Soccer 101

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soccer pitch

We are kicking off our Betway Basics series with Soccer 101. Soccer is one of the most popular sports throughout Africa and one of the popular betting sports here at Betway. If you want to get to grips with soccer or just brush up on your knowledge then carry on reading as we discuss the basics of this game.

Understanding the game is vital to placing winning bets when it comes to gambling on soccer.

We are kicking off our Betway Basics series with Soccer 101. Soccer is one of the most popular sports throughout Africa and one of the popular betting sports here at Betway. If you want to get to grips with soccer or just brush up on your knowledge then carry on reading as we discuss the basics of this game.

Understanding the game is vital to placing winning bets when it comes to gambling on soccer.

What is Soccer

A soccer match is played by two teams, each with eleven players in the field including the goalie.  The aim of the game is to score by getting the ball into the goals. Players can manoeuvre the ball with any body part except for their hands and arms. The game is played in two halves, each half being 45 minutes long resulting in a total of 90 minutes. Games can be longer depending on referee discretion, the referee is in charge of the game and oversees that rules are obeyed.

Different positions in soccer

Soccer is a very strategic game and the 11 players on the field all play a vital role in ensuring their team score the most goals or stop the other team, from scoring.

  • Forwards: The role of these players is to attack and try and score goals, often the best forward will be the center forward or striker as they are the best at scoring goals.
  • Midfielders: These players are the most physically fit players on the field as they run most of the game, serving as the link between defense and attack. The midfielders need to offer support to the forwards when they attack but still have the speed and fitness to get back and assist with defense when the time comes.
  • Defenders: These are the players in front of the keeper, their main purpose is to stop the opponents from scoring. Defenders often cover the sides of the pitch (fullbacks) and the central defender will cover the other teams, main striker.
  • Goalkeeper: Not rocket science but we will explain, the goalie needs to stop the ball from going into the goals. The keeper is also the only player on the field who can use their hands (within the penalty area).

soccer pitch

How does scoring work

A team is awarded one point each time a goal is scored, yip it is that simple.

But what if the final score is tied? Often this will be marked as a draw but, if the game is the final match of a big tournament then it’s different. In this case, there will be a shootout whereby each team gets a series of five shots at goal (with a goalie of course). The teams take alternating turns and the team with the most goals wins.

Red card yellow card – what does it mean

Not all fouls are the same in soccer so it is important to pay attention here. If a foul is committed by the opponent against the attacking team in the goal area (box before the goals) then a penalty kick is awarded, this a kick directly at the goals from ten yards with only the goalie to defend it. Fouls committed on the rest of the pitch are at the referee’s discretion and the game is only stopped once possession has been lost.

When a player repeatedly fouls or intentional fouls, starts fighting or disrespects the game officials the referee can award either a yellow or red card.

Yellow Card:  This acts as a warning to the player, the card has no immediate effect but if the player receives another yellow card in the same game our tournament they get an automatic red card.

Red Card: The player needs to leave the game immediately, the player cannot be replaced meaning the team will have to play shorthanded for the remainder of the match.

Some soccer lingo you might need to know

Booking: When a player is given a red or yellow card

Box: The penalty box area in front of the goals, the only area where the keeper can use their hands.

Brace: When a single player scores two goals

Breakaway: When an attacker runs clear of all the defending players

Challenge: When a defender attempts to take the ball from an attacker

Chip: To get the ball high in the air

Clean sheet: When a keeper does not concede a goal during a match

Corner kick: When the ball goes over the goal line and was last touched by a defender the attacker is awarded a corner kick

Equaliser: The goal that equals the score

Fist: When a keeper punches away a ball that has height and can’t be controlled easily

Header: When a player strikes the ball with their head.

Injury time: Time added to the game to make up for when the game was stopped due to injury

Intercept: To cut between players and stop a pass

Kick-off: The term used to start a match or commence again after a goal was scored.

Late tackle: When a player is tackled after they have already passed the ball, this can be punished with a red card

Narrowing the angle: When a keeper moves from the goals towards the attacker in order to limit the angle the striker can shoot at

Olympic goal: A goal scored from a corner kick without anyone else touching the ball

Possession: when a player or team is in control of the ball

Save: the term used to describe when the goalkeeper stops the ball from going into the goals

Shooting on target: a shot aimed at the goals

Shot: the ball is kicked or headed by a player towards the goals

Steal: when the ball is taken away from the opponent

Substitution: to replace a player on the field with a new player

Thigh trap: when a player uses their thighs to control or slow down the ball

Turnover: to lose possession of the ball

Beginner bets for online soccer betting

The best advice we can give you when betting on soccer is to firstly bet on a league you are familiar with. Here at Betway, we have a variety of different leagues to choose from because we want to offer the best but, that does not mean you need to bet on teams you are unfamiliar with. Once you have selected the league you should then select the matches that feature teams you have current knowledge on.

Do you understand odds? Understanding how odds work and what they mean will help you make a better decision when betting.

Don’t over complicate things start with simple bets. Sure, you can win loads of cash by predicting who will score first or which team will get the most bookings but, that is for a reason. The more unpredictable the result the more you can win because it’s almost impossible (but possible). Stick to the basics in soccer like which team will win when you are starting out.

Try to avoid placing bets on results that you are guessing. Do some research read match previews and try to make an educated decision. Guessing can result in wasting your money.