Soccer Betting – The "Asian Handicap"

A draw, or tied score, is a frequent outcome in soccer. In the 2008-2009 season, almost a quarter of all Premier League matches resulted in a draw. Because such an outcome is so common, traditional betting usually involves betting within the context of three different outcomes: a win for one team, a draw, or a win for the other team. The «Asian handicap» is a means of changing this by «handicapping» the underdog by a certain percentage, meaning that a draw becomes impossible.

Most handicaps are made at intervals of one half or one quarter, meaning that there has to be a winner since it is impossible to score a half or quarter goal. The purpose is to make the odds as close to 50-50 as possible and eliminating the draw as a possible outcome. Because the odds are almost half when a handicap is applied, the payout is usually even money, or very close to it.

The primary benefit is encouraging punters to bet on matches where there is a clear favorite. For example, if Manchester United (winner of the Premier League in the 2008-2009 season) were to play West Bromwich (the bottom team of the Premier League during the same season), few punters would be interested in betting. This is because Manchester United is a much better team and the odds are strongly in their favor.

However, if West Bromwich was given a handicap of +2.5, it would mean that they would be effectively starting with a lead of 2.5 goals. This means Manchester United would have to score three goals more than West Bromwich to be the winner as far as the bet is concerned. If West Bromwich scored one goal, then Manchester would have to score four to win. Handicapping obviously changes the odds significantly.

An interesting aspect of handicapping is the push. If an even number is used for the handicap, and the actual score plus the handicap equals a draw, then this is a push. For example, if in the example given above West Bromwich was given a handicap of 2 and failed to score any goals, and Manchester United only scored two goals, this would be a push. The result of a push is that all the punters receive their original wagers returned as there was no winner.

The «Asian Handicap» adds an additional element to soccer betting that can be both fun and profitable. This form of betting can be helpful for those punters that have a personal favorite that they intend to bet on, but are not confident that their favorite will win a particular match.

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Pre-Season Soccer Training – The Basics

Effective pre-season training is important for all soccer players of any age, whether you play for a team in the Premier League or your local college team and the work done in pre-season can define the competitive season ahead, making the difference between winning trophies or being also-rans.

The Pre-season soccer training schedule should be planned out by the coach in order to maximise each session. Ideally training should begin at least five to six weeks before the season actually starts.

Each training session should start with a thorough warm-up taking care not to strain any muscles in early pre-season. Ideally each session should begin with a five minutes gentle jogging followed by gentle static stretching, followed by more jogging followed by a more intensive stretching session, while taking care not to over stretch and cause damage to muscles, tendons or ligaments.

Stretching for soccer should include all major muscle groups, with a mixture of dynamic and static stretches. Dynamic stretching exercises that are perfect for soccer and include swinging the arms and circling the shoulders, twisting the upper body and swinging the legs as if kicking an imaginary ball, be careful not to over stretch with these exercises. Static stretches do not involve movement of the joint and are essential for the quadriceps and hamstrings. Ballistic stretches which involve bouncing to maximise the stretch are no longer advocated and should be avoided.

Running is excellent for aerobic conditioning and should be encouraged as improved fitness will pay dividends later in the season, this should involve distance work, sprinting and running that involves work with the soccer ball. Dribbling the soccer ball around cones or across a defined area will improve conditioning, speed and ball control at the same time.

Work with the soccer ball can be extended by spending time controlling the ball with the feet, knees and head, a perfect way to practice this is to divide players into pairs and have one player throw the ball while the other controls and returns to his partner.

Each session can be completed with a short game possibly integrating two touch soccer which will improve ball control and passing accuracy and also encourage thinking and movement off the ball. Following the game a cool down with stretching should take place to minimise aching and tired muscles which will aid recovery for your next session.

During early pre-season is it important not to over exert the players and to make the sessions fun which will motivate if players are tired not too push them too much, this can result in injury and lack of enthusiasm. Another important factor for any training session is adequate hydration, ensure all the players have a water bottle and keep adequately hydrated throughout the training session.

