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In football, a team is awarded a free kick for an infringement by the other side, such as a foul, handball, or offside decision. The kick is taken from the spot at which the offence was committed; the ball must not be moving when the kick is taken, and players on the opposing side must also be still, at least ten yards from the ball, until the kick has been taken.

Most offences entail a direct free kick, one from which a goal may be scored. A few, such as the goalkeeper handling a passback, result only in an indirect kick, which cannot be scored from directly. An offence committed inside the penalty area for which a direct free kick would otherwise be given results in a penalty, not a free kick. However an indirect free kick can be given within the area.

Direct free kicks within about 25-30 yards of the goal are usually taken as a shot on goal, and this is common enough to be routinely practised in training. Some players - think Roberto Carlos, David Beckham - make a name for themselves with the quality of their free kicks on goal. Indirect free kicks within the penalty area tend to be rather messy, as the defending players crowd around the goal and rush forward as soon as the kick has been taken.

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