In real-life football, offense is just one part of the story and it is no different in the realistic simulation of the sports, FIFA 19.
From making tackles, gaining possession back to tagging players closest to the ball, there are many defensive strategies that you need to employ to ensure you have the upper hand in any match.
In our FIFA 19 Defending Guide, we look at such mechanics and how you can better improve your defensive game in FIFA 19.
FIFA 19 Defending
Let us talk about the fundamentals first before we jump into the more advanced stuff. Whenever you are close to the opponent who has the ball, put pressure and try to win the ball first with strength.
This comes in the form of shoulder tackles, overstepping, etc. and can be performed via the Circle or B button by default for PS4 and Xbox One controllers respectively.
You can also attempt to contain the player by applying extra pressure by the X or A buttons.
Otherwise, if the situation does not suit you, you may go for a sliding tackle with Square or X button. This is riskier, and if the timing is not right, you may end up fouling the other player and collecting a card for it.
Switching closer to the player with the ball before it actually happens can be done by pressing the L1 or LB button.
When it comes to gaining possession of the ball, your defender should move such as to cover distance diagonally to the opponent carrying the ball at his feet.
Once you are close enough, move back at a slow pace or jockey back. This will ensure that you remain on the opponent’s trail and do not lose your chances of getting the ball back.
As for tracking runs and shutting out the chances of a striker making a run behind your defense, use the right analog stick. You will need to make sure that you direct the right stick before the ball or the pass is actually played.
This will eliminate any opportunities for the opponent’s team to get clear-cut opportunities like a one-on-one against the keeper.
Advanced Defending Tips
For some more advance strategies, you need to play the game more attentively and start making predictions.
This comes in handy where you aren’t exactly close to the opponent but with a valid guess, you can win the ball back thanks to something you planned beforehand e.g. you predict what the opponent might do if he has no one to pass to and some defenders approach him from the left and right.
In such a case, it would be a safe bet to run up the pitch, as this is where the opponent may head to as well. Moreover, always put yourself in between the opponent with the ball and his teammate who will be potentially receiving the ball.
Instead of going for the actual ball, you will still win possession because you predicted his pass route earlier.
Make Valid Guesses More Often
So for guesses and predictions as safe and accurate as possible, look at your teammates as well as the ones on the opponents’ side.
Looking at your teammates, you know which routes they have blocked so that gives you an idea where you should move on the pitch as to cover all the options.
Observing the opposition’s players or more importantly seeing which direction they are facing in will most likely mean that they will be preparing a pass in that direction as well. This gives you an early head start for intercepting the ball.
Don’t take your Movement Lightly
Your movement matters a lot, even if it is without the ball. This works in two ways but each yielding the same result: intercepting the ball. Firstly, you can choose to hang around a given area, a small radius covering two options at one.
What I mean is that you do not commit to one opponent but you’re between two of them, and whichever is closer to receiving the ball, you should move in that direction.
Another way your movement is key is that you block the opponent’s potential path of passing the ball.
If there is a clear through pass to the south of the pitch, you need to move in this direction so the opponent realizes this, changes his mind and proceeds to move up without ever passing the ball down.
Pressure is the Name of the Game
Remember how I talked about applying pressure in the beginner section for defense in this article? Well, you can apply some more strategies.
For one, you can hold down the R1 or RB button that sends out one of your nearest teammates to pressure the opponent into losing the ball.
In FIFA 19, there is a little change in the sense that there is now a visual indicator of what player will be sent forth to support with retrieving the ball. The player to do so will have a grayed out icon of the same color on the top.
Therefore, R1 in conjunction with the Circle or Square buttons ensure that pressure is almost too staggering for the opponent, ultimately forcing him to lose control of the ball.
Pre-Game Tactics and Formations Matter
Even though you can control most of the stuff in the game, some things are permanent and pre-determined for your team. This means that they will continue to have a specific formation or maintain a fixed shape for both offense and defensive situations.
It is here, that you may use it to your benefit. Leaving gaps in the line of defenders of your team is very risky. Therefore, assign certain players, mostly midfielders to stay centered and thus cover those areas on the field.
This can be done by heading to the Instructions tab in the Edit Game Plans menu before the actual match.
That is all for our FIFA 19 Defending Guide. If there is anything you would like to add, point out or complain about the lack of, let us know in the comments section below!