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Learn the Language of Soccer

Ever sat through a soccer game and felt like it was a lesson in Esperanto? Well, you're not alone. Here, DW-WORLD offers an easy guide to some of the technical terms which may feature in the coming action.


Make sense out of soccer's ABC's

Offsides: When the player with the ball on the attacking team passes the ball to a teammate closer to the goal line than the opposing team. In other words, there is no defending player between the guy who receives the pass and the goalie. If the teammate is level or slightly behind the defending player, it is not offside. New rules also state that a player can be offside at the point when he receives the ball. Complicated, but true. Offsides is also the most basic element of any sort of "women don't understand football" joke.

Free kick: A kick that is awarded by the referee after a foul. The kicks can be either direct, or indirect. A direct kick is awarded for particularly serious fouls, like a hard tackle, tripping, or a hand ball. The direct kick means a ball can be kicked directly into the goal. An indirect kick needs to touch another player before going into the goal. Lesser fouls like tripping, or a high kick near an opponent's head typically earn indirect free kicks.

Penalty kick: When a defender or a goalie fouls an opponent in their own penalty box. The referee then awards a penalty kick, which is taken from a spot 12 yards from the goal line in the penalty box. Anyone on the team that has taken the foul can take the penalty kick, which pits the attacker against the goalie.

Chinesisches Schriftzeichen Übersetzung: Ein Ball aus Leder gemacht, gefüllt mit irgendwas, damit man ihn umher kicken kann, zur Erholung, wenn man Zeit dafür hat.

Chinese for "football"

Throw-in: A throw-in is awarded when the opposing team causes the ball to go out of bounds over one of the sidelines. The player throwing the ball must do so with both hands, over his head and with both feet firmly on or inside the sideline. A goal may not be scored on a throw-in, unless it touches another player.

Corner kick: A corner is awarded when the ball goes out of bounds behind the end line and was last touched by the defending team. The attacking team kicks it inbounds from either one of the corner arcs. The defending team needs to be at least 10 yards away from the corner arcs.

Cross: When Philipp Lahm smacks a beautifully struck ball from the wings right onto the foot of his striker, and defensive players are left paralyzed in their positions, that's a cross.

Penalty box: Measures 18 yards from the goal line and 44 yards wide. While in the penalty box, the goalie may touch the ball with his hands. The goalie has six seconds after he has picked up the ball to either throw or kick it out of the penalty box. In matches where one team desperately needs a goal, the penalty area can play host to some of soccer's more theatrical performances as players look for a penalty kick. Favourites include "being shot by a sniper" and "Olympic freestyle diver".

Confederations Cup 2005 1. Spieltag: Deutschland-Australien, Kahn

That'll be a goal then...

Goal: The goal measures 8 yards wide and 8 feet tall. This is Oliver Kahn's domain. A goal counts when the ball has completely crossed the goal line.

Goal kick: When the ball crosses the end line (goal line) and was last touched by the attacking team. The defending team can set the ball up anywhere within their goal box and kick it out. The ball must exit the penalty box before it can be touched by either team.

Regulation time: Each half lasts 45 minutes. The clock ticks without stopping throughout the entire half. At the end, stoppage time is often awarded if the referee has taken note of stoppages in play due to injury or incident.

Substitutes: A list of possible substitutes must be handed to the referee before the game. One team can only make a total of three substitutes plus the goalkeeper in each game. This includes overtime, when the players are huffing around on their last legs, about to pass out.

Technical Area: The technical area extends 1 meter (1 yard) on either side of the designated seated area and extends forward up to a distance of 1 meter from the touch line. This is the area in which the coach is allowed to pace nervously, bellow instructions, shout abuse, issue instructions to players and jig with joy. The technical area also acts as a protective shield for match officials who are more often than not the target of manager's ire. If the coach/manager strays from the area in an attempt to harangue referee or lineman, he can be cautioned and, in extreme situations, "sent off" to watch the rest of the match from the stands or on television in the changing room.


Referees: The men in black, or now more often than not in green, yellow or red, who have final say on player conduct during the game. With the referee are two assistants, who patrol the sidelines and call offsides, which team gets a corner kick or throw-in and notify the head referee of substitutions.

Foul: An illegal action intended to sway advantage to one's team. This could range from the felling of an opposing player in an attacking situation to a deliberate hand ball which prevents the opposition gaining possession. A professional foul -- one which is deemed to be premeditated or physically dangerous -- can result in an instant dismissal. Others can be dealt with at the referee's discretion.

Stoppage time: Time added at the end of regulation time for penalties, injuries, substitutions, or when players whine about a foul or any sort of injustice done to them. Typically around 3 minutes.

Yellow card: One of two cards that can be pulled by the referee on a player for fouls ranging from unsporting behavior, to trash-talking the ref, delaying the restart of play, etc. A direct or indirect kick is always awarded. Two yellow cards in one game equal a red card and the player is immediately sent off the field and has to miss the next match.

Red card: Awarded by a referee when a foul has been particularly brutal, or the player spits, hits, curses, etc at another player or the referee. The player carded is immediately sent off and, depending on the severity of the foul, can be suspended for one or many games at the discretion of the DFB disciplinary panel.

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