Lineup: Experience and confusion
Your team can play any formation you wish, but your players might get confused and play below their ordinary capacity if you use a formation they aren't experienced with. To increase the formation experience and avoid confusion your team simply needs some practice.
You gain some experience for a formation every time you use it (friendlies and competitive games count equally). The amount of experience you get for each formation you use is minute based (max 90 min per match), just like training. However, gaining experience becomes harder on high levels. If you don't play with a certain formation, the experience will decrease over time. There is also a risk of losing formation experience anytime you sell a player.
If your players aren't experienced enough with a formation they risk getting confused, which negatively affects their performance. A formation experience level of excellent or better is enough to keep this from happening. For lower levels, the risk of getting confused rises the lower your formation experience level is. If your players' accumulated individual experience (see below) is high, the risk decreases though.
In case of confusion your formation experience also decides how confused your players will be; the lower your formation experience level is, the more confused your players will get. If your players get confused, a text showing the current level of your team organization will be displayed in the match report. A confusion event saying that your team organization fell to "wretched" means that it was very bad, while a drop to "solid" only had a very limited effect. If your players are confused at half-time (or before extra-time) your coach can improve the situation somewhat by giving an extra team talk.
Players' individual experience
Experience positively affects a player's actions on the field. Players gain experience by playing matches. National Cup matches give about twice as much experience as league games. Challenger and Consolation Cup matches gives your players half the league game experience.
An international friendly match gives about a fifth of the experience that a league match gives and a friendly against a team from your own country gives about half as much as an international friendly. National team matches give the most experience, followed by Hattrick Masters matches.
The amount of experience a certain player gets is minute based, just like training. A player cannot gain more than 90 minutes of experience from one match.
Team captain and total experience
You can appoint a team captain for each match. Experience and leadership are important abilities for the team captain, as the captain's level in those attributes gives a bonus when calculating your team's total experience - which can prevent your team both from suffering confusion and from getting nervous in important and dramatic matches.
In such situations, only the team with the lowest amount of experience can get nervous, reflecting their inexperience. The difference between the two teams' experience levels decides how nervous the players will get. Teams will never suffer from this in league matches or friendlies.
The team captain has to be in your starting lineup. If you haven't appointed a team captain, the players will choose a captain they think will do a good job.
Cup and qualifier matches can end in a penalty kick shoot-out if there is still a draw after extra time. You choose your penalty takers through a sub-page to the order form.
When choosing the order please remember that nothing is more nerve-wracking than a penalty kick shoot-out, and at every penalty (not during regular match time, though) a test of the shooter's experience is made.
Apart from experience, the shooter's scoring and set pieces skills (as well as technical specialty) are taken into consideration. For keepers the keeper skill is all that matters.