The FIFA franchise prides itself in progress and every entry introduces new mechanics to mix things up. So, FIFA 21 is the most complex by far, especially on defense. It’s not a lost cause, however; defending might be complex, but it has more options than ever before. Your controlling player is crucial for your defense, and if you want to know how to defend, check out this guide.
FIFA 21 | How to Defend
When you’re on the defense side, there are a few controls you should really know about as you figure out how to defend. If you want to switch characters, use the right stick. Tackling and jockeying uses the left button (X or Circle) for light stuff, the right button (B or Square) for real hard tackles. Your goalkeeper is controlled with the uppermost button (Y or Triangle), and your bottommost button (A or X) is also for jostling. Finally, the bumpers are for more aggressive motions (like engaging on L2/LT) or changing players (L1/LB).
The game’s basic guide is the best option for your defender choices and checking the OVR rating will help you judge your player’s skills. Defending, tackling, pace, heading, and physical are your key defender stats, so players with low OVR but high stats in those categories are fine.
Your formation is important for your defensive lines, and your offensive players should play on defense if you’re desperate. You should have at least ten defensive players. If you’re new to the game, try 5-3-2 or 4-1-3-2 for good coverage of the field. However, defense is so important for you to get used to, so try to experiment with your lineup.
And you’re going to lose a bit. Especially if you play PvP! And that’s important. Learn where your defense is lacking; do you tackle too much? Are you letting fast players run down the side too far? Try and reposition or learn new habits to make defending easier for you.
Finally, as part of the experimentation process… mix things up! Maybe try more stuff with your goalie, or try a new position after a lost goal. Figure things out on the fly, and remember; if you’re playing online, your opponent is a human. Complete randomness can work!
Jason Toro-McCue has committed his schooling to the study of the connection between game design and narrative. When he's not working on this bond through writing articles or guides, he's playing Dungeons & Dragons, or just playing games themselves and looking at the story there.