Having a cohesive tactical approach to attacking play can have great benefits for any team. Successful teams have players who understand those roles and tactics on the entire field. However, being creative in the final third of the field is what produces goals . . . and hopefully success!
First of all, let's define what we mean by the "final third". We often divide the field into thirds in soccer to denote the differing tactics that are used in those areas.
The area closest to the team's goal is the defensive third. The middle of the field around the halfway line, and including the center circle, is the middle third. The part of the field nearest to the opponent's goal is what we refer to as the final third. It’s called the final third sometimes because that’s your team’s offensive objective: to build play and finish in your opponents defensive third with a goal.
Attacking in the final third has two basic components- the build up of attack and finishing. For this post, I am going to focus primarily on building the attack.
Building the Attack
Coaches have varying thoughts and tactics when approaching the final third. In general, however, you will hear most of our coaches discuss any or all of the following:
In training, we will often run through multiple tactical scenarios to move the ball into the attacking third. Personally, I try to encourage creativity with limited risk- playing a simple pass, playing the way you are facing, playing into space, etc. All of this requires patience. Mistakes often happen when players are impatient and simply get rid of the ball in a direction they think someone should be, not where a teammate is on the field.