Have you recently developed an interest in the most popular sport in the world after the exciting spectacle that was the most recent World Cup in Brazil?
If you wish to learn more about this simple yet amazing game, then you will enjoy this post, as we will run through a brief history of football, from ancient times to the present day…
Pre-origins of the beautiful game
Due to its simple mechanics, it is speculated that the games from which the modern sport of football developed were being played by ancient societies as far back as the 3rd century BCE.
The Chinese game of cuju is the oldest football-like sport for which there is documented evidence, as military manuals from that era outlined the rules that governed it.
Around the world, societies from the Inuit of the Arctic, to the Romans of the Mediterranean and the Maori of New Zealand all had ball games that emulated the modern sport of football in one form or another throughout their history.
While none had direct links to the game that emerged from Western Europe in the past few hundred years, it is telling that such a simple game to organize and learn would rise to become to the most popular one on Earth in the present day.
The modern sport of association football begins to take shape
It wasn’t until the 19th century that the rules that have defined the game as we know it today began to take shape in the British Isles.
In 1848, the University of Cambridge drafted the first set of regulations governing play in the sport of association football.
Over the next generation, other schools and football clubs would draft their own rules, creating frustration and conflict.
This led to the formation of the Football Association, which sought to achieve standardization so that more time could be spent enjoying the game, and less time bickering over its commandments.
They succeeded in this mission, with the adoption of Cambridge’s codes as the framework from which the game of football would move forward with the years to follow.
The beginning of a global obsession: the birth of leagues and tournaments
Shortly after codifying a set of universally agreed upon rules, it wasn’t long before a structure was created to determine the best team that held membership within the Football Association.
In 1872, the first FA Cup was held between the Wanderers and Royal Engineers, with the Wanderers prevailing 1-0 due to an injury that forced the Engineers to play shorthanded for much of the match.
The first international match between England and Scotland took place later that year, and more than a decade later, the first proper international tournament was held in 1884, with the British Home Championships pitting Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England against each other in a battle for football supremacy.
The beginnings of what would become the English Premier League began in 1888, and with the influence of the British Empire still widespread throughout the globe at this point in history, the game began to spread around the world.
The first World Cup of Football was held in Uruguay in 1930 after football had a successful run at the Summer Olympics since 1908. Uruguay managed to defend its home turf in those early days, beating rival Argentina in the final 4-2.
The state of the game today
Though the sport has experienced ups and downs in recent years, worldwide passion for the game remains at an all-time high, with Germany taking the most recent championship in 2014 with a dominating display of skill over hosts Brazil and finalist Argentina.
The internet age has only served to magnify the devotion of fans around the world, as they are not only able to follow live football scores in real-time, but they can get inside the daily lives of their favorite football stars.