Expert section: Mate Kontra – I’ve played soccer at a very high level all my life. Throughout my time playing, I’ve been coached by ex-pro, D1, and Academy level coaches, currently playing at the MLS-Next level as a wingback in California. During training, I’ve played countless fun minigames with my friends to spend time, like the world cup. Here is the equipment you need to play the world cup.
The world cup minigame is one of the most popular ways soccer players have fun playing the sport together.
Players can form teams of up to 3 players in a fun but competitive environment with friends, family, or teammates.
There is only one issue.
Nobody has the soccer equipment to set up the game!
The soccer field is empty, the goals are locked away, and no other minigame can accommodate all of your friends.
So the only option left is to set it up yourself.
But what gear do you need to play the world cup minigame?
In this article, we will go over all the gear to set up the world cup minigame, alternative options, and other minigames you can play with the same equipment.
If you need assistance finding the equipment, please check our list of the Best Places to Buy Soccer Equipment for Beginners.
Related article: How to Create the Best Pickup Soccer Lineup?
Rules and Equipment for the World Cup Minigame
Before we start with the equipment list, it’s important to know the rules of the minigame to know what equipment is necessary.
If you already know it all, feel free to scroll to the list!
For those who would like a reminder of the rules, here it is:
#1: Teams can have no more than three players, and up to five teams are allowed.
Even in the largest environment with a real-sized goal and an entire half of a field available, 15 players in the same game are already crowded.
Any more players or teams, and it becomes overcrowded, making it impossible to score.
#2: Goalkeeper & goal size:
A goalkeeper is essential to the game because they’re not on any team, so they get to be the referee.
They guard the net and call fouls, free kicks, goal kicks, or team disagreements.
Lastly, players decide the goal size when goalkeepers are unavailable.
In this case, the goal size should be smaller because it will be unguarded.
#3: Players score from outside the goal box.
Players must not shoot from within the 6-yard box or the 18-yard box when a full-size goal is used, depending on the goalkeeper’s skills.
When smaller goals are used, players decide the size of the goal box.
Players can change the size of the goal box if they find it too easy or too difficult to score.
For reference, my friends and I usually make the goal box 10 yards by 10 yards to ensure it’s challenging to score.
Lastly, we sometimes bend the rules and use foot-only goalkeepers with smaller nets.
In this case, the goalkeeper will decide the size of the goal box.
#4: Players must clear the ball past half field to score after every possession change.
Assuming the ball changes possession (the ball goes from one team to another), the team with the ball must clear it past half field to be able to score.
This rule ensures that teams don’t use cherry-picking strategies to score, and the game stays competitive.
Teams can still dribble and pass the ball within the goal box, but they must take it past half-field first to score.
The half-field mark depends on how many players participate in the game and how large the goal box is.
More players require more space, and so does a larger goal box.
Again, since each game is different, the players may choose the appropriate size of the “half-field” or clearance line.
So now that we know the rules of the game, let’s see what equipment is necessary to play!
Arguably the most important piece of equipment is a soccer ball.
Without a soccer ball, there is no way to play any form of soccer.
Though most soccer balls on the market are good quality, it’s easy to fall into a “deal” for soccer balls that cost roughly $15.
These balls take away from the fun because they feel rubbery, similar to those used in elementary school kickball.
Quality soccer balls feel firm and don’t overly deform when kicked.
Players often pump them above recommended pressures, and even then, they feel too soft and not entirely round.
Here is a quick guide to finding high-quality soccer balls with three evaluation methods:
The texture of the ball is a dead giveaway of the overall quality.
Two great indicators that the ball has high-quality components are surface indentures and firm rubber around the ball.
Low-quality balls generally have too much padding, with soft and elastic rubber covering the panels.
I recommend finding a ball that doesn’t have a completely smooth surface, and it should do just fine.
The construction of soccer balls is another easy way to tell the quality.
You should look for two construction methods: stitching and gluing.
Stitching only is generally used for low-quality soccer balls, while better examples also have glue to hold them together.
Check along the seams of the panels, and as long as the stitching is not visible, the ball checks out.
These examples have glue above the stitching to improve the ball’s durability.