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Short Biography of Famous Soccer Player – Lionel Messi

His full name is Lionel Andrés Messi. Messi who was born 24 June 1987 is an Argentine soccer player and now participates for La Liga’s Barcelona and the Argentine national team. Messi is regarded as one of the best and famous soccer players of his generation, by the age of 21, has received several Ballon d’Or and FIFA World Player of the Year nominations.

Messi started playing soccer at very early age and his latent was rapidly acclaimed by Barcelona. Making his first appearance in the 2004-2005 season, he broke the La Liga record for the youngest soccer player to take part in a league game, and the youngest to make a league goal as well.

In 2005 he became the latest teen superstar of Argentine soccer. Lionel Messi was chosen as the player of the tournament at under-20 World Cup on the year; played his first game for the Argentine national team; and made his first goal with the professional team FC Barcelona.

Messi was almost immediately being compared to an earlier hero of Argentine soccer, Diego Maradona. He was a member of Argentina’s 2006 World Cup team. He assisted Barcelona win an uncommon triple in 2009: the Copa del Rey, Spain’s La Liga championship, and also the Champions League.

Lionel Messi has been given countless praised from Argentinean coach Diego Maradona in spite of their defeat to Spain. Maradona stated that he was pleased with the Barcelona striker performance on the field.

On the occasion, Maradona asserted, «The match wasn’t brilliant but the team responded well against the champions of Europe. It works for me because the team reacted very well. «Messi played marvelously well, and little by little he is becoming the leader of the team. It is what I want and it is what I hope for.»

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FC Barcelona – The Rivalry With Real Madrid

As long as there have been sport teams, there have been rivalries. Whether it’s the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox or the Cincinnati Bengals and the Cleveland Browns, the two rival teams inevitably end up meeting again and again, forming an ongoing heated rivalry that delights fans of the sport. One such rivalry is between Spanish football teams FC Barcelona and Real Madrid.

FC Barcelona (also known as Barça by its fans) and Real Madrid are two of the earliest Spanish football teams, both forming in the 1890s. From the start, the two teams were seen as representatives of two rival regions of Spain, the ancient kingdoms of Castile and Catalonia. Both teams were part of La Liga, a Spanish football league and a rivalry that went far beyond football quickly took root.

It was during and after the Spanish Civil War that the rivalry took on more political overtones. Dictator Francisco Franco banned all peripheral languages, such as Catalan, the language of Barcelona. Catalonia had long been associated with more progressive fashions and political ideas, such as democracy-which was the diametric opposite of Franco’s dictatorial regime. FC Barcelona suffered as a result of being a part of the Catalonian culture. Real Madrid, on the other hand, was seen by many Spaniards (and Catalonians in particular) as the «establishment» club. Though Franco seemed to favor Real Madrid, members of both teams suffered under his regime.

The fierce rivalry continued into the 1950s when both clubs sought to sign Alfredo Di Stefano to play for them. Real Madrid eventually won out and Alfredo Di Stefano went on to lead them to many wins. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid went head-to-head twice at the European Cup in the 1960s, with Real Madrid winning one and FC Barcelona winning the other. The two teams clashed once again over a player in 2000 when Luis Figo left FC Barcelona and signed with Real Madrid. FC Barcelona and Real Madrid competed against each other again in the UEFA Champions League semi-final in 2002, with Real Madrid getting the win. The Spanish media dubbed the match «The Match of the Century».

In the mid-2000s, the rivalry ascended to further heights when it acquired its own name, El Clasico. The term El Clasico was traditionally assigned to any South American football rivalry, but the growth of football in the Americas coupled with these two great teams’ rivalry led to the coining of the term as applied to FC Barcelona and Real Madrid. This was mostly a marketing scheme communicated via GolTV, an all-football satellite channel, but the term has been embraced by fans worldwide.

El Clasico shows no signs of slowing. To this very day, the two teams inevitably seek each other out on the field to find out who is the best team in Spain. Sometimes FC Barcelona wins and sometimes Real Madrid wins, but ultimately football fans worldwide are the ones who win whenever these two giants meet on the field.

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