As the kick-off time for the football worldcup 2006 dawns closer (41 days according to the MSN nick of one of my soccer-crazy pals), certain changes start to occur to my normally-cricket friendly friends. During the weekend cricket games, a football will emerge next to the kits. After a long game of cricket, a few people will start to kick the ball around. Slowly, the number of people kicking the ball will grow, the number overs bowled start getting shorter, until finally everyone is playing soccer.
For a month.
Now I am not a normally soccer-playing person. I would rather go to the gym and do a targeted-muscle-cardio-vascular-tension exercise (I just feel good saying that). I will watch the World Cups and the Euro tournaments religiously - but that's as far as I go. Who really cares if Arsenal beats Barcelona in Paris for the Champions League. However, this summer will be the summer of football. Based on that, here's the first post in a series of pointers on how to play a game of football (for cricketers).
When they coax you, a cricketer, to play football, a selling point will be 'you can choose what position you want to play'. And what does our normal, slightly lazy, cricketer do? He chooses the goalkeeper position. You would think, 'well, all I have to do is run around between these two posts for a few minutes for the whole game. How bad can it be?' - WRONG!
The goalie's position can be very stressful. No one remembers all the saves (close eyes and pray and fluke!) that you do. Besides, try imagining a 200 pound center-forward bearing down on you and ready to kick that huge ball at 100 mph towards your face.
No, the best position is the defender's position. Stay a few feet in front of the goalkeeper. Chat with the fellow defenders. Have a smoke if you will. You don't need to come forward or run at all - opponents will marvel at your discipline in sticking to your post.
In the unfortunate event that the other team is on the attack, all you need to do is run forward with a Howard Dean scream 'aaaaaaagh' and launch a flying tackle at the other dude's feet. If you can manage to kick the ball away, good. If not, well, you tried, right? In which other soccer position will people say well played when you kick the ball away, without any thought of direction or speed or strategy?
Tags: Football Cricket