Hi there, it’s Martin Tyler for along with Alan Smith looking forward to what should be a really exciting blog! Okay let’s back up… best-selling soccer video game, FIFA ’14, was recently released for all game consoles and I am currently spending my semester in England (agruably the soccer capital of the world). I have now attended two Premier League soccer games -Sunderland and Newcastle- and I now, prematurely, consider myself a bit of an expert… With my FIFA video game history and my new knowledge of REAL British soccer, I bring you a list of 6 key differences between playing soccer on your Xbox and watching the real thing…
1. Annoying Friends are Shunned
No, seriously! Don’t you hate sitting down playing FIFA with that one friend who, don’t get me wrong, you love him, but he is SOOO annoying to play video games with? Like, he claims he’s such an expert at defense…DUDE YOU BEAT ME 3-2!!!! Well have no fear, because at Premier League soccer games, the fans of the away team are forced to sit in their own section way up in what we Americans would call the nosebleed seats. Sure, you can still hear them when their team scores but you don’t have to resist the urge to punch him in his chatty, boastful mouth! Oh god, that got a little too personal… never again.
From reverses, to stepovers, all the way to chops and rainbows, one of the most exciting parts of playing a soccer video game is the ability to use that handy right stick to make defenders (aka your friends) look foolish! Now… that said, in the games I’ve seen live, flamboyant and fancy footwork are one of the less important facets of play with timely passing and well-placed crosses into the box accounting for most of the excitement. So sure, enjoy maneuvering your player into scoring position with the wiggle of your right thumb, but just know that’s not really what the young go-hards are doing these days…
3. Less Cards, Less Slide Tackling
“What do we want?” “To take the ball!!!” “How will we get it?” “X-button!!!” If you play FIFA like me and my friends, you probably go through a load of yellow and red cards each game due to your overzealous use of the slide tackle feature. While there are no repercussions for yellow cards in a casual video game match, players in real life have to miss games for two straight matches with yellows! So from my experiences, I’ve seen much less risky tackling and much less carding in real life. (In the two games I saw there were only three yellow cards combined.)
This may sound crazy but the players in real life actually do get tired!!! Unless you’re THAT GUY, you’re most likely not doing much player swapping throughout the course of your 10 minute Xbox matchup. However, in the Newcastle vs Hull City game I attended, each team used three of their subs, providing strategic changes in energy for their squads…
5. Cheers for Good Passing
This part is weird. I understand that soccer is all about possession but even when their team is on the defensive half, the stadium will erupt in cheers at the sight of a solid pass switching fields… I’ve gotta say that’s not EXACTLY how it goes down with a bunch of bros sitting around in the midst of a FIFA tourney. Thank god!
I think this is the part of soccer that Americans cannot stand! It’s so typical for a game to end in a tie, with both sides going home feeling rather…. I don’t know, average? While the 2-2 Newcastle game was broken up in the 70th minute, a part of me expected to go simply go home after 90 minutes with no winner and no loser (since this was not a tournament or a cup game)! In FIFA, you have to be a real Nancy to choose the ‘Draw’ option, with nearly all players choosing to either go with the ‘Golden Goal’ or ‘Classic’ overtime approach. And that’s not to mention penalty kicks 😉