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MrGol

Risk versus tempo in possession football tactic

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What am I trying to achieve?

I want my team to play possession football, playing through the opposition with quick combinations. I'm not aiming at the ultra-dominant style used by Ajax for the past two seasons, I'm looking at a slightly more considered approach like Sarri's Napoli or even Japan at the last world cup. As the screenshot shows I'm playing as Juventus, but I'm not aiming to reproduce the very cautious style they've been playing for the last two years.

In terms of player roles:

  • I would like the AML to function as the primary goalscorer. For this reason he has the "play narrow" PI, so that he's basically a second striker playing slightly wide.
  • I want the striker to link to the midfield, but also score occasional goals (though more like 10-15 per season rather than 20-25). In previous FMs playing a lone striker with an attack duty made him very isolated, hence the DLF on support.
  • The right winger is a runner acts as the main assister, either with a semi-cross on the striker or the AML, a through ball to the striker, or a cutback to one of the central midfielders. I was very happy with the introduction of the inverted winger role in the AM strata, as the conventional winger is basically a cross machine and the IF is more of a striker.
  • The mezzala is also a runner and is supposed to provide some movement down the middle. I expect him to get assists rather than goals.

561928427_ScreenShot2020-02-23at17_06_58.thumb.png.d0631518a1603c969433e1b8d1817e1b.png

What is going well?

  • The AML is playing very well and scoring a lot of goals.
  • The DLP acts as the regista and recycles possession well.
  • Good overlaps from the WBR.
  • The mezzala and right winger are not getting in each other's way, which is something I was initially worried of.

What is not going well?

  • I'm having some trouble in getting my team to play the way I want, especially down the center. My DLF is barely involved in play, my midfielders have problems to reach him. 
  • My winger tends to dribble at every opportunity, but doesn't really have an end product. 
  • My midfielders tend to pass the ball around without any forward progression.
  • I'm not creating many chances because of the above (observed by watching some matches in full)
  • I usually have around 47% - 52% possession, which isn't bad but can hardly be considered possession football.

So why the title of this post?

When looking at the presets for both possession football and vertically tika taka I find it very surprising that they use balanced mentality plus lower tempo. I find that combination very cautious, and I would not associated with the style of football I described in the beginning. I find that my team plays a lot better with a positive mentality. That's not just because Juve are better than the rest of the league, I previously played as Sassuolo and has the same. Setting the tempo to lower slightly improves the decision making, but it doesn't solve the movement problem down the middle.

In theory, the reverse of what I'm doing (i.e. setting mentality to balanced and tempo too high) should be more what I want, namely the team playing "safe" quick passes and using movement to unlock the opposition defense, but I'm not seeting it.

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To recreate this kind of football, in my opinion you need to set risk (or mentality) to High while Tempo to Low.

I'm developing Total Football/2012 Barcelona tactic at the moment and testing it both with Arsenal and Fiorentina. I find that the representation of fluid quick short pass possession is actually best done by playing as fluid as possible and with as much attacking mentality as possible. So either on attacking or very attacking. At the same time you have to be careful with Team instructions or it will become too direct. To counter this i set my instructions to very short passing and low tempo. Also play out of defence is essential.

What attacking mentality helps with is the verticalilty aspect of Vertical Tiki-Take. Combine that with run at defence and you get some nice flowing passing football. Especially if you have a lot One Twos PPMs. 

The formation I am using is actually very similar to yours except that use inverted wingbacks just because it wouldn't be a Pep tactic without them. Also they are essential for overloads and midfield control. And for my striker a False 9. It key role in both Cruyffs Ajax Total Football and Pep's Barcelona. I find iy perfectly suited for this style because it dribbles more and drops deeper which is what you need. Think Messi under Pep at Barca when he still played centrally. DLF is good but too conservative for this style. But you do need a very technical and creative striker for False9 to work well. Basically you will need a world-class player there. 

Edited by crusadertsar

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I will be writing more about my Total Football experiments in quite some detail in a series of guides im starting next week if you are interested.

Also if you go with two inverted wingbacks make sure that both of your wingers stay wider to help with overloads. You can use Inverted Winger but just tell him to stay wider. While for my left attacker I like to use a heavily modified trequartista (again told to act like a winger without the crossing) with preferably PPMs to run with the ball and cut inside.

Also if you are trying to play a high possession football, why don't you play with a high defensive line? It's pretty much essential for this style. To compress the passing distances and to assert control over opponents half

Edited by crusadertsar

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1 hour ago, MrGol said:

So why the title of this post?