#3: Price Range
The price of a high-quality soccer ball starts at around $30.
They’re more common at around $40; any less is usually on sale.
I recommend searching in the $30 range to check for discounts, then moving to the more expensive sections.
This increases the chance of finding potential markdowns and any good deals.
It’s also important to know that quality doesn’t improve after the $40-50 price point.
Just because the difference between $15 and $40 examples is significant doesn’t mean that more expensive models will be that much better.
The most I’ve spent on a high-quality soccer ball is $120, and it felt almost identical to cheaper examples.
These models feature marginal improvements, such as fusion construction instead of glue and stitching.
A ball pump is a piece of easily forgettable equipment when planning to play soccer.
The ball and the pump go hand in hand because one without the other is useless.
It’s honestly the worst feeling not to have a pump because with a flat ball, everyone loses their spirit, and nobody wants to play anymore.
I recommend purchasing a Nike or Adidas pump; they have lasted me the longest compared to other models.
Basic sports stores will have them in stock for roughly $10, but a nonbranded one will do just fine.
Goals will represent the target during the game, where players will score the ball.
Only one goal is necessary for the world cup game since every team scores on the same goal.
Sometimes metal goes are available on the pitch, but that’s not always true.
The teams that use these goals take them off during their off days, and regular players can’t use them.
Here are some of the best alternatives available:
Mid-sized Nets (4ft by 6ft)
These nets cost a relatively low price of around $100 for high-quality examples.
They’re above waist height and very wide.
I prefer these nets over others because they’re not too large to be portable but aren’t too small to ruin the fun.
Additionally, they require no goalkeeper, so nobody has to be elected to stand in front of the net for the duration of a game.
Futsal nets are much taller than mid-sized nets, often taller than most people.
They go for anywhere between $150-300, depending on the brand.
Additionally, since these are larger, they require a goalkeeper to participate.
I recommend this goal for groups of over ten players because it’s difficult to put up and take down, so with fewer players, it’s not worth the hassle.
Shoes or Cones
Another viable option is the use of shoes or cones as goalposts.
Using shoes is completely free, while cones cost several dollars, but the point is that it’s much cheaper than buying an entire goal.
With smaller groups, it can be just as fun as using an actual net.
I recommend putting as many bags as possible around the goal to catch the soccer balls because gathering them can be a hassle.
For the world cup, cones are the best tools for marking the playing environment or the goalposts.
They are very helpful with larger groups of players because their bright color makes it easy to see where the playing zone ends.
It contributes to fewer disagreements throughout the game and improves the overall experience.
Their cost is also meager, with sets of 15 costing as low as $4.
Cones can be replaced with other objects, such as water bottles or shoes, to reduce costs, but I recommend purchasing cones because they provide so much for the price.
The water heats up quickly under the sun, and hot turf can easily damage shoes.
Lastly, players don’t need to worry about stepping on cones because the design allows them to deform under pressure.
Jerseys provide the most benefit when teams consist of more than two players.
The larger the teams are, the more challenging it is to differentiate between teammates and opponents.
Bright colors help players easily identify their teammates and opponents to improve the playing experience.
For around $40 ($10 per set of 4 pennies), teams can identify each other based on colored pennies.
Though colored jerseys can be helpful, they aren’t a requirement to have fun.
My friends and I can easily differentiate between teams without using pennies, so I only recommend investing in pennies for large groups of players.
It’s a great option for games with larger teams (3 or more players); otherwise, it doesn’t make a difference.
World Cup is one of many playable minigames with the same equipment.
Here are two popular minigames to play with friends without investing in additional soccer gear.
#1: Flying Colors
Flying Colors is a game that consists of two teams, each defending their goal.
Here is the setup:
The two goals must face each other in a rectangular playing area, optionally with goalkeepers, each team starting from beside their goals.
Depending on the size of the goals and the availability of a goalkeeper, the pitch size should be 15-25 yards in length and 15-20 yards in width.
Two players from each team are in the playing area at once, trying to score on the opponent’s goal.
How to start:
The game starts with the ball in the middle of the pitch, with two players from each team sprinting to take it.
One team member will do a countdown from 3 seconds to ensure both teams get a fair start.
