International Soccer Tickets

Alamodome

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In a Nutshell

Footballers represent their nations during 90+ minutes of high-energy play on the pitch

The Fine Print

Promotional value expires Apr 15, 2015. Additional service fees charged at purchase. Customers buy through FanXchange. The FanXchange Legal Terms and Conditions apply to purchase. Groupon Extraordinary Event Policy does not apply. Please see Groupon's third party site terms here. Contact FanXchange at groupon@fanxchange.com for questions. Review event location before purchase (games/events listed may take place in other cities). Price listed is the lowest available price at the time tickets are made available via Groupon. Merchant is solely responsible to purchasers for the care and quality of the advertised goods and services. Offer is not eligible for Groupon promo codes or other discounts.

Bending the Ball: A New Spin on Soccer Shots

Even the best soccer players can’t always rely on a straight shot to fool a red-hot goalie or thwart a wall of opponents on a free kick. For these situations, they often turn to a spectacular technique: bending the ball. Read on to uncover the physics behind this crucial tactic.

Whenever a soccer ball curves, seemingly changing its orbit in midair, NASA scientists may rush to classify it as a planet. But in fact, the movement is due to yet another physics concept pioneered by Isaac Newton: the Magnus effect, a phenomenon first described in regard to tennis. Newton noted that topspin made the ball dip, whereas backspin made for a straighter trajectory. In other words, the way a ball spins affects its path in the air.

Usually, a ball curves in the same direction in which it’s spinning; air moves with the ball on the side that spins forward, pushing it in the other direction. A ball spinning counter-clockwise, for example, tends to bend to the left. But a ball’s movement may not always be so easy to predict. Its trajectory is also affected by the smoothness of the ball’s surface. In fact, a perfectly smooth (or laminar) ball would likely curve in the opposite direction of a rough-surfaced (or turbulent) ball when kicked in exactly the same manner.

Of course, nobody plays soccer with a perfectly smooth ball, despite the substantial benefit it would have on blooper-reel ratings. Even so, different stitching patterns do alter the roughness of a ball’s surface. This is why there seems to be a controversy every four years over a new ball design—even the coolest new look can have a drastic effect on a ball’s in-flight physics.

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    Alamodome

    100 Montana Street

    San Antonio, TX 78203

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