Total Football


The football is undoubtedly one of the most famous and most practiced sports worldwide. With the passage of time, football has developed more and more and with it have emerged a series of new tactics and techniques that have been put into practice by teams of the highest level. One of these systems is known by the name of total football.


What is total football?

Total soccer is a game system in which the 4-3-3 formation is used An innovative and novel style that with the passage of time was perfected until it became a true philosophy in world football.


What does it consist of

Despite the fact that soccer is the most watched and known sport in the world, there are still some concepts that are unknown or that have little clarity for many. This is the case of total football , a game system that implies that each of the players who are on the playing field have the ability to perform in the best possible way in the greatest number of positions on the field with the objective of The main thing is to achieve the proper functioning of the team without causing any kind of affectation in the tasks of the players when they have to change their position.


Total football involves three important aspects that must be understood:

  • High pressure : This term refers to the first defender as a forward . At the moment in which the ball is lost, it is important to prevent the rival from leaving the safety zone and for this the passing lines must be covered looking for numerical superiority.

This implies that a defense player may or may have to abandon his original position in order to help stop the pressure being exerted at the end of the court. The ball must be recovered in a short time and, when it is not possible, then the team must retreat and go over the line of the ball.

  • Rotation of positions : in this case, the player must abandon the position he has to occupy that of another different player , who will later be able to exchange his position on the court in order to maintain a good defensive balance.
  • Permanent position : it is a system by means of which different constants can be created in the areas of the field in order to achieve greater fluidity and not to accelerate the pace of the game.

Characteristics of total football

Among the main characteristics that can be observed in total football, the following are mentioned:

  • Players have the ability to exchange their positions at any time they deem necessary.
  • Footballers must learn from other positions to be able to adapt easily .
  • It is characterized by the exploitation of spaces within the field of play.
  • It is a type of collective and solidary game .
  • Soccer is more fluid although it also comes under a lot of pressure.
  • Players can occupy forward , midfielder or defense positions at any time during the game.
  • It largely depends on the adaptability of the team’s players.

Origin of total football

The origins of total football go back to the history of Ajax , the Barcelona team and Johan Cruyff , a selected team from the Dutch team. However, it was Rinus Michels , the famous coach of the well-known and admired “clockwork orange ” who was in charge of creating it on February 9, 1928 . The birth of this type of game gave soccer a twist, revolutionizing the sport in an impressive way.


The term total football was used with great importance when Dutch football was at its peak, mainly thanks to the Amsterdam Ajax team around 1971 and 1989 . Little by little, it developed until it reached an international level as part of the World Cup in Germany in 1974. It was precisely from this cup that the famous nickname “a clockwork orange ” arose, since the team plus the technique were practically unstoppable.

It was the “clockwork orange” in charge of being able to revolutionize football with the main idea of ​​using the field to its fullest capacity . This style of play, which was seen by many as a true philosophy , was a source of inspiration for many teams worldwide.

Teams such as Club Atlético River Plate , the Brazilian team in the 1970s, Club Barcelona and Ajax , used the method and with this, it was possible to expand even more in other sports-loving countries.

Importance of total football

Total soccer is one of the most important game techniques or systems in the world of soccer. The reason is simple, thanks to this technique an almost perfect harmony between the players can be achieved , which is reflected in the actions of the playing field. It has the ability to cause players who practice it to move in any direction at their maximum speed and this is essential to keep pace with the changes made by defenders and attackers .

Example teams

Some examples of teams worldwide that have used or are using total football are listed below:

  • Ajax from Holland
  • C. Barcelona
  • The Aztec angels
  • Holland national team
  • River Plate Athletic Club

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