Football, or for our girls across the boarder in the States ‘Soccer’, is the UK’s national sport and often referred to as.. ‘The Beautiful Game..’
Ladies, I know you may not necessarily agree right now… however, give us time and you’ll soon be clued up on the most popular sport in the world!
The main objective of the game is to beat your opponent by scoring a goal or goals in the opposing net, using any part of your body, but your hands and arms. More commonly your foot, hence the name Football!
Each team is made up of 11 players, including a goal keeper, defenders, mid field players and strikers. The standard game duration is 90 minutes, which is split into two 45 minutes halves. Half time is a break of 15 minutes, when the teams return they have swapped ends of the pitch, attacking at the opposite end as they did the first half.
The game is stopped and restarted after a goal is scored.
Players return to the centre circle, back to kick off.. exactly as they were at the start of the game. At the initial kick off of the game, all players must be in their positions in their own half and the ball must be moved forward.
The process of rewarding points in league Football is as follows, three points are awarded for a win, one point for a draw. And evidently, nothing is given for a loss.
There is also Cup football, which is based on a knockout basis. We will delve into this later!
The huge amounts of regular domestic games, played week in, week out are known as league games. The top league in England is The Premiership, and is made up of the 20 most successful teams in the country. The top teams in this league then compete with other top teams across Europe in The Champions League.
There are hundreads of leagues across the world battling it out to become the best in their country, like we’ve said ladies the sport is the most popular in the world!
Present day players across these leagues you may have heard of, include… Wayne Rooney, (Manchester United) Christiano Ronaldo, (Real Madrid) Lionel Messi, (Barcelona) to name a few.
They follow the likes of the successful players such as Eric Cantona, Zinadene Zidane, David Beckham and legends of the game, and now household names.. Pele and Bobby Moore.
In Cup competitions, such as The FA Cup and The Carling Cup in England, if the score is still level, referred to as a draw, the referee will add extra-time.
Extra time is awarded to a game that has already been replayed, if required. This is usually 30 minutes, consisting of two 15 minute durations, at which the teams both attempt to win the game. Someone has to win!
If there are still no winning goals after extra-time, the game goes to a penalty shoot out and the game is decided through a dramatic one on one situation.
Trust us, they can be nail biting!!! Read below for a more detailed explanation.
Popular English and European Football Competitions Explained:
The FA Cup, also known as The Football Association Challenge Cup is a knockout cup competition in English football, run by and named after The Football Association. The FA Cup was first held in 1871–72, and is the oldest association football competition in the world!!
All clubs in the Premier League and the Football League are automatically entered. Clubs in the next six levels of the English football league system are also allowed to enter, this is only providing they have played in either the FA Cup or FA Trophy competitions in the season before.
The FA Cup is a knockout tournament that lasts throughout the duration of the football season, with games for each round drawn at random. The live draw for each round is then made after the scheduled games for the previous round has finished.
There are 14 rounds in the competition, six qualifying rounds, followed by six further rounds (the more well known and televised rounds), semi-finals, and the final.
The live draw, also determines which teams will play at home. To ensure there is no unfair advantage by playing at home. Each tie is played as a single leg. However, if a match is drawn, then a replay is played at the other teams home ground. Drawn replays are now settled with extra time and penalty shootouts, (the nail biting part!)
The winning team, not only receives the FA Cup trophy but also qualifies for the UEFA Europa League. The FA Cup is a well respected title throughout the English game.
The Carling Cup (League Cup):
The League Cup or known under it’s present sponsorship, the Carling Cup, is an English competition. It is played on a knockout basis like the FA Cup, however is made up of all ‘league’ clubs. Only 92 clubs can enter.
These clubs are the 20 clubs of the Premier League, and the 72 clubs of The Football League. The Carling Cup is commonly deemed as the ‘least’ valuable of all the competitions.
The League Cup final is the first in the calendar of the domestic season and the current holders are Birmingham City, after beating Arsenal at Wembley in February 2011.
Liverpool are the most successful club throughout the competition, winning 7 titles to date.
The UEFA Champions League also known as the European Cup is an annual cup competition for the top football clubs in Europe.
The top teams from each league compete against the best from neighbouring European leagues. Examples of some of Europe’s top leagues are as follows:
-Premier League/Premiership: England
-La Liga: Spain
-Serie A: Italy
-Ligue 1: France
Found in 1955 by UEFA, it is recognised worldwide to be the most prestigious football club competition on the planet.
The final is one of the most watched annual sporting events, appealing to more than 100 million television viewers. The 2011 final is due to be played on 28th May at Wembley Stadium, London.
The UEFA Champions League comprises three qualifying rounds, a play-off round, a group stage and four knockout rounds.
The UEFA Europa League (previously known as the Uefa Cup) is a European based football competition, that takes place every year and is organised by UEFA.
UEFA stands for, the Union of European Football Associations, and the governing body of football in Europe.
It was founded 1971, and is the second rate European club football contest after the UEFA Champions League. You could call it a step down from the top flight tournamont.
3 clubs usually qualify for the competition based on their performance in their national top league and in cup competitions. The most successful clubs in the competition to date, are Liverpool with three titles so far, Internazionale, and Juventus.
In past years, the competition was known as the UEFA Cup. This name was changed to the UEFA Europa League since the 2009–10 season,
In 2009 the Europa League merged with the UEFA Intertoto Cup, producing an enlarged competition format, with vast group stages and a change in the qualifying criteria.
Atlético Madrid of Spainish top League La Liga are the current holders of the trophy, after beating English side Fulham, of the UK’s Barclays Premiership in the 2010 final.
The FAWSL is a UK based female football league that was launched in April 2011.
The FAWSL (Women’s Super League) will be played during the summer months of 2011 and features eight teams from across the UK competing for the first Super League title.