Bend it like Beckham, smash it like Ronaldo
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Who doesn't perk up with excitement every time Cristiano Ronaldo adopts his typical stance before smashing another powerful free-kick goalwards? Managing to get the ball past the wall and into the goal is not only one of the most difficult skills in real-life football, it is also a technique which requires plenty of honing in EA SPORTS™ FIFA 11.

Free-kick basics: The who, how, and when

Whether it makes sense to strike a free-kick directly towards goal or to lay it off to a team-mate depends largely on the position of the free-kick itself. As a rule, the closer and more central you are in relation to the goal, the better your chances will be of finding the net. With free-kicks on the flanks, the better option is usually to cross the ball into the danger zone.

But which player is the right one to take the free-kick? The best way to work this out in EA SPORTS™ FIFA11 is to take a look at the players' attributes. A good free-kick taker will normally have higher 'FKA' and 'CRV' attributes.

The challenge: Scoring directly from a free-kick
This tutorial aims to present two possible methods of scoring direct from a free-kick in EA SPORTS™ FIFA11.

Over the wall
-Direction: If your free-kick is positioned more to the left, you should aim to align the left-hand post just to the side of the outermost player in the wall. Free-kicks from the right require the opposite: the right-hand post next to the outermost player in the wall.
-Power: Depending on your distance from goal, press and hold the shoot button until two to three power bars are illuminated.
-Lift: To lift the ball over the heads of the defenders, push the right analogue stick upwards.

Around the wall

-Direction: With free-kicks more towards the left, the left-hand post should be just inside the second defender from the left in the wall. The same goes for free-kicks from the right, when the right-hand post should be in line with the second defender from the right in the wall.
-Power: Generally the shot power should be slightly less than with free-kicks over the wall. Between two and two-and-a-half bars should suffice.
-Swerve: If you are to the left of the goal, you should push the right analogue stick upwards and to the right to curl the ball around the wall. From the right, push the right analogue stick upwards and to the left.

Of course these are only guidelines. To perfect your free-kick technique, plenty of practice is required, so get bashing those buttons now!

How are your free-kick skills in EA SPORTS™ FIFA11? Do your set pieces sail miles over, or can you arrow them into the top corner?