FIFA 21 Defending Tips and Strategies

You’ll never get the chance to strike back without a formidable defense by your side. In these FIFA 21 Defending tips, we’ll show you how to form an unbreakable brick wall to keep the opposition as far away from the goal as possible.

FIFA 21 Defending Tips and Strategies

Defending is important, and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’ll find yourself out-played on the field more often than you think.

Relying on instincts only gets you so far. Having a game plan will set you apart from the average player.

Understanding your character’s strengths is vital to understanding the defense of your respective team on the field. Selecting characters for their suitable placements is essential, and if done correctly, you’ll enjoy the game at another level.

Defending Controls

Your muscle memory will limit your potential. Understanding and learning each input for movement is paramount for improvement in FIFA 21.

Action PlayStation Xbox
Change Player L1 LB
Switch Player (Manual) RS + Direction RS + Direction
Tackle/Push or Pull (During pursuit) Circle B
Hard Tackle Circle Press and Hold B Press and Hold
Instant Hard Tackle R1 + Circle RB + B
Sliding Tackle Square X
Hard Tackle (VOLTA FOOTBALL only) Square X
Clearance Circle B
Shoulder Challenge/Sealout L2 Tap LT Tap
Jockey/Grab & hold L2 Hold Down LT Hold Down
Contain X Press and Hold A Press and Hold
Teammate Contain R1 Press and Hold RB Press and Hold
Running Jockey L2 + R2 Hold Down LT + RT Hold Down
Pull and Hold (During pursuit) Circle Press and Hold B Press and Hold
Quick Get Up (After slide tackle) Square X
Engage Shielding Opponent L2 + L Towards Shielding Dribbler LT + L Towards Shielding Dribbler
Rush Goalkeeper Out Triangle Press and Hold Y Press and Hold
Goalkeeper Cross Intercept Triangle + Triangle Press and Hold Y + Y Press and Hold


Pick the Best Defenders

During the process of making your squad, you need to make sure to pick out the best for your club from the Starting 11. You may ask, what are the most important traits to look for in a good defender?

  • Defending
  • Tackling
  • Pace
  • Heading
  • Physical

Get a character with an excellent overall average for the above 5 traits, and set him up for defense. Select the best five of your defenders, and take your positions.

You can try by taking midfielders with high DEF, which will consequently help you in keeping the pressure off yourself.

Selecting the Right Formation

Picking a dynamic formation is important. When your team’s under pressure of losing the goal, every member of the team needs to help.

All members on the field need to ensure that the goal does not happen.

4-1-3-2, 5-3-2, and 4-3-1-2 are the most dynamic formations which will allow you to switch between the defensive and attack modes conveniently.

These are good starters for you to get used to. Once you know exactly what you want, you can do something that better suits YOUR playstyle.

Adjust to the Changes

As with every installment, FIFA 21 too changed the game significantly. You’ll find several mechanics revamped and altered.

Getting familiar with said tactics is the best way to get a firm grasp of your characters’ in-game.

Blocking has been changed. Attributes will determine how good a block is, how far a ball can a player block, how long it takes to start the animation and how long it takes to recover from a block. Handling the ball has also been removed from the game.

Instant Hard Tackles is one way to get the edge early-game. Knock others off the ball using a little force. All you have to do is click R1/RB + Circle/B.

Quick Tactics has been changed considering its history in the past FIFA games.

The Team Press Quick Tactic was revamped and you can now trigger a temporary Auto Press behavior with a cooldown timer, preventing anyone from overusing it.

Don’t Lose the Ball

Shouldn’t have to state the obvious, but the key to maintaining your advantage on the playing field is to never let the ball out of your sight.

Doing so requires you to be efficient in winning one-on-one battles with the opposition.

Using the correct player for the correct position is extremely important for you to be able to continuously keep the ball.

If, at any point, you lose composure and make the wrong move, your enemy will take advantage of your error and make it an opportunity for themselves.

Keep Full Backs at the Back while Attacking

You want your Full Backs to be in their right position while defending. You want them at the back to make use of them when needed.

If your team lacks the proper skill to defend, then you need to have your Full Backs at the back while you go for an attack lest an enemy try to turn the situation around, which would quickly leave you defenseless.

When you start to go up against top players, this strategy really helps to keep the pressure off yourself.

Eye out the Runner

You need to make sure where the runner is at all times. The player on the ball is definitely dangerous, but the runner will be the one who receives the ball eventually.

Predicting the next move of the runner is going to give you a huge advantage, and allowing you to set up a defense prior to his attack, thus leaving him at a disadvantage.

Most people will probably pass the ball to their runners, where top-tier players might end up using their runners as bait.

Either way, making a correct prediction under both pretenses may help you to pull off a successful turn-around.

Avoid Tackling and Use Jockey

To use Jockey, you have to hold down LT/L2 at all times while defending. This is extremely important.

If you’re caught in a sticky situation, avoid tackling at all costs. Tackling heavily relies on your enemy team making a mistake, and that doesn’t happen quite often.

If you stop pressing the B button in these situations, your game will improve drastically.

Press High Up The Pitch

I know that we just discussed having more players at the back gives you a little bit of insurance.

But, if you’re good at defending with a lower number of players at the back, new possibilities begin to open up high up the pitch.

This of course is intended for skilled players. By trapping the ball between your team members, the opposition will often times be confused and unable to gain control of the ball.

Having a greater number of players in the front will help you get the ball past most of your opponents and get it into the goal.

This of course is high risk, high reward. If you lose control of the ball at any moment, your opponents will have a good chance of scoring against you.