According to FIFA, there are more 240 million people playing football around the world. The game evolved from the sport of kicking an animal-hide ball around into the World Cup sport that it is today.

History records tract football/soccer back more than 2,000 years ago to ancient Greece, Rome and China, but parts of Central America also claim to have started the sport.  It was England that transitioned soccer, or as the British call it football, into the game that we know today.  England is credited with recording the first uniform rules for football, as well as forbidding touching the ball with hands and tripping opponents.

More rules were implemented as the spot developed and historical landmarks were set.  The penalty kick was introduced in 1891.  The red and yellow cards were introduced during the World Cup finals in 1970 and recently more major changes were included, like goalkeepers being banned from handling deliberate back passes in 1992.  In 1998 red-card penalties were imposed for tackles from behind.

Despite protests from the Italians, for over a century England has been credited as having given birth to modern football.  An uncovered book written by an Aberdonian, titled Vacabula, seemed to turn soccer’s history on its head, it detailed a game in which two teams played with a ball on a field roughly the size of the present pitch regulations.  The terms such as goalkeeper, kick off and switch halves were also mentioned.  Does this refute England’s claim?  Well, this account was written in the fourteenth century, 400 years before the English FA was formed.

A football was found behind a wall in Stirling Castle, the ball had been dated and named the oldest ball in the world – this dates back to the 15th century.

The founder of the English FA was a Scotsman passing down generations of football knowledge to his neighbours across the border.  Scotland was the country that invented possession play, using short passes to work up the field, instead of the long ball hit and Hope’s tactics.

Some interesting information about top players include Pele (Edson Arantes Do Nascimento) from Brazil, who scored six goals in the World Cup in 1958, this helped Brazil to claim its first title.  Marco Van Basten from Holland won several  prestigious soccer awards during one year.  Then there was Lev Yashin from Russia, who claimed to have saved more than 150 penalty shots during his outstanding goal-tending career. Other outstanding players are Diego Maradona, Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane, Lionel Messi and Roberto Baggio.

In 1842 John Hope formed the oldest club and the only reason why FIFA does not crown it with honour is that the club stopped existing after 17 years.

The top stadiums in the history of soccer include Nou Camp in Barcelona, Spain – this stadium remains the biggest stadium in Europe.  This most comfortable plush stadium in the world is Louis II in Monte Carlo, Monaco and the International Stadium Yokohama in Yokohama, Japan is considered the most high-tech venue in the work.  This stadium has a movable roof, hundreds of lights to eliminate any shadows on the field and huge replay screens.

In conclusion, football has a glorious long history, the game’s methods have been improved and refined through the centuries to give us the king of all sports.

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