Where is the Space? Part 3: Parallel vs Diagonal

Updated: Aug 11, 2019

Part 3: Parallel vs Diagonal: Enhancing Connection Capabilities

Note: Before you read this article, if you have not already done so, please read our articles regarding “The Parallel” and “The Diagonal” and watch the corresponding videos (Part 1 and Part 2 of “Where is the Space?”).


As you have (hopefully) watched in our videos and read in our articles, The Parallel and The Diagonal can provide options for connections often not expected by the defenders.

They are the most known movements of Futsal, and each of these connections on their own can be an important tool on the soccer field.

However, when you put both of them together, you will be working on much more than just “their sum.” Together, they will provide players with important ways to read and create spaces, not just vertically, but also laterally (or horizontally, if you prefer).


As discussed in our previous articles, when played with organized defensive strategies, the environment of Futsal itself “forces” players to look for solutions beyond balls behind the defenders.

Sideways movements and countermovements are important tools to unbalance the other team’s defenses.

The Diagonal Ball focuses on the ball being played in front of or behind the defender defending the pass.

The Parallel Ball focuses on the ball being played inside or outside of the defender pressuring the player with the ball.

Let’s take a look at a few passing options, including use of the Parallel and the Diagonal, in a 2v2 scenario:

Figure 1: Passes according to the defenders’ positions (from the book “Soccer Powered by Futsal”)

01: Parallel Pass: outside of the defender pressuring the ball

02: Through Ball or 1-2: behind the defenders

03: Diagonal Ball: a penetrating pass generally made in front of a defender

04: Feet: a pass to maintain possession

For the players passing the ball, it is very important to be intentional on the pass, deciding which one of the options is available. Unfortunately, often we see attempts that are “something in between” these options, and the connection fails.

For the player receiving the pass, it is equally important to realize where space is and move accordingly. Sometimes, it means a change in the of direction of the run.

Let’s look at a few examples that combine The Parallel and The Diagonal:


Figure 2: Player (02) starts moving to the right, but makes a quick change of direction in order to receive the parallel ball.

Figure 3: Player (02) starts a run diagonally to the left (possibly for a parallel ball) and changes direction in order to receive a diagonal ball.

Figure 4: Player (01) realizes that Player (A) moved to try to block a pass to Player (02) and makes a counter movement in order to beat Player (A) and advance with the ball.

Figure 5: This diagram is basically the opposite of Figure 4 in terms of sides.