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The referee officiates in a football match

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played between two teams of 11 players each, who primarily use their feet to propel a ball around a rectangular field called a pitch. The objective of the game is to score more goals than the opposing team by moving the ball beyond the goal line into a rectangular-framed goal defended by the opposing team. Traditionally, the game has been played over two 45-minute halves, for a total match time of 90 minutes. With an estimated 250 million players active in over 200 countries and territories, it is the world's most popular sport.

The game of association football is played in accordance with the Laws of the Game, a set of rules that has been in effect since 1863 and maintained by the IFAB since 1886. The game is played with a football that is 68–70 cm (27–28 in) in circumference. The two teams compete to get the ball into the other team's goal (between the posts, under the bar, and across the goal line), thereby scoring a goal. When the ball is in play, the players mainly use their feet, but may use any other part of their body, except for their hands or arms, to control, strike, or pass the ball. Only the goalkeepers may use their hands and arms, and only then within the penalty area. The team that has scored more goals at the end of the game is the winner. There are situations where a goal can be disallowed, such as an offside call or a foul in the build-up to the goal. Depending on the format of the competition, an equal number of goals scored may result in a draw being declared, or the game goes into extra time or a penalty shoot-out.

Internationally, association football is governed by FIFA. Under FIFA, there are six continental confederations: AFC, CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, OFC, and UEFA. Of these confederations, CONMEBOL is the oldest one, being founded in 1916. National associations (e.g. The FA or JFA) are responsible for managing the game in their own countries both professionally and at an amateur level, and coordinating competitions in accordance with the Laws of the Game. The most senior and prestigious international competitions are the FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Women's World Cup. The men's World Cup is the most-viewed sporting event in the world, surpassing the Olympic Games. The two most prestigious competitions in European club football are the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Women's Champions League, which attract an extensive television audience throughout the world. Since 2009, the final of the men's tournament has been the most-watched annual sporting event in the world. (Full article...)

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Blackburn Olympic F.C. in 1882
Blackburn Olympic F.C. in 1882
Blackburn Olympic Football Club was an English football club based in Blackburn, Lancashire in the late 19th century. Although the club was only in existence for just over a decade, it is significant in the history of football in England as the first club from the north of the country and the first from a working-class background to win the country's leading competition, the Football Association Challenge Cup (FA Cup). The cup had previously been won only by teams of wealthy amateurs from the Home counties, and Olympic's victory marked a turning point in the sport's transition from a pastime for upper-class gentlemen to a professional sport.

The club was formed in 1878 and initially took part only in minor local competitions. In 1880, the club entered the FA Cup for the first time, and three years later defeated Old Etonians at Kennington Oval to win the trophy. Olympic, however, proved unable to compete with wealthier and better-supported clubs in the new professional era, and folded in 1889.

Most of Olympic's home matches took place at the Hole-i'-th-Wall stadium, named after an adjacent public house. From 1880 onwards, the club's first-choice colours consisted of light blue shirts and white shorts. One Olympic player, James Ward, was selected for the England team and six other former or future England internationals played for the club, including Jack Hunter, who was the club's coach at the time of Olympic's FA Cup win. (Full article...)

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Henrik Larsson playing for Barcelona in 2006
Henrik Larsson playing for Barcelona in 2006
Henrik Larsson MBE (born September 20, 1971 in Helsingborg, Skåne) is a Swedish footballer. Larsson is best known for helping win four titles in seven years for Scottish club Celtic. He subsequently had a two-year spell at Barcelona of Spain, where he won two titles and the Champions League. He is the top scorer of all time in the UEFA Cup and one of the top ten scorers of all time in all UEFA club competitions.

Larsson amassed 93 caps over 13 years for Sweden, scoring 36 goals. In the summer of 2006 he retired from international football and returned to his home town club of Helsingborgs IF. He later joined Manchester United on a brief loan spell between January and March 2007.

Larsson amassed 93 caps over 13 years for Sweden, scoring 36 goals. In November 2003, the Swedish Football Association bestowed upon him the accolade "greatest Swedish football player of the last 50 years" as part of UEFA's Jubilee celebrations. (Full article...)

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The Argentine Football Association (Spanish: Asociación del Fútbol Argentino, locally [asosjaˈsjon del ˈfuðβol aɾxenˈtino]; AFA) is the governing body of football in Argentina based in Buenos Aires. It organises the main divisions of Argentine league system (from Primera División to Torneo Regional Federal and Torneo Promocional Amateur (es)), including domestic cups: Copa Argentina, Supercopa Argentina, Copa de la Liga Profesional, Trofeo de Campeones de la Liga Profesional and the Supercopa Internacional. The body also manages all the Argentina national teams, including the Senior, U-20, U-17, U-15, Olympic and women's squads. Secondly, it also organizes the women's, children, youth, futsal, and other local leagues.

The AFA also organised all the Primera División championships from 1893 to 2016–17. From the 2017–18 season the "Superliga Argentina", an entity which was administered independently and had its own statute, took over the Primera División championships. Nevertheless, the Superliga was contractually linked with the main football body. The last championship organised by the Superliga was 2019–20, shortly after the season ended the body was dissolved. (Full article...)

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A close-up of a grassed football pitch
A close-up of a grassed football pitch
An Association football pitch is usually traditionally covered in grass. Much investment is made on the playing surfaces in larger clubs, with some importing specialist seeds and turf from European countries and each club employing a groundsman to keep it in good condition for playing. The game is also played on artificial turf at a professional level in some countries.

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Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win. — Gary Lineker

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Spain's Joan Capdevila holding the FIFA World Cup Trophy after defeating the Netherlands in the final

The 2010 FIFA World Cup, also branded as South Africa 2010, was the 19th FIFA World Cup, the world championship for men's national football teams. It took place in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010. The bidding process for hosting the tournament finals was open only to African nations. In 2004, the international football federation, FIFA, selected South Africa over Egypt and Morocco to become the first African nation to host the finals.

The matches were played in 10 stadiums in nine host cities around the country, with the opening and final played at the Soccer City stadium in South Africa's largest city, Johannesburg. Thirty-two teams were selected for participation via a worldwide qualification tournament that began in August 2007. In the first round of the tournament finals, the teams competed in round-robin groups of four teams for points, with the top two teams in each group proceeding. These 16 teams advanced to the knockout stage, where three rounds of play decided which teams would participate in the final. (Full article...)

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UEFA club competition winning managers, Lists of
European Cup and UEFA Champions League
UEFA Cup
UEFA Super Cup
UEFA Intertoto Cup
UEFA Cup Winners' Cup

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