When looking at the presets for both possession football and vertically tika taka I find it very surprising that they use balanced mentality plus lower tempo. I find that combination very cautious, and I would not associated with the style of football I described in the beginning. I find that my team plays a lot better with a positive mentality. That's not just because Juve are better than the rest of the league, I previously played as Sassuolo and has the same. Setting the tempo to lower slightly improves the decision making, but it doesn't solve the movement problem down the middle.

In theory, the reverse of what I'm doing (i.e. setting mentality to balanced and tempo too high) should be more what I want, namely the team playing "safe" quick passes and using movement to unlock the opposition defense, but I'm not seeting it

Possession football is also about defensive (out-of-possession) instructions, not just in-possession ones. Your in-possession instructions are possession-friendly overall, so if you want more possession - you basically need to try and engage the opposition higher up the pitch.

Logically, the easiest way to do that is to up the LOE to higher (or even much higher). But that can compromise your vertical compactness due to the greater distance between DL and LOE. You can solve that by upping the DL also to higher (or much higher), but then there is a potential risk of opposition balls over the top (although I guess your defenders at Juve should be good enough to deal with that successfully for the most part).

Another option is to up the D-line to higher while keeping the LOE at standard, but with the addition of a split block involving your 4-5 most advanced players (in which case I would suggest removing the Prevent short GKD).

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You style is identical to the one I'm trying to achieve. 

What I have noticed is playing against teams who use a lower mentality then it is almost impossible to win the possession game. They appear to happily play the ball around defence whilst my high pressing front four chasing the ball like a bunch of headless chickens, there are occasions where one of the forward do win the ball and get through on goal, but very rarely does it result in a goal. 

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14 minutes ago, bdixon said:

You style is identical to the one I'm trying to achieve. 

What I have noticed is playing against teams who use a lower mentality then it is almost impossible to win the possession game. They appear to happily play the ball around defence whilst my high pressing front four chasing the ball like a bunch of headless chickens, there are occasions where one of the forward do win the ball and get through on goal, but very rarely does it result in a goal. 

Yeah that is so frustrating man. As its something that compared to real life requires excessive amounts of skill to pull off. Especially if the opponent dedicates four/five players to press high. In FM you see centerbacks with 8 passing keeping it cool  :D

Have you thought about maybe change the formation where you have 2 central strikers pressing in the center and two hig and wide players pressing early on the fullbacks? I have found that it makes it a little easier. 

Edited by Gegenklaus

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16 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

I will be writing more about my Total Football experiments in quite some detail in a series of guides im starting next week if you are interested.

Also if you go with two inverted wingbacks make sure that both of your wingers stay wider to help with overloads. You can use Inverted Winger but just tell him to stay wider. While for my left attacker I like to use a heavily modified trequartista (again told to act like a winger without the crossing) with preferably PPMs to run with the ball and cut inside.

Also if you are trying to play a high possession football, why don't you play with a high defensive line? It's pretty much essential for this style. To compress the passing distances and to assert control over opponents half

VERY INTERESTED

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17 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

I will be writing more about my Total Football experiments in quite some detail in a series of guides im starting next week if you are interested.

Also if you go with two inverted wingbacks make sure that both of your wingers stay wider to help with overloads. You can use Inverted Winger but just tell him to stay wider. While for my left attacker I like to use a heavily modified trequartista (again told to act like a winger without the crossing) with preferably PPMs to run with the ball and cut inside.

Also if you are trying to play a high possession football, why don't you play with a high defensive line? It's pretty much essential for this style. To compress the passing distances and to assert control over opponents half

Sorry to hijack the OG post but do you have the first version of this tactic available? 

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43 minutes ago, Irn Rvd said:

Sorry to hijack the OG post but do you have the first version of this tactic available? 

Not quite I am making some tweaks to the preliminary version for article release on Monday. My roles are more or less crystalized but testing is not complete. But I'll be sure to post about it on here as soon as possible. 

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I've spent the last couple of seasons dominating possession (averaged 61% last season with the 5/6th best team in Chile) with a couple of different formations but the same TIs.

I play on balanced mentality, with shorter passing and a higher tempo for in possession instructions. That means we're not taking too many risks, but we're also not just knocking the ball around aimlessly.

I then have counter-press, counter and distribute to CB/FB for the in transition instructions. Counter-press because if I want to win the possession battle I need to win the ball back quickly. Counter is to ensure that my transitions are quick and the opposition doesn't get too long to rebuild its defence when I get the ball back, otherwise I'm stuck with two banks of 4 and no hope of scoring. It may mean I sacrifice possession, but having the ball with two banks of 4 to break through is pointless, I'd prefer to hit when the opponent is a bit disorganised.

