How Do You Defend A Forward In Soccer? 7 Things To Know

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How do you defend a forward in soccer?

If you want to know what to do every time you face a fast, tall or skilful forward, you are in the right place.

How great would it be to pocket a forward the entire game and not give them any chance to score a goal? This is the dream of every defender.

In this article, you are going to learn how to defend against attackers. At the end of this article, you will be well-equipped to pocket forwards in games.

How Do You Defend A Forward In Soccer?

How do you defend a forward in soccer - A player tackling the ball

Here are the 7 things you need to defend a forward in soccer:

  • You need to prevent forwards from playing to their strengths
  • Always analyse the players and learn their weaknesses
  • Try to reduce the damage by moving the forward away from goal
  • Try not to get isolated one-on-one
  • Be smart
  • Anticipate
  • Foul the forward strategically

1-Prevent Forwards From Playing To Their Strenghts

Fast, tall, physical or skilful forwards will always try to play to their strengths as often as they can.

But the easiest way to prevent this is not to allow this. Try to keep their back turned and slow down their momentum. This will prevent them from using their strength against you. Once their back is turned and they are not facing your goalie, you have the advantage.

2-Analyse The Players And Learn Their Weaknesses

You have to analyse the fastest and more skilful players throughout the game. Learn their weaknesses early on and exploit them as quickly as possible and as often as possible.

For instance, pay attention if the player doesn’t like physical contact, what are their reaction after a contact. Getting more physical with a player can put him off his game.

A good example is Neymar. Every time defenders face him, they try to be as hard as possible on him and this does work sometimes.

3-Try To Reduce The Damage

As a defender, you have to constantly analyse the decisions you make and choose the right ones.

For example, if a winger has the ball on the side and manages to beat you up, it is better to force him out wide rather than let him get closer to your goalie. This will also help you wait for reinforcement to trap him there.

4-Try Not To Get Isolated One-On-One

How do you defend a forward in soccer - Two players facing each other

You have to constantly lead the forward to congested areas of the pitch.

For example, if there is a lot of space on the sides but the middle is saturated with a lot of your teammates, try to force him to the middle where it is congested. The purpose is to move him into traps where you have reinforcements.

Moving him into a trap will prevent him from using his strengths or keeping the ball. Remember, the more reinforcement you have, the easier it is going to be for you and the harder for the forward.

5- Be Smart

The best defenders in the world are smart.

By being smart I mean, don’t dive in unless you know you are going to get the ball. This is the most common mistake a lot of defenders make. They dive in anyhow and find themselves beaten up.

If you are the last defender and dive in, the attacker might anticipate and run towards your goal before you recover.

Diving in and missing can lead to a dangerous situation.

So, you have to stay on your feet for as long as possible.

If you want to dive in, you can do it. But make sure you can get the ball. Plus, do not dive in unnecessarily.


You have to read what is about to happen.

One of the most powerful defending skills is to prevent the attacker from getting the ball in the first place. If you can prevent the forward from receiving the ball most of the time, you are making him less dangerous.

But how do you anticipate? You might ask.

Well, anticipating is quite simple. All you have to do is look at the player who has the ball and read his movements. If he is about to pass the ball to a specific player, you will know it and therefore, try to anticipate and prevent the player from receiving that pass by intercepting or getting on him immediately to prevent the danger.

Learning to do it well will make you a better defender.

So, you have to practice it. During your next game, try to anticipate as much as you can. Make it your primary task to do. If you do it regularly, you are going to get better before you even realize it.

Plus, you are going to enjoy doing it because the defender will get frustrated if you keep intercepting every pass towards him. He will start complaining and ask you to leave him alone.

7-Foul The Forward Strategically

Sometimes, fouling a player is the best thing you can do. But you have to do it strategically.

Remember, you are not trying to hurt them, you are just trying to stop them in their tracks before they can do some damage.

You have to commit these types of fouls away from your goal. Plus, don’t make them look so bad by pushing or being too physical.

But, don’t do it every time in the game, otherwise, you will get booked for persistence fouling.

The most important thing here is to do it higher up the pitch not only to break up the momentum of the attack but also to not give freekicks away near your goal.

You can also read=> Do soccer players fake injuries?


This article was all about 7 strategies to defend a forward in soccer.

Let’s recap those strategies: Prevent forwards from playing to their strengths, analyse the player and learn their weaknesses, try to reduce the damage, try not to get isolated one-on-one, be smart, anticipate and foul the forward strategically.

If you follow these strategies above, you are not only going to pocket and frustrate all forwards, but you will also get better at defending.

I hope you have gained value from this article.

Did you learn something new today? Let me know in the comment section below.

Plus, if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comment section below and I will get back to you ASAP.

You can also read my full article about how to defend in soccer here.

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