Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played between two teams of 11 players each, who primarily use their feet to propel a ball around a rectangular field called a pitch. The objective of the game is to score more goals than the opposing team by moving the ball beyond the goal line into a rectangular-framed goal defended by the opposing team. Traditionally, the game has been played over two 45-minute halves, for a total match time of 90 minutes. With an estimated 250 million players active in over 200 countries and territories, it is the world's most popular sport.
The game of association football is played in accordance with the Laws of the Game, a set of rules that has been in effect since 1863 and maintained by the IFAB since 1886. The game is played with a football that is 68–70 cm (27–28 in) in circumference. The two teams compete to get the ball into the other team's goal (between the posts and under the bar), thereby scoring a goal. When the ball is in play, the players mainly use their feet, but may use any other part of their body, except for their hands or arms, to control, strike, or pass the ball. Only the goalkeepers may use their hands and arms, and only then within the penalty area. The team that has scored more goals at the end of the game is the winner. Depending on the format of the competition, an equal number of goals scored may result in a draw being declared, or the game goes into extra time or a penalty shoot-out.
Internationally, association football is governed by FIFA. Under FIFA, there are six continental confederations: AFC, CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, OFC and UEFA. Of these confederations, CONMEBOL is the oldest one, being founded in 1916. National associations (e.g. The FA or JFA) are responsible for managing the game in their own countries both professionally and at an amateur level, and coordinating competitions in accordance with the Laws of the Game. The most senior and prestigious international competitions are the FIFA World Cup and the FIFA Women's World Cup. The men's World Cup is the most-viewed sporting event in the world, surpassing the Olympic Games. The two most prestigious competitions in European club football are the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Women's Champions League, which attract an extensive television audience throughout the world. Since 2009, the final of the men's tournament has been the most-watched annual sporting event in the world. (Full article...)
The ground, given the nickname the Theatre of Dreams by Bobby Charlton, has been United's permanent residence since 1910, with the exception of an eight-year absence from 1941 to 1949, following the bombing of the stadium in the Second World War. During this period, the club shared Maine Road with local rivals, Manchester City. The ground underwent several expansions in the 1990s and 2000s, most notably the addition of extra tiers to the North, West and East stands which served to return the ground almost to its original capacity of 80,000. Future expansion is likely to involve the addition of a second tier to the South Stand, which would raise the capacity to over 90,000. The stadium's current record attendance was recorded in 1939, when 76,962 spectators watched the FA Cup semi-final between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Grimsby Town. (Full article...)
Solo is regarded as one of the top goalkeepers in the world. She was the starting goalkeeper for the majority of the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup and helped lead the U.S. national team to the semifinals having given up only two goals in four games, including three consecutive shutouts. After a controversial move made by head coach Greg Ryan to bench Solo in favor of veteran goalkeeper Brianna Scurry for the semifinal, in which the United States was defeated 4–0 by Brazil, Solo made headlines with post-game remarks that resulted in many teammates shunning her. With dedication, tough-mindedness and skill, she rebounded to help the United States win gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. During the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, her exceptional skill was highlighted especially during a quarter-final match against Brazil, in which the U.S. defeated Brazil in penalty kicks. Although the team lost to Japan in an intensely close match that ended in penalties, Solo received the Golden Glove award for best goalkeeper as well as the Bronze Ball award for her overall performance at the tournament.
Following her performance at the 2011 World Cup, Solo participated in the television show, Dancing with the Stars and posed for various magazines, most notably the "Body Issue" of ESPN The Magazine. After the 2012 London Olympics, where she received her second Olympic gold medal, she published her best-selling autobiography Solo: A Memoir of Hope.
West Germany won the title, beating the Netherlands 2–1 in the final at the Olympiastadion in Munich. This was the second victory for West Germany, who had also won in 1954. Australia, East Germany, Haiti and Zaire made their first appearances at the final stage, with the latter two also making their only appearance, and East Germany making their only appearance before Germany was reunified in 1990. Brazil the defending champions were eliminated in the second round though however would play in the third place match but they lose to Poland which secured the defending champions into fourth place. (Full article...)