Update: I have added 3 new sections to this article to keep it fresh and provide as much value as possible for you. These sections include a look at how to level up your players to fit your play style, a conclusion of all the main points, and a “What Next?” section detailing actionable tasks you can take regarding this article. Thank you for reading. Every second you spend on CG is massively appreciated. All the very best, always. Nick.
Over the past year or so, a couple of my buddies and I have been dribbling our way through eFootball, which has been continuously updated and improved.
As longtime fans of Pro Evolution Soccer, we love Konami’s brand of digital soccer. After having to put up with – and I really mean put up with – FIFA for years, it’s like a breath of fresh air to finally play Konami’s free-2-play masterpiece in all its patched glory.
But as we delved into eFootball’s tactics and strategies, one thing dumbfounded us: Team Play styles.
What are team play styles? And what’s the best play style?
I decided I wanted to find an answer to these questions. So, I did a little bit of eFootball playstyle research.
Here’s what I found out:
In eFootball, there are currently 5 styles of play. They’re possession game, quick counter, long ball counter, long ball, and wing play. Which style of play is best for you depends on the type of soccer you like to play.
Now you know the different playing styles in eFootball. But there’s so much more to learn.
In the following sections, I’ll review each playing style and evaluate their strengths and weaknesses.
Additionally, if you’re interested in learning about playstyles, you probably want to take a look at my eFootball Formations Guide too. It explains the best formations in the game, how to use them, and what playstyles they suit.
Okay, let’s get started by looking at each playstyle.
eFootball Team Play Style: Possession Play
Guardiola’s Barcelona, a team full of world-class talent like Messi, Xavi, and Iniesta, dominated European soccer for a decade with their short passing game and tiki-taka possession soccer.
But what is involved in the possession game style?
What’s possession soccer?
The possession game is about holding the ball, player movement off the ball to create space, and moving the ball up the field to force opposing players out of position before exploiting a gap.
Patients from the attacking team are key to making possession football work.
The goal is to frustrate the opponent when he doesn’t possess the ball. You make him make a mistake while defending to create an opening.
When a defender is pulled out of position or a striker loses his marker, the player can spring into action and play through balls between the defensive lines.
Since defensive teams get frustrated when they don’t have much possession, they tend to rush when they have possession and lose the ball.
Also, if you have the ball and pass it around, the other team can’t hurt you.
Positive aspects of the possession game Team PlayStyle
- You keep the ball away from your opponent and deny them the opportunity to possess the ball.
- It’s suitable for technically gifted players.
- Lots of movement off the ball means there’s always a passing opportunity.
- Players with high Offensive Awareness will make good movement off the ball and run behind the defense.
- A possession game is great for overpowering deep defenders.
- Slow buildup of play means you won’t get caught off guard defensively.
- Plays best with R1 + X/RB + A to make players make curved runs to find space.
- Players with a high Tight Possession stat can easily win free kicks on the edge of the penalty area if they turn away from tackles.
Negatives of a Possession Playing Team Style of Play.
- The slow buildup of play means the defense has time to regroup and organize themselves.
- The team needs high technical skills such as good dribbling and ball control.
- Teams with high pressing can disrupt the passing game.
- Defensive teams with fast wingers pressing high up the pitch can easily intercept errant passes.
- Lack of offensive skill can result in no movement next to the ball.
- There are hardly any automatic runs behind the defense.
Best formation for the possession game Team play style.
I suggest that a team playing a 433 or 451 is the best formation for the possession game.
You want as many players as possible in the midfield to create passing triangles all over the field. This way, the team can push forward and attack as a unit.
If you’re playing with a single striker, I’d suggest using him as a second striker. Your striker mustn’t remain alone up front, as he’ll be isolated and marked out of the game. When you use a second striker, he’ll move deep into midfield. So in a 451 formation, you essentially have 6 players in midfield while you build up. That extra guy can really help dominate teams in midfield.
When you get near the defending team’s penalty area, your players should automatically create space to get the ball for a scoring chance.
Best managers for the possession game Team’s style of play.
Several managers in the game fit the possession game style of play. The best of them is Luis A. Roman from Man City, who costs 500,000 points.
