers and get their body on the line to block their attempt towards the target. This is another approach that the defenders should take in futsal. In the following sections, we will mention some basic defending tips that would be covered in any “how to defend in a futsal match” course. You can try them in practice one by one.  

Quick Transition 

Transition is a core element of futsal. It is defined as a period when teams switch to defence from attack or vice versa. For both attacking and defending, a quick transition in play is a potent weapon.  

Our instinct commonly dictates us to halt when we lose possession, and then walk back in hesitation. But, an instant reaction after losing the ball increases your chances of winning the ball back substantially.  The first three seconds are of utmost importance in this situation. You have to be mentally prepared to go after the ball as soon as you lose it. If you can master this urgency, it will transform your team’s defensive skills.  

Keep the Counters in Check 

When your team flies forward, it’s hard to resist the temptation of abandoning the defence and join your comrades higher up the pitch. However, this situation makes you susceptible to vicious counter-attacks So, you must take the necessary steps to avoid getting caught on the break. If you want to learn how to defend in a futsal match responsibly, you must learn to practice restraint.  

You must station one player at a deeper position as a contingency for counters. When there is a counter-attack, the defender should be ready to intercept the ball and thwart the move as early as possible.  Playing this “last man standing” role could be mentally and physically exhausting. So, players should rotate this role frequently. The generous substitution rule would also prove useful in this regard.  

Defend With All Hands (Or Feet?) on Deck  

In modern football, every single outfield player has some sort of defensive responsibilities. Attacking players also need to do their due diligence during defensive transitions. The role of comprehensive defending is even more important in futsal. There are only five players on the team, so each of them needs to contribute while defending.  

If your forward players don’t mark up their rival counterparts, your team would keep on shipping goals at a high rate. So, there’s no room for anyone on the pitch to ease off while the team defends.  Without the attackers dropping back, the defender and the goalkeeper would get outnumbered. So, you need to instil a defensive discipline in all of your players.  

defend in futsal

Keep The Opposition Out of Danger Zones 

The closer the opposition players are to your goal, the more your risks of conceding a goal increase. To defend in a futsal game properly, you will have to try to drive the opponents away from your goalpost 

Deny your opposition access to your goalpost by blocking their passing lanes and closing in on them. You must counter their press and push them back to their own half.  

As a futsal defender, you should refuse to give the opposition enough space to take a shot at goal. You should also try to keep them away from the ideal shooting angles.  

Block the Opponent’s View of  the Goalpost 

When you are playing a defensive line, you will intuitively be on the goal side. But this strategy won’t work unless you remain on the goal side of the opposition player.  

Otherwise, the attacker would run past you and expose your goalkeeper to a dangerous situation. To properly defend in a futsal match, always be mindful of your own as well as the attacker’s positioning.  

Don’t Let them Shoot 


So, you followed all of the above-mentioned rules in the “how to defend in a futsal match” handbook. Nonetheless, you are still vulnerable to conceding from long-rangers. 

Of course, the chances of scoring from distant spots are lower, but you still have to neutralize the threat as much as you can. Close down the attackers, no matter how far they are from your goal.  

Don’t Give Away Ridiculous Fouls 

It’s more difficult to defend in a futsal game than in a football match due to a variety of reasons. The pitch is shorter so you would barely have a second to take a breather. Moreover, conceding fouls are more consequential in futsal.  

In futsal, there is a second penalty rule for every six fouls committed. This makes giving away fouls in futsal even more damaging than football. Also, the smaller pitch size makes futsal set pieces more threatening.  

Committing cheap fouls turns down the morale of the team. Once you concede from a set piece, you would feel like all your hard work was for nothing. It’s hard to recover from this situation.  



The teammates have to read each other’s thoughts to maintain a solid defensive line. So, internal communication is an absolute must to defend in a futsal match the right way.  

Co-ordination in the back does not only help in defence, but it also allows teams to mould their attacks better. Back players have the entire pitch on sight, so they should instruct other players about passing and positioning.  

Defending Against A Stronger Team in Futsal 

Defending in a futsal match against stronger oppositions could be a nightmare if you fail to keep your calm. If you follow some simple rules, it would be a lot easier for you to defend in such situations.  

Don’t Get Panicked 

First and foremost, you must remember that you can’t afford to get panicked on the court. Even if the opposition boasts a better profile, you need to stay focused and confident.  

Maintain Shape 

To successfully defend in a futsal match against a higher-rank opposition, you have to maintain the integrity of your formation. Don’t break the defensive and allow attackers free space to target.  

Man To Man Marking 


You would want your opposition attackers to have minimal time on the ball. It would also be in your best interest to stop them from getting into comfortable shooting positions.  

When your team defends, each player should pick out individual targets and keep all opposition outfield players occupied. The last thing you would want is the opponents creating 1v2 situations.  

When an opposition player breaks with the ball, the player nearest to him/her should engage. Meanwhile, other players should cover the remaining opposition players and minimize the threat.  It is all-important that the players keep shadowing their targeted opposition players. This would make it very difficult for the opposition to dispatch shots at the target and score.  

How To Win By Defending 

If you defend in a futsal game smartly, the chances of your team bagging the bragging rights would increase manifold. Solid and intelligent defending can frustrate your opposition on either end of the pitch. 

When teams attack, they leave their own goalpost unprotected. Exploiting this weakness is easier in futsal because the pitch is compact and you can run to the other end of the pitch in the blink of an eye.  

Thus, when you recover the ball near your goalpost, you need to be aware of this window of opportunity. The absence of the offside law makes it even more convenient to execute a counterattack. The goalkeepers should also release the ball quickly when they get the ball. The quicker you can transition the ball out of your area to the opposition territory, the greater your chance of scoring is. 

Counter-attacking is a tremendously productive tool to tip the balance of a tie in your favour. This strategy can help you defend in a futsal match better and increase your scoring potential simultaneously.  


Following these rudimentary guidelines, you can expect your team to defend better in a futsal match and frustrate the opposition attack. Stick to these basics and you can notice a significant improvement in your defence tactics. 

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