New Zealand's first soccer association was formed in 1891. Argentina established its first soccer association in 1893. Chile, Switzerland, and Belgium organized national teams and established football organisations in 1895. England launched its national team in 1863 and became the first country to compete at the modern game's biggest event, which is now known as the World Cup.
England's first international match was played on 30 November 1872 at the Kennington Oval in London. It was a loss to France by a score of 3-1. The second match two weeks later also ended in defeat for England, this time by the same margin. However, both countries now use English rules, so it can be considered that England has been playing international soccer since then.
Other early countries to play include Germany (1866), the United States (1869), Italy (1876), Australia (1877), and Canada (1879).
Spain became the first country to win the World Cup when they beat England 1-0 at the St. James' Park stadium in Newcastle upon Tyne back in 1995. This remains their only title to date.
Italy were the first European side to dominate the sport, winning the gold medal at the 1920 Summer Olympics in Béringer Stadium in Berlin.
1913 Founded in 1913 as the United States Football Association, U.S. Soccer was one of the first organizations in the world to be affiliated with FIFA, the world governing body of soccer, and has grown into one of the sport's organizational leaders, integrating player participation and player development into arguably the most...
For more information on this topic, see our UK article on U.S. history.
Belgium, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, Spain (represented by the then-Madrid Football Club; the Royal Spanish Football Federation was not formed until 1913), Sweden, and Switzerland were among the founder members. Germany joined later as did Italy (who withdrew in 1984).
The number of nations able to join FIFA has increased over time. There are now 211 federations affiliated with FIFA, including North and South Korea as well as Syria which became a member in June 2015. Of these, 183 have membership rights. These include all European nations except for Russia (suspended since 2014) and Ukraine (whose membership is under review). Nations in Africa and the Middle East also have membership rights but cannot play international football due to lack of funding and infrastructure. As well as these "official" members, there are also associate members who do not enjoy voting rights. These include Argentina and Brazil who are considered to be the two strongest teams in South America. They are followed by Uruguay, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, and Peru.
Prior to 1945, the world's only governing body for soccer was the British Football Association. The first official FIFA Congress was held in Paris on 22 February 1904, when the members agreed on the principles of the game they would govern themselves. Originally this meant that each country could decide what role it wanted to play and work with other countries to achieve this goal.
The Football Associacio de Catalunya was founded on November 11, 1900, as the Federacio Catalana de Futbol. It was the country's first football association. Eduard Alesson was the inaugural president, and the founding members comprised FC Barcelona, Sociedad Espanola de Football, Catala SC, and Hispania AC.
They would later merge with other clubs to form modern-day FC Barcelona. The new club retained the name Associación Catalana de Fútbol and used it until 1931 when they adopted their current name.
The federation became the governing body for football in Catalonia after the Catalan Football Federation was formed by local teams in 1908. This organization lasted until 1971 when it was replaced by the present-day Federació Catalana de Futbol.
During World War II, football was not played because there were no matches to watch or play. When peace returned, a new division was created at the end of the season instead of the usual one. In 1947, the top two divisions merged to form a single league called Primera Cataluña. This name was then used until 1956 when it was changed back to Segunda Cataluña. In 1959, the bottom two divisions joined together to form Tercera Cataluña. This name was also used until 1971 when it was replaced by the current Segunda B.
There are many theories about how football came to Spain.
Everything rose swiftly, and the first World Cup was held in Uruguay in 1930. One of the reasons soccer and the World Cup are so popular is that they are fun to watch, which has contributed to the development of a soccer culture and tradition that has been carried down from generation to generation till today.
The first World Cup was not won by any national team but by Uruguay, who defeated Argentina 2-1 after two matches had ended in a draw. The tournament was composed by two groups of four teams, whose results were used to determine the final ranking. Uruguay was chosen as host nation when President Howard Taylor offered the prize for an international football competition.
Uruguay at the time did not have much of anything, economically or otherwise, so this offer was very attractive. Also, it was possible to broadcast the games live on television, which helped spread the sport further.
After winning the cup, many great Uruguayan players came to the attention of the world game, such as Alfredo Di Stéfano, José Muñoz, Enrique Guaita, Mario Kempes, Jorge Valdivieso, and Héctor Rondón. However, none of them could match the achievement of Luis Fernández, who remained captain of his team until he died in a car crash in 1969 at the age of 37.
England Szymanski says in a 2014 study that the term "soccer" emerged in late nineteenth-century England as a method of distinguishing various varieties of the game, which did not have a widely agreed-upon set of rules at the time. Football and rugby were various forms of the same game in the early 1800s in England. The word "soccer" was first used by William Witley to describe the game now known as association football in 1867. After this initial use, the word "soccer" disappeared for nearly 100 years until the formation of the English Football Association in 1863.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), the first recorded use of the word "football" was in 1823. That same year, the OED lists its first usage of the word "soccer." It is possible that someone could have been playing both games simultaneously, but this action would have been rare since they required different skills. There is no evidence that anyone was playing association football and rugby during this period in England.
The OED states that the emergence of association football caused "soccer" to become obsolete as a name for the sport played with a ball. Some have suggested that the term "football" came first and was then adopted by players who lacked the funds for proper balls.