Currently, there are just over 7.6 billion people living on Earth. More than half of them - about 4 billion - are more or less interested in the most popular sport branch in the world - football. Naturally, many people have a question: what makes football so special that it attracts hundreds of thousands of fans to stadiums and millions to TV broadcasts? Let's take a closer look at this sport branch, its history, growth, and popularity.

Football - what is it?

If a person who has never seen football had to explain what kind of sport it is, the simplest explanation would be something like this: two teams of 11 players each try to move the ball into the opponent's goal without using their hands. However, each team has one player who can use their hands - the goalkeeper. Nevertheless, even they have strict limitations, which we will discuss later. However, this is the simplest definition of football because fans of this sport know very well how many different nuances players, coaches, and referees need to know.

Football can be divided into four main positions: goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders, and forwards. However, all these positions are further subdivided into smaller categories: full-backs or central defenders, central, wide, defensive, or attacking midfielders, and even forwards have recently been divided into central and wide attacking footballers. Football never stands still and is constantly evolving, which is why in recent years there have been footballers who, as full-backs, provide much more benefit in attack than in defense. The EURO 2020 tournament showed that full-backs capable of attacking, like Luke Shaw or Leonardo Spinazzola, are incredibly important to their teams nowadays.

Coaches also look for various innovations in football, so there are constantly new tactical formations emerging. While it seemed for a long time that there was nothing better than playing in a 4-4-2 formation (four defenders, four midfielders, and two forwards), nowadays such tactics are practically impossible to see in top-level competitions. The most popular formation in modern football has become 4-3-3, and the success of teams depends heavily on attacking midfielders like Kevin De Bruyne or Bruno Fernandes, who essentially control the entire team's game.

History of Football

Although the first people to play something similar to football were Italians, the birthplace of this sport is considered to be England. It was in this country that football began to be played in 1848. However, a general definition of the rules for this sport had to wait another 15 years.

The first football tournament is considered to be the FA Cup, which is still organized to this day and is contested by teams from all English leagues, including the Premier League.

The International Football Organization (FIFA), uniting all the world's countries with football federations, was founded in 1904. Currently, FIFA unites as many as 209 national football federations or associations

Football became an official sport of the Olympic Games in 1908, and the first World Cup was held only in 1930 in Uruguay. The most successful team in the World Cup so far is Brazil, who has won five titles, although the Brazilians last lifted the trophy in 2002. Germany and Italy have won one fewer trophy than Brazil. The current world champions are the French, who defeated the Croats in the 2018 final in Russia.

Football News

There are only a few portals dedicated exclusively to football news, with perhaps the oldest and longest-running one being This news portal started its activities back in 2004 and continues to this day. covers both European football league news, with particular attention paid to tournaments such as the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, German Bundesliga, Champions League, Europa League, or the new Conference League.

Football Statistics, Tables, and Results

Football is the most popular sport branch in the world, so it is not surprising that there is a huge demand for various statistics, results, or tournament tables. Recently, more and more websites or mobile apps have appeared that allow you to easily track results, statistics, or tournament tables of practically all world football leagues.

Perhaps the most popular platform for easily tracking the results and statistics of most world football leagues is "Flashscore." With just a few clicks, you can find leagues categorized by country, and you can also select your favorite leagues, teams, or individual matches and receive notifications about them on your phone, so you no longer have to worry about missing a goal or forgetting the time of the match. Moreover, recently, Flashscore has added another feature - live match commentary. However, this feature is currently available only for following matches of major football leagues. This platform is also convenient because it provides all the essential information both live during matches and after they have ended. Flashscore also provides comprehensive tournament tables with various explanations about the tournament system, etc. 

Another convenient place to track football match results and statistics is "Livescore." This platform has recently undergone a complete overhaul and provides its customers with an even more convenient place to track the performances of their favorite teams. Like Flashscore, Livescore allows you to access results, tournament tables, and other essential information about practically all world football leagues, such as starting line-ups. Livescore also has a very convenient mobile app that you can configure according to your needs and preferences.

