ABC has tweeted viewers a guide to the World Cup - you can see it here. In the guide they deal with the puzzling nuances of football that may be unfamiliar to TV audiences in the US. Some of them may help viewers in the UK too, who only watch footy every four years.
Here are some of the highlights from the ABC guide:
"Advantage - When a player is fouled but the referee allows play to continue -- usually because the team still has the ball or has an attack going -- the referee is playing advantage. He can call the foul later if the play falls apart."
"Caps - So let’s start with the fact that players don’t wear caps on the field. Instead, the number of caps a player has equals how many times he’s represented his country in a game. There’s reports of players in the U.K. wearing caps during international games back in the 1870s. They wore them during games because having matching shirts wasn’t a thing yet, so the caps distinguished them from their opponents."
Own Goal - When a team scores a goal against itself, it’s an own goal.
"According to FIFA, a player is offside if he is “nearer to his opponents’ goal line than both the ball and the second [to] last opponent."
Did that help? No?
There’s several other factors, including whether the player gains an advantage, what side of the field he’s on and if he’s actually trying to play the ball. There will be dozens of contentious offsidedecisions during the World Cup. If it’s in favor of the team you’re rooting for - it was obviously the right decision. If it’s against the team you’re rooting for - well, that linesman clearly needs glasses."
And finally - they know about England and penalties.
When teams end extra time tied, the match goes to a penalty shootout. Five players from each team try to score as the ball sits 12 yards from goal. If there’s no winner after the first five, shooting continues until someone wins.
Typically, England loses in penalty shootouts, having gone out of major tournaments six of seven times when a game reached penalties.