Corner kick

A picture of the exact moment the blue-white team's corner kick is taken.

A corner kick is a method of restarting play in a game of association football. It was first devised in Sheffield under the Sheffield Rules 1867. It was adopted by the Football Association on 17 February 1872.

A corner kick is awarded to the attacking team when the ball leaves the field of play by crossing the goal line (either on the ground or in the air) without a goal having been scored, having been last touched by a defending player (including the goalkeeper). The kick is taken from the corners of the field of play nearest where the ball crossed the goal line. Corners are considered to be a reasonable goalscoring opportunity for the attacking side, though not as much as a penalty kick or a Direct free kick near the edge of the penalty area.

In most cases, the assistant referee will signal that a corner should be awarded by first raising his flag, then using it to point at the corner arc on their side of the pitch; however, this is not an indication of which side the kick should be taken from. The referee then awards the corner by pointing to the relevant arc.



Player takes a corner kick

When taking a corner kick, the football is initially placed so that some piece of the ball touches the corner arc closest to where the ball went out of play. The corner arc is located at the intersection of the goalline and touchline and has a radius of one yard. All defending players must be at least ten yards (9.15 metres) from the ball until the corner kick is taken. A corner kick is taken as soon as it is kicked and moves.

The attacking side may score directly from a corner kick, though this is uncommon.

The first player to touch the ball directly from a corner kick delivery cannot be penalised for offside.


Opposing players must retire the required distance as stated above. Failure to do so may constitute misconduct and be punished by a caution (yellow card).

It is an offence for the kicker to touch the ball a second time until it has been touched by another player; this is punishable by an indirect free kick to the defending team from where the offence occurred, unless the second touch was also a more serious handling offence, in which case it is punishable by a direct free kick.

Tactics in taking and defending a corner

A common tactic is for several attackers to stand close in front of the goal, whereupon the corner taker crosses the ball for them to head into the goal.

The defending team may choose to form a wall of players in an attempt to force the ball to be played to an area which is more easily defended. This is not done often, however, because defending players must remain at least 10 yards from the ball until it is in play.

The defending team also has the choice of whether to instruct a player to place himself beside one or both of the goalposts to provide protection to the goal in addition to the goalkeeper himself. Some teams will only place a player on one post, while it is unusual for a team to not have a player beside either post. The thinking behind placing a player beside a goalpost is that it means more of the goal area is protected and there is no loss in the ability to play an offside trap because offside does not apply for the first touch from a corner.

The defending team also has to decide how many players it needs to defend a corner. Teams may withdraw every player into a defensive area, however this diminishes the potential for a counter-attack if possession is regained, and, as such allows the attacking side to commit more players to attacking the goal. Withdrawing all players into a defensive area also means that if the ball is cleared from an initial cross, it is more than likely that the attacking team will regain possession of the ball and begin a new attack.

In situations where a set-piece such as a corner is awarded to a side trailing by a single goal at the closing stages of a match where conceding further is of minimal consequence (i.e. in a knockout tournament) a team may commit all their players, including their goalkeeper, to the attack.

Short corner

An alternative strategy for the attacking team is to take a short corner. The ball is kicked to a player located within ten yards of the kicker, to create a better angle of approach toward the goal. An example of this was when Maniche scored a goal for Portugal against the Netherlands in Euro 2004.

A rarely-seen "trick" version of the short corner was famously attempted during a tense top-of-the-table Premier League clash between Manchester United and Chelsea in the 2008–09 season, causing much controversy and media discussion. The strategy involved United's Wayne Rooney, standing at the corner flag, pretending to change his mind about taking the corner and signalling to winger Ryan Giggs to do it instead. While leaving the arc, however, Rooney sneakily touched the ball, effectively putting it into play. With Chelsea's defense unprepared and expecting a conventional corner, Giggs took the ball, sprinted with it towards goal and crossed it for teammate Cristiano Ronaldo to score with a header. On this occasion, the goal was immediately disallowed after the linesman, not having seen Rooney's taking of the corner, raised his flag, thus prompting the referee to stop play; the routine, however, has been considered legal on previous occasions,[1][2] such as by Mladen Petrić and Ivan Rakitić at Basel,[1] as well as United manager Alex Ferguson saying he first saw it performed by Celtic 42 years previously, and even himself tried it at Aberdeen.[2] The strategy is, however, rare, as its great strength is the element of surprise.

Scoring a goal direct from a corner

It is possible to score direct from a corner kick if sufficient swerve is given to the kick, there is a strong wind in the goalward direction, the ball is played from the part of the corner arc furthest from the goal, or a combination of these factors.

