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Dating Tip: Familiarize Yourself With His Fave Sport, FOOTBALL

If you're an Azkals fan girl--or your guy's into the game--here's what you need to know to talk football with him. He'll get a kick out of it!


Thanks to the unprecedented wins of our national football team, the Philippine Azkals (that pack of hunky players--including the Fil-Brit Younghusband brothers--that you girls love to watch), football has gained nationwide popularity overnight. But, you have to admit, unless you know what's happening on the field, a game of football is nothing but over 90 minutes of confusion.

So read on for the basics of the game, terms you'll hear him use, and some current events in football. That way, you know when to cheer for your college team at a live UAAP game, for the Azkals on their next game, or for his favorite international team when you join him in front of the TV.


The basics:

Time. They play a running time (meaning the clock doesn't stop unless a goal is made) of 90 minutes, split into 45-minute halves. There are no timeouts.

Players. Each team has ten players and a goalkeeper on the field. There are three kinds of players: forwards, midfielders, and defenders.

  • Forwards are strikers--the primary options to score a goal. 
  • Midfielders attack to score, set up plays, or try to get the ball from the other team's offensive players.
  • Defenders prevent the other team from scoring.
  • The goalkeeper--well, you know that he defends the goal. And he's the only player who can touch the ball with all parts of his body.

Points. In the game, one goal is one point. And usually, a competition's scoring system is: a win gets three points, a draw gets one point, and a loss gets zero.

Why did the game stop? It's probably because of a:

  • Throw-in – If the ball touches or goes over the side lines.
  • Corner kick/Goal kick – If the ball touches or goes over the line parallel to the goal. If the team that put it out of bounds is the attacking team, the players clear out, and the goalkeeper puts the ball into play (a goal kick). If the team responsible is the defending team, a designated player from the other team kicks the ball from the corner of the field (corner kick).
  • Foul – If a player hits his opponent before hitting the ball.
  • Yellow card – Given like a warning if the ref thinks an act of misconduct was malicious. Two yellow cards will disqualify a player from the match.
  • Red card means he's out of the match and possibly the next.
  • Penalty kick – If an attacking player is fouled inside the penalty area, his team is awarded a penalty kick. A designated striker usually takes it. He goes against the goalkeeper one on one.
  • Hand ball – A player (that's not the keeper) uses his elbows or hands to control the ball.

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Terms you'll hear him say:

  • "Through"/"Forward pass" -- A pass not directed at the player, but the player's anticipated direction.
  • "Header" – A player uses his head to get the ball into the goal.
  • "Lob/Volley" – A high pass.
  • "Ground ball" – A pass that doesn’t leave the ground.
  • "Cross" – A pass from one side of the field to another.
  • "Hat trick" – A single player scoring a goal thrice in one match.

Current events to tune into:

The FIFA World Cup (held every four years) most recently took place last year in South Africa, where Spain won over Netherlands, 1-0.

The Philippine Azkals (and your favorite Younghusband brothers!) just won last July 3 over Sri Lanka to advance to their next opponent in the 2014 World Cup Asian Qualifiers. That's Philippine football history right there!

Famous players you should know (aside from Phil and James Younghusband):

David Beckham is probably known to you as Posh Spice's incredibly sexy husband, but in the world of football, he's a midfielder famous for his precise passing while playing for Manchester United. He transferred to Spain's Real Madrid.

Christiano Ronaldo is captain of Portugal's National team. He gained popularity in Manchester United's midfield after they lost David Beckham. You'll love him for his chiseled abs.

Lionel Messi plays for FC Barcelona, Real Madrid's fiercest rival. He's considered one of the best football players, was nominated FIFA World Player of the Year and European Football player at the age of 21, and won those awards in 2009 and 2010.   

Watch for these college football teams:

San Beda College's football program is one of the best in the country, and they've dominated the NCAA Seniors' Football competitions for several years now.

The University of the Philippines is the defending champion in the UAAP, topping six out of eight teams for football in the UAAP.

Far Eastern University is a perennial contender. They've battled it out with UP for the past four years, alternating with them as champions.

Remember to check out the last of our four July Cosmo Online Hunks, Luigi Celdran--a hot footballer for De La Salle--on July 27!

If you haven't already, check out our primers on basketball, volleyball, and swimming, so you can discuss these sports with him as well.

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