FIFA 15 is renowned for being easy to pick up and play, but it can still be a bit overwhelming for new players, particularly those who aren't especially familiar with the sport.
If this is your first time to playing FIFA, you may find these tips on scoring goals, converting penalties, and choosing formations helpful. If you're a veteran, you can find the players you should be targeting in career mode. Keep reading to take your first steps into the beautiful game.
Dos and Don'ts of Scoring Goals in FIFA 15
DO: Look for through ball opportunities: When you have the ball at midfield or in the box, keep an eye on your striker. If they suddenly break forward, this is usually your cue to press Triangle/Y to fire a through pass forward to get your attacker in on goal.
DON'T: Fire shots from outside the box: It used to be fairly easy to score from outside the box with power shots, but now the goalkeeper is much smarter and will probably see it coming in. You're better served kicking it out to the wing or looking for a through ball opportunity.
DO: Aim for the back corner of the net: When you're coming in on the goalkeeper, don't just shoot. Instead, hold up or down on the left analog stick and aim for the back corner of the net. Think of it as a diagonal line from your foot to the back of the net. You will have far more success finishing goals if you take this approach.
DO: Cross in the ball: If you're outside the box and you a few of your guys waiting up front, it can be benefit to loop an aerial pass into traffic from the wing and hope that your player can head it in. If they can't, there's a chance that the ball will carome around enough that someone will get hold of it and put it away.
DON'T: Try to carry the ball in by yourself: A common mistake by newcomers is to try and dodge five defenders with one player while making a run to goal. If the box is crowded, that means that there's room elsewhere. Kick it out to the wing, or look for an attacker coming in from behind. If you try to weave it through the entire defense, you will probably get tackled and find the ball going the other way.
DO: Put your best players in position to succeed: Learn the strengths and weaknesses of your preferred team and play to their strengths. A big, strong striker like Everton's Romelu Lukaku probably won't outrun the defense, but he's very good at winning headers and outmuscling defenders as a target man. Conversely, use Messi's amazing dribbling to your advantage and hit him with low crosses and through passes. Use the new Tactics functionality to designate roles such as Target Man for your attackers so they'll be in the right place at the right time.
DON'T: Take needless risks with possession: Take what the defense is giving you. If they are defending deep, don't lob in deep passes and through balls. Instead, play a little tiki-taka and patiently work the ball up the field with short passes alternating between the sideline and midfield. Be ready to seize opportunities when they appear, but be smart with the ball. Pass quickly and efficiently and wait for holes to open up in the opposing defense.
DO: Use your substitutes: When you're in the middle of a tense online game, it can be easy to forget about the guys on your bench. Your playmakers will eventually get tired though, and their performance will begin to decline. Sometimes the best way to get a crucial goal when you need it is to have a trump card stashed on the bench who can come in at just the right moment.
How to Score on Penalties and Free Kicks
Scoring on a penalty is relatively easy, but it takes a bit of finesse. Wait for the mark to hit the green center of the gauge, then tap (don't mash) shoot. While your player runs up to the ball, hold the stick in the direction you want the ball to go.
Scoring on a free kick is somewhat more difficult. You will want to aim the camera at the wall of players, looking for a gap between the heads of the players. Power up your shot to between two or three bars of power depending on your distance, and when your kicker starts running to the ball, hold the left analog stick up. The ball will then dip and should go into the net.
Finally, if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to stop a penalty as a goalkeeper, stay to the middle of the goal and either flick the right analog stick to the right or to the left depending on where you think the kicker will try and put the ball. As with stopping real penalties, there's some guesswork involved, but you should at least have a fighting chance.
Five Young Players to Target in Career Mode
Breel Donald Embolo (FC Basel 1893, £700,000 pounds): A 17-year-old with excellent stamina (84), strength (81), and sprint speed (83). Give him a few years, and he will grow into a top contributor in the midfield or at striker. And at less than a million pounds, he's affordable, too.
Zakaria Bakkali (PSV, £1.5 million): Once the undisputed best buy in career modes, Bakkali has taken a bit of a hit since FIFA 15. Nevertheless, at the tender age of 18 he possesses four star skill moves, and his 92 balance, 87 acceleration, and 84 dribbling are outstanding. Buy him, put him out on loan, and know that it won't be long before you have a monstrous player on the wing.
Timo Werner (VfB Stuttgard, £900,000): One of the fastest players in the Bundesliga, his terrifying speed (90 speed and 90 acceleration) and solid finishing makes him an ideal striker.
Simone Scuffet (Udinese, £725,000): Looking for a goalkeeper prospect? Scuffet may not look like much now (though his GK Reflexes are excellent at 81), but his 87 potential makes him one of the best young goalkeeper prospects in the game. If you're feeling a little thin at keeper, go out and buy him as soon as possible.
Youri Tielemans (RSC Anderlecht, £1.4 million): Meet the next Messi... at least in-game. Though he's just 17, he's solid in pretty much every category, which is quite remarkable for a player so young. Buy him cheap and watch him grow into the best character on your team.
Soccer Terminology to Keep in Mind
Target Man: A forward with the strength to possess the ball and hold off defenders. Typically, you will want to pass into their feet so that they can roll into the box and score. They're also pretty good at winning headers.
Counter: If the defense manages to pass the ball to attackers while their opponent is still forward on the attack, then attackers are on a counter. Many overmatched teams will play a defensive shell and hope for countering opportunities. This is one of the strategies available in the Tactics menu.
Tiki-taka: A style of play pioneered by Barcelona and Spain. It involves a series of short, quick passes designed to hold onto the ball as much as possible. Crossing the ball is anathema to tiki-taka since it means potentially losing possession. Goals are usually scored with precise through balls in the box.
Mark: A strategy in which a defender is assigned to guard an attacker one-on-one rather than protecting a space on the field. If you want, you can set a defender to mark opposing attackers in the Instructions tab in squad management.
Offsides: If the forward-most attacker runs behind the rear-most defender while the ball is possessed by a teammate, they are offside. They must stay level with the defense until the ball is passed forward, making timing runs an important skill.