Being a Soccer (Football) Goalkeeper - The Bad and the Good

There are a few common misconceptions about soccer (called "football" everywhere other than in the United States) goalkeepers. Let's take a look at these and then examine how things really are.

Misconception #1 - Being a soccer goalie is easy because you don't have to run around very much.

People who aren't familiar with the game will see all the players running around on the field and then see the goalies who are "just standing there" and assume it must be easy.

The truth is that goalies have to be 100% aware of what is going on at all times. While it may not be as physically demanding as the other position, they do still need to be able to move around a lot -- and quickly -- especially if the ball is equidistant from the goalie and an opposing player and they are both running for it.

A goalkeeper also has to be precisely aware of where he is on the field, and know where the goal is without needing to look back and see it. Taking your eyes off the ball for even a split second can result confusion which can lead to the other team scoring.

Football Betting: Euro 2012, Will Ireland Make History?

Republic of Ireland fans would have been bitterly disappointed not to qualify for Euro 2012. They tried so many times in recent years and in the last World Cup they really deserved to go though if wasn't for France and Thierry Henry. This time they had a dream of qualifying draw but the home defeat against Russia put them under pressure throughout the campaign. Ireland however fought hard to finish second and this was a real achievement. They draw 0-0 in Moscow last September and managed to get ahead of a good team like Armenia. The one aspect you can bet Giovanni Trapattoni will get absolutely right is the defence: this was the main strength for Ireland and although they may be short of brilliance at times, their style needs to be respected.

Giovanni Trapattoni's career will continue long beyond Euro 2012. He has recently signed a new contract which will take him to the end of the qualifying campaign for the 2014 World Cup. This is a man who has had plenty of success on his career but he just wants more. Trap doesn't want a lucrative pension, he wants to be involved in the game. He has won 20 major honours, including Serie A seven times but didn't do very well in major tournament: at the 2002 World Cup with Italy he only got to the round of 16 and failed to get out of the Group Stage at Euro 2004.

How to Choose Football Gifts for Kids

Children develop a love for football from the youngest of ages and that is especially true if there are football fans in their own families. Being a fan of a certain team is often something that spans generations and continues on as a tradition. If your little one has developed a love for a specific team or if you want him or her to develop their fondness for it then you need to know what to do. Knowing what kids like is essential and of course, the best way to get to the heart of a child is through gifts. Football gifts for kids will allow little ones to develop their loyalty, to display it and to be proud of it.

Of course, not all official merchandise will be suitable for kids, but there are certain items that have an intrinsic appeal for those of a younger age. T-shirts made in their size, balls, and even figures in the form of players can give them great pleasure. So whenever you go hunting for football gifts remember to think their way and to prepare properly. The best way to do it, of course, is to ask beforehand but, as that may ruin the surprise just make sure that you know which team is the kid's favorite. There is nothing more annoying for a child than to receive a football gift that is not adorned with his or her favorite team markings.

So, now that you have the basics in order, you need to know where to look for football gifts. And of course, the most satisfying results are found online. First of all visit the official merchandise store of the team that you are looking for gifts from. The official clubs or at least those that are more prominent will sell gifts of their own. This is great because the quality of the products is usually very good and you can be sure that you will get them at a reasonable price.

Football gifts from the official clubs are not necessarily manufactured by the club; generally they work closely with manufacturers that have been selected for their quality and better prices. If however, you don't find anything interesting at the official club store, don't forget to extend your search and look for cool items on other sites. Among the best possible football gifts for kids T-shirts are the most sought after, followed by balls and sometimes games associated with their team such as monopoly or darts.

Euro 2012 Team Profile: Ukraine

Ukraine, along with neighbours Poland, host Euro 2012, the pinnacle of European football. Though they have the much-required home support, Ukraine would not fancy themselves to be serious contenders for the crown. In a tournament that features current world and European champion, Spain and many former champions, the Ukrainians would consider themselves underdogs. However, they have sprung a surprise once in a while and they are more than capable of doing so again.

The Coach

Oleh Blokhin is the head coach of Ukraine football team. He was one of the greatest strikers in the world and still is the highest goal-scorer in Soviet league history. He began coaching Ukraine in September 2003. Under his guidance, they made their first ever quarter-final appearance in a FIFA world-cup. However, he resigned after his boys failed to qualify for the Euro 2008. After being reappointed as the head coach in April 2011, Oleh would be eager to make his mark.

Recent form

Ukraine have played a number of international friendlies in the last year and have obtained mixed results. While they managed to beat Uzbekistan 2-0 in June last year, they were butchered at home by France in the same month. Their form showed no signs of improvement after the defeat, as they lost three consecutive matches to Sweden, Uruguay and Czech Republic respectively. Just when everyone started questioning the coach's ability to provide results, the team turned a corner and comprehensively defeated Bulgaria and Estonia in October 2011. The boys proved that they were not to be taken lightly when the managed to hold the mighty Germans to a 3-3 draw in November 2011. Four days later, they overcame the Austrians 2-1 and in February 2012 they beat Israel 3-2.