Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a competitive sport played between two teams of eleven players with a spherical ball. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by getting the ball into the opposing goal. The most prominent tournament in the sport is the FIFA World Cup, which is held once every four years and consists of teams from all over the world.
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- Football is a simple game. 22 women chase a ball for ninety minutes and at the end, the United States win.
- Unlike the sports of basketball, badminton, or volleyball, soccer can't trace its roots back to a specific person, place, or time. In fact, it's completely likely that a variation of the sport was played in prehistoric times.
Generally it's believed that a game like soccer was played around 400 B.C. in China, and there's evidence of a similar game that was played in A.D. 300 in Rome. These games, while similar to today's soccer in the sense that there were goal lines and passing, didn't have the hand restrictions that today's game has.
During the Middle Ages, adults and children played a form of soccer in the streets of London, but the rules changed depending on who was playing, and so did the size of the game; entire towns participated. These games became so addictive and absorbing that in the 1300s the king of England actually tried to ban the sport because it was interfering with young men's military training.
- Deborah Crisfield, “Winning Soccer for Girls”, (2009), p.1
- The most precious thing the writer owns is his pen and the most precious thing the footballer owns is his shoes.
- Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for ninety minutes and at the end, the Germans win.
- Gary Lineker, after losing the 1990 FIFA World Cup semifinal to Germany by a penalty shootout, as quoted in Soccer Empire: The World Cup and the Future of France, by Laurent DuBois, p. 79
- Fussball ist wie Schach, nur ohne Würfel.
- Someone said: "football is more important than life and death to you" and I said: "Listen, it's more important than that."
- Bill Shankly, quoted in Das Spiel mit dem Fussball, by Jürgen Mittag and Jörg-Uwe Nieland, p. 9.
- In the beginning there was chaos, and soccer was without form. Then came the Victorians, who codified it, and after them the theorists, who analyzed it. It wasn't until the late 1920s that tactics in anything resembling a modern sense came to be recognized or discussed, but as early as the 1870s there was an acknowledgment that the arrangement of players on the field made a significant difference to the way the game was played. In its earliest form, though, soccer knew nothing of such sophistication.
Various cultures can point to games that involved kicking a ball, but, for all the claims of Rome, Greece, Egypt, the Caribbean, Mexico, China, or Japan to be the home of soccer, the modern sport has its roots in the mob game of medieval Britain. Rules-inasmuch as they existed at all-varied from place to place, but the game essentially involved two teams trying to force a roughly spherical object to a target at opposite ends of a notional field. It was violent, unruly, and anarchic, and it was repeatedly outlawed. Only in the early nineteenth century, when the public schools-their thinking shaped by advocates of muscular Christianity-decided that sports could be harnessed for the moral edification of their students, did anything approaching what we would today recognize as soccer emerge. Before there could be tactics, though, there had, first of all, to be a coherent set of rules.
- Jonathan Wilson, "Inverting The Pyramid: The History of Soccer Tactics", (2009), p.1
- Encyclopedic article on Association football at Wikipedia