A Barcelona player (in red and blue stripes) takes a free kick close to the opponents' goal. The Zaragoza players (in pale green)...Read More >>A Barcelona player (in red and blue stripes) takes a free kick close to the opponents' goal. The Zaragoza players (in pale green) line up to form a "wall", making it more difficult for the striker to shoot. Football (also known as soccer) is a sport in which two teams of 11 players try to put the ball into the opposition’s goal. It is played on a grass pitch with the goals set in the centre at each end. Both teams have 10 outfield players who may play the ball with any part of the body other than their arms and hands, plus a goalkeeper who can touch it with any part of the body. Teams can swap a player for a substitute (out of seven "on the bench") up to three times in a match. A match lasts for 90 minutes, divided into two halves of 45 minutes each. Goals are scored when the ball crosses the line under the crossbar, and the team that scores the most goals wins.
Boys playing football in Tudor EnglandPeople have played ball games for thousands of years. Games similar to football were played in China 2000 years ago and in ancient Greece and Rome. In medieval England, whole villages battled to get a ball through the gate of their rival’s church. The Cambridge University Football Club wrote a set of rules in 1848 and these were taken up by a group of clubs in London when they formed the Football Association in 1863. These rules banned carrying the ball, a decision that resulted in some clubs abandoning Association Football, as it was called, for the sport of Rugby Football, where handling was allowed.
Until 1875, goals were scored if the ball went between the posts at any height.
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