The Long Dribbling Run in the World Cup

Long dribbling run: Isn’t the World Cup and soccer in general all about the mazy dribbling run? Those dribbling runs where the player seems like they should almost stop and they’re taking too much risk by continuing to dribble. There not supposed to do that. The game is supposed to be just one and two touches. You can’t dribble the ball that far for that long…especially in such an important World Cup game.

Sure, goals and intricate passes and one twos are great, but seeing one player beat multiple defenders over a long distance is what really makes the game fun to watch and stuns fans. And it’s what makes the World Cup so fun to watch. Where the pressure is so high.

In the World Cup in Qatar, Joao Felix had a long dribbling run versus Switzerland. Felix is really showing how much talent he has this World Cup for Portugal. Let’s hope he has one or two more dribbling runs in him for Portugal as they face off against Morocco.

Lionel Messi had a dribbling run versus Australia. Hope Messi has one versus Croatia in the semi-finals.

Christian Pulisic almost had a few of these types of dribbling runs for the United States. Sergino Dest too, even though he’s an outside back.

Actually, in the modern game today, outside backs function more like wingers and are going on long runs more often. Think of Canada and Bayern Munich fullback Alphonso Davies, who gets up and down the line on the dribble fairly often.

And I mean those dribbling runs where the soccer ball just sticks to the player’s foot and they keep going and going with the ball up the field despite defenders fouling them and pushing them.

Defenders hate it when attackers do this too. Usually they’re forced to do a professional foul before the attacker is running at a speed where defenders are unable to contain them.

At times you’ll see Yunus Musah charge forward on the dribble. Brazil’s Neymar will do it. So does Luca Modric. Also, England’s Jude Bellingham knows how to charge forward on the dribble. Once someone is charging at defenders on the dribble it draws in the opposition and opens up spaces for other attackers.

In world football, when teams like Spain play mostly one and two touch football, it’s smart to break the game up by going at defenders on the dribble.

What constitutes a mazy dribbling run? I’d say the dribbling player has to cover more than thirty yards and be impacted by three to four defenders. And it is all about the change of pace. A burst of speed up field that builds up over the distance they cover.

The most famous of these World Cup dribbling runs is of course Maradona’s run against England in 1986.

I think players should try this more often. Especially when they get a head of steam going. And soccer coaches, especially in youth soccer, should encourage young players to try going on a mazy dribbling run when it’s on. Certainly when they’re feeling confident and the space opens up, players should go for it.

The long dribbling run in the World Cup doesn’t happen very often and that just why it’s so fun to watch.