A goalie is best able to time a save if he can follow the ball all the way from the impact of the kick. If the ball starts from a point relatively close to the pitch, the goalies moves with it accordingly. Anything that causes the kick to change direction disrupts the goalie and often forces him to change direction. A ball can move back and forth across the goal mouth much more rapidly than the goalie can move.
The goalies ability to follow the ball is further complicated when the shot originates from a point in the air. It is extremely difficult to judge where a headed shot will go and there is not a plane of reference. The goalie can anticipate based upon the direction the cross to be headed is coming from and the movement of the attacking player. Even the most experienced goalie is usually reacting instinctively.
If a goalie has been forced to change direction and has moved in the direction cross has been sent, the attacker usually has an open space to shoot at and usually just needs to tap it in. Usually, when the ball goes wide or over the cross bar in these situations, the attacker was probably trying to blast the ball in. If they play was set up properly, a soft touch will finish off the play. It is agonizing for the goalie, and his team's fans, to see the ball rolling with just enough speed to barely make it over the goal line. It is like a bad dream in slow motion.
Crossing Technique: How to Cross a Soccer Ball (Soccer Training Info web site)
"Crossing the ball is about picking out a player in the goal box so they can score. Usually, the cross will come from the wide areas on the field. For instance, a wide player tries to get a little bit of space and time so they can serve the ball into the box. They might dribble past a player and cross the ball or serve the ball right in when they receive it.
Here are the key steps to crossing the ball:
Step 1) Push the ball a little a head of you at an angle so you avoid the defender and give yourself enough space to cross the ball without the defender being able to block the cross.Step 2) Look up so you can pick someone out with your cross.Step 3) Plant your standing foot right next to the ball.Step 4) Turn your hips at an angle to the ball.Step 5) Wrap your foot around the ball to bend it with the inside area of your foot.Step 6) Strike the ball with pace, although not necessarily like a shot, take just a little pace off the ball but hit the ball with enough power so you whip the ball into the player you're picking out with the cross.
Crossing is a lot like taking a free kick or set piece, you want enough power to make it on goal but enough touch and skill to bend around the wall or to get over the wall. With crossing, you're trying to place the ball on a platter for the player to score. So all they have to do is get a foot or head on the ball.
A lofted ball or chip has a time and a place, but it's much easier for the keeper to get to these balls and harder for a player to score if the ball is hit softly. If the ball is whipped in at pace, all the player has to do is redirect the ball into the goal.
The majority of the time, when crossing the ball, you'll use the inside of your foot to hit a cross. This way you can wrap your foot around the ball and bend the ball into your intended target. If the ball is coming into the player rather than going away it's much easier for them to score.But there are times when you'll want to cross the ball with the outside of your foot or even drive the ball in with your instep across the goal mouth. And it's always good to surprise the defense and the goalkeeper.
Remember Maicon's goal, everyone thought the Brazilian defender was going to cross the ball, but when he saw the keeper cheating a lilttle bit out of the goal, anticipating the cross, Maicon bent the ball directly into the net with the outside of his foot.
What part of the foot you use when crossing the ball depends upon what you're trying to do and where the defender is positioned and how much time you have. If you have to kick the ball across the goal line with your toe at the last minute to get the ball to a player than that's wide open then what's you do."
Soccer Drills for Offense: