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Do you speak soccer? June 10, 2006

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.

The following is a primer for first-time World Cup viewers:

Football: Term used for soccer in countries outside of North America.

FIFA: Acronym for the Federation Internationale de Football Association, the world governing body for the game. Based in Switzerland.

Pitch: Some countries use this term for the soccer field.

Striker: An attacking player whose job is to finish attacking plays by scoring a goal.

Midfielders: The players responsible for linking play between attackers and defenders.

Defender: A player whose job is to stop opponents’ attacking plays before the ball is moved into the goal area.

Sweeper: A defensive player whose job is to roam behind the other defenders. A sweeper is the last line of defense before the goalkeeper.

Goalkeeper: Player who is positioned between the goalposts and who can control the ball with his hands within the goal area.

Zone defense: A defensive system where defenders mark a designated area of the field of play instead of tracking players across the field.

Man-to-man marking: A defensive system in which defenders are designated one attacking player to track continuously.

Goal kick: A goal kick is awarded to the defending team when the ball is played over the goal line by the attacking team.

Offside: A player is offside if he is nearer to his opponent’s goal line than both the ball and the defender in front of the goalkeeper. He is not offside if he is on the defensive half of the field or is level with the second-to-last opponent or level with the last two opponents.

Offside trap: A technique used by defenders to put attacking players in an offside position. Defenders move quickly away from their own goal to create a situation in which attackers are ahead of the ball.

Push up: Moving the defense toward the offensive half of the field.

Foul: Any illegal play.

Free kick: A kick from a stationary position that is awarded to a team when an opponent has committed a foul. There are two types of free kicks, direct and indirect.

Direct free kick: A goal may be scored by the player striking the free kick.

Indirect free kick: A goal may not be scored from an indirect free kick.

Goal area: The lined rectangular area in front of the goal where the goalkeeper may handle the ball. Known as the 18-yard box because of its dimensions.

Penalty kick: Awarded when a foul has been committed within the penalty area in front of the goal area. A penalty kick is taken by one player opposed only by the goalkeeper.

Corner kick: A free kick taken from the corner flag by a member of the attacking team when the ball has passed over the goal line after last touching a defensive player. Taken from the corner nearest to where the ball went out of bounds.

Obstruction: Blocking an opponent with the body. Penalized by an indirect free kick.

Dropped ball: A method of restarting play used after an injury stops play – or after play has been stopped without the ball going out of bounds. When the referee drops the ball it must bounce once before it can be played.

Throw-in: The continuation of play after the ball has crossed the touch line. A player taking a throw in must have both feet on or behind the touch line, must maintain contact with the ground, and must use a two-handed throw made from behind the head. A goal cannot be score directly from a throw-in.

Cross: A lofted pass, played across the face of a goal.

Nutmeg: Passing or pushing a ball between another player’s legs.

Tackle: To take the ball away from the opponent using the feet.

Slide tackle: A tackle in which the defender slides along the surface of the field of play before making one-footed contact with the ball.

Header: Use of the head to pass or control the ball.

Volley: Striking the ball in mid-air with either foot.

Bicycle kick: A spectacular move in which a player throws his body in the air and with his legs moving as if pedaling a bicycle, strikes the ball backward over his head.

Bending the ball: Striking the ball with an off-center kick so that it travels in a curved path.

Dribble: Controlling the ball while running.

Dummy run: A run by a player without the ball to lure defenders away from the ball carrier.

Yellow card: A yellow card held up by a referee to signal that an infringement of the rules meriting a caution has occurred.

Red card: A red card held up by the referee signaling that a player is being ejected from the game. A player who receives a red card cannot be replaced on the field of play. A red card is issued to a player when that player has committed a serious infraction or has been issued with two yellow cards within the same game. 


When: June 9-July 9

Where: Germany

What: Teams from 32 countries in eight groups (A-H) play at various venues with top two teams from each group qualifying for playoffs beginning June 24.

On the Web: Visit www.fifaworldcup.org for more on the World Cup.

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