Thursday, 19 June 2014

A Layman's Guide to Football


There were two World Cups running simultaneously. The other one gave up and decided the champions. So now there is just one and yes I am talking about the mania that is FIFA World Cup 2014.

Football needs no introduction in a world where a country is born and one of the first things they do is put up a national football side in place. Nevertheless, Indians are not part of this world. We had a national cricket team in place even before we came into origin constitutionally. Some genuine fans do exist, but in a country obsessed with cricket, their numbers constitute less than the percentage of bacteria that Dettol leaves breathing.

So I’ve taken it upon myself to educate the youth and non-youth of the intricacies of the sport that is football. Now this may not be accurate, but I am studying to be an engineer and accuracy in explanations is not supposed to be my forte.

Note : Football may refer to both American Football and Soccer. Before you go bald scratching your head, l’ll be talking about Soccer.

Teams and playing field…
There are two teams of 11 players each, with each consisting of a wicketkeeper equivalent of soccer – a goalkeeper. These teams do not have the bowlers, batsmen, all-rounders or Sir Jadeja, instead defenders, midfielders and forwards. The playing area is not egg-shaped, sorry ‘oval’. It is huge rectangular field, the length and breadth of which may well be Munaf Patel’s ultimate nightmare, considering how the 22 yards are a marathon to him.

Goal…
It is both a structure and an action. As a structure, it stands 7.32mX2.44m. As an action, it is thrill. Scoring a goal is soccer equivalent of taking wickets, only it is more like a 5-wicket haul every time a goal is scored. The goal post is manned by a huge giant commonly known as a goalkeeper, usually two Parthiv Patels in height. It is like the wickets in cricket at which you aim at. And unlike cricket, this keeper is positioned in front of the goal. Absurd, some cricket maniacs might think.

Penalty…
Any tough guy shit in the penalty area, and you have just gifted the opposition an advantage. This is very much like throwing a ball at the wickets from half the pitch with full strength.

Corners…
Duniya aur cricket gorund gol hai, isliye usme corner nahi hote. A corner is awarded to the opposition if you hit the ball back over your own goal line.

Own goal…
Comparable to being out hit-wicket. Equally embarrassing.

Penalty shootout…
The super over.

Offside…
No, this does not refer to Dada’s strongest scoring area. It’s like bowling at an empty strike, with no batsman to defend the wickets, which legally is not allowed. Similarly, I soccer there must be at least one player of defending team (other than the goalkeeper) between the opposition striker and the goal post.

Touchlines…
These are the boundaries in a football field. A direct hit over this line does not give you a 6 goal advantage, sorry to disappoint you. When the ball crosses the field of play as marked by the touch lines, it is followed by a throw-in, which again, does not mean throwing the ball back to the keeper.

Cards (yellow card, red card)…
Not some placards with some random GRE words written on the back. The yellow card is a caution, the first warning. Another yellow gives you a red card. (What kind of shitty color mixing is this you might ask). A red card will send you off the field and your team will be left with one player less for the remaining duration of the game. And unlike cricket where you lose match fees, football seems to be like a fast-track court. And you may not demand trial by combat either.

Shit, this game is tough to explain.

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