If you can’t afford him, I’d suggest buying a manager whose possession value is at least 75.
eFootball Team Playstyle: Quick Counterattack
The quick counterattack is a style of soccer I attribute to Juergen Klopp’s current Liverpool team.
Klopp’s Liverpool is known for pressing hard in the defender’s half. And once they have the ball, the team charges forward as fast as possible, to catch the defense out of position, to score a goal.
But what is the quick counterattacking style of play? Let’s take a look…
What’s the quick counterattacking style of play?
The quick counterattacking style of play is played at a very high tempo in defense and offense.
On defense, a team starts pressing as soon as they lose the ball, high up the field. The defensive line is also kept very high. This compresses the game into a smaller space, so the attacking team has less space and time to make good decisions when they have the ball.
The point of the quick counter’s pressing system is to force the opposing team to make mistakes in possession. And it works very well.
The attacking side of the fast counter is also very fast-paced. As soon as the ball is recovered, the entire attack and midfield often rush forward to find the gaps left by opposing players who haven’t had time to get back into position after losing the ball.
Wide spaces are often exploited in this way. Though the quick counterattack isn’t exclusively a wing-based game plan. Many attacks start and finish through the center of the pitch
The advantages of a fast counterattacking game plan.
- Your team presses high up the pitch and can win the ball back quickly.
- You can easily intercept the ball in eFootball. Pressing high up the pitch takes advantage of this.
- Pressing hard forces the opposing team to make mistakes when they attack.
- When you recover the ball, your attackers and midfielders charge forward into space.
- Creates many opportunities with through balls.
- Produces lots of chances.
- You don’t need players with great technical ability for this tactic to work.
- You don’t need players that are good off the ball, as the team only charges forward.
- Provides good opportunities to overcome the defense with stunning through balls (RT +Y/R2+trinagle).
Negative aspects of the fast counterattacking game.
- Players tire quickly.
- If all your players rush forward and you lose possession, the opponent can pass through an empty midfield.
- If the quick counterattack fails, it can result in too many players on the edge of the penalty area refusing to track back and support buildup play.
- Usually only works for teams with a lot of quick players.
- Good players will counter this tactic by leaving many defenders deep.
- High pressing can leave large areas of the field unprotected.
- If the counterattack fails, you’ll have no midfield support for a short time.
- Left and right backs can join the attack, leaving your wings unprotected.
- Quick players can easily run behind your high defensive line, leading to 1-on-1 chances against you.
Best formation for the Quick Counter Team play style
In my experience, the best formation for a fast counterattack is a 433 with 2 attacking midfielders in midfield and a defensive midfielder.
You want your players to be as fast as possible to take advantage of the space left by opposing players when they lose the ball.
Depending on your team, it can be worth playing with a second striker. This makes it easier to play the ball into the second striker’s feet and bring fast wingers into play.
You can then play a L1-X/Lb-A 1-2 pass to get your second striker to sprint forward, hoping to catch the defense off guard.
Best managers for the Quick counter team play style
Several managers in the game are suitable for the fast counter team style of play. The best of them is Liverpool’s G. Zeitzler, with a quick counter score of 87. He can become your team’s manager for 480,000 points.
If you can’t afford Zeitzler, I’d suggest you buy a manager with at least a 75 rating for your team’s style of play.
eFootball Team Playstyle: Long Ball Counterattack
When I think of the long ball attacking style, the first thing that comes to mind is the Leicester City team that won the Premier League under Claudio Ranieri.
With the long ball counter attacking style married to the lighting-quick pace of Jamie Vardy, Leicester had the perfect outlet to play the ball to. After all, Vardy could sprint faster than most defenders in the Premier League. He’d regularly get one-on-one chances with keepers after running onto balls played over the top of flat defensive lines.
Let’s look at how the long ball counter attack is played.
What’s the long ball in counterattacking play?
A long ball counterattack is very similar to the normal fast counterattack. However, there’s one key difference: the defense sits much deeper in the long ball counterattack.
The fact that the defense sits much deeper should already tell you that this play style is a more defensive tactic than the normal fast counter.
The defense’s job is to stand deep and absorb the pressure of the attacking team.
