The advantage, perceived or real, that the home team has in a sporting event. In almost all sports, familiarity with the facility plays some role in this. In some sports, it is actually written into the rules -- in ice hockey, the home team gets "last change," the ability to counter any line (set of players) the visiting team puts on the ice with its own preferred set before a face-off; in baseball, the home club bats in the bottom half of each inning, thereby always forcing the visitors to play defense before a win is secured.

In other sports, home-field advantage merely implies favorable conditions. In football and basketball, the home fans will attempt to outshout the visiting signal-caller (quarterback or point guard) during an offensive play in order to disrupt communication among the players; in international soccer, the gamesmanship reaches a whole new level. The home fans intimidate the referees to the point where biased calls are expected, and the host country gets to select the site within the country to its advantage. For example, in a 2000 qualifier for the 2002 World Cup, Guatemala held their home match with the United States in a small backwoods city to increase the US team's travel difficulties (see Project Mayhem for specifics, and some U.S. fans' response to this); in a qualifier for the 1998 World Cup, the USA forced El Salvador to visit Foxboro, Massachussetts in mid-November, when the weather was so cold that the Salvadorans were wearing gloves on the field.

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