Out of possession I play with a high defensive line and prevent short GK distribution. I want to push the DLine up so I'm camped in the opponents half when I have the ball to increase the pressure and recycle it around. It also helps with vertical compactness as I've not played with a DM in my last two formations so it gets my defence closer to my midfield. Prevent short GK distribution is to force them to kick it long so they can't build from the back.

And thats it. I don't see the need for play out of defence or work ball into box, they seem too restrictive IMO. I've already got shorter passing on, I trust my guys to play the right ball if someones available (if they're not then play out of defence would make no difference anyway) and work ball into box slows down the attack too much IMO. I've seen upwards of 70% in game at times and won 14/15 games conceding 3 goals in the first half of my current season in Uruguay (and 2 of those were in the game I lost).

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45 minutes ago, Britrock said:

I've spent the last couple of seasons dominating possession (averaged 61% last season with the 5/6th best team in Chile) with a couple of different formations but the same TIs.

I play on balanced mentality, with shorter passing and a higher tempo for in possession instructions. That means we're not taking too many risks, but we're also not just knocking the ball around aimlessly.

I then have counter-press, counter and distribute to CB/FB for the in transition instructions. Counter-press because if I want to win the possession battle I need to win the ball back quickly. Counter is to ensure that my transitions are quick and the opposition doesn't get too long to rebuild its defence when I get the ball back, otherwise I'm stuck with two banks of 4 and no hope of scoring. It may mean I sacrifice possession, but having the ball with two banks of 4 to break through is pointless, I'd prefer to hit when the opponent is a bit disorganised.

Out of possession I play with a high defensive line and prevent short GK distribution. I want to push the DLine up so I'm camped in the opponents half when I have the ball to increase the pressure and recycle it around. It also helps with vertical compactness as I've not played with a DM in my last two formations so it gets my defence closer to my midfield. Prevent short GK distribution is to force them to kick it long so they can't build from the back.

And thats it. I don't see the need for play out of defence or work ball into box, they seem too restrictive IMO. I've already got shorter passing on, I trust my guys to play the right ball if someones available (if they're not then play out of defence would make no difference anyway) and work ball into box slows down the attack too much IMO. I've seen upwards of 70% in game at times and won 14/15 games conceding 3 goals in the first half of my current season in Uruguay (and 2 of those were in the game I lost).

What’s the chance creation like? What’s Your formation and roles? 
The chance creation is the part I can’t really get working to be honest. 
 

ive actually reverted back to crusaders total football v1 tactic 4141. Getting really good results but opposition are starting to work it out by playing really conservative possession football stifling our fast attacks. 

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Chance creation can be a bit spotty at times, especially against a team set out to defend deep. I've run into a lot of 442s with 2DM in Uruguay and my go to against those is maximum width and be more expressive, which has mostly worked.

This is my current formation, with the first half and second half of the season results (the Uruguayan league system is weird). We're the best team in Uruguay,  but the first half of the season was absolutely insane dominance. We sold our starting RPM mid-season, then also sold the guy I was going to replace him with a week or two later. At one point in the second half of the season my top 5 MC/AMCs were injured/suspended so the second half wasn't as dominant as the first. The only change to my TIs above is the overlap, which is to hold the ML a bit more and get the DL forward more.

image.thumb.png.7e725cbb96514cb742dd55c64d3acfb6.png

image.thumb.png.37634d4402dd76f1c8fd4fe9a664082f.png

image.thumb.png.465c227decc03098cebd56a4aafc4e7d.png

Average possession for the season was 63%, with 20,433 passes completed (1st by 3,600) at 88% pass completion rate (1st). According to the league stats we created 84 chances (5th), had 322 shots on target (2nd), which is 52% of all our shots (2nd) and a conversion rate of 14% (1st). 90 goals overall, of which 25 were goals from set pieces, so 65 goals from open play.

image.thumb.png.4f9bb8d6d02fd94e5cf5cad8b36dd49d.png

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23 minutes ago, Britrock said:

Chance creation can be a bit spotty at times, especially against a team set out to defend deep. I've run into a lot of 442s with 2DM in Uruguay and my go to against those is maximum width and be more expressive, which has mostly worked.

