Football World Cup

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There is no other sporting event that catches world’s attention like the football world cup. FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) was established on May 21st 1904 in Paris with the authorization of the representatives of Sweden, France, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland. The new organization existed only on paper till May 26th, 1928 when the World Cup was born. Eleven countries planned to hold the first soccer tournament in 1930 with Uruguay as a chosen host due to its outstanding Olympic records. Sending a message of international peace, the popularity and prestige of the championship is constantly growing.

The fact is that people have enjoyed kicking a ball about for thousands of years, initially with the hands only and later with the use of feet when they realized that it was not easy and required quite a bit of skill. The historical development of football can be traced back to at least six different games belonging to different genres. The very earliest evidence dates back to 200-300 BC China; the game called Tsu' Chu, something similar to contemporary soccer, was a military exercise at that time. The player had to aim at the target with the use of his feet, chest, back and shoulders while trying to withstand the attacks of his opponents. Use of the hands was not permitted.

Another form of the game, also originating from the East, was the Japanese Kemari, which began some 500-600 years later and is still played today. Standing in a circle, the players have to pass the ball to each other, in a relatively small space, trying not to let it touch the ground.Among the other football/soccer predecessors are the Greek 'Episkyros' the Roman 'Harpastum'. The latter was played with a smaller ball by two teams on a rectangular field marked by boundary lines and a centre line.

The contemporary history of the world's most popular game begins in 1863 in England, when rugby football and association football branched off the Football Association of England - the sport's first governing body.

The competition was canceled in 1942 and 1946 due to the World War II. It was held in Europe and the Americas till 2002 when Korea and Japan were selected as co-hosts by the Executive Committee. Since 1930, the 18 tournaments have seen only seven different winners. Brazil holds the most World Cup championships with five, Italy is in second with four titles, Germany with three, Argentina is tied with Uruguay with two, and finally England and France with one title each.

Today, there is hardly an event that can compare to the football world cup. The 1994 tournament held in the United States had the highest average attendance with over 68,990 for each match. The 1950 World Cup Final (Uruguay vs. Brazil) had over 174,000 spectators for the largest number of spectators to watch a single game.

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