4-3-3 Soccer Formation
The 4-3-3 was a development of the 4-2-4, and was played by the Brazilian national team in the 1962 World Cup. The extra player in midfield allowed a stronger defense, and the midfield could be staggered for different effects.
The three midfielders normally play
closely together to protect the defense, and move laterally across
the field as a coordinated unit. The three forwards split across the
field to spread the attack, and are expected to "tackle back". When
used from the start of a game, this formation is widely regarded as
encouraging defensive play, and should not be
confused with the practice of modifying a 4-4-2 by bringing on an
extra forward to replace a midfield player when behind in the latter
stages of a game.
A staggered 4-3-3 involving a defensive midfielder (usually numbered 4 or 6) and two attacking midfielders (numbered 8 and 10) was commonplace in Italy, Argentina and Uruguay during the 1960s and 1970s. The Italian variety of 4-3-3 was simply a modification of WM, by converting one of the two wing-halves to a libero (sweeper), whereas the Argentine and Uruguayan formations were derived from 2-3-5 and retained the notional attacking centre-half. The national team which made this famous was the Dutch team of the 1974 and 1978 World Cups, even though the team won neither.
In club football, the team that brought this formation to the forefront was the famous Ajax Amsterdam team of the early 1970s, which won three European Cups with Johan Cruyff. Chelsea have used this formation to great effect under José Mourinho in the time he has been at the club. While getting his team to constantly press the opposition when defending, he also likes the two wingers to come back to create a 4-5-1 formation.
At the 2006 FIFA World Cup Spain played a variation of 4-3-3 without wingers. The three strikers would interchange positions and run the channels like a regular striker would.
Teams that used this formation
* Brazil national team, winners 1962 FIFA World Cup
* Feyenoord in winning the 1970 European Cup
* Juventus F.C., Serie A Winners 1994/95 and UEFA Champions League Winners 1995/96
* Rosenborg B.K. of Norway, during all of their 13-in-a-row league wins, and 10 seasons in the UEFA Champions League
* All the teams coached by Zdeněk Zeman
* Chelsea FC, Premiership Winners 2004/05 2005/06
* Olympique Lyonnais, Ligue 1 Winners 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07
* Brøndby I.F., SAS Liga Winners 2004/05 and runners up 2002/03, 2003/04 and 2005/06
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Teams that use the 4 – 3 – 3 formation typically have 2 lively wingers who provide width in attack and defensive support when not in possession.