This is my current formation, with the first half and second half of the season results (the Uruguayan league system is weird). We're the best team in Uruguay,  but the first half of the season was absolutely insane dominance. We sold our starting RPM mid-season, then also sold the guy I was going to replace him with a week or two later. At one point in the second half of the season my top 5 MC/AMCs were injured/suspended so the second half wasn't as dominant as the first. The only change to my TIs above is the overlap, which is to hold the ML a bit more and get the DL forward more.

image.thumb.png.7e725cbb96514cb742dd55c64d3acfb6.png

image.thumb.png.37634d4402dd76f1c8fd4fe9a664082f.png

image.thumb.png.465c227decc03098cebd56a4aafc4e7d.png

Average possession for the season was 63%, with 20,433 passes completed (1st by 3,600) at 88% pass completion rate (1st). According to the league stats we created 84 chances (5th), had 322 shots on target (2nd), which is 52% of all our shots (2nd) and a conversion rate of 14% (1st). 90 goals overall, of which 25 were goals from set pieces, so 65 goals from open play.

image.thumb.png.4f9bb8d6d02fd94e5cf5cad8b36dd49d.png

Impressive stuff. I love a false nine rmd tactic. I will give this a try later today. Just about finished my season so got a preseason to try a new tactic. 

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some thoughts about your tactic, i would swap the 2 midfielders and play the attack minded on the left spot and make the right back attacking to create a natural overlap. Maybe try another role instead of mezzalla especially if he isn't left footed to actually go wide behind  the inside forward who cuts inside.(ramsey is right footed, a simple cm attack woud be perfect for him). also at dmc spot i would try an anchroman or a simple DMC role, that position is the crucial point of any tactic with one defensive midfielder, and certainly pjanic isnt't that type of footballer, he is great but further up the pitch. 

a possible triangle could be

DMC(anchorman or DMd) bentancur

MCR(MC support): pjanic

MCL(MC attack) : ramsey

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On 28/02/2020 at 09:02, bdixon said:

You style is identical to the one I'm trying to achieve. 

What I have noticed is playing against teams who use a lower mentality then it is almost impossible to win the possession game. They appear to happily play the ball around defence whilst my high pressing front four chasing the ball like a bunch of headless chickens, there are occasions where one of the forward do win the ball and get through on goal, but very rarely does it result in a goal. 

Yes, that's exactly what I noticed when I watched the match in full. I will try Experienced Defender's advice and move up the line of engagement, though I didn't do that at first due to fears over compactness. However, that was before the match engine patch when balls over the top were massively overpowered, so maybe things will be better now.

What I also find interesting is that crusadertsar uses positive mentality + low tempo, and britrock uses balanced + high tempo. I'm sure there are more multiple ways leading to Rome, but that pretty much confirms my doubt :D I guess the best way is to just try both and see which one looks better to me.

Note: I post very infrequently, but I'v actually been a forum member for a long time, and I really appreciate that whenever I'm stuck there's always a bunch of people ready to have a look and offer useful suggestions. Thanks everyone!

Edited by MrGol

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On 27/02/2020 at 13:14, crusadertsar said:

To recreate this kind of football, in my opinion you need to set risk (or mentality) to High while Tempo to Low.

I'm developing Total Football/2012 Barcelona tactic at the moment and testing it both with Arsenal and Fiorentina. I find that the representation of fluid quick short pass possession is actually best done by playing as fluid as possible and with as much attacking mentality as possible. So either on attacking or very attacking. At the same time you have to be careful with Team instructions or it will become too direct. To counter this i set my instructions to very short passing and low tempo. Also play out of defence is essential.

What attacking mentality helps with is the verticalilty aspect of Vertical Tiki-Take. Combine that with run at defence and you get some nice flowing passing football. Especially if you have a lot One Twos PPMs. 

The formation I am using is actually very similar to yours except that use inverted wingbacks just because it wouldn't be a Pep tactic without them. Also they are essential for overloads and midfield control. And for my striker a False 9. It key role in both Cruyffs Ajax Total Football and Pep's Barcelona. I find iy perfectly suited for this style because it dribbles more and drops deeper which is what you need. Think Messi under Pep at Barca when he still played centrally. DLF is good but too conservative for this style. But you do need a very technical and creative striker for False9 to work well. Basically you will need a world-class player there. 

Umm, if you are trying to recreate Barca 2012 Pep tactic, they didn't use Inverted Wingbacks. And the formation was more like 3-4-3 with Messi as F9 and Cesc as SS.

Pep started using Inverted Wingbacks at Bayern. 

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, yonko said:

Umm, if you are trying to recreate Barca 2012 Pep tactic, they didn't use Inverted Wingbacks. And the formation was more like 3-4-3 with Messi as F9 and Cesc as SS.

Pep started using Inverted Wingbacks at Bayern. 

I meant when it was 4-3-3 with Messi/False9 and Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets forming the diamond. Also while he didn't call him inverted wingback, Alaves was already starting to act like one with all the roaming he was doing in midfield. He was practically a fourth midfielder supporting Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets. While Pedro stretched the wing. The idea for overloads began there. 