"Sofascore" is another incredibly popular platform for tracking football results and statistics, which provides absolutely all the previously mentioned privileges but also has some unique features. For example, Sofascore users can express their opinion on how matches will end before each match. Also, during matches, users can assign certain ratings to the players, and after the match, the average rating is visible to all platform users. This gives the Sofascore platform not only exceptional informativeness but also adds a certain playfulness and allows you to feel like a true football expert while watching matches.

Football Rules

Although the birth of football is considered to be in 1848, the first defined rules were only adopted in 1863. Nevertheless, looking at the rules of that time, many current football fans would find it hard to imagine how comical matches could have looked then. Here are a few interesting points from the first football rules:

The goals did not have crossbars. This meant that teams could score at any height, as long as the ball passed between the posts.
Players could catch the ball with their hands; however, they could not throw it to a teammate or run with it in their hands. Teams were penalized with penalty kicks for unfair use of hands.
The offside rule was much stricter than it is now. Attacking players of the team could not be ahead of the team's player taking the shot. Something similar can be seen in modern rugby.
If the ball went out of bounds, it went to the team whose player first rushed to touch it. This means that it did not matter at all from which team's player the ball actually left the field.
The first football rules also did not provide for a corner procedure. If the ball went out behind the goal line and was touched last by a player from the attacking team, he was awarded the right to take a penalty kick. Again, an obvious similarity can be seen with modern rugby. If a player from the defending team touched the ball first, he would start the game from his own goal line.
The sides of the field were changed after each goal scored.
The rules did not provide for any role for goalkeepers and referees. The match or halftime duration, number of players, and field markings were also not defined.
Although the description may give the impression that according to these football rules, teams could score a lot of goals, the first matches played according to these rules ended goalless - 0:0.

Football rules constantly improved and significant changes emerged over the years:

  • In 1867, it was decided that when the ball crossed the goal line, a kick would be awarded from the goal line, regardless of which team's player touched it last.
  • In 1870, handling the ball with hands was banned for players.
  • In 1871, the role of the goalkeeper was defined in the rules.
  • In 1872, corner kicks were introduced.
  • In 1881, referees were finally defined in the rules.
  • In 1883, goals were required to have crossbars, and touchlines began to mark the boundaries of the pitch.
  • In 1889, players were started to be sent off the pitch.
  • In 1891, penalty kicks from 11 meters were introduced.
  • In 1897, the number of players on the field (11 per team) was defined in the rules.
  • In 1958, substitutions for injured players during matches were permitted.
  • In 1970, yellow and red cards were introduced.
  • In 1992, goalkeepers were prohibited from handling the ball deliberately kicked to them by a teammate.
  • In 2012, goal-line technology was introduced.
  • In 2018, the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) system began to be used.

As we can see, football has evolved significantly in both its rules and other aspects of the game. However, one fundamental aspect has remained unchanged – the team that scores more goals always wins. Goals were scored differently in various periods due to variations in goal sizes and other rules, but this has always been the primary indicator determining the winners.

We live in an exceptional era for football, being able to witness the games of arguably two of the greatest footballers of all time: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo, officially at least, is considered the all-time leading goal scorer, having scored nearly 800 goals in his career. Lionel Messi is gradually approaching this milestone and is also among the top scorers of all time.

In the top five all-time goal scorers in football, we can also see legends such as Romario, Pele, and Josef Bican.

Most popular football leagues

Nearly every country in the world, with very few exceptions, has at least one football league, often multiple leagues. However, some leagues create a better product than others and generate significantly higher revenues, enabling clubs to acquire better players. This has created a top tier of leagues in Europe.

Undoubtedly, the most popular football league currently is the English Premier League, featuring giants such as Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham, and recently resurging Arsenal. Even lesser-known clubs in the Premier League can attract world-class footballers, making every match incredibly intriguing.

For a long time, the second strongest league was considered to be Spain's La Liga, which has gradually lost its prestige, especially after the departure of both Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Nevertheless, La Liga continues to attract enormous fan attention, especially with the legendary El Clasico rivalry.

Increasingly, attention is being drawn to France's Ligue 1. This league is largely dominated by Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). With the addition of Lionel Messi, Ligue 1's popularity is expected to increase even further.

Italy's Serie A and Germany's Bundesliga also make up the top five leagues. Smaller leagues like Belgium's, the Netherlands', Russia's, Poland's, and Greece's are also noteworthy.