By absorbing this pressure, the defending team forces the attacking team to take more risks and send extra players forward to create more opportunities.
This is where the beauty of the long ball counter comes into play. As soon as the defending team wins the ball back, 2-3 fast players usually wait for a long ball. The long ball is played out of the defense, past the midfield, and over the defenders.
The fast attackers then try to run onto the ball and break away from the defending team before they can get reinforcements.
This is very effective if you have fast players up front and a disciplined defense with hard-working midfielders patrolling in front of them.
Positive aspects of a team’s long ball style of play.
- Provides a solid defensive position while offering good attacking options
- It can be used with less technically proficient teams as fewer passes are played.
- Suits teams with fast players up front.
- Extremely fast counterattacking play means more defending team players are caught out of position.
- Suits teams with defensive and hard-working midfielders.
- Puts few players forward even on counterattacks, providing security in defense.
- Can force attacking teams into mistakes.
Negative aspects of long ball counterattacking play style.
- Considered a negative, unattractive style of play.
- Players with low technical ability could limit creative options if the initial counterattacking attempt fails.
- The strikers/wingers may become isolated.
- This tactic will result in giving up possession for much of the game.
- Teams with a lot of possession will exploit the defense, given time.
- Attacking players can tire quickly.
- Little support from the central midfield during attacks.
- This can be countered by leaving a few extra defenders deep to mark counters.
- A deep defensive line can be vulnerable to long shots.
- A deep defensive line can make the team vulnerable to early crosses.
Best formation for the long ball counterattacking playstyle
In my opinion, a 433 or a 532 would be the best formations for long balls.
Long ball counterattacks are best played with at least 3 players in central midfield who can shield the defense. These 3 players should be fast, defensive-minded, have a lot of stamina, and have good defensive qualities. The ability to intercept is also a big advantage.
You should leave at least 2 to 3 players up front as this gives you more options when playing the ball quickly out of defense.
When you defend, try to stay disciplined. Don’t use any of your defenders to press. Only use them to track runs. You should use your central midfielders to cut off the passing lanes in front of your defenders. Don’t press: Wait for your opponent to make a mistake.
If you win the ball, you can immediately play a pass up the field. Use the stunning long pass, through pass, or normal pass if you have time. This will send the ball to your strikers quicker and give the defending team even less time to regroup.
Best managers for long ball counterattacking playstyle
Several managers in the game are suitable for the long ball counterattack style of play. The best of them is Cristo Valbuena from Athletic Madrid. He’s a long-ball counterattacking specialist with a skill value of 85. And he’ll lower your account balance by 320,000 points.
If you can’t afford Valbuena, I suggest you buy a manager with at least 75 points for your team’s playing style.
eFootball Team Playstyle: Long Ball
When I think of long ball playstyle, I think of lower league soccer played on swampy fields in the middle of winter.
These fields, which were more mud than grass, made it impossible to play possession soccer on the ground. The ball would get stuck fast in ankle-deep muck puddles.
But what exactly is the long ball style, and how is it played?
What’s the long ball, and how is it played?
The long ball style is essentially the “hoof and hope” style of play in the lower leagues. It’s also the most defensive style of play in eFootball.
The idea behind this tactic is simple: when you recover the ball from the attacking team, the ball is played long and centrally without little thought of chance creation. Waiting for the long ball is usually a tall, strong striker who either holds the ball up or creates chances for himself.
This is an unattractive style of play that gives the opposing team most of the possession.
But if you have an inferior team, and you are playing against a star-studded team, this is probably your only chance to score.
Advantages of the long ball playstyle.
- The long ball can be played by a team with little ability.
- Fits a team that has a big striker to play the ball to.
- The long ball means that the ball is at least removed from immediate danger.
- It can give you good opportunities as a weak team against a much better team.
- A tall striker can compete with technically superior defenders.
- Speed on the wings can give the striker options to get off the ball.
- Provides a solid defensive base.
- Makes technically proficient midfielders redundant.
Negative aspects of the long ball playstyle
- You give possession of the ball to the opposing team for most of the game.
- You must be disciplined in defense and not pull players out of position.
- Creates very few clear-cut chances.
