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Tactical review of 2014: three at the back is back in fashion

Part one of our tactical review of the year looks at the re-emergence of playing three centre-backs and the return of the diamond formation

The reaction to the back three showed how fickle the representation and reception of tactical phenomena can be. At the World Cup, the back three, as used most eye-catchingly by Holland and Chile, but also by Mexico and Costa Rica, was presented as something exciting and new. And in a sense it was, or at least the return of a formation that had largely fallen out of fashion at international level. But really three at the back, in its reincarnated form, was never a single tactical movement in its own right; rather it was the result of other tactical decisions.

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