Mastering Free Kicks: Basic Things You Need to Get Right

Free kicks are among the most attractive parts of playing soccer. It is one aspect of the game where the taker of the kick is pitted (in most cases) directly against the opposition game, in a duel of skills, presence of mind and of course, wits.
There have been a number of great free kick takers that the game has seen. From George Best’s tumbling and dying kicks that keeper would only be left to watch haplessly to Ronaldo’s scorchers that prompt TV cameras to go blind, and from Roberto Carlos’ toe-curling banana kicks to Pirlo’s flabbergasting GPS-precise corner crashers, the history of free kicks in pro football is as rich and impressive as any.
All young footballers do want to get into the action and be master of set plays. These 5 tips, rounded up below, won’t make you a free kick sensation, but they will definitely help you get onto that road to a certain goal that just might win your side a crucial game!


#1 Gauging the distance

The most important part of taking a successful free kick is to be able to gauge the distance from the kicking spot to the goal-line. Many often get it wrong and either over-hit the ball into unsuspecting spectators or under-hit it to allow the wall a chance of interception.
If you gauge the distance well, you will be in a position to know exactly how much power you need to put behind your kick. A great drill for this would be practice at least 50 kicks a day from hot-spots – various points on a progressively widening semi-circle just outside the penalty area.


#2 Getting the timing right

Power or precision are not the only ways to deceive the opposition. You can easily get them fooled by timing your kick to perfection. And in this context, getting your timing right is just equal to getting the opposition’s timing wrong. For example, you can cross the wall by changing your run-up suddenly and messing with their jump timing.


#3 NOT giving your plans away

At pro level, all the players are skilled enough to block an average free kick. So, you need to rise above the average if you want to have any shot at scoring a goal off a free kick.
That’s why, you need to have solid plans in place. If the opposition knows your tricks beforehand, they are just going to have it all too easy. So, to master the art of free kicks, you need to come up with newer ideas and adding newer spots to your armoury. You may be a great top corner free kicker, but it’s just a matter of time before everyone knows that they only have to protect the top corners.
NOTE- DON’T TRY TOO HARD, YOU JUST MIGHT END UP MESSING IT ALL FOR YOUR TEAM. Need a proof? Just check the video embedded above!


#4 Quick reflexes

Free kicks do not always go straight to the keeper or out of the field. They, more often than not, deflect off the wall or from the hands of the keeper. In such a case, you need to be quick to react and gain the possession back. As the ball gets deflected and opponents rearrange their own, there’s one split moment where the goalpost is extremely vulnerable.
That means, even when you are not the one taking the free kick, you will still have a remote chance of scoring!


#5 Combining well

A part of deceiving opposition also means that you combine with your team-mate to get a classic one-two act together. A long run-up followed by jumping of the wall in vain as you pass the ball gently to your teammate who’s in a better position to aim at the net can yield exceptional results. This, however, needs to be practised a lot before being executed in game situations!

Mobile Soccer Games To Play This Christmas & New Year

It’s already that time.

Christmas is just around the corner and everyone is already looking all jolly and merry to welcome the New Year. Well, we can’t tell you what the New Year will have in store for you (it’d be great, we hope!), but we can surely let you in on our favourite soccer games that go pretty amazingly with the whole holiday spirit and ambiance.


#4 Soccer Flip


It’s a weird game to say the least.

Defying gravity, or rather dismissing it in style, this 2 on 2 game allows you to imagine what it would be like to play football in space. There are really no rules here, you can use your hands, head and legs – the only idea is to score a goal by pushing the ball through the gate. It might sound meh, but give it a try, we are sure you’ll love it.

And, of course, just to fit into the whole holiday atmosphere, developers have brought in new avatars and themes!

Download: Android


#3 FIFA 16


It would be a blasphemy to not mention FIFA in this list, because millions of fans have fond memories of those neat and nifty holiday patches EA Sports release around Christmas.

FIFA16 is no exception. The latest upgrade will allow you to use Santa themed team-kits and have five shots at climbing the ‘Christmas Leaderboard’, the leader of which will be rewarded handsomely by EA Sports!

