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Aug 24/09
Crossing the ball: when to do what and how.

Every situation calls for a diferent approach.
Here we look at a few different types of crosses that all try to achieve the same thing: eluding the keeper and defenders.

Goal Line crosses:
  • Near Post,
  • Far Post
Then there is the Early Cross and Late Cross, which is a hybryd of the Early Cross.

The ball to the near post is usually 'driven' hard across the goal mouth, from close to the end/goal line and corner flag.
The ball to the far post is also driven, but lofted above the penalty area exposing the far post area.
In both cases it is practical to push the ball slightly outside the body towards the goal and kick with your instep. Your non-kicking foot should face the direction that you would like the ball to travel. If you strike the ball close to the ground and lean back, it will rise. If you lean over top or sideways and strike the ball close to the centre, it will travel chest-high.

earlyAn Early Cross is usually executed to expose the area behind a 'flat four' defensive line.
The 'flat four' system is commonly used in modern soccer.
When facing a team with a flat back four, one where the players are static in a line, you should use the Early Cross'as a way of crossing the ball from the wings.
The technique for the Early Cross is quite different than that used for the Goal Line cross.

1. Your hips should be facing forward in the direction you are running;
2. Strike the ball with your foot around the outside of the ball;
3. Make sure your big toe is pointing up - essential in putting spin on the ball.

Do not turn your hips inside otherwise the ball will be driven rather than hooked.
The ball should land around the semicircle area of the 18 yard box.
This type of cross will keep the keeper on his line, and defenders scrambling.

late We now look at a similar cross, which we call the 'Late Cross'
This is best used when the defenders are being attacked by a winger and are running back towards their own goal.
The technique is the same as the Early Cross but in this scenario you most likely have beaten a defender already and if not, you are already in the area to the side of the 18 yard box.
Your attackers are probably already trying to get past the back-rushing defenders, looking for a one time shot or header.
In this scenario you must hook the ball back so it curls away from the keeper towards the penalty spot. Keep it chest high, to make it difficult for defenders to clear.
This type of 'hooked' cross is useless close to the goal line. Delivered from there, it normally would curl out of play before entering the field again.

Sometimes, if you are comfortable with both feet,
you can pull the ball back, face your own half and
curl the ball in with your opposite foot above
and beyond the defensive line.