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What Is A False 9? Basic Concepts Explained

False 9

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#1 MrColabella

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 06:42 PM

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What is a false 9? Basic concepts explained
A guide to the role and function of a false 9, by MrColabella


Introduction

With the demo released and with plenty of clips on YouTube on the game formations, some of you may be wondering what is a false 9? In this article I will explain the basics behind the concept of playing in a false 9 system. It's relatively easy to understand, but slightly harder to impliment. Before I can get started, there are a few definitions you will need to know:

Number 9: The original number 9 is the word for a striker whose main objective is to score goals. There are plenty of words to describe goalscorers, but the best way to describe a traditional number 9 is a player who is seen as a 'poacher'. These are your typical players who are good in the air, quick with their feet and base their movement off the last defender. The best example of a traditional number 9 in the modern game is probably Falcao for Atletico Madrid.

The False 9: A player who plays in the traditional base position of a number 9, but doesn't have the qualities of a number 9. This player will excel in ball retention and passing. Instead of driving towards goal, they drop deep into midfield. The false 9 system can only be used in a formation with a lone striker, otherwise he is just playing off the main striker as a number 10. The first example of a false 9 would probably be Totti at Roma. Fabregas played this role for Spain in Euro 2012, but the best example of a false 9 would be Lionel Messi for Barcelona.

Channels: The spaces between CBs and RB/LBs.


What do I need to make the false 9 system work?

You need two things really:

1. A system that features a lone stiker (the false 9) and two wingers. Basically a wide front 3.

2. Pacey wingers. While I'm not big on pace abuse, your wingers should be of a decent level of pace. Enough to outrun the fullback that he is marked by.

For this example I will use a basic 433 model. The red team is the attacking team (your team) and the blue team is the defending team (opponent's team). The player circled in yellow will be our false 9.

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I mentioned in my first point that you need a wide front 3. This is pretty crucial. False 9s generally appear in possession based teams and it is the job of the two wingers to keep the pitch as wide as possible. This takes the opposition full backs out of the equation and prevents them from tucking in. Like so:

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This gives you a lot more space in the centre of pitch. Which is where our next point flows onto nicely.


The space between the lines

With the wingers spreading wide, it would be easy to assume that the false 9 has a free role and can roam about. The job of the false 9 is simple: To drag the opposition CBs out of position. Easy enough right?

So how to do this? By dropping deep you can help keep possession in midfield. But it also means the opponents CBs are reluctant to come and close you down. So you can enjoy quite a bit of space:

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Just by dropping deep there is so much space in between the opponent's midfield and defence:

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Obviously it is stupid to give players this much time and space in this zone, so expect your false 9 to be closed down quickly. But this is the idea. The main reason why Messi is regarded as the best player in the world is because of the how he utilises the space in this zone. It allows him to get a run and chance to dribble past players.

Now obviously not everyone in the world is Messi and can dribble past players with ease so here is how you utilise the false 9, without having to be the Argentinian.

Space behind the lines

When the false 9 drops deep. The opponent then becomes a bit confused where the marking responsibilites lie. As shown:

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Everyone here is marking someone, except for the CBs. So do they come and deal with the false 9? It's a tricky decision because as I outlined earlier the job of the false 9 is to drag the opposition CBs out of position. The CBs don't push forward then the false 9 has mass amounts of space and his team can surge forward. Push forward and risk getting sliced open.

At the beginning of the article I posted a definition of the word 'channels'. This will become clear now. Let's say that one of the CBs pushs up to mark the false 9. Like so:

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When the CB moves out of position he leaves a lot of space behind his starting position. I mentioned pacey wingers before as this is where they come in. They pull away from their fullbacks and exploit the space like so:

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By driving towards goal with the wingers, all it takes is a through ball and you've got a one on one and a clear cut oppurtunity to score.

Closing comments

So there you have it, the explaination and function on how to use a false 9. Simple enough to understand, tricky to pull off, but when you do, it can work tremendously well. Some of my other guides which may help you out if you want to read further:

- If you are already running a 433 and thinking about a false 9, I've shown you how to attack, here's how to press and defend: http://www.fifahub.c...from-the-front/
- A guide further explaining the benefits of space between the lines and defending against it: http://www.fifahub.c...nding-with-442/


Thank you for reading. Comments/constructive criticism welcomed and 'a like' is always appreciated.
  • Calfreezy, Jesus, KagawaFifa and 8 others like this

#2 Joeh

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 07:06 PM

Good read.

