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How To Get Past Defenders In Soccer? 3 Tips For You

How To Get Past Defenders In Soccer? 3 Tips For You

The major goal of every soccer team is to win every possible match. Matches are only won when a team’s scoreline surpasses that of their opponent.

In order to get any goal, forwards or any player who is aimed at scoring will most likely face some set of people on the side of the opponent. This set of people has a mission on the soccer pitch, which is the total opposite of that of any forwards on the pitch.

The set of people mentioned above are the defenders and their primary aim on the pitch is to frustrate or prevent the forward, midfielder, or even the defender in the opposing team from scoring or setting up goals.

A player controlling the ball is in the circle of the opponent

Another mission of the defenders on the soccer pitch is to help the midfielders in a bid to strengthen the team’s control of the ball in the game. They are also saddled with the responsibility of providing assists that will be converted to goal, to a forward player of their team.

Defenders play a crucial role in a soccer match, even though they are less appreciated compared to their teammates playing in the forward or even in the midfield. Whenever defenders lose guard the whole team suffers the consequences.

This makes this set of players inevitable on the pitch. They can frustrate any forward and make all his or her efforts in a soccer match futile. The reason why they do this is that it is their work description.

For any soccer forward, midfielder, or even defender to break through from the frustration of defenders and get past them, there is a need to outsmart them with some particular attribute.

This article is focused on how players can break free from the frustrations of defenders and get the ball past them. Because most times without this the major aim of the team which is scoring goals might not be achieved.

How to get past defenders in soccer?

For every soccer player leading the attack for their team, it is important to learn the techniques on how to get past the defenders of the opponents.

While players like Messi who are naturally skillful can get past defenders easily, other strikers, wingers, and midfielders can also get past defenders with the right knowledge of what to do.

This section of the article is dedicated to explaining how soccer players leading the attack of a team can get past the opponent’s defenders.

Trying different tricky moves

Tricky moves most times are what differentiate the quality of soccer players. The hardest thing in this game called soccer is beating an opponent in a one-on-one.

It takes a player with good quality to do this without struggle. And as earlier said, getting to know a couple of tricks might be what will enhance and escalate a player’s quality.

two soccer players struggle for a ball

Soccer professional players like Neymar Jr, Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo, Eden Hazard (at his prime), Ronaldinho, and many others are known for a landmark they have set in getting past defenders with the use of tricky moves.

One of the examples of how this can be beautifully done was that of how Cristiano Ronaldo of Manchester United (a 36-year-old soccer legend) embarrassed Antonio Rudiger of Chelsea.

It should be noted that Antonio Rudiger is a very good defender and he was having a brilliant season at his soccer club. But for there to be a counterattack Cristiano Ronaldo needs to get past Rudiger, especially as he was seen approaching the Portuguese player.

Cristiano Ronaldo performs a tricky move of lifting the ball above the head of the defender and also top it all with a no-look pass. This is what quality is and quality like earlier said makes the difference in players and even their team’s performance.

While getting past defenders with tricky moves can lead to goal scoring chances, it is worth knowing that failing an attempted skill move can lead to a dangerous counterattack play from the opponent.

So, it’s best to perfectly time your move to prevent your team from facing any danger.

Below is an explanation of several tricky moves and skills you can use in getting past defenders easily.

Dribble with the outside of your foot

It’s preferable to keep the ball near to you and dribble with the outside of your foot while dribbling into opposition. This allows you to keep control of the ball while also allowing you to do a variety of motions.

If you make your move while you’re too far away from the defender, they’ll have time to recover, but if you start too near, you won’t have enough room to finish it. You have the perfect opportunity of getting past the defender if you start around 3–4 feet (0.91–1.22 m) away.

Also, remember to keep going ahead regardless of the move you employ. Stopping entirely will rob you of momentum and allow the defender to close up on you.

The player in yellow is preparing to overtake the opponent

Another option is to touch the ball to the side and shift directions quickly to go by. Straight at the defender, dribble. Once you’re a few feet away, use the outside of your foot to rapidly tap the ball away from the defender at a 45-degree angle.

Accelerate towards space while keeping the ball near to you to prevent it from being picked up by another defender. If you’re getting too near to the defender, you may change your strategy by tapping the ball away at a sharper 90-degree angle.

Evade the defender and sprint towards the goal. To make it more interesting, open your hips to one side. Curl the ball across your body with the inside of your foot on that side and accelerate in the other direction.

The La Croqueta Move 

You may also make a La Croqueta move by moving the ball along your body with the inside of your foot along the outside of the other as if passing it to oneself, then you can now flick the ball to a side where you see space and speed up.

Make a solid move aside while you’re a couple of feet from the safeguard. Shift your weight, arms, and eyes however much as could be expected to trick the safeguard, then, at that point, push the ball with the outside of your other foot the other way.

Attempt a twofold body bluff to startle the protector significantly more. Step energetically aside, then, at that point, the other, before tapping the ball back to the main side.

Jump swiftly to keep the defender from stepping in and snatching the ball. This is an exceptionally effective way to deal with escaping a defender.

La Croqueta Tutorial!


