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How To Read The Game In Soccer? 3 Things To Note

How To Read The Game In Soccer? 3 Things To Note

The game of soccer is so dynamic in all compared to other games. It also has its uniqueness with other games, as well as football, for example.

But in this article, with the uniqueness of the game of soccer in mind, readers will be able to understand how to read the game in soccer.

What does it mean to read the game in soccer?

Reading the game in soccer is a matter of intelligence. Some soccer players are noted for having this match intelligence, and it is a great turnaround for their careers.

To become a world-class soccer player, you must possess a high level of talent and natural ability. On the other hand, intelligence is a significant aspect of the game and a desirable characteristic for players.

The majority of the world’s top players can read the game and react appropriately. Some players can employ techniques to outsmart their opponents, but if they can’t finish the play, they won’t be able to maintain a top-level career.

To become a world-class soccer player, you must possess a high level of talent and natural ability. On the other hand, intelligence is a significant aspect of the game and a desirable characteristic for players.

Soccer has developed in many ways throughout the years, and it is currently a different game than it was previously. The role of intelligence in the current game is one of the major developments that has occurred in soccer.

Because of today’s soccer’s rapid, tactical, and dynamic style, clever players are usually the best on the field. But what qualifies a player as intelligent? What are the small details that make all the difference in today’s top-flight soccer?

These questions and many others will be answered as you progress in reading the article.

Soccer players make decisions based on the information they collect; thus, it’s critical to read the game. And this is significant enough to alter players, teams, and games.

For any top-tier player, a few critical acts and behaviors are required. Additionally, some coaching exercises can aid in their development, allowing players to increase their game reading abilities and intelligence.

By showcasing excellent and terrible behaviors taken by various players during in-game circumstances, we will be able to demonstrate the relevance of these characteristics.

A soccer match is taking

Soccer is a unique sport, and it is full of chaos, or in other terms, it is full of unpredictability. It may also be adjusted easier or harder depending on a variety of circumstances, just like any other game.

In modern soccer, players are always forced to make split-second judgments because it is only a matter of time before an opponent closes in on them when they have the ball in their hands.

To respond to the previous question, consider this: If you’re a soccer player, will you prefer to make choices without knowing what your colleagues are doing or which opponent is attacking you from which direction?

Or would it be more convenient to know all of this before you ever receive the ball and then make your decision based on that information?

The question is rhetorical because it is self-evident that every player would respond in the same way. Because knowing what is around you, who else is moving, wherever that person is moving to, and so on, makes it easier to perform as a soccer player.

How can players make better decisions in such a short amount of time, then? How do they find a method to make a better decision right now while simultaneously putting the team’s tactics or plan into practice?

How to read the game in soccer?

It gets easy to make the best selection this way. But how can you do that within very little time?

For soccer players to analyze and implement during, for example, a Champions League game with a tough opponent, how can the one read the game better and acquire all that knowledge with very little time available for the players to think and execute?

soccer goal view to the match

Examining the soccer pitch

The act of scanning the pitch is the first critical action/behavior we’ll discuss for game reading. Scanning the pitch is the first and most important step in a player’s ability to interpret the game and for obvious reasons.

Scanning the field, glancing about is how a player gathers the information he needs to select his next move. If players do not scan the field, the quantity of information he has to make a decision is much reduced, and this is an easy concept to grasp.

A soccer player will not know whatever it is that is behind them if the only concern the soccer player has is about what is in front, whether a player is approaching to press the soccer player to determine how much visual exploratory behavior or “pitch scanning” frequency affects a player’s passing accuracy.

In his work, a Norwegian psychology professor, Dr. Geir Jordet, came up with some useful pieces of information about this concept. The research of his master’s thesis and doctoral research focused on the impact of vision, perception, and anticipation in professional soccer player performance.

He discovered some crucial details on how intelligence and pitch scanning affect professional players’ performance.

His findings indicated that search frequency (scanning the pitch for teammates) significantly impacted passing accuracy: players who tend to search for their teammates at a low rate have an average of 64 percent passing accuracy.

While players with a medium rate of searching for teammates on the soccer pitch have an average rate of 68 percent, players with a high tendency to search for teammates on the soccer pitch have an average rate of 81 percent.

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When a player examines his surroundings before receiving a pass, he may recognize the locations of his teammates and opponents and determine whether or not he will be pushed.

Kevin de Bruyne was observed examining the ground behind him before receiving the ball during a Champions League match against Real Madrid on August 7th, 2020.

He then realized that he was being pressured by his opponent (Ferland Mendy as well as from Eden Hazard). As a result, it was not safe for De Bruyne to pivot and go forward, so Kyle Walker had to give the ball back.

Pitch scanning is also vital in other aspects of the game; for instance, even if a soccer player is not going to be getting a pass, scanning his surroundings is essential for players to modify their position and recognize available space.

Also, another use of pitch scanning is in defense. When sprinting back or defending a cross, scanning the area around you can assist defenders in noticing if someone is making a run on their blindside, for example. Aymeric Laporte scans the field around and behind him while racing back to manage Manchester City’s defensive line’s depth.

The necessity of monitoring the pitch at all times throughout the game should be obvious by now, but what follows next? After a player has scanned his surroundings to gain knowledge about the game’s events.

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He must then be able to interpret that information and act appropriately. In other words, after scanning the pitch, players have all of the information they need to make their next move.

The advantage of proper pitch scanning is that it gives any soccer player an advantage or edge before receiving the ball or making a run. It helps the decision-making of any soccer player.

