Interesting football facts you may not know

With the 2022 FIFA World Cup fast approaching, the world is gearing up to witness yet another exciting spectacle of ‘the beautiful game’. 32 national teams from across six continents play against one another in a bid to lift the sport’s most prestigious trophy.

Qatar plays host to the showdown tournament in the first-ever winter World Cup tournament. With so many new records being established, it might be worthwhile to learn a few interesting football facts that you may have not known beforehand.

  • Officially the most popular sport in the world, football is played by approximately 250-300 million people worldwide.
  • What if you’re told that football originated in China as the very earliest form of the game, Cuju? It is surprising, given the fact that China currently sit 78th in FIFA rankings.
  • The existence of modern-day football with its regulations is credited to England.
  • The game is heavily dominated by European nations. In the last 90 years, nations from Europe have made it to every FIFA World Cup final, except on two occasions, in the 1930 and 1950.
  • Sialkot in Pakistan has been referred to as the world’s footballs factory. The 2018 World Cup match ball – Adidas Telstar 18 – was also produced there.
  • Recognized by FIFA, the oldest football club in the world is Sheffield F.C., founded in 1857. Alongside Real Madrid, the English club are the only one to have received the FIFA Order of Merit, the highest honor awarded by the governing body. They currently play in the Northern Premier League Division One – level 7 of the English system.
  • Five influential football figures have been bestowed with the honor of planetary bodies – mostly asteroids – being named after them, thanks to their noteworthy contributions to football. They are Arsene Wenger (33179 Arsènewenger), Ferenc Puskas (82656 Puskás), Michael Ballack (79647 Ballack), Johann Cruyff (14282 Cruijff), and Josef Bican (10634 Pepibican).
  • United States and Canada are the only two nations in the world that call it ‘soccer’.
  • There are several variations of the sport itself, with the most popular version actually called Association Football. Futsal, eFootball, beach football, street football and swamp football are the others.
  • The largest football stadium in the world is located in Pyongyang, North Korea – the Rungrado 1st of May Stadium. It reportedly has a seating capacity of 114,000.
  • Rio De Janeiro’s Maracana Stadium holds the record of the largest ever official attendance at a football match, 199,854, at the 1950 World Cup final. Hosts Brazil were ousted formidably by Uruguay in a match that will forever be remembered for shocking the whole world.
  • Dutch outfit NAC Breda is the football club with the most letters in its name, expanding to Nooit Opgeven Altijd Doorzetten Aangenaam Door Vermaak En Nuttig Door Ontspanning Combinatie Breda. It adds up to 83 letters.
  • Japanese football superstar Kazuyoshi Miura is the footballer with the longest career. As of 2022, he is the oldest professional footballer in the world at age 55.
  • The FIFA World Cup is the most followed sporting event in the world, watched by around 4 billion people quadrennially.
  • Between 1930 and 2018, only eight national sides have won the World Cup. They are Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina, Uruguay, France, Spain and England. As of the 2018 World Cup, 79 national teams have competed at the final tournaments.
  • India withdrew from the 1950 FIFA World Cup because they weren’t allowed to play barefoot.
  • Brazil is the only team to have appeared in all 21 tournaments played.
  • Eight-time finalists Germany and seven-time finalists Brazil have gone head-to-head at the World Cup only once, in the 2002 World Cup final, where Brazil beat Germany 2-0 to claim their fifth title.
  • Despite going to the World Cup finals three times (1974, 1978, 2010), The Netherlands have never won the coveted title.

According to betting sites, Brazil are hot favorites to wear the World Cup crown for a record sixth time, just ahead of reigning champions France and second-time hopefuls England. With top football prediction models like poisson distribution, one can surgically assess chances of teams winning and delve into the intricacies of football betting. The resource takes into account intricacies through which interested players can create their own interpretation of probability outcomes. However, it is what comes next that turns out to be the catch. Players, whether old or new, can benefit from a whole range of rewards such as free bets, cashbacks, loyalty points and accumulator schemes.

Few other contenders for taking the golden trophy home are Germany, Argentina and Spain. The 2022 FIFA World Cup will kick off on 20 November, with hosts Qatar welcoming Ecuador on the opening day.