Once the ball is touched, the game starts.
The most important rule is that whichever team scores stays on the field, and their opponents switch with a fresh pair from their team.
Additionally, if the ball goes out on one side of the field, the team defending that size must switch their players.
The team who scores the most goals wins.
#2: Soccer Tennis
Soccer Tennis is another great minigame that uses similar equipment to set up.
Here is the setup:
Two teams are in identical playing zones, separated by a line of cones, facing each other.
The players and team sizes decide the size of the playing zones.
Teams consist of up to three players, as it gets crowded with four or more.
An additional player from another team will monitor the game, count points, and solve any disagreements.
How to start:
Each team picks a side to play on, where they will face each other.
One member of each team will decide who starts with the ball using the method of their choice.
Then, whichever team starts with the ball must perform a serve (serve discussed in the next section).
As soon as a team serves the ball, the game starts.
Firstly, the game is played by juggling the ball from one playing area into the other, beginning with a serve.
A serve can start from the hands or the feet, but players can’t spike the ball during a serve.
If a team spikes the ball during a serve, their opponent earns a point.
Before each game, teams decide how high the ball must be when it enters the other team’s side.
The general rule is that the ball must be at least waist height when it crosses to the other side to ensure the game is fair.
If a disagreement takes place, the referee has the final word.
Teams score points if the opponents drop the ball – one bounce is allowed when the ball switches sides.
Each player has three touches, and the touch limit resets whenever players pass the ball to their teammates.
Unlimited passes are allowed, but the referee can award the other team a point if a team is taking too long.
Whichever team scores the most points wins.
The soccer gear needed to play the world cup minigame consists of 5 items.
First, a quality soccer ball is needed to play the game.
Without a ball, there is no way to play soccer, and there are no alternatives to having a soccer ball.
The sweet spot for quality soccer balls is in the $30-40 range.
A ball pump is also necessary to ensure every soccer ball is pumped up properly.
Flat soccer balls are as good as no soccer balls because they ruin the entire experience and can even cause injuries by being flat.
Basic sports stores have good ball pumps in the $10 range.
Goals are sometimes available for free at sports fields, but teams often lock them away during their off days, in which case portable goals are a great solution.
Mid-sized goals 4ft tall and 6ft wide are the most popular because they are large enough to have a lot of fun while small enough to be portable.
Futsal nets are trendy because goalkeepers can participate to make the game more dynamic.
Players often prefer cones or shoes for goalposts because they’re the most affordable option.
Cones are the best way to mark the bounds of the playing area used for the world cup because they’re bright and visible from any angle.
Compared to shoes or water bottles, cones won’t cause confusion and disagreements regarding the playing area during a game.
Cones are very cheap, costing roughly $4 for a stack of 12 pieces.
Jerseys can be a great tool to differentiate between teams when playing with teams larger than three players.
Keeping track of more than two players while playing can be challenging when everyone is wearing similar sporting gear, and coordination is essential for success.
The simplest solution to recognizing teams in crowded environments is color coding with jerseys.
Image Attribution & Licensing
Featured Image: ‘Soccer Balls Placed in Front of Futsal Goal’ by nd3000 (Licensed via EnvatoElements)
#1: ‘Soccer Team Picture on the Soccer Field’ by Leah Hetteberg (Licensed via Unsplash)
#2: ‘Soccer Team Exiting the Pitch After a Match’ by Lars Bo Nielsen (Licensed via Unsplash)
#3: ‘2018/19 Season Champion’s League Soccer Ball’ by Janosch Diggelman (Licensed via Unsplash)
#4: ‘Soccer Players Pumping Air Into a Soccer Ball’ by NomadSoul1 (Licensed via EnvatoElements)
#5: ‘Futsal Goal on the Street at Night’ by imagesourcecurated (Licensed via EnvatoElements)
#6: ‘Soccer Cones Set Up in Front of the Goal’ by Max Zindel (Licensed via Unsplash)
#7: ‘Soccer Players Wearing Different Colored Jerseys’ by Diego Santacruz (Licensed via Pexels)
#8: ‘Soccer Players Celebrating a Goal’ by Jeffrey F Lin (Licensed via Unsplash)