Doing a stepover motion to offer extra distraction is another tough technique you practice to go past a defender. The feint is followed by the stepover, which is a logical progression.

Rather than running to a side, wrap one foot over and around the ball before pushing it away with the other, to the other side.

Much more than a simple move, this movement of your feet will fool the defender. You can make your foot make a circular motion in a very swift manner, one foot around, then the other, to make this exercise even more distracting.

With the first foot, tap the ball away. Sell the stepover as if it were a feint by moving your weight and arms firmly to the side.

How to Improve Your Stepovers! | Training

The Elastico Move

Another tricky move is the elastico. The elastico is a swift and dangerous weapon that can assist you in getting past a defense.

Defenders will occasionally stumble or fall over if you do it right. This move appears to have two touches, but it’s just one fluid action. Keep this in mind while you rehearse the technique.

In one move, touch the ball outside and then inside. Getting this perfect requires an outside touch. By moving your hips, body, and arms, you can sell the touch. This technique takes a lot of work to master, but it’s well worth the effort.

How to do the Elastico Soccer:Football Move

The Maradona

The Maradona, named after Argentinian soccer great Diego Maradona, is another maneuver that can help you get past your opponent’s defense.

When executed perfectly, the Maradona move looks great and is one of the finest moves for defeating defenders. With one foot, touch the top of the ball, turn, drag the ball forward with the other foot, and then turn again.

When the defender charges at you, use the move. This move is ideal for chasing down a lost ball, getting there before the defender, and then doing the trick. The Maradona takes advantage of the defender’s momentum.

When a defender is delaying you, do not utilize this move. It will not cause him to lose his equilibrium. Use it only immediately before he attempts to tackle. It’s difficult to time this move perfectly, but if you do, you’ll be able to beat any defender.

How To Do the Maradona Spin | Tutorial

The Diagonal Cruyff 

Also, the diagonal Cruyff was a lethal move named after Johan Cruyff, a Dutch soccer legend. The Cruyff is a maneuver that may be used in a variety of situations. It may be used to turn, swap directions, and, in this example, easily defeat defenders.

When a defender is at a diagonal angle, this maneuver is effective. It’s a great move to employ in a variety of circumstances, such as defeating a wingback charging at you from behind while dribbling towards the sidelines.

Make contact with the defender with the ball. You utilize an inside touch with the same foot to touch it behind your other leg when you see the defender going to tackle.

The defender will tackle the vacant area where the ball used to be if you time this move right. You’ll get far ahead of him or her before turning and going after the ball, this will make him look silly.

The Cruyff Turn | Tutorial

The Hocus-pocus

One of the most difficult soccer tricks to learn and master is the Hocus Pocus. Defenders will find facing you in a one-on-one battle a difficult task if you learn it.

It takes a lot of talent and ball control to pull off, but if you can perfect it, you’ll surely catch your defender off guard.

Scoop the ball behind your standing leg with the ball attached to the inside of your foot, then push the ball back in front of your body with the outside of the same foot.

If done correctly, instead of tying yourself up in a knot, you’ll tie your opponent up.

As is customary, the faster you can execute this, the higher your chances of pulling off the move and blowing past your defender are.

With the vast array of soccer tactics at your disposal, you’ll soon have your defenders twisted and knotted all over the field.

Hocus Pocus | Tutorial

The Nutmeg

The nutmeg skill is another great way of getting past a defender easily. Exceptional players like Messi, Ronaldinho, De Lima Ronaldo, and Cristiano Ronaldo have used this skill countless times to get past defenders.

The ease of this skill is what makes it unique. Lionel Messi, perhaps, has produced one of the most astonishing nutmeg moves we’ve ever seen in soccer when he nutmeg Brazilian Luis Filipe in a November 2018 La Liga match between Catalan giants, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid at the Wanda Metropolitano.

When you slow down with the ball at a very close range to your legs, that’s when you’ll get the chance to utilize the nutmeg skill and get past defenders.

Slip the ball between their legs for the ultimate humiliation after you’ve sold your defender a couple of tricks and they’re fleeing becoming confused about what to do. Then swiftly move past them to reclaim control of the ball.

No one enjoys being nutmegged, and you can be assured it will be on their minds for the remainder of the game. They’ll think twice about attacking you again, even if they are to man-mark you.

Many other tricky moves can help you get past defenders, they include the rabona, the cut, the Ronaldo’s chop, the rainbow among many others. Always keep in mind that the main purpose is to get past the defender, not to embarrass them.

Using tricky moves can be the best remedy to frustrate the opponent’s defense and help your team gain ball control or even score. It is also a beauty to watch in most cases as dribbles are one of the attractions to the soccer game itself.

But when not properly carried out, you can expose your team to a counterattack.

HOW TO NUTMEG | Learn these important football skills

Using a great deal of match intelligence

Though soccer is a physical game, it is also a mind game. With your mental capacity, good results can happen for your team.

Like earlier stated in this article, your skills can help you get past defenders, and also, having a proper understanding of the match is also necessary for getting past defenders.

Match awareness is an offspring of intelligence in soccer. And soccer players who have this great quality will always command good results. Soccer players like Manchester City’s world-class midfielder, Kevin DeBruyne are good examples of this quality.