Download: iPhone and iPad | Android


#2 Snow Soccer


Leave aside all soccer games, the perfect game for the perfect holiday season is finally here!

What defines Christmas better than, erm, snow?


Exactly why, this is our favourite choice. Just to make it all look too adorable, they have got penguins for goalies.

All you have to do is direct the snowballs into the net while trying to avoid those cute little penguins blocking your way.

Now, that’s some deal!

Download: iPhone and iPad | Android


#1 Play Football Xmas


It’s winter, the football field is blanketed with snow and your players are in for some tough matches ahead. Take charge of your team as they get ready to face some tough opponents just ahead of Christmas.

Also available as ‘Play Soccer Xmas’ in some countries, this game is developed in order to allow used to have a fun experience that is far from other complicated soccer apps.

Download: iPhone and iPad | Android


Best Current Goalkeepers in European Soccer

Young children dream of scoring goals, creating their own celebrations, making headlines, baffling opponents, being superstars and virtually ruling the game. Such young, aspiring soccer players are guaranteed to have posters of Cristiano Ronaldo here and Lionel Messi there; of Wayne Rooney on the door front and Zlatan Ibrahimović on the door back; of Neymar on the window and Aguero in the wardrobe. But you would really struggle to find a kid worshipping Buffon or Kahn.

That’s why, to celebrate this much underrated art of soccer, we have rounded up 5 of the very best current goalkeepers in European soccer. Read on, take a moment to appreciate the efforts of these unsung heroes and get inspired by them – who knows, even you could end up on such lists 15 years down the line!


1. Iker Casillas (Spain, FC Porto)

The reason Casillas tops this list is that apart from being a very, very good goalkeeper, he is a natural leader. With 5 La Liga titles, 3 Champions League cups, a Euro Cup and a World Cup adorning his trophy cabinet, one can imagine the way he can solidify a team and bring the best out of his players.
Despite having had some bitter confrontations with the Real Madrid team management in recent past, he is still the most beloved Los Blancos’ goalie, their Captain Reliable and most importantly – a very, very humble man.

Special Attributes
Extremely reliable in set play situations.


2. Manuel Neuer (Germany, Bayern Munich)

With glittering performances in last three seasons for Germany as well as Bayern Munich, Manuel Neuer has established a firm place as one of the best goalkeepers in the world.
Drafted very young into the Bundesliga setup, Neuer was lucky to board the plane to South Africa for the 2010 World Cup, as Rene Adler had to withdraw due to injury. Since then, he has quickly stepped up to the plate every time he was required to – winning 3 Bundesliga titles and 1 Champions League trophy for Bayern Munich.

Special Attributes
Accurate Long throws and great composure in high pressure penalty shootouts.


3. David de Gea (Spain, Manchester United)

The rise of David de Gea has been nothing short of meteoric. Ever since he left Atletico Madrid in 2011, he has been a regular starter for Manchester United. He has also enjoyed the immense popularity that being with a huge club like Manchester United automatically follows. He has made many memorable saves for the Reds, the most memorable coming against the free kick of compatriot Juan Mata when he was at Chelsea.
He is the next in line to fill the big shoes of Casillas when he decides to retire from international soccer.

Special Attributes
Saves off free kicks and excellent chemistry with defenders.


4. Petr Čech (Czech Republic, Arsenal)

After spending nearly his whole playing career at the Stamford Bridge, Čech made a shock move to Arsenal this summer. He has long stopped being the first-choice keeper for the teams he plays for, but that does not change the fact that he has been among the very best in the business for over a decade.
Barcelona fans will particularly remember Čech forever, for all those heartbreaks he has caused them over the seasons in Champions Leagues.

Special Attributes
Attacking the ball and anticipating opposition’s through-balls.


5. Marc-André ter Stegen (Germany, Barcelona)

Stegen has been an understated presence at Camp Nou since he joined the club in an unexpected transfer two seasons ago.
He has been very responsible, however, in all of his appearances for the Spanish giants – allowing them to win the Treble (La Liga, Copa del Rey and Champions League) in his first season with them. His terrific save off Lewandowski against Bayern Munich in the return leg of the CL Semi Final in that season has been one of the proudest moments for Barcelona fans.

