Skip to main content
2v2 attack vs defence

2v2 attack vs defence

Adam Dunleavy, FA coach development officer, provides a small-sided attack versus defence practice that challenges players' decision-making skills.

Session plan

Want to try this with your team? Download the session plan and give it a go.


Set up an area appropriate for your players' age and stage of development. Place a halfway line down and put a goal at each end.  

We have eight players – three pairs and two goalkeepers – for this practice. Ensure there's a 2v2 and a keeper in one half, with the third pair and a keeper in the other half.  

If you have a larger group, create as many areas as you need to get everyone involved.  


How to play

The aim of the game is to work together in pairs to find the best way to score. While defenders are encouraged to defend high and keep their opponents away from shooting distance.  

One pair starts with the ball on the halfway line of the area. They play 2v2 against another couple who are defending the goal. If the attack ends due to a goal, a save, or the ball going out, the keeper plays it to the defenders – who then become attackers. They run forward to play 2v2 against the third pair in the other half.  

If the attack finishes because the defending team win possession back, they can immediately counter. They don't need to receive the ball from the keeper.  

Meanwhile, the original attackers drop back and wait to become defenders when a 2v2 emerges in their half again.  

The same process is repeated in the other half, too.  



If your players master this game – or find it too hard – try adding a progression. If you're looking for ideas, you could:   

  • make the area bigger to increase the space to attack   
  • reduce the space to increase the challenge for the attackers  
  • add more players to change the focus and the challenge of the session   
  • introduce a scoring system.   

But remember, learning takes time. So don't alter your activity too quickly or too much. To help, try using the STEP framework (Youth Sports Trust, 2002). This is a great way to keep things fun, engaging and appropriate.  

If you use this session with your team, let us know how you get on by posting in the England Football Community