How do defenders score points?

Don’t concede, clear your lines and send your centre-backs up for corners! it’s as easy as that when it comes to defenders scoring big in the CPI.

Greece proved in Euro 2004 that a tight defence can work wonders and the CPI recognises the role of the back line, rewarding defensive players for scoring goals and stopping the other team from doing likewise.

Making stops
Tackling and stopping the opponent is a defender’s ‘bread and butter’. Points are accumulated for tackles made and deducted for those missed, with the reward or penalty being greater the closer the attacker is to goal. Blocking shots is another way to amass CPI points, while a goal-line clearance can be as rewarding as scoring a goal.

While working as a unit might be critical for an effective defence, CPI scores are based on individual performances. A defender might be on the wrong end of a 7-0 drubbing, but he can still shine if his tackling, blocking and distribution have all been up to scratch.

Netherlands defender Johnny Heitinga is the perfect example. Despite being part of a defence that conceded three against Austria in a friendly in March, he prevented his side from conceding more. He scored, too, sending him to the top of the Index in March.

Goals win games!and points
Heitinga proved that defenders can win points by straying into nosebleed territory. The highest ranked defenders in the CPI are usually the ones who have scored, and just as it is for strikers and midfielders, the more spectacular the goal the higher the reward.

Imagine a player stopping a goal on his own goal line, running the length of the pitch and scoring an overhead kick into the top corner from 35 yards: that is the equivalent of hitting the jackpot!

Long ball game
Any pass that finds its target will score CPI points. Some defenders, however, like to hit more direct passes. Long passes that not only find their target but also contribute to an attacking move, score big in the CPI.

This would have Netherlands’ legend Renus Michels turning in his grave, but the further a completed pass the higher the points reward, even more so if it creates a goal or scoring opportunity. As far as defenders are concerned the CPI rewards accurate long-ball football!

Where there’s a reward there’s always a risk, though, and longer balls are less likely to result in completed passes, meaning points deducted. Similarly, shorter passes in and around a player’s own area don’t score highly; the CPI assumes that there is a higher chance of the opposition seizing possession. Safety first is the way forward!