Sunday, 21 Jul 2024

A Goal in Soccer: Everything You Need to Know

Goal Celebration

We’ve all experienced the exhilaration of watching a soccer ball find the back of the net. Whether we’re on the field or cheering from the stands, goals in soccer hold a special place in our hearts. In this article, we’ll explore the ins and outs of scoring a goal, the rules surrounding it, and the impact it has on the game.

A Goal – Breaking It Down

Goal or No Goal

Regardless of the league or association, the game of soccer follows the Laws of the Game. Law 10 specifies that a goal is scored when the entire ball crosses between the goalposts and beneath the crossbar. It’s important to note that no fouls should occur during this process.

Offside plays and handballs are frequent reasons for disallowing goals. These decisions can be controversial and heart-wrenching for both fans and players, especially in critical moments of the game.

Own Goals

In soccer, even the defending team can accidentally score a goal. If a defending player kicks the ball into their own net, the opposing team is awarded the goal. It doesn’t matter who caused the ball to enter the goal; the point goes to the team assigned to that goal area. This rule applies to goalkeepers as well, who can inadvertently score an own goal.

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Points Awarded When Goals Are Scored


A goal in soccer is worth one point. While this may make soccer appear low-scoring compared to other sports, it’s essential to understand that points are awarded differently in soccer. In American football, for example, a touchdown can be worth up to eight points.

Soccer scores generally happen one at a time, unlike in other sports where they can occur in groups. Therefore, each goal holds significant value and excitement for both players and fans.

Aggregate Scoring

In certain soccer competitions that use aggregate scoring, away goals can act as tiebreakers. If two teams have the same aggregate score at the end of a tournament, the team with more away goals will advance. This rule has influenced several prestigious tournaments like the UEFA Champions League Cup.

League Scoring

In league standings, away goals can also come into play as tiebreakers. For example, in the Premier League, when two teams are tied in points, factors such as goal differential, total goals scored, and head-to-head points are considered. Away goals become one of the criteria before a playoff takes place.

Times When Scoring is Not Permitted

Goal Denied

Surprisingly, there are situations in soccer when teams are not allowed to score. These instances include indirect free kicks, throw-ins, and goalkeepers scoring directly with their hands or arms.

Indirect free kicks require the ball to touch another player before entering the goal area to be considered a goal. Similarly, throw-ins cannot be directly thrown into the net for a score. As for goalkeepers, they are not allowed to throw the ball into the opposing team’s goal. A goal is also invalidated if the last body part to touch the ball was the goalkeeper’s arm or hand.

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Another Way of Scoring – Penalty Kicks

Penalty Kick

Penalty kicks are crucial moments in a soccer game. There are two situations where penalty kicks are used: fouls and follow-ups.

Certain fouls result in a penalty kick being awarded to the fouled team. It’s a one-on-one battle between the kicker and the goalkeeper. The kicker must kick the ball forward, and other players can then join the play after the ball is in motion. However, the original kicker cannot touch the ball again until another player has touched it.

Follow-ups occur when the goalkeeper blocks the penalty kick but fails to catch the ball. In this case, the original kicker can attempt a follow-up shot.

The Penalty Shoot-Out

In games where a draw is not permissible, penalty shoot-outs determine the winner in case of a tie at the end of regulation and extra time periods. Players on the field take turns kicking against the opposing goalkeeper.

Initially, teams compete in best-of rounds, with each team taking five penalty kicks. The team with the higher score after five rounds wins. If both teams receive the same score, sudden-death rounds occur until one team scores and the other misses.

It’s important to note that penalty kicks and penalty shoot-outs have distinct rules. Only the opposing goalkeeper can make an attempt on the ball during a penalty kick, and the original kicker cannot take a follow-up shot.