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Games similar to soccer have been played around the world since the time of the Ancient Greeks. The sport’s international governing body, FIFA, however, claims that none of these games played outside of Europe were soccer’s true predecessors. The official rules of soccer (or “association football”) were set down in the mid-nineteenth century in England.
Description of the Playing Area
Soccer is played on a rectangular field (“the pitch”) about 120 yards long and 75 yards wide, though this varies depending upon level of competition. The pitch is divided equally length-wise by the half-way line and a center circle (about 20 yards in diameter). Each end of the field has a rectangular penalty area symmetrically surrounding a smaller rectangular goal area, which surrounds a netted goal whose opening is 8 yards wide and 8 feet tall.
A match consists of two 45-minute halves, each of which may be extended by injury time, as determined by the officials. Depending upon the level of play, a tied game may be extended with an additional period of play and/or with a series of penalty kicks to determine the winner.
Each team consists of eleven players, one of which is the goalkeeper, who is the only player allowed to touch the ball with his hands during play. Physical contact between opposing players is allowed, provided it is not unnecessarily rough, willfully injurious, or violent. Players advance the ball toward their opponent’s goal without allowing it to touch their hands or arms. If the goalkeeper takes full possession of a ball in his penalty area, he is awarded a free kick toward the opposite end of the field. A goal is scored when the ball is kicked or headed into the goal completely over the goal line.
One referee and two linesman maintain player compliance with the rules. Possession is reversed and a free kick awarded each time a player is violates the rules. Examples of such violations include rough play, hand or arm contact with the ball, and playing an offside ball. Rough play may be additionally penalized first with a yellow card and, on a second incident, with a red card and ejection from the game.
Any time a ball is kicked or headed across a boundary line (but not into the goal), possession is taken from the team that sent the ball out of bounds. In the special case in which the defending team propels the ball over its own end line, possession is given to the attacking team in the corner closest to the place the ball went out of bounds, and a free kick (called a “corner kick”) is awarded.
Soccer Play Worldwide
Soccer is played in over 200 countries by more than 250 million players. Top leagues in Europe include the English Premier League, Germany’s Bundesliga, and the Italian Serie A. The Americas also feature world class soccer, including Liga MX in Mexico and Major League Soccer in the USA.
Every four years, FIFA sponsors the World Cup. National teams spend three years in regional qualification tournaments. The thirty-two qualifiers then meet for one month in a host country to determine a true world champion. Given the worldwide appeal of the championship, the World Cup is the most viewed of any sporting event.
This brief article can only touch on the highlights of soccer itself and of the many competitions found worldwide. Anyone with a greater interest can certainly seek out more specific information online.
Best Soccer teams for 2014 – 2015
Things have been tricky on the domestic front for Arsenal, but the Champions League could be their salvation. A last 16 draw with Monaco represents Arsenal’s best chance in half a decade to reach the quarter finals.
Failure to reach the last 16 of the Champions League will hurt Roma, but they are still in the Serie A title race. Time is running out for their talisman Francesco Totti to win another Scudetto, but this could be his best chance in a decade. With Juventus distracted by European commitments, Roma could take advantage at home.
The Bianconeri are like a machine that never stops running at full speed. They may have lost Antonio Conte in the summer, but a new coach has not stopped Juventus looking very impressive at home and in Europe. They are through to the last 16 of the Champions League, with a match up against Dortmund favoring the Italian side.
7. Manchester United
Despite no European soccer to play this season, Manchester United are doing well on the domestic scene. They are now third in the Premier League. Louis van Gaal has rectified their problems from last season. A title challenge may be beyond United, but a return to the Champions League looks a near certainty.
6. Atletico Madrid
It may be easy to write off Atletico Madrid’s success last season as a one off, but the Spanish champions are not going anywhere yet. They are still in the hunt for La Liga, while a Champions League knockout tie with Bayer Leverkusen should not prove very difficult for Atleti.
This season has been a mixed bag for Barcelona. Some of their soccer has been sublime, but there have also been mediocre performances. Luis Enrique will be hoping for more consistency in 2015 as they challenge Real Madrid on the domestic and European fronts.
4. Manchester City
They are the strongest challengers to Chelsea in the Premier League. Their season looked in turmoil a few weeks ago, but an impressive win at Bayern Munich turned around their season. A match up against Barcelona in the Champions League is set up for February, which could define City’s season.
Finishing third in the Premier League was not good enough for Chelsea. Jose Mourinho went out and bought some top class players, which has helped his side improve considerably. They are the runaway leaders in England, with most experts predicting they will win the title this season.
2. Bayern Munich
The only team that could pose a real threat to Real Madrid’s European crown are Bayern. Pep Guardiola’s German champions are top of the Bundesliga, with another title looking increasingly likely. Guardiola’s focus will be on the Champions League, where they only reached the semi finals last season.
1. Real Madrid
After winning the Champions League at the end of last season, Real Madrid have continued their dominance in Europe. Spain’s number one team are top of La Liga, through to the last 16 of the Champions league, and have already won the UEFA Super Cup. They are currently on a record 20 game winning streak. Despite losing key players in the summer, Real look an even more impressive unit in 2014-2015. It will take a very special team to knock them off their perch.
Best sports betting sites for soccer matches
If you love watching soccer games and matches, you might be interested in learning how to bet on these games. Being able to put real cash bets on popular soccer games will allow you to make a decent amount of money if you choose the winning team. It’s also a great way to get thoroughly involved in the game without actually being there. Knowing how to bet on soccer and which sites are really the right choice for you will allow you to put in any type of bet that you want and get real money in return.
Bet365 has been around for a number of years now, and they continue to grow in terms of the types of games they allow betting on. One of the great things about using Bet365 is that you know you’re getting a secure and safe experience on the site, since all of your personal information will be kept private. You can also choose the specific games of soccer you would like to bet on depending on the teams or how much you want to put down on that particular match.
Paddy Power is another betting site many people who love gambling will use. The site offers a number of ways for you to bet, but it has a multitude of soccer games across the country available for you to bet on. This makes it simple for you to just create an account for yourself and begin putting money down on some of the available matches. You will find this to be one of the easiest sites to use in terms of getting money down on a game and winning if you have chosen the right team who will be playing.
Finally, Ladbrokes is another betting site that has soccer games on there for you to put real money towards. The site is also trusted and secure, so you never need to worry your information is going to be stolen. There are bonuses and jackpots available to those who win, and it’s just an all around fun way to get involved with some of the games being played in the world right now. This is definitely the best thing for you in terms of getting money from something that you absolutely love watching on the television or on Internet videos on the web.
There are a lot of reasons for you to bet your money on soccer games. For one, you’ll feel more enthralled in the game, making it almost realistic to you like you are actually there with the other players. For many people, betting on soccer has also brought in a lot of money for them if they consistently choose the winning team. This is a way for you to bring in some money and have lots of fun while doing it. You should definitely use one of the three mentioned sites above if you are going to be betting on soccer games on the Internet. These sites are secure, safe and will payout when and if you win your bet. Unlike some other sites on the Internet, you can fully trust these sites to do what they claim and for you to have a blast betting on some matches in soccer.