Special Attributes
Great sweeping abilities and nimble diving skills.

Top 5 Soccer Penalty Games for iOS and Android

If you are a true soccer fan, playing high-adrenaline penalty shootout games on your smartphones and tablets can be the best way of engaging yourself in travel, commute or whenever you feel like.
There’s something about penalty shootouts that excites all of us. Call it the power of dram that unfolds one kick at a time, or the nervousness that engulfs everyone when the referee calls for a shootout, we all love shootouts dearly.
So, in the same spirit, we have brought top 5 soccer penalty games for iOS and Android that will keep you busy, and more importantly, EXCITED!


#5 Perfect Kick


Perfect Kick is a simple yet addictive penalty shootout game. Developed by Gamegou and available for Android and iOS, the game is just what every soccer fan who loves a good penalty shootout needs.
Perfect Kick doesn’t offer you much customisation – but the advantage here is that as soon as you start the game, you are straight off to playing, without fussing about.
The game is all about finding that perfect combination of power, timing and placement, not to mention outsmarting the goalkeeper. You will have to be on your toes all the time because the game has developed an algorithm – in real time – to learn your preferences and habits. So, you can’t just keep scoring using the same tactics over and over again.
Perfect Kick is for everyone who likes to feel like a soccer star every once in a while. All you need to do is download the game, sit back and enjoy the glory!

Download: iPhone and iPad | Android


#4 Super Goalkeeper


Penalty shootouts can produce some of the most memorable moments on the soccer field. From Zlatan’s incredibly forceful pile drivers to Pirlo’s artistically delicate chips and from Robben’s clever dabs to Ronaldo’s high flying top corner scorers, penalties have the power to transfix you to your seats and bite more than a few nails off.
However, little do we know about what the man who’s facing these shots feels like.
How does it really feel to have a ball kicked at you at such high speeds? What does it take to outwit a fierce striker like Rooney? How does one anticipate which way Messi is going to drive the ball past the goal line?
Well, now you can get a glimpse into a goalkeeper’s mind with Super Goalkeeper – a smartphone penalty game developed by Luandun Games, and available for iPhone and Android.
Read the striker’s mind, anticipate his moves and hurl yourself high and wide with only one aim of stopping the ball.
It’s more difficult than you probably think. Are you up for the challenge?

Download: iPhone and iPad | Android


#3 Final Kick


Developed by Game Center (Ivanovich Games), a reputed smartphone game developer, Final Kick is tailor made for all soccer fans who dig penalty shootouts.
Final Kick is a little different than all other penalty shootout games in that it allows you to customize every aspect of a penalty shootout – from the ball being used to wind direction.
The game is currently available for iOS and Android for free, with an optional upgrade (player kits, stadia, player profiles etc.) available for purchase in the app. As you keep scoring or blocking goals, you will earn golden points that can be used to purchase various goodies from the official website of the developer.
So, it doesn’t matter where you are, you will always be carrying your passion for penalty shootouts right in your pocket. It would really not be a surprise if you stop missing your gaming consoles when you are on the go now!

Download: iPhone and iPad | Android


#2 Quick Kick Brazil


Although not really a brand new game, Quick Kick Brazil is still one of the most popular penalty shootout games for smartphones. It’s available for Android, iOS and can also be played directly via flash at the developer’s (DigitalMind) website.
What Quick Kick Brazil brings to you is a fairly simple but not simplistic experience of ultimate penalty shootouts. You can choose your teams, players and even score lines. You can simulate real life gaming experience with cheering and jeering crowd that will make you feel the pressure that penalty shootouts are known for.
Perhaps the only drawback that Quick Kick Brazil players might point out is the fact that the game is not really high on graphics. However, it also means that it’s small, nifty and won’t eat into your phone’s memory. It’s lightweight and can be played with ease whenever you want, however you want.

