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Association football, sometimes known as football or soccer, is a team sport in which two teams of 11 players compete with a spherical ball. It is the most popular sport in the world, with roughly 250 million participants in over 200 nations and dependencies. The game is played on a pitch, which is a rectangular surface with a goal at either end. The purpose of the game is to score more goals than the other team by advancing the ball over the goal line and into the opposing goal in a time limit of 90 minutes or more.
Football is governed by a set of laws referred to as the Laws of the Game. The football is a 68″70 cm (27″28 in) diameter ball with a circumference of 68″70 cm (27″28 in). The two sides fight to score a goal by getting the ball into the opposing team’s goal (between the posts and under the bar). Except for goalkeepers within the penalty area, players are not permitted to touch the ball with their hands or arms while it is in play. Players can hit or pass the ball with any part of their body other than their feet.
The team with the most goals at the end of the game is declared the winner; if both teams have scored the same number of goals, the game is declared a draw or the game is sent to extra time or a penalty shootout, depending on the competition’s format. Each team is led by a captain who, according to the Laws of the Game, has just one formal responsibility: to represent their team in the coin toss prior to kick-off or penalty kicks.
The International Federation of Association Football (FIFA; French: Fédération Internationale de Football Association) governs football on an international level, hosting World Cups for men and women every four years. Since 1930, the men’s FIFA World Cup has been held every four years, with the exception of the tournaments in 1942 and 1946, which were canceled due to World War II. For a spot in the finals, around 190″200 national teams participate in qualification tournaments organized by continental confederations.
Every four years, the finals event takes place, with 32 national teams participating over four weeks. It is the world’s most renowned men’s football competition, as well as the most extensively watched and followed athletic event, surpassing the Olympic Games. Similarly, the FIFA Women’s World Cup has been held every four years since 1991, despite the fact that women have played football since its inception. The 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France drew a record-breaking 1.12 billion viewers.
The UEFA Champions League and UEFA Women’s Champions League are the most prominent championships in European club football, attracting a global broadcast viewership. In recent years, the men’s tournament final has been the most-watched yearly athletic event on the planet. The Premier League (England), La Liga (Spain), Bundesliga (Germany), Serie A (Italy), and Ligue 1 (France) are the top five European men’s leagues (France). Each league has a total pay cost in excess of £600 million/,763 million/US$1.185 billion, attracting the majority of the world’s greatest players.
Kicking ball games appeared in numerous civilizations at different eras. Cuju (meaning “kick ball”), a Chinese competitive sport, is similar to modern association football. Cuju players could kick a ball through an aperture into a net with any part of their body except their hands. Cuju games were codified and regulations were developed during the Han Dynasty (206 BCE ” 220 CE).
Greek ball games included phaininda and episkyros. The UEFA European Championship trophy has an image of an episkyros player painted in low relief on a vase at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. In 228 CE, Athenaeus mentioned the Roman ball game harpastum. Hands and violence were used to play phaininda, episkyros, and harpastum. They all appear to have more in common with rugby football, wrestling, and volleyball than with modern football. These three sports, like pre-codified “mob football,” the forerunner of all current football codes, required more ball handling than kicking.
In Japan, kemari was played, while in Korea, chuk-guk was played. Pasuckuakohowog was an Algonquian ball game that was characterized as “nearly comparable to the form of folk football being played in Europe at the same time, in which the ball was booted through goals” in North America.