Soccer, also known as football or association football, is played in almost every country in the world, making it the most popular and well-known sport in the world. The International Federation of Association Football, also known as FIFA, oversees and governs all professional soccer leagues. There are six regional organizations associated with FIFA, with one each in Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, Oceania, and South America.
While soccer is played in almost every country of the world, a few countries have a reputation for being extremely passionate of the sport. In some of these countries, people exhibit the same passion for soccer as they do their religion. These countries include Brazil, Argentina, England, Italy, and Germany.
In Brazil, soccer is seen as a way of life. Every child has a soccer star as a role model and successful soccer players are considered national heroes. To the rest of the world, Brazilian soccer is one of the most entertaining and spectacular types of soccer in the world. Brazil has won the FIFA World Cup five times and have made it to the final round of the World Cup two additional times. Brazil has produced several soccer legends, including one of the most famous soccer players in history, Pele. Leonidas da Silva, whom created the ‘bicycle kick’ move, Garrincha, and Ronaldinho are also well-known Brazilian soccer stars.
Argentina has a long history of soccer success, and like Brazil, has made soccer one of the nation’s beloved pastimes. This nation’s soccer success dates back to the 1930 World Cup. Despite a sharp decline of the team in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the country once again has one of the top soccer teams in the world. Argentina has won two World Cups and has made it to the final round of two additional World Cup championships. Like Brazil, Argentina has produced some of the world’s greatest soccer legends, including Alfredo DiStefano, Cagriel Batistuta, Hernan Crespo, and Daniel Passarela.
England is another nation with a long soccer history. In fact, England was the first nation to have a professional soccer team. In 1863, the Laws of the Game were created in England, and are still used today as part of the international rules of play. While England has only won one World Cup championship, the country has produced several soccer stars which have become heroes around the globe, including David Bechkam and Steven Gerrard.
Like England, Italy played a major role in shaping the game of soccer. While England created the Laws of the Game, players from Italy perfected defensive play. In Italy, it is not uncommon for children to start their soccer training at a very young age, with soccer schools focusing on game tactics. The Italian team has always been one of the most proficient teams in the world in regards to game tactics and as a result, the team won the World Cup championship in 1934, 1938, 1982, and 2006.
Germany has a reputation for being one of the most successful soccer teams in the history of the sport. The German team has won three World Cup championships, reached the finals in an additional four World Cups, and took home the bronze medal in another three World Cups. In fact, Germany has participated in a total of 16 World Cups, winning ten total medals. In the European Championship, they have participated in nine out of the 12 Championships, taking one of the top two positions in five of those games. Reflecting the German team’s success on the defensive side of soccer, two of the nation’s greatest legends are defensive players Franz Beckenbauer and Lothar Matthaus.
With the passion typically only seen for a nation’s religion, the countries of Brazil, Argentina, England, Italy, and German have helped to define the game of soccer for the rest of the world. It is because of these nations that individuals who otherwise would not follow soccer are now fans of the sport, and that children dream of playing soccer long before they even begin kindergarten. While soccer is played all over the world, these five nations have reinvented the game and made it what it is today.