After scanning the pitch, a soccer player can even save their team from potential threats from the opposing team.

After scanning the pitch, a soccer player might guess the opponent’s next move. And this might go wrong.

Because unpredictability is one of the wonderful and commonest phenomena in soccer, the opponent might choose not to move according to the guess of the soccer player. And this might potentially cause the team more harm than good.

The positioning of the body

The next part of interpreting the game in soccer that will be discussed next is body positioning. In high-level soccer, body orientation is critical since it may affect the entire performance and, as a result, the entire game.

Body orientation is closely linked to scanning the pitch; in fact, correcting body orientation is one of the most necessary things players should do with the information received by scanning the pitch.

The direction a soccer player is facing and the location of their feet and body are two of the most significant aspects to consider since they impact our vision field, our capacity to turn, and our ability to accelerate in different directions, among other things.

Our viewing area is less when both of our feet are parallel to each other, and we can’t pivot and accelerate in both directions as quickly. These are minor features but may make a big difference.

When a player is defending, body alignment is just as important as it is before receiving the ball. While having both feet parallel and pointing to the same side of the field allows a soccer player to see what is directly in front of him.

It is not the optimal posture to be in when faced with a 1vs1 situation. While having both feet parallel and pointing to the same side of the field enables a player to see what is in front of him, it is not the ideal posture to be a soccer player who is performing the defensive role.

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When defending, whether in an aggressive defensive circumstance like a 1vs1 match or a passive defending one like maintaining good backline alignment, good body positioning might be the difference between trying to keep track of a runner in behind the defensive line.

It might also be the determining factor of just being late and allowing the opponent’s attacker to have a one-on-one match with the goalie.

Body positioning is a very important way of reading the game in soccer. It has the benefit of helping any soccer player’s swiftness in making decisions. In addition, it gives any soccer player an edge over their opponents.

But when the opponents go unpredictable, or there is a break in transitioning of the ball in the game. Then, the opponent will have an advantage over the soccer player’s team.

It can give opponents a clear opportunity to play counterattack against the soccer player’s team, and this hathe the potential of costing the team the whole game.

Play according to the team’s tactics

Soccer formations relate to how a team’s players are positioned on the field and are determined by how defensive or offensive a team wishes to be.

For example, suppose a manager notices that the opponent has several dangerous attacking players. In that case, they may choose to play an extra defender – and therefore one fewer midfielder or striker to counteract that threat.

For player’s change in formation or match tactics by one team during a game frequently results in a quick adjustment by the other team to compensate for the shift.

The ten outfield players (all players except the goalie) are used to determine formations, indicating the number of players in each pitch region, starting with the defense and advancing upfield.

Most times in soccer, some teams try to predetermine the exact tactic and formation their opponent will use. They do this in an attempt to outsmart and outplay their opponent during the game.

As a result, a change in formation by one team during a game frequently results in a quick adjustment by the other team to compensate for the shift.

The manager or coach determines the tactics of each team. His philosophy about how their team should play will determine how the formation or the tactics will be.

a soccer coach instructs his students

Some coaches are known for high-pressing and attacking matches, and examples of coaches in this category are Thomas Tuchel, Jurgen Klopp, Hansi Flick, Ralf Ragnick, and many others.

Some others are known for their possession games. Pep Guardiola is a good example of an expert in this type of tactics.

And some are known for their defensive prowess, Jose Mourinho is a legend In this, and some fans even tagged the tactics “park the box,” which means a lot of defensive power was recruited in the game.

Tactics and formation are tagged in the form of numbers. 4-4-2 is the commonest formation. It is balanced as it has four defenders, four midfielders, and two forwards.

This formation helps the team have four defenders, solidifying the backline. And it gives room for any of the midfielders (according to the will of the coach or circumstances) to be responsible for linking or transitioning the balls to the forwards.

The 4-4-2 information has different forms and variants. This formation is one of the oldest and effective formations.

442 tactic

The formation can either be used in the flat format where the midfielders play across the pitch on an equal horizontal line or the cross format which consists of a defensive, attacking, and side midfielder (LMF/RMF) playing across the midfielder while watching their individual movements.

There are other types of formations like that 4-3-3 which is more attacking minded, and the defensive minded 5-3-2 or 3-5-2 (when going forward).

When attacking, the players play in the sideline tent to join the attack, and when the team is defending, they join the defense. The formation is flexible and effective if well-known by the team.

Getting to find information like this before any match can help any team plan and read the game earlier before the match starts.

It gives the team more room to predict the strength of the opponent, whether it’s the defense, attack, or even the midfield.

However, this might have a setback in the sense that the manager might decide to try a new tactic out for the game.

This might catch the players unaware, and there is a higher tendency for things to go out of hand since unpredictability sets in.


Reading the game comes with a lot of benefits for any soccer player, either the goalkeeper, the defender, the midfielder, the attacker, or even the manager. But, first, it helps in getting the mind ready for decision-making on the pitch.

With the above mentioned, it is seen that scanning the pitch is a great tool and a better start for players in reading a soccer game. It gives players a better idea of where to run to, where there is space, or even when the team is in the danger of a potent attacking threat.

Body positioning or orientation also serves right in reading a game, and it is an offspring of good pitch scanning. Finally, it helps in getting jobs ready for opportunities or potential chances.

And for defenders and goalkeepers, it helps in strengthening the team’s defensive line.

Playing according to the tactics is another way to read a game in soccer. Every manager has a philosophy of play. And playing with the knowledge of who the opponent is and their philosophy will make things easier on the pitch.