With the World Cup just around the corner and soccer fever being quite contagious, I thought it a good time to familiarise ourselves with a some basic soccer facts.

To all the girls out there – this one if for you! When you find yourself between your friends watching a game (and wondering how the hell you got there!), make the most of it by mouthing off something like:

“…that red card was so uncalled for it’s not even funny – the ball was played from a position in front of him.. c’mooon!”.  Sounds good, huh.

Now, you try!

  1. There are 11 players on each side with 4 groups of players: Goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and strikers.
  2. Goalkeepers are the only players that are actually allowed to touch the ball with their hands and this can only happen in the area in front of the goal. Favouritism, if you ask me.
  3. When a player commits a foul, the ref may show them a yellow card. Any player that receives two yellow cards then get gooi’ed with a red card, which means they get sent off the field as with immediate effect. For serious fouls a player can get a red card onetime – no yellow card – and has to leave the field pronto.
  4. The offside rule -You have to concentrate for this one:  An attacking player is not allowed to receive the ball when he is between the goalkeeper and the last defender. However, if he is in his own half of the field or if the ball gets played from a position in front of him (in other words, by a player closer to the goalkeeper), it is all good and the ref is happy. And that’s what it’s all about – keeping the ref happy.
  5. In the pool stages of the World Cup, teams get 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 for a loss. The two teams with the most points in each pool advance to the knockout stages.
  6. A game lasts 90 minutes, split into two 45-minute halves.
  7. Soccer is about 90 % thinking and 10 % physical.
  8. Heading a ball will not cause you a headache or a serious injury.
  9. Bafana means “boys” in Nguni.
  10. Zakumi – The name of the World Cup’s popular leopard mascot. The “za” comes from the country code and the “kumi” means “10″ in African languages
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