Curl, in football (soccer), is spin on the ball which will make it swerve, or bend, when kicked. This is imparted largely through almost slicing across the ball, and utilisation of either the inside foot or outside foot (known as a Trivela) depending on which direction the ball should bend towards. Curl is especially evident from free kicks, shots from outside the penalty area and crosses. Differences between balls can also affect the amount of swerve: traditional leather footballs are too heavy to curl without great skill, whereas the modern Adidas Teamgeist bends with a much lower effort threshold. As a general rule, the lighter and smoother the ball the more deviation there is. Making the ball curl in the air was first developed in Sheffield during the late 1870s. At the time it was referred to as a screw shot.
There is a degree of confusion surrounding the correct naming of different aspects of curl. The technique of putting curl on a ball is known as chanfle, from Spanish, to some. The deviation from the straight path in the air is the actual curl or swerve; however, the spin on the ball that causes this is also known as the curl. Shots that swerve are known as curlers, swingers, or, in extreme cases, banana shots.
Free kick specialists such as Alessandro Del Piero, Cristiano Ronaldo, Franck Ribéry, Juninho Pernambucano, Diego, David Beckham, Roberto Carlos, Deco, Didier Drogba, Ronaldinho and John Arne Riise, Alex Rodrigo Dias da Costa impart great amounts of spin on the ball, forcing it to rise, bend around a wall of defending players, or fall sharply, out of the reach of the goalkeeper. Goalkeepers usually organise walls to cover one side of the goal, and then stand themselves on the other side. Thus, the free kick taker has three choices; either to bend the ball inside of the wall and away from the goalkeeper, outside of the wall bending back inside the post, or over the wall. The latter is probably better suited to free kicks further from the goal, due to the amount of time and space needed for the ball to rise and fall.
Curling can be an effective technique when taking corners. The corner taker can either bend the ball away from the goalkeeper, hopefully luring him out for an attacker to pounce, or into the goalkeeper for an onrushing striker. A recent idea has been to curl the ball vigorously, sending it right back out to the edge of the penalty area, for an attacker to volley, or take a touch and then shoot. Curling is also used for scoring Olympic goals.
Less obvious, but still useful, curling can be used in passing. Effective through balls are often the result of a curled pass around the defender, or long cross field passes are sometimes aided by the addition of curl or backspin.
Many players have used the Trivela in their game but most notably Franz Beckenbauer relied routinely and expertly on this skill. Other players who uses this skill noticeably are Nelinho, Maradona, David Beckham. In the current game, Portuguese international Ricardo Quaresma uses it regularly, Spanish Midfielder Xavi uses it brilliantly for through balls. Aside from passing, this technique can be used to take a shot on goal, although it is difficult to master and if not done correctly can leave a player embarrassed and could compromise the current play. It requires balance, strength, and your body has to be leaning on a certain angle to execute power and bend on the ball.
Ricardo Quaresma, also scored an amazing goal against Belgium in a match that Portugal won by 4-0, the goal was credited as one of the best goals in the world. Because of the incredible effect the ball took, it managed to fool the keeper into thinking he could catch it, there was no possible defense for the unpredictable shot.
The reason that spin on a football makes it swerve is the Magnus effect. This causes a rotating ball to form a whirlpool about itself, with one side's air moving with the ball and the other side's air moving against the ball. This creates a difference in air pressure, and the ball deviates from its path to compensate for this.
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