Football journalist and FIFA fan Darren Cross shares his tips on scoring from long range in the World Cup game.
I must have already scored more spectacular long-range goals in 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil than in any other version of the game I've ever played.
When you catch that official World Cup ball properly – with a player that can hit good long shots – it really zings off your foot and can often end up in the back of the net. It's happened regularly enough for me that I've changed my attacking style to set up more long shots – they really do seem to be that much more effective in the World Cup game.
But there is a lot more to scoring from distance than just hitting the shoot button and hoping. There are many things you can do to increase your chances of beating the keeper from outside the area, and in this week's Backpage we're going to take a detailed look at them so that you can rip more nets from range this summer.
When To Shoot
There are two types of shots from distance I try regularly in open play in the World Cup game – the quick shot and the more standard long shot.
A quick shot is when I try to score first time, without taking a touch to control the ball – usually from a lay-off, pass or through ball – and I think of a standard long shot as something a bit more crafted, using a player that already has control of the ball. Whether or not I attempt either type of shot depends mainly on three things; the long shot ability of my player, the space he has and his angle to the goal.
Long Shot Ability
If you use the same team a lot in the World Cup game then it’s worth finding out which of the players can hit good long shots, and you can do that by cycling through their profiles in the team management screen. I’ll have a go at goal with anything in the low to mid 70s and upwards, especially if the player has a good shot power rating too.
Anything less than that and I’m more likely to hold on to the ball and look for a different route to goal.
To go for any kind of effective long shot the ball needs to be out of your player’s feet before you strike it, so you have the space to power up your shot and build a bit of momentum. If it’s too close to your feet and your player has no opportunity to run on to it then you’ll notice your shot will be more floaty than usual, and probably less accurate.
To hit a quick first-time long shot, you power up as the ball is coming towards you or as you are moving towards it. Timing is really important here – start powering your shot late and the ball will be too close to your feet as you strike it.
If you already have the ball and want to go for a long shot then you need space ahead of you to move into. Simply running without holding sprint will give you a decent amount of momentum as you power up your shot, but generally I like to sprint on to the ball when I have the opportunity. The more space you’ve got to work in the better really, as long as you don’t have opposition players close by that could get in the way.
For tips on creating the space to shoot have a look here:
You’ve got the best chance of hitting a good long shot when your player is either facing the goal directly or at anything up to a 45 degree angle. It is possible to score long shots when your player is side-on to the goal – think 90 degree angle running up or down the pitch with the ball on the same side as his strong foot – but it’s much harder to do than when facing the goal straight on or diagonally.
If you’ve got a bit of space – or can create some – between your player and the ball, you’re at a good angle to the goal and the player you’re controlling has a good long shot rating, then you’re good to go. All you have to do next is power up your shot and direct the ball where you want it to go.
How To Shoot
There are two main things to think about here – power and aim.
There’s really no definitive rule for how much power you should go for to hit an effective long shot every time, because it differs depending on things like your distance from goal and the ability of your player. Generally though I find that a player with decent long shot ability should be able to test the keeper from around the edge of the area with somewhere between 2 and 2.5 bars of power. The longer you hold the button the higher the shot will climb, so keep that in mind as you get closer to the goal. Similarly, if you wanted to hit a low or bouncing long shot – which can also be tricky to save – then you can do so simply by reducing the power.
To practice getting the power just right, the best thing to do is pick a team you play as a lot and head to the Arena. From there you can set up a practice match with no outfield opposition and work on long shots from different distances with a number of players.
The final part is aiming your shot, which you do while simultaneously powering up, and I think you usually have the best chance of scoring by going for the area of the goal that the keeper is furthest away from.
For example, let’s say I’m shooting to the right and heading in diagonally from a wide right position. In this situation I know that the keeper will almost always be closest to his near post, so there should be more of a gap between him and the far corner of the goal. To aim my shot there using assisted shot settings I’ll point the left stick diagonally up and to the right while powering my shot. If I hold the left stick diagonally down and to the right while powering then my effort would be closer to the near post.
The more long shots you try, the quicker you’ll instinctively get a good idea of where the keeper is likely to be positioned, and so which part of the goal would be best to aim for. That can come in really handy for situations when you haven’t got time to have a quick look at the goal before you shoot.
I really think it’s worth getting into the habit of shooting from distance in 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil because long shots are so effective and have the added bonus of almost always looking great. Hopefully the tips we’ve covered here will help you bag even more goals from distance.
If you have any tips on playing as England that you’d like to share with other players, please comment below or tweet them to me @darren_cross
As always, thanks very much for reading.