5 a side football is a variation on the traditional 11 a side game we all know. It uses a much shorter pitch and smaller goals. It is known to be played indoors or on Astroturf. The game is taken very seriously in many parts of the world including Brazil, however, is less popular in other parts of the world.
In the United Kingdom, 5 a side football is known to be quite an informal game of football. With no real governing bodies set up, no FIFA influence or any major leagues, it isn't surprising that many haven't took to it. Its main playing surface in the United Kingdom is on Astroturf (an artificial pitch). Goals are also usually much smaller, along with the duration of the matches and the size of the pitches. Rules in 5 a side football are usually quite flexible as well. For example, in some cases players aren't allowed to enter the goalkeepers penalty box, with the consequence of giving away a free-kick or penalty and at other times this is allowed. Although there are not many officially organised competitions, there are still some smaller ones currently going on around the country.
Another style of the 5 a side football game is that of Futsal. Originated in the streets of Spain and Brazil, the game encourages creativity and magnificent individual skill. The sport is ever increasing in popularity, with organised international competitions starting to be aired on television all over the world. Futsal is played indoors, with lines defining whether the ball is in or out of play rather than other variations such as walls or railings. The main competition for Futsal is that of the FIFA Futsal World Cups, with international teams participating against one another in group and knock-out form. Brazil are the current reigning champions, and are regarded very highly within the sport.
The skills needed to be good at 5 a side football, or Futsal are similar to that of 11 a side in some ways, however differ greatly in others. Despite the reduced size of the pitches, endurance and stamina are still very important assets. But, on the ball skills are valued much higher than in 11 a side. Individual skill, creativity, control and first touch are all attributes needed to be successful at 5 a side football. For goalkeepers, reflexes and shot-stopping are two of the highest regarded skills with much smaller goals.
Although 5 a side football may still not be that popular in the United Kingdom at any sort of professional level, Futsal is certainly a very entertaining variation taking the world of football by storm. In future years, expect greater publicity of World Cup's and various leagues around the world. England may also choose to join on the bandwagon, and take Futsal more seriously. For the more skilful players out there, it'll certainly be a joy to learn tricks from great 5 a side Futsal players as well to enhance their game even further.
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