World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Marking (association football)

Article Id: WHEBN0024136608
Reproduction Date:

Title: Marking (association football)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: 1930 FIFA World Cup, 1981 European Cup Final
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Marking (association football)

In defenders, positioning and off-the-ball style.

Man-to-man marking

Man-to-man marking, or man marking, is a defensive strategy where defenders are assigned a specific opposition player to mark rather than covering an area of the pitch.[1]

The idea of man-to-man marking was perfected by the Italian teams of the 1960s and 1970s. Teams such as Inter Milan and AC Milan used it in their so-called catenaccio formation. This consisted of four man markers with a sweeper playing behind them. This brought much success to these teams and soon these tactics became popular throughout the world of football. However, this tight marking was often at the expense of the (attacking) spectacle of the game itself, because "defenders preoccupied with their defensive markings may be reluctant contributors to the team's offense".[2]

Famous examples for man marking performances are Berti Vogts against Johann Cruyff in 1974, Claudio Gentile against Diego Maradona and Zico in 1982, or Guido Buchwald against Maradona in 1990.

The strategy is one that has been supposedly dying out in football over the past decade or so despite Greece's success with it in the 2004 European Championships. It is however often used by lower-tier teams, as well as teams defending themselves from much stronger opponents.

Zonal marking

Zonal marking is a defensive strategy where defenders cover an area of the pitch rather than marking a specific opponent. If an opponent moves into the area a defender is covering, the defender marks the opponent. If the opponent leaves this area, then marking the opponent becomes the responsibility of another defender.[3]

The biggest advantage of zonal marking is its flexibility. When the team regains possession of the ball, players are still in their positions and can start an attack more quickly. Communication is very important when zonal marking is used, to ensure that no gaps are left in the defensive coverage. Zonal marking is more difficult when defending set pieces such as free kicks and corners, and most teams change to man marking in these situations.[4]

The formation used by a team may dictate whether or not to use zonal marking. Teams playing 4-4-2 usually operate a zonal marking system, but teams playing a sweeper do not. Amongst professional teams zonal marking is the most common system; 15 of the 16 teams that reached the knockout stages of the 2004 UEFA Champions League used zonal marking.[5]

Training methods to develop this technique include the coloured cones and the 5-metre rope. The coloured cone is set up by having certain colours set out in sections of the pitch, each player will be put in the coloured section and will not be allowed to leave it. The 5-metre rope is a piece of equipment where the four defenders are attached by a rope which means they are used to staying and working together.

Marking today

Today, several modern defensive formations use a mixture of both man-to-man and zonal marking e.g. 3-5-2 formation (which defensively becomes a 5-3-2). This means 5 defenders: 2 stoppers marking man-to-man, 1 sweeper (sweepers always mark by zone), and 2 wingbacks playing almost like end-to-end side midfielders. Also, several other teams rely exclusively on pure zonal marking approaches.

See also


  1. ^ Catlin 1990, p. 141.
  2. ^ Catlin 1990, p. 143.
  3. ^ Catlin 1990, p. 140.
  4. ^
  5. ^


This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.