Fun and Interesting Football Facts and Trivia

South Africa Guatemala WCup SoccerFootball is the world’s most popular sport. The statistics are there to prove it, case in point the 2010 FIFA World Cup where 3.2 billion people all over the world tuned in for at least a minute. That’s not including the reruns.

But even something as popular and well-loved as football isn’t a completely open book. There are things about it that even some of the biggest and most die-hard fans may not know of. Care to challenge yourself?

Check out the following fun and interesting football facts and trivia and see how much you’ve already got down your arsenal.

  • The largest ever football tournament happened in 1999 during the second Bangkok League Seven-a-Side Competition. No less than 5,098 teams competed with a total of 35,000 participating players.
  • It wasn’t until 1913 that goalies wore a different colored jersey from their teammates.
  • The earliest balls were made of an inflated animal’s bladder, often a pig, which is placed inside a leather case. They were easy to find and were durable enough at the time. It wasn’t until Goodyear discovered vulcanization that allowed for rubber balls to be used in sports including football.
  • It’s no secret that Europe is the most football loving continent and they’re pretty competitive about it too. So much that European Teams have reached every single World Cup finals, except in 1930 and 1950. That’s just twice since the FIFA World Cup began in 1930.
  • There are more FIFA member countries than there are in the UN. That would be 211 versus 193 nations.
  • Only Canadians and Americans refer to the sport as soccer. The rest of the world calls it football. But ironically, it was the British that first coined the word in early England as a result of a slang term that the youth would often use.
  • In a tragic incident in 1998, an entire team was killed by lightning during a match between the villages of Bena Tshadi and Basangana in Congo, Africa.
  • Even football clubs loved the British pop group the Beatles. The proof? There are about 27 professional football clubs that take a Beatles song as their nickname. There’s the Yellow Submarines of Villarreal, Spain to name one.

Any other interesting and fun football facts and trivia you think we missed? How did you score with this list?