Association football, also known as football or simply football, is a common team sport played between two competing teams of eleven players. It’s played all around the globe by about 250 million players in more than 200 different countries and dependencies. The game has a longer history than any other sport and was created in the 19th century in England. It was created by the English football coach, Tom Pocknell. Since then, it has become a hugely popular game and the name of the game is now known worldwide.
Soccer, as it is also called, is played with only eleven players on each team. It can either be played indoor or outdoor; however, indoor play tends to be played with three teams. A penalty is assessed when a team member touches an object whilst the ball is in play in an indoor football game. However, this type of football is different to traditional football in that the referee awards two free kicks, one for each side. Free kick competitions, where each side scores goals after a set number of shots, are also played.
Football is played internationally, with each country having its own national football association, which organizes the qualification and tournament stages of the game. Competitions are separated into two sections: namely, leagues and cup tournaments. Every four years, there is an international football championship which determine the qualification spots for the World Cup tournaments. The most important part of the game is the qualification stage, where every four teams get a chance to win a place at the World Cup finals, held in Africa in a few months.
Football can be played differently, depending on the level of participation. Association football has professional, semi-professional and youth leagues. Youth football competitions are held every five years, from age group stages to under-aged teenage competitions. Professional football on the other hand is played between member associations of a football league. International competitions may also be considered to be a part of the football family.
Association football is the most common type of football played in countries outside of Europe and North America. The names of many European based international soccer competitions (Champions League, Cup, UEFA Cup, Intertoto Cup, etc.) give a hint of the popularity of football played in other countries, but in actuality, football is predominantly an English sport due to the political and economic influences. Football players competitions, such as the FA Cup, Ligue 1, Uefa Cup, Intertoto Cup and others are regularly organised by the Football Association.
International football is played between countries, as indicated by the name, with the United States of America being one of its biggest competitors. Most people think of the USA as a northern European country, where football is predominantly played, but the game is also played internationally and is the most popular in Asia. The European football association football is also played between countries in Europe. The most popular game played internationally is soccer, which is played between football teams. It is the most widespread sport in the world. With over seventy-five nations having competitive soccer leagues, football has a wide range of fans anywhere in the world.