Did you know the world’s most popular sport is soccer? The game involves two teams, each having 11 players, competing to score into the opposing team’s goal by moving the ball beyond the goal line. The winner is the team that scores most goals by the end of the game.
Pele, a professional soccer player, described soccer as “The beautiful game.” And his description couldn’t be more accurate. We can all agree that soccer is an eye-catching sport that hooks you from the first kick.
14 Soccer Facts You Didn’t Know
With its long history, there is plenty to learn about the game of soccer. Even if you’re a total fanatic of the sport, we bet there are a few of these facts you haven’t heard before.
1. Football’s governing body, FIFA, has more members than the United Nations
FIFA has 211 members, while the UN currently has 193 members. The main reason why the UN has fewer members is that it recognizes China and the UK as sole representatives to the organization. On the other hand, FIFA recognizes constituent units of the UK and China, such as Scotland, Wales, Hong Kong, and other Island territories as sole representatives.
2. Only eight national teams have won the World Cup since its inception
The World Cup began in 1930, 90 years ago, and it involves 32 teams which compete for the title. Only eight national teams have managed to win the tournament. The countries include Brazil, Uruguay, England, France, Germany, Argentina, Italy, and Spain.
3. Brazil has participated in every World Cup tournament
It has participated in all the 21 World Cup editions and has 73 victories in 109 matches. Furthermore, it has won the World Cup five times: 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002.
4. The longest-running soccer club is Sheffield FC
The club was formed on 24th October 1857 as an independent football club. FIFA and the FA recognize it as the world’s oldest club.
5. It only took 2.4 seconds to score the fastest goal ever in a match
Nawaf Al-Abed, a 21-year-old player for the Saudi Arabian club Al-Hilal, accomplished this feat on 7th November 2009. He scored two seconds after the opening whistle in a match between his team and Al Shoalah FC.
6. Only Americans and Canadians call it soccer
In the US, the most popular sport is American Football. However, it’s pretty different from soccer. Canadian Football is also very similar to American Football but is different from soccer as well. The term soccer is used in the United States and Canada to refer to what the rest of the world calls football.
7. North Korea has the world’s largest soccer stadium
The Rungrado Stadium, located in Pyongyang, is recognized as the world’s largest soccer stadium. It can accommodate up to 150,000 people, although some sources claim the capacity is 114,000. Still, it would rank as the biggest soccer stadium in the world.
8. The English Premier League is the best soccer league in the world
The top tier league in England is ranked as the best league on the planet. The association has several high-end clubs such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Arsenal, with millions of fans worldwide.
9. Half the world’s population watches the FIFA World Cup
According to FIFA, more than half the world’s population watched the 2018 World Cup. The audience data shows that a combined 3.572 billion viewers tuned in to the competition.
10. There are approximately 250 million soccer players in the world.
The number includes both male and female players in over 200 countries, making it the world’s most popular sport.
11. Record for most goals scored by a single player in a match is 13 goals
Archie Thompson holds the record for scoring 13 goals in a single soccer match.
12. 149 goals were scored in a single match
A soccer match between two teams AS Adema and SO l’Emyrne resulted in a world record scoreline. AS Adema won the game 149-0 after SO l’Emyrne players scored their own goals, protesting a referee’s decision.
13. A goalkeeper scored 131 career goals
Rogerio Ceni holds the world record for scoring 131 goals during his career as a goalkeeper.
14. The Ballon d’Or is the most renowned individual honor for soccer players
The Ballon d’Or is awarded to players considered to have performed the best over the previous year. Lionel Messi currently holds the record for winning the Ballon d’Or six times.
Soccer elicits passion and brings people together. It truly is a beautiful game in its purest sense. In soccer, anyone from any part of the world can play – forgetting about their social or economic status. Few sports in the world can move people the way soccer does.