A goal is a goal as soon as the referee blows his or her whistle and points to the centre circle… or at least it was until the advent of VAR, anyway, but that’s a different debate for another day.
So much of football betting is based on goal scoring, and punters don’t really care if a goal is a 30-yard worldie or a scuffed one-yard tap in… as far as our bets are concerned, often any kind of strike at all will suffice.
But there are some unique rules and regulations regarding goals in football, and if we are to cheer our bets home we need to know which types of goal are allowed and which will be chalked off the score line.
Can You Score a Goal from a Throw In?
Although rarely used these days, the long throw in used to an outstanding weapon for teams intent on launching crosses into the penalty area by any means necessary.
In the 2008/09 Premier League season, Rory Delap – once the poster boy for the long throw in – assisted five goals with his launched missiles into the box, and all told his club Stoke City scored 24 goals that term from throw in situations.
But could Delap have scored directly from one of his throw ins? The answer, according to the Laws of the Game set out by the International Football Association Board, is no.
Where the ball enters the goal from a throw in without being touched by any player on its way over the line, the ‘goal’ is disallowed and play restarts from a goal kick.
But if the ball brushes a boot, head or any other part of a player’s anatomy before hitting the back of the net, the goal will stand.
Can You Score a Goal from a Corner?
A goal can be scored directly from a corner without the intervention of any other player, and exactly that has happened on countless occasions during the history of the beautiful game.
It generally takes an incredible curling strike of the ball to achieve the feat, or perhaps a strong gust of wind to arc the ball into the net.
Mind you, some have proven to be masters of scoring direct from a corner – former Celtic and Northern Ireland Legend Charlie Tully reportedly scored eleven of his career goals in this manner.
Bizarrely, if a player hits a corner kick into their own net – a feat that would defy physics, you would think – the goal DOESN’T stand, and the opposition are awarded a corner of their own instead.
Can You Score a Goal from a Goal Kick?
As you may know, goalkeepers can score goals when they come up for corners and free kicks and find the net.
They can also launch a long kick from their own penalty area, and if the ball somehow finds its way in the goal will stand.
But what about from a goal kick on the ground?
The goal will stand if the ball travels all the way into the opposing net, even if it doesn’t touch anyone on its way there. There aren’t too many examples of this actually happening, however, although Newport County goalkeeper Tom King did achieve the unlikely in an English League Two game in 2021.
Weirdly, if a goal kick is taken and the wind spirals the ball back into the taker’s own net, the ‘goal’ is ruled out and a corner awarded to the opposition.
Can You Score a Goal from an Indirect Free Kick?
Generally, when an infringement takes place on the football pitch, the referee will award the affected team a direct free kick, from which they score legally.
An indirect free kick, meanwhile, is awarded for things like dissent and when goalkeepers handle a back pass or throw in.
The ball cannot enter the net from an indirect free kick without first being touched by another player, and when the back-pass rule was first introduced in 1992, there were some fantastic examples of goals being peppered in from close range.
Imagine getting your head or other body part in the way of one of these:
Can You Score from Kick Off?
It’s a little known fact in football that you can actually shoot and score directly from the kick off.
It would take some strike to find the net – the kick would have to beat the goalkeeper from some 60 yards (50 metres) on a full-sized pitch.
Again, you won’t find many examples of this at the top-end of football, although a contender for the quickest goal of all-time was recorded in Serbia when Vuk Bakic scored direct from kick off for GSP Polet Belgrade – the ball taking two seconds to hit the back of the net.