Football is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries in six continents, making this the world's most popular sport! In the US “Football” is called Soccer - while football is a completely different sport in the US.
A game of football has two teams of eleven players on each side. The game is played with a spherical football on a rectangular field, with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score goals and the team with more goals wins.
The game of football is governed by special rules. For example, goals can be scored using any part of the body other than one’s arms or hands. The goalkeeper is the only player allowed to touch the ball with his hands and arms, as long as he or she is inside of the penalty box. Well actually, that isn’t entirely true. Each player can use his hands at certain points of the game. Can you guess when? If you said “during a throw in,” then you’re correct. Once the ball goes past the sidelines the other team throws the ball back into play.
If a player commits a foul such as rough play, or tripping another player on purpose, this will result in the other team getting a free kick. If the foul committed is severe the referee can issue a yellow card to a player, which is a warning. A second yellow card in the same game is an automatic red card. When a player is issued a red card he or she is ejected for the remainder of the game. In 2006, Zidane, the captain of the french team, was ejected from the World Cup for head butting Marco Materazzi in the 110th minute. France lost the final to Italy 5-3. People wondered if France would have won the game if Zidane hadn’t lost his cool.
The most anticipated competition in the world of football is the “FIFA world cup”. FIFA is abbreviated for The Fédération Internationale de Football Association. It is an international governing body of association football, futsal and beach soccer. FIFA runs the World Cup and has 209 national associations worldwide as members.
The FIFA World Cup competition happens every 4 years. It is the biggest single-event sporting competition in the world. Fans worldwide are glued to their TVs and smartphones as they follow the games with passion and excitement, unparalleled by any other sport. The commentators match the excitement of the fans with the traditional cry of “goooal” when a goal is made!
The host for the 2014 FIFA World cup is Brazil. The reason the World Cup is only once in 4 years is because the “Preliminary competition” is first played by 204 teams across 6 continents. These games are played over a period of last 4 years.
204 is a very big number and lots of games will need to be played before any team reaches the “final competition” stage. So, a “preliminary competition” is held to narrow it down to a total of 32 teams. 31 teams and the host team (Brazil this year), play at various venues in Brazil, in what is called the “Final Competition”.
On June 12th, in the very first game of the “Final Competition”, the host Brazil takes on Croatia in Sao Paulo. The Finals are to be played on July 13th.
The favorites to win the championship this year are Brazil, Argentina, Germany and defending champions Spain.
The next two World Cups will be hosted by Russia in 2018, and Qatar in 2022.
commentators: a person who provides comments and analysis of events, like sports as they happen
ejected: removed or thrown out from
referee: an official who watches a game or match closely to ensure that the rules are adhered to