In soccer, there are a series of dynamics within the game systems used by sports teams. These systems are a set of rules that apply to both individual and team players in order to achieve the maximum possible performance. The catenaccio is one of these systems which is based mainly on the defensive part during a match.


What is catenaccio?

The catenaccio is a style used by soccer players based on the defensive part with the main objective of attacking the goal of the opposing team in which a player is assigned to a certain rival and must also cover it throughout the playing field.


What is catenaccio?

Catenaccio is actually a game system that is widely used in soccer . It is a completely defensive tactic in which each of the players that make up the team has the responsibility of marking , caring for and covering a previously analyzed and determined player in order to be able to follow him throughout the game. The technique includes the attack by the attacker with the aim of “drowning” the forces of the opposing player.


This technique is considered a classic in the football world and some modifications have also been made in which the ends of the playing field are protected together with the wings, the central midfielders work with the central defenders and in attack they are used only two players.

Another interesting training that has been applied to this technique is to use 3 central players and 2 lateral players to achieve a better offensive-type team, in addition, the midfield is protected by the midfielders and at the ends they should play a little more towards ahead of what the centrals do .

Characteristics of the catenaccio

The main characteristics of the catenaccio are:

  • The main sporting figure in this system are the attackers .
  • The offensive game that is used is known as counterattack.
  • The forwards who practice it are extremely fast and agile.
  • It has the advantage that very few balls make it into the goal area.
  • Only one player will be in charge of attacking while the others will only have to defend the goal.
  • You need a goalkeeper who is able to resist the different and constant attacks.
  • It is a system widely used when teams suffer the expulsion of one of their players or when one of them suffers an injury and must leave the field of play.


Catenaccio is a word of Italian origin, however, the birth of this technique did not occur in this country but rather in Switzerland . It was Karl Rappan who, between the 1930s and 1940s, devised an interesting and innovative change in the Servette team scheme at the end of the 1930s, which was gradually adopted by other football teams. Rappan placed a defense player in front of the goalkeeper.


With the passage of time, the system was implemented by various teams in Europe mainly and in the 1950s, Nereo Rocco began to implement it in Italy. Here its name changed a bit and it became known as Catenaccio Real . This technique used a 1-3-3 formation focusing mainly on the defensive part . Then, a free defender located behind three defenders was introduced who was in charge of recovering the lost balls, canceling the forwards and marking the players whenever it was necessary.

In 1960 , the version of Helenio Herrera was released where four defenders had the function of marking the attackers while an additional player was in charge of recovering the balls. This system made the role of defenders more important.

Today, the catenaccio is still used by a few teams, mainly Italian, many old coaches tried to put it into practice in world championships, however, they were not successful.

Importance of catenaccio

The importance of this type of game system in football is based on its defensive tactical system , which, when applied correctly by trained players, will close all the circuits of the game, thus preventing rivals from having access with ease to goal. He is also considered one of the most important predecessors who influenced the creation of total football .

Example teams

Some teams that have used the catenaccio were the following:

  • Salertina , an Italian team led by Giuseppe Viani that achieved promotion in 1947 thanks to this technique.
  • Tiestina , who under the leadership of coach Jozsef Banas put this system into practice in 1947 and 1948.
  • AC Milan with coach Rocco. With the technique they managed to be champions of the league and Europe in the decade of the 60s.
  • The Italian team used this interesting game mode in the 1960s and being a new technique that almost no team knew about, they managed to win the European Championship in 1968 with their coach Enzo Bearsot.
  • Greece National Soccer Team when it played the Eurocup in 2004, the season in which it managed to win the title.
  • Atletico Madrid when he was under the guidance of coach Cholo Simeone, managing to win the title of champions of the First Division of Spain , the runner – up of UEFA Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup.
  • The Student Club of La Plata that managed to become the three-time champion of America .
  • The Portuguese soccer team under the tutelage of Fernando Santos.
  • The Independiente de Santa Fe, who used the system in the Copa Sudamérica in 2015.
  • France soccer team with coach Didier Deschamps with whom they managed to win the World Cup in Russia in 2018.

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