Thursday, 02.05.2024


In Italian, Catenaccio means door-bolt, which implies a highly organised back line defence focused on nullifying opponents’ attacks. The Catenaccio was influenced by the verrou (chain) system invented by Austrian coach Karl Rappan. In the 1950s, Nereo Rocco pioneered the system in Italy where it would be used again by Internazionale under Helenio Herrera during the 1960s. They fielded a defensive sweeper called the verrouilleur that was highly defensive. Moreover, four man-marking defenders were tightly assigned to each opposing attacker while an extra sweeper would pick up any loose ball that escaped the coverage of the defenders. Overall, five players had no offensive duties and three additional players also primarily focused on defensive aspects. Later in his life, Herrera claimed that the system was more attacking than people remembered, because he also introduced attacking full-backs. Nowadays, Catenaccio stands for highly defensive and destructive football that tries to destroy the flow of the game and just looks for counterattacking opportunities by playing long balls.