Every football team certainly has its tactics and strategies. They will use certain formations to be able to score a goal and win the match.
Most trainers usually use common formations like 4-4-2, 4-3-3, or 4-2-3-1. But some coaches do crazy things. They use unusual formations to attract world attention. On this occasion, Starting Eleven will review the 7 unusual formations that have been used in football.
Ajax (1994/95): 3-3-1-3
In 1995, Louis van Gaal’s Ajax created a beautiful story in the world of football after winning the European Champions League, using a team built through the strength of his local talent.
That season, Ajax also became unbeatable during the Dutch league. They became the best club for their extraordinary power.
But did you know that Louis van Gaal had used a fairly unique formation at that time? Van Gaal was known to be a creative coach because he dared to use 3-3-1-3 formations.
Frank de Boer, Danny Blind, and Michael Reiziger were often played as a defensive trio behind the defensive midfielder Frank Rijkaard. Next in line were Edgar Davids, Ronald de Boer, and Clarence Seedorf. Van Gaal also had a Litmanen finger who was known to be very talented. While on the front lines, there were other famous names like Finidi George, Marc Overmars, and Patrick Kluivert.
The formation was very astonishing. Van Gaal was praised for his innovative, brave, and genius interpreter.
Australia (2006): 3-6-1
Under another Dutch maestro, Guus Hiddink, Australia presented an unusual formation of 3-6-1. They also managed to reach the World Cup for the first time since 1974 using this special formation. Having six players in midfield, each of them consisted of three players in a row, allowed Hiddink to facilitate tactical flow because he could adjust the form to suit the needs of the team’s attack and defense smoothly.
Mark Viduka was usually placed as a lone striker. He would be supported by a trio of attacking midfielders Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell, and Jason Culina. The formation successfully helped Australia to be in the spotlight during the World Cup mat. They managed to win control of the ball against Japan, Croatia, and Italy and even managed to get 47% control of the ball over the Brazilian squad which was known to be far superior.
Successfully reaching the knockout phase of the World Cup, became a major achievement for The Socceroos. Their journey that year then showed that the 3-6-1 formation could be very effective.
Barcelona (10/9/2009): 4-2-4
Pep Guardiola is one of the genius coaches in the world. When he replaced Frank Rijkaard in the hot seat of the Camp Nou-based team, no one expected that the former club captain would be able to wipe out any available trophies.
Although Guardiola is known for his 4-3-3 formation, he sometimes switches it to the 4-2-4 scheme. The 4-2-4 itself is a well-known formation that is difficult to be applied because it tends to cause a lack of balance in midfield. But once again, Pep Guardiola knows how to deal with it.
With Thierry Henry, Lionel Messi and Pedro Rodriguez changing roles as main strikers, Barcelona was successfully improving and won four trophies in that season. The trophies they won were La Liga, the UEFA Super Cup, Supercopa de Espana, and the Club World Cup.
Placing Yaya Toure and Sergio Busquets to efficiently carry out duties in midfield, Guardiola allowed Henry, Andres Iniesta, Messi, and Pedro to play as the attackers very well.
Spain (2012): 4-6-0
The Spanish National Team which won the Euro 2012 under Vicente Del Bosque has given rise to the ‘False Nine’ formation. They applied these tactics very well.
Del Bosque’s advanced tactics helped Spain to advance the unprecedented level of success because at that time the matador team succeeded in winning the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. The False Nine strategy was well implemented and had a considerable impact. Cesc Fabregas became the player who performed the role of false nine with confidence. He managed to score two goals despite his role which was recognized as one of the most difficult ones in football.
Bayern Munich (2013/14): 3-4-3
Pep Guardiola again showed off his skill. At Bayern, his newest strategy was 3-4-3. Realizing that Bayern had sufficient ammunition and tactics to apply such a formation, Guardiola changed the system of his predecessor, Jupp Heynckes, which then proved to be very influential.
Although the 3-4-3 scheme sounds normal, the tactics that Guardiola had applied to each player were quite different.
This Catalan man’s tactics in utilizing the Bayern squad were extraordinary. Following the increased long list of injuries at that time, which also included Javi Martinez and Bastian Schweinsteiger, Guardiola turned Philippe Lahm into a midfielder with an important role.
Lahm proved to be an extraordinary player in midfield, and Bayern continued to run rampant in the Bundesliga. They were able to win the title on Matchday 27 and ended the competition with a winning margin of 19 points.
Chile (2010): 3-3-1-3
Another interesting tactic innovation in the 2010 World Cup is a 3-3-1-3 formation that Marcelo Bielsa has made with Chile. This eccentric trainer always makes his way to attract attention. This time, his formation which was applied to South Africa got a lot of praise and was considered very brave.
He had four players who played a defensive role in his team, three defenders and a defensive midfielder. He also had two wing-backs who went forward eagerly, to increase the speed and penetration towards Chile’s attack line.
The idea behind the application of the Bielsa system over Chile isis that he wanted to fully suppress the opposing team and get more aggressive in the game. This system made players like Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal were getting popular, and indirectly announced themselves as two of the most talented players in the world.
Under the 3-3-1-3 formation, Bielsa and Chile left the 2010 World Cup with their heads held high, having valiantly surrendered in the last 16 following a defeat to Brazil.
France (1984): 4-2-2-2
This formation is known as ‘Magic Square’ in the fable of Les Blues, which is widely recognized as one of the most innovative midfield tactics in football history. Coach Michel Hidalgo built a midfield that included the best creativity, muscle, and technique through the quartet of Jean Tigana, Alain Giresse, Luis Fernandez and Michel Platini who were so extraordinary.
With Fernandez in the lead role, Tigana, Platini, and Giresse had the freedom to roam and display the quality of their respective games. Tigana would regularly stand beside Fernandez to ensure the French defense got adequate protection.
Underwent an excellent collaboration role, this talented quartet acted as the brain, the machine, as well as the center of the creative play of the French national team that succeeded in becoming the champion. Platini, who played at the heart of the game of the rooster team, managed to score 9 goals in 5 matches. Despite leading to the glory of the French national team, this moment has also catapulted the name of Platini.