The 4-4-2 is a common and modern football formation that uses four midfielders, four defenders and two attacking players. This formation comes with several variations including the 4-4-2 diamond, wherein four midfielders form a diamond-shaped assembly without wide midfielders. Another variation is the 4-1-3-2, wherein three midfielders are tasked to concentrate on attacking while only one is expected to do the defending.

This kind of formation is considered flexible since it easily allows for customization according to the number of players available and the needs of the team.

History of the 4-4-2

The 4-4-2 formation is one of the most common formations used by football teams in the present time. It was developed in the 1990s and became very famous during the early part of the 2000s. Due to its popularity during this period, it became the title of a magazine.

From the 1990s to the early part of the 2000s, the 4-4-2 formation required midfielders to work hard to support both offense and defense. Commonly, one of the midfielders who take the central position is expected to support the forward pair by going upfield as often as possible, while the other will shield the defense. On the other hand, the two wide midfield players are expected to protect the full-backs while at the same time maintain an attacking position by moving up the flanks to the goal line.

From 1988 to 1995 the formation became very popular in Italy because it was commonly used by the team from Milan which was trained by Fabio Capello and Arrigo Sacchi. This team won three UEFA Super Cups, two International Cups and three European Cups during this period.

More recently, the formation is slowly being phased out. There are new variations being used especially after England were eliminated at the 2010 World Cup while using the 4-4-2.

Significance of the 4-4-2

Despite being considered by some teams as an outdated formation, the 4-4-2 is still considered as the best formation that can protect the entire width of the field. This is because a team using the formation will force its opponent to get past two banks of four. This was why teams like Leicester City, Real Madrid, and Atletico Madrid have contributed to its revival.

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