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Dribbling past a man is still as nails as it was in FIFA 10. Rather than trying to beat a player outright, you should just concentrate on trying to create yourself a yard of space with a shimmy on L2 or quick change of direction with R2. This’ll help you create space for yourself to make a pass or crack off a shot.
Above: Hold down L2 while dribbling to keep the ball close to your body
When you’re using R2 to run, make sure you use it sparingly. The easiest way to lose the ball is too charge at a player like Little Johnny Sprint-a-lot and end up on your arse when they stick a foot out. The best way to use it is to combine the technique with the controlled L2 dribble. Switching between pace and close control should confuse your opposite number and give you a better chance of getting by him.
Above: The heel to heel flick in all its showy 'works every so often' glory
Now onto tricks that won’t have you eating grass. And we’ll be honest, it’s a short list. While the exhaustive array of L2 and right stick tricks might look ace in the Arena mode, most of them simply take too long to pull off in an actual match. The only one we find consistently works it the heel to heel flick. To pull it off, simply hold L2 and tap the right stick from left to right if running horizontally or up and down if running vertically. It’s a great technique when you’re bombing down the wing and want to beat the last man.
Let’s get one thing right off the bat… or eh, boot. Scoring from any further than 35 yards out from a free kick in World Cup 2010 is as rare as Yeti shit. That’s why we’re only going to concentrate on scoring ones from a sensible distance. During our lunchtime sessions we usually find ourselves banging in set pieces from the edge of the box, normally about 20-25 yards out. The best technique is to push up on the right stick and hold square on the power bar until it’s about a quarter full.
Above: Ronaldo's a posing so-and-so, but he can take a belting free kick
It’s also possible to go under the wall and this can be a good way of outfoxing keepers. Just hold down L1 while taking your shot, and again, make sure the power bar is no more than a quarter full.
Short and simple here: penalties are a massive ballache in World Cup 2010. Seemingly thinking they had to break a system that wasn’t bust in FIFA 10, EA have added a new composure bar that affects your shots. Working like a golf game-esque swing meter, you have to land in the small green area in the middle of the bar by pressing square. Once you’ve done this, hold square to adjust the power and hold a direction while running up to place it in a specific part of the goal.
Above: The composure bar is key to penalties, so keep a careful eye on it
The key to power and direction is to not hold down either square or the left stick for too long. The most important thing is landing in the middle section of the composure bar. Do this, and you’ll give yourself a decent chance of scoring.
You can also try and few fancy techniques if you’re feeling cocky. During your run up, press square again and your player will perform a stutter shot, where he’ll briefly stop before striking the ball. This is a good way to see what way the keeper will dive, though it comes at the expense of power. You can also hold down L1/R1 while taking your shot to perform a chip/finesse penalty.
To save penalties with your keeper it’s just a case of guessing which way the taker will go and diving left or right with the right stick. You can also move around with the left stick if you want to try and psyche out the keeper Bruce Grobbelaar-style.
Above: Dive the right way and heroic keeper moments await
It might be about as exciting as filing a tax return while eating dry crackers, but fiddling about in the formation menu can really pay dividends on the pitch. The important thing is to find a formation that caters to your playing style. If you favour wing play, you’d be well advised to play a 4-3-3. However, it you like controlling the midfield, you could benefit by having an extra man in there with a 4-5-1. If you really want to go for the jugular, and you have the attacking midfielders and strikers to pull if off (i.e. a Brazil or France), why not play three at the back?
Above: Who said formation menus weren't sexy?
The best way is to experiment in practice matches and see what works for you before jumping into the World Cup mode. The only thing you really have to worry about is not playing men out of position. Try to play a striker on the wing and his stats will drop, making him less effective.
Try to cater your formation around the players you have in your squad. If you’ve got a couple of really adept strikers (like Spain’s Torres and Villa) you’d be well advised to play a traditional 4-4-2.
Next, we'll show you how to win the World Cup...