Download: iPhone and iPad | Android


#1 FIFA 14


EA Sports have revolutionized sports simulations over the years with their amazingly realistic video games. FIFA is perhaps their best known venture yet. For those of us who have grown playing FIFA on PCs and Xboxes, there’s a great fix of ultimate penalty thrill – FIFA 14 for smartphones. Available for both Android and iPhone as well as Windows Phone, FIFA 14 brings the best of graphics, player details and highly customisable shot selection.
There is a separate penalty mode in which you can either practice penalties for endless number of times, or go straight to dying minutes of a match in order to head to penalties.
What you get with FIFA 14 is that familiar feel of being in control, kicking the ball with just the kind of accuracy and power you want, and of course – immaculate placement.
If you are looking for a good soccer penalty game for your smartphone, we are pretty sure FIFA 14 can stand up to your expectation. Just download it and play on – because nothing matches a thrill that tense moments of a penalty shootout bring!

Download: iPhone and iPad | Android

The Very Best Comebacks in Club Soccer

One of the dearest reasons why millions of fans around the world simply adore the game of soccer is that it is a game of stupendous uncertainties. In most cases, you are never out of the game until the final whistle blows. Even in the injury time, there’s a sliver of hope that keeps fans of the trailing side with fingers crossed and fans of the leading side to count their minutes.

Perhaps the spirit of soccer lies in this ability to act as a ‘leveller’ of sorts, making it all appear fair, just and very, very thrilling.

As an homage to this very fact, we have tried to compile 5 of the very best comebacks in the modern history of club soccer.

Read on!


Liverpool vs AC Milan, 3-3, 2005


Dubbed by the media as the ‘Miracle of Istanbul’, the Champions League Final of 2005 still remains the highest triumph that the Liverpool fans have ever experienced.

The game, being hosted at the picturesque Ataturk Stadium in Istanbul, began in a frenzy as Maldini and Crespo scored three goals in tandem to take the Milanese side 3-0 up at the half time. What followed, however, was probably the best comeback ever as Smicer, Gerrard and Xabi Alonso scored three spectacular goals to draw level at full time, allowing for a high-adrenaline penalty shootout victory.


Arsenal vs Reading, 7-5, 2012


What a game! What a turnaround for the Gooners!

Reading were uncharacteristically aggressive in this routine league game in 2012, surprising everyone with a goal after goal in the first half, going 4-0 up. Just as the halftime whistle was due, a lone piece of side-line brilliance from Theo Walcott saw Arsenal score their first goal of the match – a goal many thought would merely be consolatory.

But it wasn’t. It spurred a comeback of dramatic proportions that finally saw Reading lose 5-7, leaving everyone as stunned as a deer in the headlights.


Newcastle vs Arsenal, 4-4, 2001

A year before they drubbed Reading, Arsenal experienced what snatching a defeat (a draw, technically) from the jaws of victory tastes like.

After a fertile first half, Arsenal were all too certain to complete an authoritative away win, when Abou Diaby was sent off for a reckless challenge. In the last 20 minutes of the second half, Newcastle fans found their voices back and the team their feet. When the referee blew the final whistle, Arsenal fans and players were left to contemplate what really transpired at the St. James Park that fine night.


Spurs vs Manchester City, 3-4, 2004


Manchester City weren’t quite used to winning about a decade ago as they are these days. In another soon-to-be-complete routing, they stood reeling 3-0 at the halftime with a relatively mediocre Spurs side.

Following a passionate plea from the man-in-charge Kevin Keegan, a legend in his own right, City players finally turned up, and how!

Scoring 4 goals in a matter of minutes, they somehow managed to make the impossible possible and entered the next round of the Cup in style.


Manchester United vs Juventus, 3-2, 1999 (Rare video)

Juventus 2 – 3 Manchester United… by manchesterdevils


The United were sorely missing playing with the highest echelons of European Club Football. They were finally allowed to make it to the Champions League in 1999 wherein they seemed unstoppable, routing every opponent before drawing 1-1 at home with the mighty Juventus.

The away leg started with a disappointment as Juventus went 2-0 up at the halftime. However, with a grand leader like Roy Keane at the helm, the comeback was far from impossible. Teaming up with Dwight Yorke and Andy Cole, Keane made sure that the Reds didn’t miss the plane to the finals.