Indirect free-kicks

Decidedly less spectacular than their direct equivalent, the indirect free-kick is an essential part of the game, being the most common method for restarting after an infringement.

As you might imagine, a free-kick is only awarded after a foul (including offsides) is committed anywhere on the field of play. The only exception is for fouls in the penalty area, although even this can lead to a free-kick in case of an illegal pass-back.

Indirect Free Kick

Indirect Free Kick

The indirect free-kick is a more frequent sight in the game, as it is awarded for any unconscious infringement of the laws of the game (as opposed to a foul with clear intent or excessive force). Similarly, in contrast to the direct free-kick, an indirect free-kick means a direct strike on goal is prohibited. Instead, any shot must come from the second player to touch the ball after the free-kick has been taken.

The procedure for an indirect free-kick is simple to understand. Whichever team takes the kick must ensure the ball is stationary beforehand, while the defensive side must retreat at least 10 yards from that position until the kick has been taken. As a result of this, it is perfectly possible for an indirect free-kick to result in a goal.

What makes it slightly less probable is that, on top of all the obstacles for a direct free-kick, the defending team has the chance to charge the ball down in between the first touch and the subsequent shot on goal. Indeed, a common complaint by free-kick takers is that the defending side pre-empt the first touch and have already made up 5 yards on the ball before the kick has been taken!

With this in mind, the technique for shooting on goal when taking a free-kick is slightly less sophisticated. As there is less time to place the ball past the keeper, attacking players typically opt for a ‘hit and hope’ policy, even to the point of relying on deflections past the goalkeeper.

Nevertheless, this has not stopped players like Frank Lampard of England being extremely effective from such positions, so don’t always resort to the pass – try to out-think your opponent if the goal beckons!