Football, or soccer as it is known in some countries, is a sport that has evolved greatly over the years. Tactics and strategies have played a crucial role in this evolution, as coaches and managers have sought to gain an edge over their opponents. In this article, we will explore the history of football tactics and strategies, from the early days of the sport to the modern era.

Early Football Tactics

In the early days of football, the sport was relatively simple and unrefined. The main objective was to score as many goals as possible, and tactics were not a significant consideration. The game was primarily played in a 2-3-5 formation, with two defenders, three midfielders, and five forwards. The emphasis was on attack, and the defense was often neglected.

The W-M Formation

The W-M formation was introduced in the 1920s and it revolutionized football tactics. The formation was created by an English coach named Herbert Chapman, who was the manager of Huddersfield Town and Arsenal. The W-M formation consisted of three defenders, five midfielders, and two forwards. This formation was more balanced, as it allowed for more solid defense while still maintaining a potent attack. The W-M formation became the standard formation in English football and was used by many teams throughout the world.

The Rise of the Total Football

In the 1960s and 1970s, a new style of football emerged, known as Total Football. This style of play was developed by the Dutch national team and Ajax Amsterdam. The Total Football style was characterized by fluid and flexible movement, with players constantly switching positions on the field. The formation used in Total Football was a 2-3-5, but the players were given more freedom to move around the field, making it difficult for the opposition to mark them. Total Football required a high level of fitness and technical ability, and it was a major influence on the development of modern football tactics.

The Tiki-Taka

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, a new style of football emerged, known as Tiki-Taka. This style of play was developed by the Spanish national team and FC Barcelona. Tiki-Taka was characterized by short passing and movement, maintaining possession, and working the ball through various channels. The formation used in Tiki-Taka was a 4-3-3, with the midfielders playing a crucial role in maintaining possession and creating chances. Tiki-Taka was a major influence on the way modern football is played, and it is still widely used today.

The Modern Era

In the modern era, football tactics and strategies have become even more sophisticated. Teams now use advanced statistics and data analysis to gain an edge over their opponents. The use of technology, such as video analysis, has also become widespread. Coaches and managers have access to a wealth of information and can make informed decisions about tactics and strategies.

In addition, modern football is characterized by a greater emphasis on physical fitness and conditioning. Players are now expected to be able to play at a high intensity for the entire match. Teams also place a greater emphasis on defense, with many teams now using a back three or back four formation.


Football tactics and strategies have evolved greatly over the years. From the early days of the sport, when the emphasis was on attack and defense was neglected, to the modern era, where teams use advanced statistics and technology to gain an edge over their opponents. The introduction of different formation like W-M and Tiki-Taka also played a crucial role in the evolution of football tactics.