Inspired by Croatia’s journey to the 2018 WC Final and in particular by the play of their midfielders Luka Modrić and Ivan Rakitić, here is a simple 7V7 training game that will encourage your players to join into the attack from deeper positions.
In Croatia’s version of their 4-3-3 system of play, Modrić and Rakitić at times sit a bit deeper as the two holding midfielders of a point forward three man midfield. They remain very effective in the attack often coming on to the buildup or finding themselves isolated 1V1, facing the goal and within scoring range.
This 7V7 training game will give your central players, midfielders and/or central defenders repetitions in similar game like scenarios and will create overloads from central areas and from deeper central positions.
7V7 game set up as shown in a 44X36 size pitch. Make sure there is a clear halfway line. Teams are organized in versions of 2-3-1 or 3-2-1 system of play.
Only one holding midfielder, #10, and one outside back can cross half field and attack the opponents goal. Only in attack and highlighted in yellow is the #9 who must start off the pitch in a offside position but can enter at any time during the buildup. The opposite side outside back and remaining holding midfielder must pinch centrally, organize marking for the yellow #9 and for the counter. The yellow #9 has just defended and must find his way to the end line for when his team wins possession and they start their attack. 3X5 minutes games.
Encourage quick penetrating actions through the middle of the pitch: #10 and holding midfielder penetrating on the dribble, penetrating passes to the #9, and shots from central areas. Add height to your attack by keeping the #9 in a high position. Encourage your outside backs to make slashing runs in behind the opponent in order to open up space for your central players to arrive into. Alternative condition could include allowing both outside backs and only one of the holding midfielders to join the attack thus changing your attacking players and potentially inverting the central midfield triangle all together.