#FIFA Futsal World Cup


FIFA, 28 Dec 2021


Counter-attacks represented the second-biggest source of goals (64) behind those scored after build-up play (77). This may come as a surprise, since in general – and judging by studies of some past competitions – this has not often been the case.


This might lead us to ask the following questions:

  • Are players opting for more control over the rhythm of the game?
  • Do players not want to run? We did note, however, that almost every team opted for wholesale changes – four players in and four out – every three or four minutes.
  • Do coaches not want their players sprinting forward in transitions? Are they asking for constant calm and control?
  • Have teams improved a lot defensively?
  • Are goalkeepers getting better and better?
  • Is more work being done in training on build-ups than counters?

Of course, there may not be a simple answer to these questions and various factors may be at play. The teams that scored most goals among the eight quarter-finalists were Iran with seven, Argentina and Brazil with six and five for eventual champions Portugal. Those who scored the fewest were RFU with just one and Spain, Kazakhstan and Morocco with two each. What can we deduce from these facts?

  • Some teams cover more ground than others
  • Some teams have players who are well suited to it while others do not

There were few examples of teams countering the counter – i.e. passages of play featuring three or more counters. The counter-attack has both technical and tactical components. Here are some examples:

Technical aspects

A high level of technical quality was evident in the finishing for this goal for Serbia against Argentina
This goal for Kazakhstan demonstrates superb technical quality with this shot with the exterior of the player's foot
The use of both feet to find the angle for the pass creates the opening for Brazil

Offensive aspects

Venezuela switch flanks several times on this counter-attack which culminates in a goal
The key to this goal and counter attack for Brazil is the timing of the final pass
Here we see how a player in a counter-attack intentionally stays back to provide defensive balance

As an observation, the teams preferred to launch counter-attacks when they had a numerical advantage, mostly choosing (as was evident) to pause the action where there was a numerical balance (2v2 or 3v3) and starting a controlled build-up instead.

When considering the distances from which the counters are launched, the following can be observed:


Counter from own zone 1
Counter from own zone 2
Counter from own zone 3
Counter from own zone 4

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