Hole (association football)

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In association football, or soccer, the hole is generally referred to as the gap between a team's midfield players and its front strikers, particularly in a 4-4-2 formation resulting in a 4-4-1-1 formation. The gap might be filled through the employment of an attacking midfielder, or a deep lying striker. The player in the hole aims to utilise the gap left between opponent's midfield and defence.[1]

Notable players who occupy (or occupied) the hole include Pelé,[2] Eusébio, Johan Cruijff,[2] Zico, Michel Platini,[2] Diego Maradona,[2] Roberto Baggio, Kenny Dalglish, Dennis Bergkamp, Francesco Totti, Alessandro Del Piero, Peter Beardsley, Wesley Sneijder, Jari Litmanen, Eric Cantona, Wayne Rooney, Rivaldo, Zinedine Zidane,[2] Kaká, Mesut Özil, Rafael van der Vaart,[3] Dan Sellman and Ronaldinho - most of whom wore the number 10, although Beardsley often wore 8 while Dalglish wore 7. Hence a player who inherits the role of a playmaker, or who inhabits the hole can often be referred to as a "number 10".