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FIFA 22 Beginner’s Guide: How to Defend

So you recently started playing FIFA 22 but just can't seem to stop the opponent from scoring? This guide should set you on the path of defensive stability, minimizing the number of goals you concede.

FIFA 22 Beginner's Guide: How to Defend

By now, you probably know how annoying it is to see the net bulge as your opponent goes off to celebrate in the corner, mocking you in the process. None of us likes that, but how do you prevent that from happening? Many beginners assume that defending in FIFA is just about the simple standing and sliding tackles. That’s not the case at all. This FIFA 22 Defending Guide should help you out.


Jockeying is probably the most essential tool at your disposal after the traditional tackles. This allows you to keep track of your opponent by skillfully maneuvering yourself with their movements, giving you more control over your defender and allowing them to react quickly to a sudden change of direction. You can jockey using the L2 button on the DualShock or LT if you are on the Xbox. Combine this with the sprint button R2/RT to perform the Quick Jockey, which, as the name suggests, is a faster version, although at the expense of control.

Jockeying is a great way to maintain control

Jockeying is a great way to maintain control

You will find Jockeying very effective in stopping attacks from the wings. Although it is not very useful against counterattacks, it’s excellent against teams that like to pass or dribble their way through your defense. Combine this skill with the other defensive tools in this FIFA 22 Defending Guide to disrupt the opponent’s attacks.

Second-Man Press

Next on the list is Second Man Pressure. You can only control one player at any time during the game, while the CPU automatically manages the rest. So you may be wondering, how do I get other players to defend along with my own-controlled player? Well, that’s where the Second man press comes into play. By holding down the R1 button on the Dualshock or RB on the Xbox controller, you can command the CPU-controlled player to press the opponent’s player with the ball. To get the best of this feature, you can use the second man to contain the opponent while you cut passing lanes with your own player. This limits the number of chances the opponent can create.

One player pressing, the other cutting off passing lanes

One player pressing, the other cutting off passing lanes

Second man press is probably the most challenging technique to learn in this FIFA 22 Defending Guide. So take your time to figure it out in the Skill Games practice or against computer opponents in Offline Kickoff mode.

Manual Player Switching

Manual player switching may seem pretty insignificant. Some people like to leave this entirely up to the CPU and simply press L1/LB to switch to the player the CPU thinks is most suitable. However, this doesn’t always work. The CPU can get it wrong sometimes, which will cost you a precious few seconds; that can be the difference between conceding or successfully defending a counterattack. Therefore, try to make manual player switching a regular part of your game using the Right Analog-stick. You can also enable the HUD display by clicking the Right Stick, which will show what direction you need to move it to select a particular player.

Manual Switching is most helpful in stopping counterattacks since these are often decided by one wrong move. Remember that FIFA is a game of fine margins, and whoever gets the small details, such as manual switching right, will likely emerge victorious.

Fouling as the Last Line of Defense

This may seem a little crazy, but you must have this in your arsenal. In real-world football, we call this ‘taking one for the team,’ which involves sacrificing a player in the dying embers of the game to protect a lead or earn a draw at the expense of the red card.

Taking one for the team

Taking one for the team

Say it’s the 85th min and the opponent just passed the ball to the fastest guy on the pitch: Mbappe, who has a clear route to goal on the counterattack. You have just one defender next to him, and he is about to be beaten, and then it is a certain goal. What will you do to stop him? Answer: foul him with no remorse. Don’t even go for the ball; aim to bring him down by any means by sliding in across, knowing that your defender’s fate is sealed at that moment. You will almost certainly get a red card, but hey, it’s better than conceding a last-minute goal.

Be careful only to use this tactic in the last moments of the game. Otherwise, you will be left with ten men for the large remainder of the game. You should also adjust your formation to account for the gap in defense the red card will leave.

Adjusting Your Tactics

Finally in this FIFA 22 Defending Guide we have custom tactics. Defending in FIFA isn’t just about how you perform on the pitch but also how you set up your team before and during the game. A lot comes down to the formation and tactics you use. If you struggle to contain counterattacks, you should decrease the depth and width of your defensive shape to ensure that more players get behind the ball and can choke out the opposition attack. A low width helps pack your players around the penalty box and makes it harder for the opposition to take a shot or find an intricate pass behind your defense. You should also set your style to either balanced or drop back, depending on how much you struggle while defending.

Tweak your Defensive Tactics

Tweak your Defensive Tactics

If we talk about specific player instructions, it will depend significantly on the formation you are using. If your system involves four players in the backline, instruct your fullbacks to stay behind while attacking. Do the same for the CDM. In a five-at-the-back system, you should instruct at least one of your wing-backs to stay back while attacking. As you get better at defending in FIFA, you can start instructing more players to storm forward. You can find more details on formations, tactics, and instructions in one of my other guides.

That’s about it for this FIFA 22 Defending Guide. Hopefully, as you apply these tips and tricks, you will start to limit the number of goals you concede. Remember that each of these tips complements each other, so to get the best out of your defense, you should apply them together. Also, don’t forget to master standing and sliding tackles in Skill Games!

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