Today’s marks the first day of the 2018 Football World Cup, and as excited as we all are, some may be more excited than others. That could very well be due to the fact that not all of us really understand football or the world cup. We just know that it’s in Russia this year and that Egypt is a part of it, other than that when we watch a match, we hardly know what’s going on and we’re too embarrassed half the time to ask a real football fan what’s going on so we don’t bother they match viewing pleasure.

If you are just like us when it comes to football, then this was written for you, because after reading this you’re going to be the one who explains football to others!


Basic Football rules:

  • Each team consists of 11 players including the goalkeeper if a team is playing with less than 7 players on the field they forfeit the game and the other team wins.
  • The game is made up of two halves, each lasting 45 mins, (making the game total to 90 mins)  There are “Stoppage Times”, that is the play time lost during injuries and substitutions and this is appointed by the referee, it is added at the end of each half.
  • A referee’ss word is the law on the field, and players could face discipline just for dissent or disagreement.
  • After the first half of the match, each team switched their goal box, so if for instance’s Egypt’s goal box was on the left, in the second half it’s on the right.

Yellow Cards.

A yellow card is given as a warning or caution to a player when they show unsporting behavior, or heavily disagree with the referee’s choice by words or action. Other reasons for a yellow card can be delaying the restart of the game, entering the field or leaving the field of play without the referee’s permission. A player can also get a yellow card for not respecting the distance when the game is restarted with a corner kick, free kick or throw in (explained below). Two yellow cards in the same match will automatically lead to a red card.


Red Cards.

A red card is used by the referee to  send a player off the field, and can be issued for serious foul play, violent misconduct (like spitting at an opponent or any other person, using offensive language or gestures), handling the ball to deny the other team a goal or goal opportunity (the goalkeeper is an exception of course), or getting a second yellow card as mentioned above.


Different Kicks:

Free Kicks (Darba hora, mobashra or 3’eir mobashra)

There are two kinds of Free Kicks, direct and indirect.

Direct: can be shot directly into the opponent’s goal without touching another player.

An indirect: can only go into the goal if it has subsequently been touched by another player before it enters the goal.

The ball must be stationary for both types of kicks.


Corner Kicks (Darbet Zawya)

A corner kick is awarded to the offending team when the defending team plays the ball out of bounds ( it goes outside the playing field) over its goal line. The ball is placed within the corner area and is kicked back into play by the offensive team. A player can score directly from a corner kick.


Goal Kick (Darbet Marmar)

A goal kick is awarded when the offensive team plays the ball out of bounds over the defensive team’s goal line. After the ball is out of play, the defender or goalkeeper may place the ball anywhere within the six-yard goal box and kick the ball back into play.


Penalty Kick (Penalty)

Somewhat the most common or well-known kick. A penalty kick is awarded either when a defensive player fouls an attacking player or touches the ball with their hand in their team’s penalty area. The penalty kick is placed at the penalty spot, and all players on both teams must remain outside the penalty box during the shot. They may enter the box immediately after the shot is taken. The goalkeeper may move horizontally along the goal line before the shot is taken, but he may not come off the goal line until the ball is struck.


A Throw-In (Out)

A throw-in is awarded when the possessing team plays the ball out of bounds over the touchline. While taking a throw-in, a player must release the ball with both hands simultaneously and keep both feet firmly planted on the ground. If these conditions are not met, the play is stopped and the throw-in is given to the opposing team. Players are not allowed to score directly off a throw-in.


The World Cup

Now we’ve covered the basics and all the kicks you can hear someone shout while watching the game, let’s go into what is the world cup and how does it work exactly.

Over roughly a 2 year period of time, the world’s 207 National Teams (split into six regions ) compete in regional qualifying tournaments to earn a spot of the 32 available spots at the World Cup. The host of the tournament — in this case, Russia— receives an automatic spot (lucky them), regardless of how good their team is.

The qualifying 32 teams are then randomly drawn into eight groups of four — labeled Groups A, B, C, D, E, F, G, and H. After the draw, the group that is deemed the hardest to win, meaning that all four teams are fairly evenly matched, is called the “Group of Death.” This year, however, there is a lot of debate on which group deserves that title.

Once the group stage begins, the teams start competing in a round where each country plays the other three in the same group  just once. 3 points are given for a win, 1 point for a tie and 0 points are awarded for a loss.

At the end of this round, they choose the two teams with the highest point totals to move on to the Knockout Rounds.

These are the “Win or go home” rounds, the knockout rounds are different from the previous round in that if a team loses a game, they get knocked out of the tournament and are not allowed to play on (unlike the previous round, where a loss would mean you still play on). This is why this round is when most football fans really don’t want you to talk to them during the game because every kick, slide, and goal truly matters.

Then there’s a round of 16, which then turns into a quarterfinal, which becomes a semifinal, ultimately leading to game the whole world will be watching (even the fans of the losing teams): the World Cup final.

That’s it, you’ve officially finished your football crash course and are ready to watch Tonight’s World Cup opening match with whole new confidence and if you find anyone who’s watching and looks like they’re lost (like you once were), send them this article in their inbox and wink at them across the table for effect, believe me they’ll thank you for it.