European Football - Soccer


Football, also called soccer, is probably the world’s most popular team sport. It is played by over 150 million men and women of all ages in more than 200 countries.



Although nobody really knows when people started to play football, historians think that some form of the game was played in ancient cultures like China, Egypt or Rome.

Modern football, however, started in England. At the end of the 17th century it was played by young people from rich families and between school teams. In 1863 the Football Association was founded in England and the first sets of rules were made. By the end of the 19th century the game had spread throughout the rest of the world.

In 1904 the International Association of Football (FIFA) was formed. It has become the world’s most important football organization. Today, all countries have national leagues in which teams play against each other for the national title. In Europe, the best teams compete in a tournament called the Champions League.


The Football Field

Football is played on a rectangular field that is about 90 to 120 metres long and 45 to 90 metres wide. A goal (7.3 metres wide and 2.4 metres high) is at the end of the field. The lines at the sides of the field are called touchlines; those at the end of the field are called goal lines.

The penalty area is about 40 metres wide and extends 16 metres in front of the goal.

Football is played with a round leather ball that weighs about 450 grams.





A football team consists of 10 field players and a goalkeeper. He is the only one who can touch the ball with his hands. It is his job to keep the ball from getting into his goal.

Defenders play in front of the goalkeeper. They must stop the other team from scoring a goal. Midfield players do most of the running and try to move the ball between defenders and forwards. They play near the other team’s goal and try to score for their team.


Rules of Football

A football match has two halves of 45 minutes each. A referee and two linesmen supervise the game. Each team must try to score as many goals as possible. If both teams score the same number of goals, it is called a draw or a tie. A player can use any part of his body except the hands and arms. He must try to move the ball into the opponent’s half by kicking, dribbling or by passing the ball to one of his team mates.

A player who is fouled or hurt by an opponent is given a free kick. If a foul happens inside the penalty box the attacking team gets a penalty kick. Only the goalkeeper is allowed to block the ball and in most cases a penalty kick is a goal.

If a player fouls an opponent seriously the referee warns him with a yellow card, sometimes even a red card, which means he has to leave the field.

Coaches can substitute players who are hurt or those who play badly. In most matches three substitutionsare allowed. Once a player leaves the field he cannot come back into the game any more.



World Cup


The biggest event in the world of football is the World Cup. Every four years national teams gather their best players and compete for the top prize. The first World Cup took place in Uruguay in 1930.

Almost all countries in the world take part in regional matches that start two years before the final tournament. In the end 32 teams from all continents qualify for the World Cup finals. The tournament takes place in a different country every four years. The 2010 World Cup was held in South Africa.

The first World Cup tournament for women was held in 1991.



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Related Topics


  • although =while
  • ancient = old
  • association = organization
  • attack =to move forward with the ball and try to score a goal
  • block =to stop the ball from getting into the goal
  • case =situation
  • coach = the trainer of a team
  • compete = play against each other
  • consist of = is made up of , has
  • defender =a person who plays in front of the goalkeeper and tries to stop the other team from scoring a goal
  • draw = if both teams have the same number of goals
  • dribbling = to move the ball along with your feet
  • except =but, apart from
  • extend =reach out to ...
  • finals = the last games of a tournament
  • forward = an attacking player of a team
  • found = to start something new
  • gather = come together
  • historian = someone who studies history
  • league = a group of sports teams that play against each other to see who is the best
  • linesman = a person who helps the referee; he stands at the touchlines and tells the referee if the ball has gone out of the field
  • midfield = players that play between forwards and defenders
  • opponent = the other team
  • penalty area or box = the place in front of a goal
  • penalty kick = the chance to kick the ball into the goal
  • probably =something is likely to happen
  • qualify = you have the right to play
  • rectangular =an object with four straight sides and four 90° angles
  • referee = someone who oversees a game
  • regional = in a region , mostly a continent
  • rule = laws that tell you how the game is played
  • score a goal = to make a goal
  • seriously = very much
  • spread =move, extend
  • substitute = to replace a player
  • supervise = control
  • team mate = another player of your team
  • throughout = in all of ..
  • tie = same as “draw”
  • touch = to put your hands on
  • tournament = a series of games in which teams play against each other until there is one winner
  • weigh =how heavy something is