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  • Author Tom Wiggins
  • Published June 4, 2014

How to win at FIFA 14: The Stuff masterclass

Over the past few years FIFA has become more of a football simulation than ever before. Stuff magazine’s Tom Wiggins says there’s more than finding one way to score to beating the best…


Over the past few years FIFA has become more of a football simulation than ever before. Stuff magazine’s Tom Wiggins says there’s more than finding one way to score to beating the best…



Take your time…
Don’t sprint everywhere. Attacking is about making the pitch as big as possible and if you charge around everywhere as soon as you receive the ball you’ll eat up all the turf too quickly. Not every player has the pure pace of Gareth Bale, so use sudden changes in speed to beat defenders, or allow teammates to catch up and offer support.


… But not when shooting
Especially when one-on-one with the keeper. You don’t have as long as you think you do, so steady yourself and shoot early. If you can’t get a clear shot don’t waste possession by shooting into a defender’s legs. Look to recycle the ball out wide. Sometimes playing a simple pass the way you’re facing is the best way to keep the ball.


Keep your shape
Try not to be drawn out of position when defending. When under the computer’s control your teammates aren’t great at filling in and a good opponent will exploit any gaps you leave. Look at Atletico Madrid this season as an example. The reason they were able to compete against the elite teams was because they were so well organised in defence. Try to emulate them.


Stay on your feet
When out of possession holding the pass button will focus the defender under your control on the man with the ball, then it’s just a case of shadowing his movements with the left stick. Do this while you wait for a chance to try and win the ball. In most European leagues having to perform a slide tackle means you’ve failed. Treat it as a last resort.


Play to your strengths
Got a big man up top? Use him. That doesn’t mean just launching balls into the box and hoping he’ll get his head to one; use his strength to hold up the play (protect the ball by squeezing the left trigger) and bring others into the game. Lack pace in midfield? Don’t waste time (and possession) trying to beat the full-backs, get the ball in early using the left bumper button when you’re crossing.


Attack the ball
… And not just when you’re attacking. Winning the ball in the air – especially if you’re being challenged for it – is all about getting there first, so move towards it once the ball is in flight and meet it earlier than you would if you let the player follow his AI-selected path. Time it right and this will allow you to not only beat your man but also get more power on header.


Press the right buttons
Winning the ball in the air is a case of using the right button. Attempting a headed pass tends to be weaker, so if you’re being challenged for the ball or just want to get it away from the danger zone, use the shoot button. Sometimes the no-nonsense approach is the right one.


Know your formation
Knowing where your players are going to be without necessarily being able to see them is crucial. Good teams won’t give you much time on the ball and more than a glance at the radar will see an opposition player in your face. Knowing your wingers in a 4-3-3 are looking for diagonal balls over the top of the defence means you can spray the ball in their direction without even thinking about it.


Keep your balance
Pressing left or right on the D-pad will change your attack/defence bias. Use it wisely but be careful, especially towards the end of the game when players are tiring. Go overly attacking and you’re in danger of getting caught on the break, especially if the opposition respond in kind. Sit back too much and you’ll invite pressure.


Don’t be predictable
This one seems obvious but you’d be surprised how many people repeat the same tactic over and over. Don’t always head for the by-line, don’t always cut inside, don’t always cross early or play a chipped through ball over the top. Mix things up. And just when they’re expecting the unexpected, do the obvious.


Tom Wiggins is the deputy editor of Stuff magazine.


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