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BBC SPORT | Football | Laws & Equipment | Formation: what's in a formation?

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Sven explains his thoughts on formations to Mr Hargreaves

Football is all about scoring and stopping goals.

But there are many different tactics that can be used in pursuit of these aims - and that's where the manager earns his crust.

It might be better to play more defensively to hold on to a lead.

Or, if the team is losing, a more attacking set-up that allows the players to push further forward may be required.

To alter the way the team is playing requires a change to the structure.

Traditionally, teams play in a 4-4-2 formation - that is four defenders, four midfielders and two strikers.

But, as the game has progressed and developed, managers and players have experimented with many variations of team formations.

Adaptability is the key and the best managers can change formations as the game progresses.

Check out our guide to some of the more basic formations using the tabs at the top of the page.

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