eFootball Tactics Tutorial

Welcome to the eFootball Tactics Tutorial

A well-prepared game plan gives you a significant advantage over your opponent. This tutorial will provide you with some ideas to set up your preferred game plan.

  1. Playing Styles
  2. Selecting Players for Your Team
  3. Basic Formation Guide
  4. Team Managers
  5. Sub Tactics
  6. Individual Instructions
  7. Other Tactical Advice

1. eFootball Playing Styles

The first thing to understand about strategy and tactics in eFootball is Playing Style. It refers to how your team is set up to play in a match. In PES, there are various attacking and defensive settings for you to adjust. All these are now simplified into Playing Styles in eFootball

You can choose from 5 Playing Styles.

1.1 Possession Game

Teammates move around the ball carrier to provide passing options. This playing style rewards patient play, keeping the ball, and making accurate passes.

Teammates will seldom make forward runs. You will have to trigger forward runs yourself through L1 (PS) / LB (XBOX) + Pass or R1 (PS) / RB (XBOX) + Pass.

Some players may find this static, unlike the Tiki Taka movement found in PES. That said, this is good for players who are patient and have good passers to keep the ball and wait for gaps in defence.

I emphasise again that having good passers of the ball is important to enjoy this playing style. Aim to have players with ‘One-Touch Pass’, ‘Through Pass’, ‘Weighted Pass’, and ‘No Look Pass’.

1.2 Quick Counter

Your team will move forward quickly upon winning the ball to provide options for a quick counter attack. Strikers make more forward runs, allowing you to make more through passes.

I noticed that the defensive line is slightly higher as compared to Possession Game. This is useful for you to pressure opponent to win back the ball, but note that you may be susceptible to a lofted through ball over your defence.

Use fast wingers and ‘Goal Poacher’ strikers to fully leverage the movements of this playing style.

1.3 Long Ball Counter

As compared to Quick Counter, your defence stays deeper. And similar to Quick Counter, your attackers will move forward once you win the ball to provide a counter attack opportunity.

Long Ball counter focuses on, well, long balls, to start counter attacks, whereas Quick Counter emphasises short quick passes.

Long Ball Counter seems to be the preferred option for most competitive online players, due to its balance between defence and attack.

If you enjoy a counter attacking style of play, try out both Quick Counter and Long Ball Counter to decide which playing style has the player movements you prefer.

1.4 Out Wide

This playing styles focuses on wing play and crosses into the box. Team mates will move to the wings to provide passing options. When the ball is along the wings, attackers will prepare to move into the box to receive a cross.

Use this playing style if you have strikers who are ‘Target Man’, and wingers who are ‘Cross Specialist’ and ‘Prolific Wingers’. Practice executing stunning crosses and stunning headers to repeatedly threaten your opponents’ defence.

I like to use this as a secondary tactic to change things up, bringing on my ‘Target Man’ striker as a substitute to change my attacking approach.

1.5 Long Ball

This playing style emphasises on your attackers making space to receive a long ball from your defender. Once the long ball is played, other teammates will move towards the target to provide options for a knock down header pass.

Ideally, play a ‘Target Man’ striker to receive the long ball from defence, and have fast SS, WF, and AMF around your striker to receive a header pass and continue to build your attacking play.

As your defenders are key to initiating attacks, it will be good for them to have high ratings and relevant skills in playing low and high passes.

1.6 ‘Best’ Playing Style

Long Ball Counter is preferred by many online players, but ultimately it depends on your players’ familiarity with each playing style, and your familiarity with the positioning and movements associated with each playing style. Be familiar with at least 2 playing styles, so that you can rotate between them within a game to give yourself options.

2. Selecting players for your team

2.1 Variety in Player Play Styles

Whether you play online or offline, a well balanced squad is crucial to secure good results game after game. This means you should aim to have players of varying abilities in your team. eFootball groups players in various Play Styles, such as ‘Prolific Winger’, ‘Box to Box’ etc. As a general rule of thumb, avoid having more than 2 of the same Playing Style in your entire squad, and avoid having duplicate Playing Style in your starting 11. This ensures that you have variety in your game. Imagine having 2 ‘Destroyer’ midfielder. You may be winning all the balls in midfield, but you are sacrificing one slot for a ‘Creative Playmaker’ to give you the goals you need. Or perhaps you have 2 ‘Fox in the Box’. The box might get a little crowded, and you have no one to link up play.

