Football might be a physical game, but tactics and strategies are equally important. In FIFA 21, they’re even more critical, because you can only control one player at a time. An AI controls the rest of the team, and it’s movement and decision making is based on whatever custom tactics have been set.
Players can change custom tactics before and during matches. To alter them during matches, all you need to do is press one of the following buttons depending on the one you want.
|Display Attacking Tactics||DPad ⇧||DPad ⇧|
|Get In The Box||DPad ⇧ + DPad ⇧||DPad ⇧ + DPad ⇧|
|Attacking Full Backs||DPad ⇧ + DPad ⇦||DPad ⇧ + DPad ⇦|
|Hug Sideline||DPad ⇧ + DPad ⇨||DPad ⇧ + DPad ⇨|
|Extra Striker||DPad ⇧ + DPad ⇩||DPad ⇧ + DPad ⇩|
|Display Defending Tactics||DPad ⇩||DPad ⇩|
|Striker Drop Back||DPad ⇩ + DPad ⇧||DPad ⇩ + DPad ⇧|
|Team Press||DPad ⇩ + DPad ⇦||DPad ⇩ + DPad ⇦|
|Overload Ball Side||DPad ⇩ + DPad ⇨||DPad ⇩ + DPad ⇨|
|Offside Trap||DPad ⇩ + DPad ⇩||DPad ⇩ + DPad ⇩|
|Change Game Plan||DPad ⇦ or ⇨||DPad ⇦ or ⇨|
Switching between the various attacking and defending tactics is an excellent way to adapt to any given scenario in a game. The “Getting In The Box” tactic is useful when you’re looking to cross the ball. Similarly, the “Hug Sideline” tactic makes the team play wider, which can open up the game. The “Attacking Full Backs” and “Extra Striker” tactics can make the difference when you desperately need a goal, and you’re running out of time.
The defending tactics can be advantageous too. The “Offside Trap” tactic is a must-use when an opponent’s striker is making a run. However, if you don’t time it correctly, it can leave you vulnerable to a one-on-one.
The “Team Press” tactic is an excellent way to pressure an opponent who likes to maintain possession. The added pressure could force them to make an error, which could lead to a turnover and a counter-attack. The “Quick Substitute” feature is also handy when you want to swap players without pausing the game and killing your momentum. It can be done anytime the ball is out.
Players can also change their game plan in-game by pressing the directional pad either left or right. There are four game plans in total; ultra-defensive, defensive, attacking, and ultra-attacking. In essence, they determine how defensive or offensive your team will be.
For example, if you’re desperate for goals, you can set it to ultra-attacking. Similarly, if you’ve just scored and you want to park the bus, ultra-defensive will make that possible. But keep in mind, they have their strengths and weaknesses, and it’s a good idea to use them sparingly.
(c) EA Sports
The in-game custom tactics are incredibly useful, but they pale in comparison to the depth and breadth of what can be done before and in-between games. Here’s a quick breakdown of everything available.
This style makes your team press the ball towards the centre of the pitch and maintains a neutral shape.
Pressure on Heavy Touch
This style makes your team keep their shape until the opponent makes a heavy touch and an opportunity to apply pressure appears. It could be anything from a loose ball or a poorly executed pass.
Pressure After Possession Loss
This style will make your team press the ball for about seven seconds after they turn over the ball and lose possession. It can be rewarding, but it also drags them out of position and drains their fatigue.
This style applies continuous pressure to your opponent at all times. But it’s high-risk, high-reward, and can often leave you open and out of position, as well as make your players fatigue.
This style makes your team focus on holding their shape. Naturally, that means your opponent will have more possession, and you’ll have less attacking options. But it can be useful if you’re reliant on a quick counter-attack.
|Width||1 - 3 [Narrow]
This width makes your team’s defensive shape narrow. They will focus on covering the middle of the ground, but it will leave the wings open.
4 - 7 [Balanced]
This width makes your team’s defensive shape balanced. They will make an effort to cover both the centre and the wings.
8 - 10 [Wide]
This width makes your team’s defensive team shape wide. They will focus on protecting the wings, leaving you more open in the middle. Naturally, it’s an excellent way to shut down wingers, but it comes with a price.
1 - 3 [Deep]
4 - 7 [Balanced]
This depth makes your team hold their shape in the middle of their half. It will make recovering the ball in the midfield a lot easier without sacrificing too much space.
8 - 10 [High]
This depth makes your team hold the line further up the field, almost near the halfway line. It’s an excellent way to keep the ball in your half and potentially force your opponent offside. But it will make you extremely vulnerable to long balls.
1 - 3 [Low]
This makes your team have a narrower line upfront. There will be more players in the centre which is suitable for short passing. But your wings won’t be used as much.
4 - 7 [Normal]
This makes your team have a standard line upfront. This is good if you want to play down the wings as well as the centre.
7 - 10 [High]This makes your team have a wide line upfront. Players will focus on using the wings, giving you more options down the side of the pitch. But the centre and the edge-of-the-box won’t be used as much.
|Players In The Box||
1 - 3 [Low]
This makes fewer players stand in the opponent’s box when you cross the ball.
This makes a moderate amount of players stand in the opponent’s box when you cross the ball.
This makes a lot of players stand in the opponent’s box when you cross the ball.
1 - 3 [Low]
This makes a moderate amount of players stand in the opponent’s box during corners.
This makes a lot of players stand in the opponent’s box during corners.Free-Kicks1 - 3 [Low]