And I actually I realize my error, its not 2012, but more like 2010-11 Barca tactic.

Edited by crusadertsar

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I can't help but think something is fundamental wrong with the ME and possession numbers. I have tried all season to use the rules that I picked up from Cleon's amazing possession thread from a few years back and our average possession for this season was only 47%. Now I must admit in some games we are seeing positive numbers of around 55% and above however, it is the games vs teams who are shutting up shop which are the problem. 

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Based on the advice I tried a couple of things:

  • After trying both positive + low tempo and balanced + high tempo I... eventually went back to the positive + default tempo I was already using :D But I did change a number of player and team instructions that improved the style of play.
  • First of all, using the higher defensive line indeed increased both the possession numbers as well as my team's passing. And my defense did not get noticeably worse!
  • I kept work-ball-into-box as without it my wide players become crossing machines. For the same reason I kept the slightly narrow. Without it, my wide players have more space. This is obviously good, but they do get a bit isolated from the rest and therefore more likely to resort to crossing.
  • As recommended, I changed the mezzala to a CMa. This helps with creating chances down the middle. It seems that FM's interpretation is fairly extreme and mainly aimed at 4-3-1-2. In reality the term is also used for players like Hamsik and Pogba when he played for Juve, but in FM terms they are closer to CMa's that occasionally move into channels. 
  • Changing my striker from DLF to CFs made him more involved in play. This is somewhat counter-intuitive since the DLF is supposed to be more focused on linking play, but the CF is more mobile which helps a lot.

After settling on these changes I managed to beat Real Madrid 2-1 away, but more importantly it created more passing moves that fit my desired style of play.

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Posted (edited)
5 ore fa, MrGol ha scritto:

After trying both positive + low tempo and balanced + high tempo I... eventually went back to the positive + default tempo I was already using :D But I did change a number of player and team instructions that improved the style of play

It seems I can't solve it, any combination gives me the same result, these:

Il 27/2/2020 in 21:31 , MrGol ha scritto:

My winger tends to dribble at every opportunity, but doesn't really have an end product

Il 28/2/2020 in 09:02 , bdixon ha scritto:

What I have noticed is playing against teams who use a lower mentality then it is almost impossible to win the possession game. They appear to happily play the ball around defence whilst my high pressing front four chasing the ball like a bunch of headless chickens

 

Edited by sejo

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20 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

I meant when it was 4-3-3 with Messi/False9 and Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets forming the diamond. Also while he didn't call him inverted wingback, Alaves was already starting to act like one with all the roaming he was doing in midfield. He was practically a fourth midfielder supporting Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets. While Pedro stretched the wing. The idea for overloads began there. 

And I actually I realize my error, its not 2012, but more like 2010-11 Barca tactic.

Nope. It's still wrong. Pep didn't use Inverted Wingbacks at Barca. Alves was providing the width on the right side in most cases. This is one of the reasons why the formation shifted to 3-4-3.

To add to that. Pep started using Inverted Winbacks with Bayern because the counterattacks in the Bundesliga were deadly. So in order to prevent opponents from killing him with counterattacks, Pep started to use IWs in order to dominate the middle more and keep possession/circulate the ball better. 

He never ever used them at Barca tough. Dani Alves was a CWB.

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20 minutes ago, yonko said:

Nope. It's still wrong. Pep didn't use Inverted Wingbacks at Barca. Alves was providing the width on the right side in most cases. This is one of the reasons why the formation shifted to 3-4-3.

To add to that. Pep started using Inverted Winbacks with Bayern because the counterattacks in the Bundesliga were deadly. So in order to prevent opponents from killing him with counterattacks, Pep started to use IWs in order to dominate the middle more and keep possession/circulate the ball better. 

He never ever used them at Barca tough. Dani Alves was a CWB.

I know that inverted wingbacks didnt come around until Bayern. I meant he was not an inverted wingback but also more than just a simple wingback. You cannot deny that he was a highly roaming role with many qualities of a midfielder. As are the best CWBs in the game. 

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3 hours ago, crusadertsar said:

I know that inverted wingbacks didnt come around until Bayern. I meant he was not an inverted wingback but also more than just a simple wingback. You cannot deny that he was a highly roaming role with many qualities of a midfielder. As are the best CWBs in the game. 

That's why I said he was CWB. But that is a different role than IW, isn't it? And that was my point. 

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34 minutes ago, yonko said:

That's why I said he was CWB. But that is a different role than IW, isn't it? And that was my point. 

Ok, he was a CWB

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