There are exceptions, of course. It will do you no harm to have 2 ‘Prolific Wingers’ or 2 ‘Offensive Fullbacks’, since they are on different flanks. But in general, players of the same playing style gets in the way of each other, and should be avoided.

2.2 The ‘Best’ Play Style

All Playing Style have their pros and cons, and it is essential to ‘collect’ all styles. To get things going when budget is an issue, I will say ‘Destroyer’ and ‘Goal Poacher’ should be your priority. One prevent the conceding of goals, the other score goals to win you matches. Once the team foundations are in place, you can go on to purchase players with other playing styles.

Focus less on ‘best’ play style and more on getting familiar with the positioning and movements of each play style. If you know where your teammates will be, you can easily play accurate passes for them to take shots on goal. On the defensive side, you will also be confident your defensive midfielder and centre backs are in position to snuff out attempts on goal.

2.3 Players for each position

Different positions call for different player abilities and playing styles. Below is a detailed guide for choosing the best players for each position.

Goalkeeper (GK)

There isn’t much to say here. Choose the best goal keeper you have. I prefer ‘Defensive Goal Keeper’ over ‘Offensive Goal Keeper’ but this is down to personal preference.

Sideback (SB)

Sidebacks will have to consist of fast players as they serve as secondary wingers. They charge up and down the flank, thus high pace will be required for them to cover the required distance. For teams that lack fast sidebacks, resist the urge to attack too often with sidebacks. Playing Style ‘Offensive Fullback’ and skill ‘Early Cross’ will be very useful.

Center Back (CB)

One CB should have high ratings in – Physical Contact. Heading. Tackling.

His partner center back(s) should have high ratings in – Speed, Interception

The choice of CB pairing is crucial. Ideally, a physically strong CB should be paired with a fast CB. This will allow their strengths to complement each other, while their weakness can be covered. The strong CB usually lacks pace, thus when there is a need to chase down defenders, we can rely on the fast CB. The fast CB tends to be shorter, thus the strong CB is the player to stay in the box and win defensive headers.

Having both of these players in defence gives us more flexibility when defending. If the opponent is dribbling with a strong center forward, we have our strong CB to challenge him for the ball. When the opponent uses a fast center forward, a fast CB should be used to match his pace. In general, the fast CB should be used first to approach attackers, or chase players down the flank, while the strong CB preferably should be the last line of defence, staying in the box to clear high crosses and put in last ditch tackle. A strong CB in the box, with his larger physical size, is also ideal for blocking shots on goal.

Defensive Midfielder (DMF)

In every formation, we require a strong DMF to break up opponents’ attacks and launch counter attack. He should ideally be placed in the center of the midfielders. If possible, choose someone who is tall and strong, since these traits will be useful in winning midfield battles. He is required to win headers from the keeper’s long punts, as well as dispossess opponents in midfield. He need not be fast, since there are defenders behind him to make up for his lack of pace. Ideally, he should possess the Playing Style ‘Destroyer’ or ‘Anchor Man’.

Center Midfielder (CMF)

The CMF need not be a technically good player. His role in this formation is to cover all blades of grass, and assist in both attack and defence. Someone with a ‘Box to Box’ index card will do the trick here. He is the player who is full of energy and is always running around, an ideal teammate for everyone.

Attacking Midfielder (AMF)

He is the brains of the team, the main focal point of our attack. There are many types of attacking midfielders. They can be an excellent dribblers to bring the ball forward. They can be an accurate passers of the ball, able to play passes forward without moving around too much. We should fill this role with the player with the best technique. Play Styles such as ‘Classic No. 10’, ‘Creative Playmaker’, and ‘Hole Player’ are a bonus for this position.

Winger (WF)

Wingers should possess high pace as their main role is to take the ball down the flank and cross it to the striker. Other abilities such as passing and dribbling are important as well, but pace will be the most important ability for this role. I personally like ‘Roaming Flank’ and ‘Cross Specialist’.

