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During a training session, a player makes a run in between two defenders in the hope of receiving a pass from his teammate out wide.

Firstly, what do we mean by core football moves? Well, they’re simple combinations that players can use to help keep possession and get past opponents. And they can take place anywhere on the pitch.

These moves can happen between two or three players. But here, we’re focusing on two-player core moves.   
Let’s take a look at them.  

Wall Pass Graphic

This one-two pass is simple but effective.  

Player A passes to player B, then runs around their opponent and into space to receive. For this to work effectively, player A needs to let the defender get close before passing.  

They then have to move quickly to get the ball back. Player B must be in a good position to play a first-time pass back to their teammate.  

Pass and follow graphic

This move is exactly how it sounds. Player A passes to player B then follows the pass and receives the ball back.  

To carry out this move, player A needs to slow down on the ball and entice the defender to get close. Then, they can pass the ball to their teammate and quickly move towards them. They may have to change speed or direction at some point to lose the defender.  

Meanwhile, player B should pick up a good position and play a soft pass back to player A.  

Diagonal pass, straight run

Diagonal pass graphic

Here, player B makes a straight run behind a defender. Player A then plays a diagonal pass – in this case, a through-ball between two defenders – to player B who’s in behind their opponent.  

For this one, player A needs to keep close control of the ball and provide a suitably weighted pass into space for their teammate to run onto.  

Player B needs to make their run when the defender focuses on the ball and time it right so they arrive into space as the ball is played into their path.  

Straight pass graphic

This is the opposite of the previous move. Player B makes a diagonal run behind a defender – player D – to receive a straight pass from their teammate.  

Again, player A needs to keep close control of the ball to play the pass into space at any moment.  

Player B has to make their run behind player D when the defender goes to block the simple pass towards them. Again, they need to time their run so they arrive into space as the ball is played into their path.  

Overlap graphic

The overlap involves the passer running around the outside of the receiver.  

In the scenario above, player A is being closed down by a defender – player D. While player B is closely marked by another defender – player E.  

Player A passes into the feet of player B, then makes their move past player D and player B. This creates a 2v1 overload in their favour. Player E now has two attackers to deal with.   
To use this move successfully, player A has to pass the ball in a way that is easy for player B to control it.  

Player B needs to secure the ball, stay on it to attract the defender and give their teammate the time to make an overlap. 


Takeover graphic

For this core move, player B simply runs towards player A and takes the ball off them. To make this work, the following needs to happen:  

  • Player A protects the ball.  
  • They shield it by moving the ball with the foot furthest away from the defender.  
  • When the time is right, player A stops the ball to allow player B to take it.  
  • Player B runs around the back of player A and takes the ball at the right time.  
  • When they have it, they run into space. 
  • If an opponent follows player B, they can always fake the takeover by allowing player A to stay on the ball. 

Now that you know about the two-player core football moves, discover what the three-player core moves are by reading our article.  

And if you want to see examples of them in action, check out this blog on the England Football Community.