#3 quinny

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 07:13 PM

Very well explained, helped a lot mate :).
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#4 juskhronic

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 07:14 PM

wow thanks for the info....i will try this with Barcelona when i get the full copy of fifa 13

#5 Calfreezy

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 08:51 PM

I LOVE guides like this, great work, I hope to see more!

#6 Barca_1889

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 09:13 PM

hhmmmm well Done sir!!! keep it up ;)

#7 Lion

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 08:37 AM

Thanks, this really cleared things up
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#8 AidanCraftHD

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 09:04 AM

Great post :)

#9 SpinTard

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 03:35 PM

thanks a lot for this! will help a tonne!
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#10 CoMPLeX

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 03:44 PM

Great Job

#11 PinoWeezy

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 03:12 PM

I really enjoyed the false 9 formation in the demo, hopefully its up on UT

#12 DylanGRFC

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Posted 18 September 2012 - 03:17 PM

Good guide man :D
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#13 Phoenix

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Posted 21 September 2012 - 11:33 PM

Thanks for the guide

#14 JackzThaName

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Posted 22 September 2012 - 06:29 AM

Great tutorial, really well written :)

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#15 Guest_Hamish_*

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Posted 28 September 2012 - 03:23 PM

Tis Great read, shame its not on UT, would be good to see formations like this on there

#16 Guest_annuaire escorte_*

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Posted 03 January 2013 - 08:06 AM

Hello there, I love your blog www.futhead.com . Is there something I can do to receive updates like a subscription or some thing? I am sorry I'm not acquainted with RSS?

#17 Bonoplayer

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Posted 23 February 2013 - 08:50 PM

How is it going with the false 9 system so far? Does 433 is working good for any one or which formation is the best suited for a false 9?

#18 MrColabella

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 11:10 AM

How is it going with the false 9 system so far? Does 433 is working good for any one or which formation is the best suited for a false 9?


Any formation with a lone striker can work with a false 9 (433, 4231, 451, 343, etc), you also don't need a dedicated false 9 to pull it off, it is a movement that any striker can do, it's just a case of recognising it.

I've been having moderate success using a 4231 for my "fun" team and don't think I'll be switching to 433 any time soon. The positions of the RAM/LAM give them a lot more space than a RW/LW would, so if my ST ever drops off, it looks more like a 4240 with the ball. I then rely on the CF to provide bursting runs forward. I was quite surprised how many people are quick to rush their CBs forward to follow a striker who is next to no threat at all and because they have followed him, they create the danger for themselves. The false 9 tactic is good for early tournament rounds, but I wouldn't recommend it for finals or D1.

#19 Bonoplayer

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 05:50 PM

Any formation with a lone striker can work with a false 9 (433, 4231, 451, 343, etc), you also don't need a dedicated false 9 to pull it off, it is a movement that any striker can do, it's just a case of recognising it.

I've been having moderate success using a 4231 for my "fun" team and don't think I'll be switching to 433 any time soon. The positions of the RAM/LAM give them a lot more space than a RW/LW would, so if my ST ever drops off, it looks more like a 4240 with the ball. I then rely on the CF to provide bursting runs forward. I was quite surprised how many people are quick to rush their CBs forward to follow a striker who is next to no threat at all and because they have followed him, they create the danger for themselves. The false 9 tactic is good for early tournament rounds, but I wouldn't recommend it for finals or D1.


Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it!

I had a conversation with one of our fellow memebers of this forum and he mentioned me that 433 is not the best formation for false 9 in his opinion, due to the wingers would not make enough cut-in runs to actually get the advantage of the false 9 tactic. He would go more for 4321 since both LF/RF, would tend to naturally respond to run inside the box.
It's funny because 433 even comes as a default formation for a false 9 when you play h2h but in UT is not like the best suited one for, as I can see.

Why you think is not a recommended tactic for tournament finals or D1?

Thanks a lot!!

#20 MrColabella

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 09:47 PM

Usually because tournament finals and D1 feature players who are better at defending than your average player. So they aren't as likely to be tricked into following the ST when he drops deep.

I've began recording some footage for a potential goals compilation and have been playing tournament matches as a result (I don't want to take a team with a mixture of bronze/silvers/golds into D1, it wouldn't end well). By doing this, I've been jotting down the times of when I've scored and by a quick glance of my sheet for the last 20 games, I can tell you the average amount of goals I've scored for the first round, quarterfinals, semifinals and then final is 5, 4, 2 and 1 (respectively). Which supports what I said in that players in the final tend to be better.




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