Football is a beautiful game and to many people it is like a religion. It’s also easy to understand but if you’re new to football or soccer (as they call it in the US), don’t worry we’ll go through everything you need to know to play and understand the game.
A beginner’s guide to Football
First of all a football match is all about scoring more goals than your opponent in the specified match time. If both teams score an equal amount of goals the match ends as a draw. In a league system, winning the match gives you three points and drawing gives you one point.
Football Ground Dimensions
Football can be played in many ways and on many different surfaces. But the most commonly known is Association football, which is played by eleven players on grass. The ground is a rectangular pitch with two goal lines and two touch lines in each end of the pitch. You have a goal and a goal area consisting of the small 6 yard box and the larger penalty box.
Now in the middle of the pitch you have the center circle which the opponent has to stay out of when you kick off the match by kicking the ball out from the center spot.
Now each football team consists of 11 players with ten of them playing outfield and one being the goalkeeper. He is also the only player in the team who can handle the ball in their own box. But he can only hold it for six seconds at a time until he has to release it. Also the goalkeeper can’t pick the ball up if his teammates pass it to him with their feet. But if it comes off their head or any other non-foot body part it’s ok to pick it up.
And speaking of body parts, football is of course mostly played with your feet but the only thing that’s actually forbidden for the outfield players to touch the ball with is their arms and their hands. So you’re free to use your head your chest and thighs or whatever you like to play the ball.
Duration of the Game
Unlike American football and basketball, the clock isn’t stopped when the ball is out of play. A game of football lasts for 90 minutes but the referee then has the ability to add time if there’s been many breaks due to injuries or substitutions or other prolonged stoppages. Typically that additional time will be one to five minutes per half.
Rules of Football
a) If the football leaves the pitch by rolling entirely over one of the lines, the play is temporarily stopped. If the ball goes over the touchline there’s a throwing-in. If team A touched the ball last time, team B gets the throw and vice-versa.
b) If the ball goes over one of the goal lines (it also depends on who touched it last) the game is temporarily stopped. If it was the attacking team, it’s a goal kick taken from within the six yard box. Whereas the opposing team gets a corner, if the defending team touched the ball last. In this case the corner is taken from the corner spot.
c) If the game is tied by the end of the 90 minutes it’ll either be a draw (if you play in a league), or you’ll have to play two extra halves of 15 minutes each if you have to find a winner.
d) If it’s still a tie the game will be decided by a penalty shootout.
Typically you can make three substitutions per game. And in elite level football, once a player substituted, he can’t come back again in the same match.
Another important aspect to look at is ‘fouls’. The referee can blow a foul if he finds that you break any of the laws of the game. whether that’s violent conduct or something as simple as handling the ball.
If you commit a foul the other team gets a free kick which comes in two variations:
• A direct free kick where you can shoot directly at goal and actually score or
• An indirect free kick where the ball has to touch another teammate before you can actually score.
However if the referee decides that the team, who would receive a free kick, would have a bigger advantage by continuing playing, he can allow that by holding two hands out in front of him.
If a free kick however is committed inside the penalty area, the opposing team will get a penalty, where the ball can be shot from the 11 meter spot. Where only the penalty taker and the goalkeeper can be inside the penalty box.
Recieve bookings (Cards)
If you commit a serious foul you can get a yellow card. If you get a second yellow card in the same match, you receive a red card. In this case you have to leave the pitch immediately without being replaced.
You can also receive a direct red card without having received a yellow card before if you have made a really violent tackle or prevented a goal by handling the ball of course unless you’re the goalkeeper.
Offside rule in Football
And finally there is the infamous offside rule which might be the hardest one to understand. This rule makes sure that you can’t just leave a player camping around the opposition. Though the rule says that you’re in an offside position, if any of your body parts you can score with are in the opponent’s half of the pitch and closer to the opponent’s goal line, and both the ball and the second last opponent are behind you in the moment, and the ball is played, then it’s allowed to be offside ball. While you’re offside, the opposing team gets a free kick.
See, it’s actually not that hard, of course knowing the rules and the basis of the game is important but to become a great footballer you also need skills and here it’s important to have a good touch in controlling the ball.
Some good game intelligence, being able to shoot the ball well to actually score and having the ability to dribble past your opponents will surely make you a good football player.
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