Football, or soccer as it is also known, is one of the most famous sports in the world.
Known as the ‘beautiful game’, football was first played in England in 1863 and has risen to become a top sport in today’s world. Here are some fascinating facts about this thrilling game that you may not know:
1. The game is called ‘soccer’ in the United States and ‘football’ in many other parts of the world, but the sports was originally named ‘basketball’ because the first goals were overturned wicker baskets.
2. A football field is called a pitch because every regulation field is sloped, or pitched, five degrees upwards. Therefore the teams switch sides after each half so that each team gets to play slightly uphill for half the match.
3. Almost 3.2 billion people worldwide watched the 2010 FIFA World Cup, making the tournament “the world’s most widely viewed sporting event.” This number means that 46% of the world’s population watched the event at the same time.
4. Another jaw-dropping World Cup fact is how much money FIFA pays tournament participants. World Cup winners take home an incredible $35 million, while the runner-up team gets $25 million. The rest of the top placing teams also receive some sort of compensation in the form of an $8 million check. And while these sums are massive, when you consider that FIFA rakes in a cool $4 billion during World Cups, it’s not all that surprising.
5. The highest amount of goals scored during half time occurred in 1954 during a match between Motherwell and Dumbarton. At the end of the first half, the score was 6-4 – totalling a massive ten goals in the first half.
6. Pele, a football legend, was the youngest ever World Cup winner and was only 17 years old when he lifted the trophy in 1958. The oldest winner is Italian goalkeeper Dino Zoff, who lifted the trophy at the age of 40 years in 1982.
7. During the 2009-10 season, Barcelona’s Pedro became the first player to score in six different club competitions in one season. He scored for La Liga, the Supercopa de Espana, the Copa del Rey, the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup. However, Spanish striker Fernando Torres beat this record during the 2012-13 season where he scored in seven official club competitions, namely the Premier League, Champions League, Europa League, FIFA Club World Cup, FA Community Shield, FA Cup and the League Cup.
8. Arsenal is the only team to ever receive a gold Premier League trophy. This trophy was specially made to commemorate the team’s 2004 ‘Invincibles’ season. Every other winning team in the history of the competition was given a silver trophy.
9. The North Korean World Cup soccer fans are hand-picked by the North Korean government and consist of Chinese volunteers as North Koreans are not allowed to travel outside of the country.
10. Norway is the only national football team in the world to never lose a game to Brazil.
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