World Cup preview: soccer rules

In case you haven’t noticed, World Cup fever is gripping Germany in a big way. If you’re not a fervent soccer fan, but still want to know enough to properly cheer on your favorite team, the KA staff has compiled a short list of some of the rules of soccer (according to FIFA soccer’s international governing body). Now you’ll know what it means to be offside.

• The basics: Soccer is played by two teams with 11 players on each side. There are two halves, each of which is 45 minutes long. Each game is controlled by a referee with full authority to enforce match rules. Up to a maximum of three substitutes may be used for each team.
• Offside: A player is in an offside position if he is nearer to his opponent’s goal line than both the ball and the second last opponent.  It is not an offense in itself to be in an offside position, but a player can be called offside if, at the moment the ball touches or is played by one of his team, he is interfering with play or gaining an advantage by being in that position.
• Free kicks: There are two types of free kicks – direct and indirect. A direct free kick is awarded to the opposing team if a player commits an offense that is considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force. An indirect free kick is indicated when the referee raises his arm above his head, and is awarded for less serious infractions.
• Corner kicks: A corner kick is a method of restarting play, and is awarded when the whole of the ball, having last touched a player of the defending team, passes over the out of bounds line shared with the goal line. Corner kicks can be excellent potential scoring opportunities.