Norwegian tactic

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What is it?

Norwegian tactic (also called simply "Norway" or "Norge") concentrates on boosting midfield and/or attack at expense of defence. The idea behind this tactics is simple as inequality: 5 > (10-6), meaning: if you'll get 6 out of 10 chances there are in every match, and you will score from at least 5 of them, you will win the match even if your opponent scores from every chance he gets. In other words, if your possession is big enough to get you 6 chances in a match and your attacks are good enough to convert those chances into goals, you need no defence at all. So if giving up defence will give you such midfield and attacks, then it is a logical thing to do.

Why is it called "Norwegian"?

The name of this tactic derives from famous final match (MatchID: 14287675) of World Cup IV, played on 29.02.2004, in which Norway beat Sweden 4-2 to become the first nation to steal the cup from Sweden. Norwegian NT coach Snylte used the following line-up:

Norway gold medal line-up
WB off CD off CD off exIM
W off IM off IM off WTM

This was in reality not the first match in which Norwegian tactic was used, only the most famous one. The first Norwegian tactic matches catalogued so far were played on 04.12.2002 (friendly, MatchID: 3616209) and 11.12.2002 (cup, MatchID: 4794951) - 14 months before the World Cup final - and there are probably even older ones (please submit them if you find them).

Norwegian tactic vs. all out tactic

Norwegian tactic is often mistaken with "classic" all out tactic, which concentrates on boosting midfield (possession), even at expense of attack (for example playing both wingers toward middle), but they're really not the same. The following table summarises the differences between them.

Norwegian tactic All out tactic
Gain at least 6 chances, score at least 5.
Gain all the chances in the game.
The idea If you score 5 goals while opponent can only score 4, you need no defence, you'll win anyway. If you gain all the chances in the game the opponent won't score and with so many chances you must score something even with weak attack.
Means used Possession >59%
Attacks (at least central attack or both wings) equal or stronger than opponent's defences.
Extremely high midfield.
Lineups used 3-5-2, 3-4-3, (2-5-3) 3-5-2, (2-5-3)
Tactics used AIM, AOW, normal AIM
Players used Two or three inner midfielders
Two or three forwards
Wingers offensive or towards middle
One or two offensive central defenders
One or two offensive wing backs
Three inner midfielders
Two forwards
Two wingers towards middle
Two offensive central defenders
(Wingbacks don't really matter)
Counter tactics
a) Strong midfield (possession >44%) with central defence (if opponent is playing AIM) or both wing defences (if AOW/normal) stronger then opponents attacks.
b) All defences much, much stronger than his attacks, counter attack.
Boosting central defence, CA and/or possession >39%.


While the changes in the game engine that increased the importance of defence - especially the introduction of CA and defensive coaches - severely hindered the effective use of all out tactic, the Norwegian tactic is still successfuly used by many managers.

See also

All out tactics