Getting the most out of a soccer game on TV means doing more than just sitting down and following the ball around the screen...Here"s how to engage and immerse yourself in both the game and the sport from the comfort of your own living room--or the local bar!
Learn about the countries that are playing, including their history, culture, and political state. How popular is soccer in those nations? Which countries have particular rivalries with each other? Oftentimes, in the World Cup, former colonies are keen on winning against the country they gained independence from.
- Analyze the touch of the players. Can they control the ball in the air in one touch and then immediately be ready to shoot or pass? Do they control the ball in anticipation of what they want to do next? Can they avoid a defender, when pressured, shield the ball, and still find an open teammate? Focus in on free kicks and corner kicks, known as set pieces, which often result in goals.
- Identify the key players. While watching their moves, try and pick out individuals and understand the roles they each play for the time. In particular, look out for:
- The Star - Usually there’s one player who every play the ball runs through. Like Zidane of France, Riquelme of Argentina or Ballack of Germany, they run the show for their teams.
- The Rookie - Identify the upcoming and future stars. There’s usually one new young player that breaks through in the World Cup and dazzles the World. Such as Ronaldino (rohn ahl dine yo) of Brazil or Henry (Ahn ree) of france
Scrutinize the tactics of the teams. Is the team that is winning stalling the game to get the ball for a throw in? Are they trying to keep possession of the ball rather than go forward? Do they keep possession of the ball and slowly work up the field or do they send a long ball up to the forwards? (The best teams do a bit of both.) Watch how teams defend. Do they play an off side trap and move the defensive line up the field or play deeper, compact and near their goal? Do they double team one player when he receives the ball? Are they stretched or organized?
- Observe the speed of play. Good teams vary and control the pace of the game, a few short passes and then a long pass that splits the defense and puts a teammate through with a chance on goal. Great teams play the ball at speed – sharp passes, driven balls, and whipped in crosses. Pay attention to how momentum changes games. They often say the first five minutes and last five minutes of each half are key moments of the game; don’t concede an early goal and look for a late goal when the other team is tired. Teams pounce on other teams just after they score.
Feel out the emotional level of the teams. Are the teams playing with energy and being aggressive or sitting back - intimidated? Watch how each 50/50 ball is challenged for. Sometimes, a great fight and challenge for a ball is a thing to appreciate, as they jump up into the air to head the ball to a teammate amongst two defenders, an elbow to the face in the process. Listen to when the fans cheer, sing and whistle. Listen to their national anthems. See how the crowd sings, jumps, claps and stands nearly the whole game.
- Delight in the goal celebrations. A goal is hard to come by and a player can be overcome with emotion and deservedly so; a run to the bench to celebrate, a dance, sliding on their chest towards where their fans are located, ripping off the jersey and revealing an under shirt with a message and so on. Don"t hold back; if you"re excited, show it!
- Watch the games on a Latin channel or foreign station – the announcers are better, you might not understand a word but it won’t matter – you’ll know when something exciting is happening. You may also learn somthing, however the quality may not be as good, but the games will be on more often than other english channels unless you have cable, Try out Unavision, check local listings
- Look out for a team that is a man down. Often a team will be a man down due to a red card and play better just because they are forced to. Every pass and run is a bit more precise since they know they are running for that player who is gone and they know they have to work that much harder. Sometimes watching a team a man down fight and battle against a full team is exciting.
- Find out what club teams players play for. You often see teammates of the same club team battling one another as their countries face off in the World Cup.
- Sports bars like Majors, Champs, Trophys, and ESPN Sports caffe. Home is a good place to be too.
- Persevere and rewards will follow. A soccer game, much like a boxing match, can seem slow and tedious initially, but one punch, or in soccer, one pass, one save, one goal, a red card, or a number of other events can turn a game on its head.
- Most of the world calls "soccer", "football". You should be aware of this when looking for games on "foreign stations".
Things You"ll Need
- a TV
- Possibly some snacks and some buddies, get in to the game!
- A vaccuum- for goodness sake CLEAN UP AFTER YOURSELF and above all have fun
- A cool beverage (beer) of some sort. Watching all that running makes anyone thirsty.