Second Striker (SS)

SS will tend to stay towards the center of the pitch. Their role will be to retain possession of the ball, make through passes to the striker, and if the opportunity arises, take shots on goal. ‘Deep Lying Forward’ is one of my favourite,

Center Forward (CF)

If we are playing with WF, the CF should be tall and strong in order to win aerial battles and score from crosses. A drawback of this is that these players usually lacks pace (although there are exceptions). Thus, CF should not dribble with the ball when he is some distance away from goal, as there is a risk that he may lose the ball. We should pass to your CF either in the form of aerial crosses, or play through balls to him only in the final third of the field.

If our CF is a speedy player, it will be useful to capitalize on his speed. Use player runs and play through balls to him whenever we have the chance. These through balls can be launched from the middle of the pitch instead of just the final third, as his pace allows him to outrun his markers and speed towards goal.

‘Goal Poacher’ is a popular choice here. Consider having a ‘Target Man’ on your bench to change things up if needed.

2.4 Choosing your starting lineup

Player ratings, colour of the form arrow, and familiarity with playing styles have to be considered when we choose players for the starting lineup. I believe you have your own way of determining the importance of each factor. Here is what I have to share.

I place the highest priority on playing styles. Majority of the players on the field should have a high rating in the playing style you chose for your team. A high combined rating in playing style is crucial for smooth and smart play. Aim of a combined rating of 90+. Anything less than that and you will find your players behaving erratically at certain periods of the game.

Form arrow is my next priority. An average player on top form plays much better than a top player on average or poor form.

Player ratings count the least, in my opinion. Ordinary players with good form plays way better than superstars on their off days.

3. eFootball Formation Guide

eFootball gives you a number of different formation bases to choose from, with unlimited freedom in adjusting the position of your players.

3.1 Custom Formations

If you have a custom formation in mind, you should choose the base formation using one of the standard formations, before adjusting it further. For example, if you wish to play with a 3-4-3 formation, you should choose the default 3-4-3 formation, before adjusting the position of the players to suit your needs.

In my opinion, it is not recommended to adjust a 4-4-2 formation into a 3-4-3 formation by manually pulling one of the defenders position into midfield or attack. If your base formation is 4-4-2, KONAMI will register your style of play as 4-4-2. Manually adjusting the positions of your players to suit another formation will affects player runs and passing in the game.

3.2 Recommended Basic Formation

Through playing countless matches, I have determined 2 basic formations which I found useful for many of the teams I use. They may not necessarily be the best formation for that team, but I would say they are effective for most teams. I feel that these serve as good starts for new players or players who have not played for some time. Once you are accustomed to the game mechanics, go crazy with your own formation.

3.2.1 Formation 4-3-3

4-3-3 is the ideal formation for me as there is a fine balance between attack and defence. When attacking, this can evolve into a 2-3-5 formation as both sidebacks join in the attack. While defending, it can easily switch to a 4-5-1 formation, with the two wingers dropping back. With the wingers and sideback, this formation offers us plenty of width in attack. Should we lack wingers and prefer to attack down the center, we can convert the 2 wingers into SS and shift them closer to our CF.

What we require here are offensive sidebacks, fast wingers, and a strong target man or a fast center forward. Midfielders will be rather defensive in nature to cover for the gaps left behind by the attacking fullbacks.

3.2.2 Formation 4-2-3-1

The second formation I use is a 4-2-3-1 formation.

I termed this 4-2-3-1 as there are 4 defenders, 2 midfielders (1 CMF, 1 DMF), 3 attacking players and 1 striker.

The Center Attacking Midfielder can be converted into a Support Striker to pose a stronger attacking threat.

For this formation to be effective, the AMF/SS has to be a highly mobile player, a player with decent speed and dribbling skills. During counter attacks, the SS and the CF will be in the opponent’s half. We can pass the ball to the SS for him to bring the ball upfield before seeking out the CF, or take a shot himself.

The CMF should ideally be a good passer of the ball. He will be adopting the deep playmaker role and send passes to teammates all over the pitch. We can use him to bring the ball up if the opportunity arise, as there is the DMF to stay back for defensive cover.

Once you have a comfortable lead, the CMF can be converted in another DMF, with the AMF dropping back to become the CMF.