- The midfield is entirely bypassed by when you attack.
- Better teams that play possession soccer can bypass a deep defense.
- A deep defense can be compromised by early crosses.
- The tactic is passive. You’re essentially waiting for the other team to make mistakes.
Best formation for playing with long balls
I’d say the best formation for playing with the long ball is either 451 or 541. Both formations provide good coverage in defense. This dense defense makes it difficult for even the best teams to break you down.
I suggest you also line up the biggest and strongest striker in your team and stick him up front. Don’t worry about speed because a single player can’t break down a far superior defense. Just try to win the ball and pass it to any onrushing supporting players. Or, if you are feeling particularly lucky, turn and stunning shoot.
Best Managers for Long Ball Teams Playing Style
There aren’t many managers suited to the long ball style of play. However, one manager can fill the long ball void: E. Greening of West Ham RB. He’s the best manager in the game that specializes in the long ball.
But, I suggest you save a bit and buy French coach D. Deschamps for 60,000 points.
Deschamps offers a rating of only 71 for the long ball, but he offers 76 for long ball counterattack. And the long ball counter is the style of play you should switch to once you have better players.
eFootball Team Playing Style: Out Wide.
The out wide style has gone somewhat out of fashion in modern soccer. Most teams no longer play exclusively down the flanks to cross the ball in.
Most teams try to exploit space on the flanks so that wingers can cut in to create more central chances.
Few teams play on the wings only to cross the ball to a big striker. That just doesn’t happen as often anymore.
Still, eFootball gives you the option to play it if you want.
What’s the out wide style of play?
As the name suggests, Out Wide play is about taking advantage of wide spaces on the pitch to high cross the ball to a big striker or hitting a low cross to a small, agile striker.
The tactic offers a fairly balanced defense and attack.
However, in eFootball, while playing this play style players tend to collect on the wing. The players attempt to overload the wide areas of the pitch, overwhelming defenders with sheer numbers, in an effort to work a crossing opportunity.
This tactic can be very effective if you have a tall striker who can head the ball or if you have nimble forwards who have good off-the-ball movement.
You can also cut in with wingers to attack. However, this tactic isn’t used with wingers that cut in. This is because the wide areas are overloaded, giving your winger little room to dribble.
In general, I’d consider this tactic to be a bit outdated, which is reflected in the fact that there aren’t many good managers who use it as their main tactic.
Let’s take a look at some of the advantages that this style of play offers.
Advantages of an out wide team style of play.
- You can take advantage of big strikers who can head the ball well.
- It can be used for a variety of crosses, both low and high.
- Low crosses can be hit to nimble forwards with high off-the-ball stats.
- Midfield and attacking players fill the wing you attack from, giving you plenty of passing options.
- Provides a good balance between attack and defense.
- plenty of players left in defense for defensive cover.
- Players rush into the penalty area late to attack crosses.
Negative aspects of out wide playstyle.
- Few attacks through the center mean few quality chances from through balls.
- Headers aren’t easily controlled in the game, so many chances depend on luck.
- Limited support through the center.
- Not much width on the opposing flank.
- Play can get bogged down on the wings as the ball is recycled repeatedly with throw-ins.
- It can be easily outplayed with a well-disciplined defensive team.
Best formation for out wide team style of play.
The best formation for an out wide team’s style of play is 4411. This is because you can have a big striker up front and an agile second striker who can get into the box late to attack low crosses.
Best Manager for Out Wide Team Playstyle
If you want to play the out wide style, the best manager for you is Tottenham’s G. Ripa.
He has a tactics strength of 80 for the out wide play style, which is the highest in the game. He’ll pull 110,000 points out of your wallet.
eFootball Player Training and Leveling Up Tips: Tailoring Your Team to Your Playstyle
Just like a well-oiled machine, every cog in your eFootball team needs to work in perfect harmony to achieve the desired results. Whether you’re a fan of the possession game, quick counter, or long ball counter, your players need to be trained and developed to fit into your chosen playstyle. So, let’s lace up our boots, step onto the virtual pitch, and explore how you can shape your team to play the beautiful game your way.
1. Understanding Your Playstyle
Before you start training your players, it’s crucial to understand the ins and outs of your chosen playstyle.
