Soccer has been played for more than two millennia. Its roots can be traced to Greece, Rome, China, and various parts of Central America. Many regions claim to have been the birthplace of soccer, but it was actually in England where the modern day sport developed. The English are officially given credit for creating the first uniform rules for soccer, but the sport is called football in the area and throughout many parts of the world. Most scholars agree versions of the game were around long before this modern day development, likely before England ever existed, which is why there is so much debate over the invention of the game.
It has taken years for all of the modern day rues to become a part of the game. There have even been recent changes in the last 30 to 40 years, including red and yellow cards, the banning of tackles from behind, and the banning of goalkeepers handling deliberate back passes.
Soccer Stars and Stadiums
Though soccer stars often receive less recognition in the United States than domestic sports stars, soccer stars are renown athletes in most parts of
the world. Stars of the sport such as Pele, Marco Van Basten, Diego Maradona, and Lionel Messi are some of the most recognized and best loved athletes throughout the world. There are also soccer stadiums located throughout the world that host games featuring teams from various countries. Some of the best known soccer stadiums include Louis II in Monte Carlo Monaco, believed to be the most comfortable stadium in the world, and Nou Camp in Barceona Spain, Europe’s largest soccer stadium. International Stadium is located in Yokohama, Japan and features a retractable roof, hundreds of lights and giant replay screens.
FIFA World Cup
Every four years the world’s attention turns to soccer when the FIFA World Cup is played. This is an international soccer competition played by men’s teams from around the world. The tournament began in 1930 and has been cancelled only twice, during World War II. There are 32 teams involved in the competition, which takes place in a different location every four years. There is a qualification process, which takes place during the three years leading up to the event. As of 2012, there have been eight different winners including Brazil, leading the group with five wins, followed by Italy with four, Germany with three, Argentina and Uruguay with two, and England, France, and Spain each with one. Brazil is also the only team to have participated in every event. The World Cup is the world’s most widely viewed sporting event, attracting avid soccer fans and those with only a passing interest during the tournament. FIFA has also hosted a Women’s World Cup tournament since 1991. It is also hosted every four years and includes 16 teams.