3.2.3 Meta Formation

Every game as a ‘Meta’ way to increase your chances of winning. The ‘meta’ in this game is to play a low defensive line, have 2 DMF sitting in front of your back four, 1 AMF and 2 strikers (2 CF or 1 SS and 1 CF). A deep defensive line and 2 DMF will crowd out your defence and win the ball back. Once you have the ball, play a long pass forward for your AMF and 2 strikers.

The ‘Meta’ style of play is boring and not fun at all. It has a bad reputation. My intention of putting this section here is to let you know that it exists, and that you can potentially use it to counter opponents playing in this manner. I won’t recommend using it in friendly matches against friends and other casual opponents.

4. eFootball Managers

Managers in eFootball differs in

  1. Playing Style Rating
  2. Coaching Affinity – Awarding bonus experience bonus to certain groups of players

Unlike PES myClub, your team formation is not restricted by managers. You are free to use any formation you want under any manager.

4.1 Playing Style Rating

Every manager has a rating in each of the 5 Playing Style. Most managers will be strong in 1 Playing Style. Some managers who cost more and are more famous in real life will be strong in more than 1 Playing Styles.

The game rewards you if you choose a Playing Style that matches your manager and your players. Selection of manager should thus be influenced by their ratings in the Playing Style that you are comfortable with.

When starting out in the game, play a few casual games using all 5 Playing Styles to identify your favourite. Next, hire a manager with a high rating in that Playing Style.

The players that you sign should ideally match the Playing Style of your manager as well. However, this is not really an issue, since you can level up your players and boost the rating of any Playing Styles.

4.2 Coaching Affinity.

Players earn experience points after every game, which helps them to level up and grow their ratings. Coaching Affinity will allow certain groups of players to earn bonus experience points.

The categories are

  • Star Players
  • Veteran Players
  • Young Players
  • FW Players
  • MF Players
  • DF Players

If you team mainly consists of young players – players below 30 years old, having a manager with ‘Young Players’ coaching affinity will give these players an experience points boost, allowing them to level up quicker.

If you want your attackers to level up faster, choose a manager with a coaching affinity of ‘FW Players’.

5. eFootball Sub Tactics

eFootball allow us to pre-set 2 tactics, which can be changed on-the-fly during matches by holding the Up or Down button on the directional pad. As a general rule, use a different Playing Style and Formation for each tactic. If you are starting with a Possession Game 4-4-2, pre-set an Out Wide 4-3-3 alternative. The purpose of having 2 settings is to have a backup when your initial plan is not working out for you.

This section provides you with several tips on how to set your tactics.

5.1 Player Familiarity with Playing Styles and Formation

I like to ensure that my players are familiar with both Playing Styles and Formations in my game plans.

If I were to go with Possession Game and Out Wide, I will field players who are familiar with both Playing Styles.

If I were to play 4-4-2 and 4-3-3, I will ensure that my starting 11 have players who are versatile enough to fit both formation.

This may to be possible initially, as you may not have enough players, and your players may not be levelled up sufficiently to be strong in multiple playing styles. However, after playing the game for a while, you will have sufficient GP and players to make this a reality.

5.2 Position Changing

When we watch football matches, we see players interchanging positions and switching flanks on a frequent basis. Switching flanks is very useful, especially if both wingers possess different traits and different stronger foot, as the defenders will be caught unprepared when they face a “new” attacker at their flank. We can use the secondary tactic option to achieve this.

What we want to do is use the same Playing Style and Formation in both primary and secondary tactic. In the secondary tactic, switch the wingers. Once this is done, we can easily have the wingers switch flanks by alternating between the two tactics.

If we have highly versatile players, we can also takeone step further by using 3 identical Tactical Options, and switching the position of your 3 attackers. Position switching will tremendously aid our attacking play as different players will be attacking down different channels at different times of the match. This is a nightmare to defend against.

6. eFootball Individual Instructions

eFootball offers tactical depth by adding another layer of customisation – individual instructions.

Specific players can be assigned instructions that overwrites their individual play style.

You can assign 2 attacking instructions and 2 defensive instructions.

6.1 Attacking Instructions

These instructions influence your player’s positioning and movement when you have possession of the ball.

6.1.1 Defensive

Your assigned player will stay back in defence. Use this to add numbers to defence and prevent counter attacks.

Use this on a midfielder to a side back to make them stay back.

Note that Individual Instructions will overwrite player’s play style. This means that if a player with ‘Offensive Fullback’ is assigned to ‘Defensive’, he will stay back.

This also means that you do not need to ‘waste’ an individual instruction slot to a player who already has a play style that fulfils what you need.

You do not need to assign ‘Defensive’ to players who are ‘Anchor Man’ or ‘Defensive Fullback’, since they will already be staying back in defence during your team’s attack. Use that individual instruction slot on other players instead.

6.1.2 Attacking

As the name suggests, the assigned player will join attacks. As an inverse of ‘Defensive’, use this to get ‘Anchor Man’ and ‘Defensive Fullback’ to join attacks.

6.1.3 Anchoring

The assigned player will not drift wide. Assigning ‘Anchoring’ on a CF will instruct him to stay in a central position. Some players will like this as it means that they do not have to think twice when trying to make a pass to their CF.

Another good use case is on a CMF or DMF. Having your DMF stay in the centre helps protect your back four in the case of a counter attack.

6.2 Defensive Instructions

These instructions influence player’s positioning and movement when your opponent has the ball.

6.2.1 Tight Marketing

Identify a key player in your opponent’s team to mark tightly. You do not need to assign any player in your team to do the marking. The marker will change during the game depending on the opposition player’s position. Note that your players may be pulled out of position. Nonetheless, this is useful to mitigate the threat of a star player.

6.2.2 Man Marking

Assign one player from your team to man-mark a specific opponent player. Ensure that the marker is positioned close to the opponent player, to avoid leaving gaps in your defence. For example, use your Left Back to mark the opponent’s Right Wing.

Match the ratings of your marker to the opponent. If you are marking a fast striker, ensure that your defender is pacy as well.

I like to use midfielders to mark the opponent’s attacker. Doing this forces your midfielders to help out in defence, which crowds out your defensive area. It also leaves your defenders free from any marking duties to stay back as the last line of defence.

6.2.3 Counter Attack

Free the assigned player from any defensive duty, making him stay upfront and receive the ball as you launch a counter attack.

Use this on players with pace for more effective counter attacks. I also like to use this on veteran players to conserve their limited stamina.

6.2.4 Deep Line

Get the assigned player to stay in line with your defence. This is only applicable for non-defenders, in a formation that has less than 5 defenders. Having numbers in defence helps to shut down opponents’ attacks.

7. Other Tactical Advice

7.1 Left Footed / Right Footed Attackers

One of my favourite dribbling tricks at the flanks is to cut in past the sideback, run along the penalty box parallel to goal, and try to score with a curler towards the far post. To achieve this, we have to play a right footed player on the left flank, and vice versa on the right. I find that this tactic provides me with much more shooting opportunities. At the same time, aiming for the far post with your player’s stronger foot will increase the chances of scoring a goal. For players using a formation with two strikers, you can also adopt this tactic by playing a right footed striker on the left of goal, and vice versa.

By combining this with the flank switching strategy highlighted previously, you can easily alternate between putting in a cross with one winger, and cutting into the box with the other.

7.2 Players to join attack

Set this up under ‘Teams’ -> ‘In Match Roles’. With this option, we can choose defenders to join in the attack during attacking corners and free kicks. Once chosen, they will automatically run up during these set pieces, and there is no need for further activation. A recommended option will be to choose a CB who is tall and possess strong heading ability. If I am in need of a goal towards the closing stages of the game, I will send more than 1 defenders forward.

7.3 Offside Trap

Double tap the Front button on your directional pad to activate the offside trap. Your defenders will shift the defensive line forward for a short duration of time to try and catch an opponent striker offside. Personally, I am not a fan of this as it requires close monitoring of the radar and positioning of your opponents’ strikers which takes focus away from the core action.

7.4 Attack and Defence Level

Double tap Up or Down on your directional pad to adjust your attack and defence level. Go full attack or defence if you are chasing or defending a lead in the last few moments of a game.

8. Conclusion

Excelling in eFootball requires both good gameplay skills and tactical knowledge. Through the application of strategies highlighted in this tutorial, you will have an advantage over your opponent on the tactical front. I hope you find this tactical tutorial useful. All the best in your online and offline games!

All images credit: Konami