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Association football


Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

Association football is one of a family of football codes, which emerged from various ball games played worldwide since antiquity. The modern game traces its origins to 1863 when the Laws of the Game were originally codified in England by The Football Association.

Players are not allowed to touch the ball with hands or arms while it is in play, except for the goalkeepers within the penalty area. Other players mainly use their feet to strike or pass the ball, but may also use any other part of their body except the hands and the arms. The team that scores most goals by the end of the match wins. If the score is level at the end of the game, either a draw is declared or the game goes into extra time or a penalty shootout depending on the format of the competition. Association football is governed internationally by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA; French: Fédération Internationale de Football Association), which organises World Cups for both men and women every four years.

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AC Milan team celebrate.jpg
The 2007 UEFA Champions League Final was a match played at the Olympic Stadium in Athens, Greece, on 23 May 2007, to decide the winner of the 2006–07 UEFA Champions League. English club Liverpool faced Italy's A.C. Milan, the two clubs had contested the 2005 final which Liverpool won. On this occasion, A.C. Milan won the trophy after beating the opposition 2–1. Filippo Inzaghi was named man of the match for his two goals for the Italian team.

This was the seventh time that A.C. Milan had won the tournament and the trophy was presented to captain Paolo Maldini in the Guest of Honour's box by UEFA President Michel Platini.

Before the match there were ticketing problems, due to an estimated 5,000 people gaining entry to the stadium without tickets or by brandishing fakes. This left many with genuine tickets locked outside and resulted in confrontations with the police. After the match, a UEFA spokesman accused Liverpool of "having the worst fans in Europe", a claim which was later denied by Platini.

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Ohno playing for Japan in the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.

Shinobu Ohno (大野 忍, Ōno Shinobu, born 23 January 1984 in Zama, Kanagawa) is a Japanese football player who plays as a forward. Her club team, as of 2013, is Lyon.

After playing in the U-19 and U-20 teams for a short period, Ohno joined the senior Japanese national team in 2003. Her first major tournament was the 2006 AFC Women's Asian Cup, where Japan placed fourth. The following year she played in the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, but Japan fell in the group stage. She also competed at the 2008 Summer Olympics, and the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup, where she scored a goal in the group stage match against Mexico.

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Map of the world with countries belonging to the UEFA marked
The European Association Football Union, almost always referred to by the acronym of the underlying French term UEFA, is the administrative and controlling body for European football. It represents the national football associations of Europe, runs Europe-wide national and club competitions, and controls the prize money, regulations and media rights to those competitions.

UEFA is one of the biggest of six continental confederations of FIFA. Of all the confederations, it is by far the strongest in terms of wealth and influence over the global game. Virtually all of the world's top players play in European leagues in part due to the salaries available from the world's wealthiest football clubs.

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Arsenal defender Abou Diaby takes a throw-in
Credit: Flickr user wonker

When a ball is kicked out of play on the side of the pitch, the game is resumed with a throw-in. Here, Arsenal player Abou Diaby returns the ball into play.

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What else is there in life? Cricket is like watching paint dry. Tennis? Golf is a pain in the backside. The only game in town is soccer.
Ken Bates

Did you know...

  • ... that MLS Cup 2007 was the first Major League Soccer championship rematch to be played in consecutive years? (3 March 2019)
  • ... that the San Jose Earthquakes won MLS Cup 2001 only one season after finishing at the bottom of the league table? (4 March 2019)
  • ... that Dutch footballer Leon de Kogel's playing career ended following a car accident in which he had to be cut out of his vehicle by the fire service? (9 March 2019)
  • ... that the inaugural MLS Cup was played in heavy rain in the aftermath of Hurricane Lili? (4 May 2019)
  • ... that collegiate soccer coach Pete Fewing has also officiated at the weddings of two of his former players? (10 May 2019)


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