Sunday, June 15, 2014

Not shoes talk... or World Cup for newbies

     Some people may think that we, expat wives, have only shopping and spa's in our minds. I bet that some of you like me may be interested in something more manly. Considering we are all foreigners in US, there is a big chance that soccer is popular in your home country.
World Cup started just couple of days ago, if you still not aware of it, this article is for you. Even though statistics say that 25% of World Cup audience are women, it possible that you've never been interested in soccer before and you are deciding to start following it only now. Maybe you just need some info for conversation in company of other fans. Whatever is your reason, here is a female perspective.
    First of all, World Cup happens only one time in four years. Which means that as in TV series you don't really need to know plot. It's a new year, a new season, new members of the teams, don't bother about the background. Just enjoy! There is a plenty of other soccer tournaments like European Cup, Champions League, UEFA Cup, and other national leagues, but why do you need all this info, right? Country against country. One at at time. Bring up some patriotism!
     Second, World Cup lasts only for 1 month, always in the summer. Not such a long commitment, right? Imagine watching a whole season of matches, missing most of them. No, thanks. 1 month is enough. Then summer days are longer and probably you may have vacations, so it is convenient in some way to watch. And if your national team is not in the best shape, it probably won't make it through the Initial Round, which means you can stop supporting after 3 games. I am always pretty worried about my Russian team, for example. But even just for curiosity, try to watch semifinals and final, in which normally the strongest teams participate: the game is more fascinating and showy. Final games take place on convenient days at convenient times like Friday-Sunday evening, so you can have dinner in some bar with a supporting atmosphere. 
     Third, teams are gathered from the best players from all over the country, even if in other time some of them have contracts and actually play in foreign teams. So its kind of fun to see and make an impression of the nation of particular country, especially if you have never been there.
     Fourth, there are 11 players in the team, defending their goal and attacking, so to actually score the goal is not that easy. But  when it finally happens, your positive emotion level goes so high, you just want to scream and share your happiness with your neighbors. 
      And for the last, but not the least, yes, some games because of lack of team-play or active strikers can be boring. It happens in every sport. But, hey, girls! Soccer nowadays is not as it was in 1980s, only about the game. Modern players become to be sex-symbols, just remember David Beckham and Cristiano Ronaldo. Check out #7 of Brazil team and tell me, is that Hulk not looking manly to you? They bring style to the field with muscle bodies, fancy haircuts, crazy hair styles and tattoos and at the end of the game somebody will take out a shirt for sure.
       And even if you really don't care about soccer, get fun out of this World Cup: challenge your husband or friends with a bet. Check the table of groups an bet on who will go to semifinals and finals and then see how table is changing after each game. 

Basic info about soccer:

Time of the game: 2 periods of 45 minutes with 15 min break. Additional time of 1-5 minutes can be added to each of period to compensate wasted time for changes, injures and etc. (time of the game never stops during the periods). After the Initial Round, matches cannot end with a draw, so if the teams are tied, 2 small periods of 15 minutes with 5 min break are added. If nobody wins even after additional time, fun part-penalty.
Punishments for unappropriated behavior: 
Pushing, hitting, leg-biting and ball touching with other parts of bodies except legs, chest and head (though, goalkeeper can touch ball with every part of body) is prohibited and called 'foul', even accidentally arm-ball touching is the foul, so referee will take action.
Direct free kick - kick from the place of foul.
Penalty - kick from 12 yards (11 meters) towards the goal, one-on-one kicker against goalkeeper without any other defenders. Referee gives penalty instead of free kick if foul happens in the area near the goal limited by white rectangular lines (penalty box area) or after the end of the game time, when score cannot be even, as i mentioned before. Normally penalties turns into goals, therefore we don't want them to happen against the team we support.
Yellow card - given by referee to caution the player's offence. Normally given for unsporting behavior, but can be given even if you waste time of the game.
Red card - elimination card given by referee to the player after already having 2 yellow cards or in case of really serious unsporting behavior. Eliminated player cannot be substituted, though another team will play with advantage of 1 person on the field. Normally player cannot attend number of following games after getting a red card. And in a tournament like World Cup, after 2 games u can be already out of the table.
Offside - position, when attacking player is closer to the goal than these goal's defenders. Side referee wave the offside flag (yellow-red squared flag). Goal made from offside position is not counted.
Last Winning Teams: 2010 Spain, 2006 Italy, 2002 Brazil, 1998 France.

Hope I didn't bore you and helped you with some info! Good luck to your team and let the strongest win!!!