The way Kevin DeBruyne gives passes and that he get-past defenders is always a beauty to watch. And this quality can also be learned. Though it is innate for some players, they have to sharpen it more in training sections to get better at it.

To sharpen your match awareness, you have to scan the soccer field. This will help you grasp more information on the pitch and about the match.

While scanning the pitch, you will get to know the free spaces around you before you receive the ball and the weakness of the defender you want to get past. You will be able to know if there is any other defender that will come to tackle you after getting past the first.

You will also have the clarity of whether to run past the defender, make a pass to your teammate, or even take a shot from wherever you are. Match awareness is one other quality that makes the brilliant soccer players who they are.

Match intelligence will help you position your body properly on the pitch, and hereby get an advantage off the defender who is marking you.

soccer player runs and observes soccer ball's direction

Keeping your head up before deciding on the ball helps match awareness and intelligence. Also, playing one-on-one with defenders and watching their body movements and how they react to different skills will help you know better how to get past defenders.

Having match intelligence is full of benefits, it helps you to be proactive with your decision-making and a step ahead of the defender in front.

But if you get your calculation or prediction wrong using your intelligence as a soccer player, it might be gross for the team as a whole, as it might open your team up for a counterattack. It might also cool off the tempo of the attack your team was engaged in if not properly carried out.

When facing a team with a ball hog player, it’s important to have a sufficient level of match intelligence. In this case, to beat such a defense and avoid any break that could lead to an opponent’s goal, players need to move the ball quickly, and around the defenders.

Speed and strength

Getting past your opponent might be easily done when you have a good pace. Players with great speed are always a nightmare for many defenders. Especially the big and lazy ones. You can always use your speed to outsmart defenders.

One of the scariest players with this attribute is Adama Traore, who is among one of the fastest soccer players in the world. And for him, his build-up was a blend of speed and strength making it a tough one for defenders to challenge.

Kylian Mbappe, a French international, who is among the fastest athletes in the world, happens to also be a maestro in the use of his speed against defenders. Defenders hate to compete against him, as he is known to win most of the challenges he poses at defenders through his speed.

soccer players run in a soccer match

A team like Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City which plays the high-press soccer tactic can easily be beaten by players who have terrific speed. It gets better when the player belongs to a team that plays a counter-attacking style of soccer like Mohammed Salah and Liverpool.

Speed is the perfect way of getting past defenders and teams that play the high-press soccer tactic.

Speed can also help you win set-pieces because when defenders are clueless on how to get attackers with pace, they often resolve to commit a foul. This might be an advantage to your team depending on the area the foul committed happens.

Also, being fast-paced can help you beat a low-block defense because you’d be able to change the point of your team’s attack when you pass the ball out to a teammate. This is something we’ve also often seen from Kylian Mbappe.

You can also get past defenders with the use of your physical strength. Not all attackers can sprint as quickly as possible, but if you can effectively make use of your physical strength against a defender, you can get past him or her.

Perfect examples of players who utilize their strength in getting past defenders are Romelu Lukaku, and Erling Haaland. They’re skillful in the act that they often leave defenders eating the grass after overpowering them.

However, the use of physical strength does not equate to playing dirty. People play dirty for several reasons, some of which are frustration, dominance, and some even do it for fun. As a player with the rule of sportsmanship, you will not want to resort to playing dirty.

In order to beat these dirty players, you have to stay focused on your game, remain calm, and at the right moment, you can use your physical strength to pressurize the defender. This will allow you to get past him or her and you will be able to find more space to help the attacking force of your team.

The player in orange is using his speed to overcome the opponent

The use of speed and strength in getting past a defender is great. It only relies on your innate ability and your physical strength.

But depending only on speed without adequate intelligence will yield frustration alone. Also, players with speed are liable to get injured while trying to get past defenders.

A perfect example of this tragic case is Ousmane Dembele who has gotten his career crippled because of several injuries while trying to get past defenders.

Also, relying on getting past defenders using physical strength alone often results in dirty play. And this often gets penalized in soccer as we often saw from Diego Costa during his time at Chelsea.


Soccer is a game where all the players do two things basically, one is attacking and one is defending. While playing soccer the defenders are saddled with the responsibility of keeping the ball off their goal area.

And getting to the goal area is the major aim of an attacker, to score goals. This makes the clash of responsibility a beautiful one to watch. Getting past defenders is not an easy task but not an impossible one.

With the use of the right technique, you can get past any defender. Tricky moves are one of the ways to get this done. There are a lot of moves in the games of soccer. We have the diagonal Cruyff, the Maradona, the nutmegs, the Ronaldo chop amongst many others.

These moves are even one of the attractions of many fans into soccer, they are always amazing to watch but humiliating on the part of the defenders.

Also, to get past defenders an attacker might need to have a good match intelligence. This is very important as it gives a player a heads-up on the next action to take, after studying the game, the space, and many other factors in the soccer match.

Speed and strength are also two basic things that can help in getting past a defender. Many players who are playing in the professional space of the game that employs these tools are always a nightmare for defenders. Though they have their setbacks too, they are effective.