Think of it as the team’s playbook. Just as a striker needs to know where to position themselves to receive a cross, you need to understand what each playstyle demands from your players.
For instance, a possession game requires technically gifted players with high ball control and passing skills, while a quick counter style thrives with fast, agile players who can exploit spaces in the blink of an eye.
2. Identifying Key Attributes
Once you’ve got a handle on your playstyle, it’s time to identify the key attributes your players will need. Imagine you’re a sculptor, and your team is a block of marble. Your job is to chisel away, developing your players’ skills until they fit perfectly into your masterpiece.
For a possession game, focus on improving your player’s following skills:
- Short passing
- Ball control
- Tight Possession
- Offensive awareness
Focusing on these attributes should evolve your team into a tiki-taka playing playing machine.
If you’re playing a quick counter style, you should focus on training the following skills:
- Long ball
- Offensive awareness
If you are incorporating the gegenpress into your strategy, training and levelling up your player’s stamina will be important. Additionally, so will defensive awareness and standing tackling, even with attacking players.
3. Training and Leveling Up
Now that you’ve identified the key attributes, it’s time to hit the training ground. In eFootball, you can level up your players by gaining experience points (XP) through matches. It’s like a grueling pre-season training camp, where your players sweat it out on the pitch to improve their skills. The more they play, the more XP they gain, and the better they become. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is a top-class eFootball team. Patience and persistence are key.
When players level up, you get two points to spend on players’ skills. Use the wisely, as players do have a level cap and, therefore, will reach a skill cap. You can also acquire skill training cards which provide a large amount of XP to your players immediately by completing tournaments and Match Pass objectives.
In the end, training and developing your eFootball team is a journey, not a destination. It’s about more than just levelling up your players—it’s about creating a team that embodies your chosen playstyle, a team that dances to the rhythm of your game. So, keep training, keep experimenting, and most importantly, keep playing. After all, as the great Johan Cruyff once said, “Football is a game you play with your brain.”
In the world of eFootball, understanding and mastering team playstyles is akin to learning the language of the game. It’s the key to unlocking your team’s potential and playing the beautiful game your way. In this comprehensive guide, we’ve delved into the intricacies of five distinct playstyles:
- Possession Play: A style that requires patience, technical prowess, and a keen understanding of space. It’s the art of controlling the game by controlling the ball.
- Quick Counterattack: A high-tempo, high-risk, high-reward style that thrives on speed, agility, and exploiting spaces in the blink of an eye.
- Long Ball Counterattack: A more defensive approach that relies on disciplined defense and quick, long balls to fast attackers.
- Long Ball: A style that harks back to the days of muddy fields and “hoof and hope” soccer, relying on a strong, tall striker to make the most of long balls.
- Out Wide: A somewhat outdated but still effective style that focuses on exploiting wide spaces and delivering crosses into the box.
We also explored the importance of training and leveling up your players to fit into your chosen playstyle. It’s about understanding your playstyle, identifying key attributes, and then hitting the training ground to develop those skills. Remember, it’s a journey, not a destination.
Now that you’ve got a handle on the different playstyles and how to train your players, it’s time to lace up your boots, step onto the virtual pitch, and start playing the beautiful game your way. But before you do, make sure to check out our “What Next?” section for some actionable tips to take your eFootball game to the next level.
We always want to leave you with something actionable to do after reading our articles. So, here are five specific tasks you can take on after finishing this article:
- Identify Your Preferred Playstyle: Reflect on the type of soccer you enjoy playing and watching. Which playstyle resonates with you the most? Start with that.
- Analyze Your Team: Look at your current team. What are their strengths and weaknesses? How can they fit into your preferred playstyle?
- Train Your Players: Start training your players based on the key attributes required for your chosen playstyle. Remember, it’s a journey, not a destination.
- Experiment with Different Formations: Try out different formations that complement your playstyle. See what works best for your team.
- Play Matches: Finally, the most important task – play matches! The more you play, the better you’ll understand your team and your playstyle. Plus, your players will gain valuable XP to level up.
Now, it’s time to take these insights and apply them on the pitch. Happy gaming!