Scoring directly from a corner kick has been permitted since the International Football Association Board (IFAB) meeting of 15 June 1924 authorized it for the following season.[3][4] The first such goal was scored by Billy Alston in Scotland on 21 August 1924.[3] The first in England was by Huddersfield Town's Billy Smith.The world record holder is Dejan Petković with 8 goals. It remains a rare occurrence, often accomplished by fluke rather than intent, and with the goalkeeper usually blamed for an error.[5]

This type of goal is called an Olympic goal in Latin America.[3] The name dates from 2 October 1924, when Argentina's Cesáreo Onzari scored against Uruguay, who had just won the 1924 Olympic title.[3][5] The expression has also been used in the United States, for example by Max Bretos on Fox Soccer Channel; this reflects Latin influence on the sport's culture there. The only Olympic goal in the World Cup was scored for Colombia by Marcos Coll, beating legendary goalkeeper Lev Yashin in a 4–4 draw with the Soviet Union in 1962.

A famous example was by Celtic's 1950s midfielder Charlie Tully; he scored direct from a corner only for the referee to decide that Tully had taken the kick from outside the arc; when Tully retook the kick, he scored again.[6] George Best scored from a corner for Manchester United against Ipswich Town; in their next meeting, trying to prove it had not been a fluke, he tried again and hit the bar.[5][7] Bernd Nickel scored for Eintracht Frankfurt from each of the four corners of the Waldstadion.[8] According to journalist Özgür Canbaş, Şükrü Gülesin scored 32 such goals in his career.[8] Steve Staunton did so in two international matches for Ireland.[5][6] In March 2004, Mark Pulling scored a hat-trick from corners for Worthing in the Isthmian League Division One South against Corinthian-Casuals; all were in the first half, assisted by a strong wind.[9] Paul Comstive scored two for Bolton Wanderers against Bournemouth on 1 January 1991.[6] Dejan Petković scored eight goals from corner kicks in his career, the last one was on 8 November 2009 for Flamengo against Atlético Mineiro in the Brazilian Série A. Ronaldinho also scored direct from a corner for Flamengo vs Avai on September 1st 2011. As a junior player, Blackburn winger Morten Gamst Pedersen once scored six goals directly from a corner in the same match.[8]

Using corner kicks as a tie-breaker

Sebastian Larsson takes a corner for Birmingham City.

The number of corner kicks awarded to each team has been suggested as an alternative method of tie-breaking to the current penalty shootout method. The theory behind this suggestion is that the team which during the course of play has been awarded the most corner kicks is likely to have dominated play, forcing their opponents to make more high-risk tackles and their goalkeeper to make more saves in which he was not able to gain possession of the ball but rather merely deflect it across the line outside of the goal or over the crossbar. The use of corner-kick counts as a tie-breaker has not been approved by the International Football Association Board, and as such is not used in any high-level competition. Furthermore, this method should never be used at any level of eleven-a-side football due to Law 10 (The Method of Scoring); only the methods stated there are allowed to determine the result of a game.

Some scoreboards for high school and college venues in the United States have statistics for fouls, shots on goal, and corner kicks earned. On television such statistics are shown periodically during play for international and other major televised matches.

Own goal anomalies

According to the laws of the game, if a player puts the ball into their own goal directly from a restart of play (e.g. free kicks, corner kicks, goal kicks etc.) without the ball being touched by any other player, a corner kick is awarded to the other team and not an "own goal" which it would appear to be. Such incidents are exceedingly rare.

A mistake relating to that rule appeared to be committed by referee David Elleray during a Premier League derby match between Birmingham City and Aston Villa during the 2002/03 season. Aston Villa defender Olof Mellberg, threw the ball towards his goalkeeper (Peter Enckelman), who seemed to miss the ball completely and the ball went into the net. Elleray gave a goal to Birmingham even though it appeared that Enckelman may not have touched the ball - television replays were inconclusive. If Elleray had determined that Enckelman had not touched the ball, he should have awarded a corner kick to Birmingham.[10]


  1. ^ a b Soccer Training Info, retrieved Feb 2009
  2. ^ a b The Irish Independent, retrieved Feb 2009.
  3. ^ a b c d Barnade, Oscar (October 2004). "El gol olímpico cumple 80" (in Spanish). Clarín. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  4. ^ "Minutes of the AGM of the IFAB". London: SSBRA. 15 June 1924. p. 3. Retrieved 29 November 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c d Freddi, Cris (March 2003). "Gol olimpico". When Saturday Comes. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  6. ^ a b c Dart, James (17 January 2007). "Who is the most prolific corner goalscorer of all time?". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  7. ^ "Best on Best...". Daily Telegraph. 25 Nov 2005. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  8. ^ a b c Bandini, Paolo; James Dart (24 January 2007). "The World's most prolific corner scorer (2)". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  9. ^ "Ryman (South): Corinthian Casuals 1 Worthing 3". The Argus. 22 Mar 2004. Retrieved 2009-11-17. 
  10. ^ Freak goal stuns Taylor, BBC Sport, 17 September 2002

External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • corner kick — noun A kick awarded to the attacking team when the ball leaves the field of play by wholly crossing the goal line without a goal having been scored, having last touched a player from the defending team. For the kick, the ball is placed within the …   Wiktionary

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  • corner — ► NOUN 1) a place or angle where two or more sides or edges meet. 2) a place where two streets meet. 3) a secluded or remote region or area. 4) a difficult or awkward position. 5) a position in which one dominates the supply of a particular… …   English terms dictionary

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