FIFA 12 introduces a new tactical defending feature, but I can't really seem to get the hang of it.

If you shield someone (standard button A), your player always stays 1 meter in front of him, but never actually attacks unless the opponent runs into you.
The actual tackle (standard button B) only works for me if I run beside him, otherwise the opponent just makes a sidestep and is through.
Calling a second player with R1 also just gets him to shield, not to attack.

Are there any tips for properly defending with the new mode, especially against the higher AI levels?

I know you can turn it back to the old mode, but I'd rather learn how to use this.

  • 1
    Ive been trying all day and cant seem to get it right either. For PS3 i usually hold on to the R2 button which gets in front of them and then hit O at the right time for a tackle. I think i might just go back to the old mode.. How do you turn it back to the old mode?
    – user12794
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 14:08
  • You can go back to the old mode in the controller settings. During side selection, press Y (for PS3: Triangle), it should be the last option.
    – magnattic
    Commented Sep 28, 2011 at 14:16
  • 1
    Everybody is still getting used to it... its a mistake making the defence so hard, i mean you cant really tackle like you did on FIFA 11. the thing is, you can change it to the old system but Online you have to play with the new system, so best getting used to it
    – user12843
    Commented Sep 30, 2011 at 17:44
  • 1
    It's not hard, it's downright stupid.
    – Ragnar
    Commented Oct 7, 2011 at 17:14

3 Answers 3


After playing ~250 multiplayer matches now, I think I can add some of my own suggestions:

  • Using contain/A outside of the one third is quite useless, because there is usually enough space for the attacker to make a safe pass and there usually won't be another defender close enough to help you.
  • Instead, if you want to play apply pressure on your opponent early on, try to surprise him by running into him and tackling with B. This should be done with offensive players whom the attacker has already passed, so you don't leave any gaps open in your defensive rows.
  • Anticipate passes. It's very hard in the beginning, but once you get to know the different types of players you will get a good idea to where they will likely pass. Even if you don't actually intercept the pass, running towards the pass target will give you a good chance to get the ball by pressing.
  • In your defensive third, don't fall for dribbling. The worst thing you can do is pressing tackle or even slide tackle too early, leaving your player 'paralyzed' for a second and opening up the way to the goal. Be patient.
  • In contrast to the above tip, don't be too patient. If you leave a good player too much time to figure out how to crack your defensive line, and especially if you let him run circles around your goal, he will sooner or later find a gap or a good position for a distance shot. If you notice he is up to something, break out of containing, try to get him with a tackle and call a second player to help you.
  • Calling a second player is usually very helpful when you're trying to contain your opponent, but it will often leave you open for 1-2-passes or even worse, open a yawning gap in your defense line. Use it sparingly, and most importantly, if you notice that you are calling an essential defender, abort your call.
  • Preventing the opponent from getting to your wings into a crossing position is hard to impossible. That's no big deal though. The important thing is that you do not let him cross. Always have a defender on his toes, right between the winger and the goal. This is the most important use of contain there is! Use sprint + contain to keep him from crossing, and watch out for possible breakthroughs into the penalty zone.
  • Use LT + contain if you have an opponent who dribbles a lot, he will most likely bump into you.
  • If your opponent managed to break away in midfield, don't call out your keeper too early or you will just get lobbed over. A good strategy is to fake running out with the keeper. Press Y and then release it again, before the opponent tries the lob.
  • You can also tell your keeper to stay on the goal line by pressing Y twice. This sometimes helps with overenthusiastic goalkeepers.

These hints are meant for multiplayer matches, especially Head-To-Head-Season. I have no idea if they are any good against the AI.

  • Contain refers to Pressing A on xbox?
    – Venki
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 1:16
  • I don't usually use sprint button and even with my skill moves i get beat down by my friend who just presses sprint button and spams B for defending and goal keeping. It just frustrates me. PS: he loses games against AI easily on professional and world class level but I can thrash AI on those matches comfortably. What am i doing wrong?
    – Venki
    Commented Apr 30, 2012 at 1:17

This is quite a good article on Tactical Defending in FIFA 12:

FIFA 12 - Defending Guide

From my own experience I've found containing and then calling in a second player to be quite effective - when there are two defenders containing they seem to get closer than with just one and tackling is then much easier.

If you're running next to an attacker, the standing tackle button (B/circle) can be used to grab/bump/restrain the attacker, which I've found useful for winning the ball on a number of occasions.


As defending is now "tactical", "how to defend in Fifa 12" is a bit like asking "how to attack in Fifa 12".

There are various strategies, none of which are the definitive answer.

My personal defensive tactic is as follows;

  • a) Control the player who is going to "put-off" the attacker. This is the player who will get as close as possible and disrupt the attacker using grab/jostle. I would try to use a defensive midfielder for this if possible.

  • b) Bring in an additional defender using RB (on the 360). This defender will close in and should have an easy job getting the ball from an off-balance attacker (you are unsettling him with your defensive midfielder).

  • c) A quick switch of players and you should be in control of the tackling player who you brought in with RB, and be in possession of the ball.

It is obviously not always as clear cut as that, and will all happen very fast.

Good Luck.

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