Soccer Becomes a Worldwide Sport
Within eight years, the Football Association had 50 member clubs and inter-school inter-club matches were being played before enthusiastic spectators. The first Football Association League Cup was awarded in 1872.
In that same year, the first international match was played between Scotland and England. Some 2000 spectators watched the match that ended in a 0-0 tie. The Scots used a passing attack that was new to the English players who were used to muscling the ball up the field in what resembled a scrum. By the 1880s, teams of professional soccer players were forming in parts of Europe.
English colonists took soccer to the corners of the globe. Soon teams throughout Europe, in Africa, South America and New Zealand were playing the game.
In 1904, football associations from seven countries met in Paris and founded the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The original members of FIFA were Belgium, Denmark, France, The Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland. Germany joined the federation immediately. Surprisingly, England originally snubbed FIFA, feeling that soccer was an English game and should be governed by the English Football Association. England joined FIFA in 1906 and an Englishman, Daniel Burley Woolfall became FIFA President. Today, FIFA has 205 member associations.
Determining the Best in the World
Nearly as soon as it was formed, FIFA began discussing holding a world championship tournament. The first World Cup competition came about in 1930 in Uruguay. Uruguay had won the Olympic soccer gold medals in both 1924 and 1928. There were no qualifying tournaments for the first World Cup, but only 13 countries decided to send teams on the long trip to South America. Uruguay won the first World Cup with a 4-2 defeat of Argentina in the final round.
To date, 17 World Cup trophies have been awarded in men’s competition and four in women’s. See the chart listing the World Cup Champions.
FIFA Men’s World Cup Champions
|1930||Uruguay||4-2 over Argentina|
|1934||Italy||2-1 over Csechoslovakia|
|1938||Italy||4-2 over Hungary|
|1950||Uruguay||2-1 over Brazil|
|1954||Germany||3-2 over Hungary|
|1958||Brazil||5-2 over Sweden|
|1962||Brazil||3-1 over Czechoslovakia|
|1966||England||4-2 over Germany|
|1970||Brazil||4-1 over Italy|
|1974||Germany||2-1 over the Netherlands|
|1978||Argentina||3-1 over the Netherlands|
|1982||Italy||3-1 over Germany|
|1986||Argentina||3-2 over Germany|
|1990||Germany||1-0 over Argentina|
|1994||Brazil||3-2 over Italy|
|1998||France||3-0 over Brazil|
|2002||Brazil||2-0 over Germany|
|2006||Italy||1-1 score (5-3 penalty shoot out) over France|
|2010||Spain||1-0 score over Netherlands|
|2014||Germany||1-0 score over Argentina|
FIFA Women’s World Cup Champions
|1991||United States||2-1 over Norway|
|1995||Norway||2-0 over Germany|
|1999||United States||5-4 over China|
|2003||Germany||2-1 over Sweden|
|2007||Germany||2-0 over Brazil|
|2011||Japan||2-2 score (3-1 penalty shoot out) over USA|
|2015||United States||5-2 Over Japan|
A League of Their Own
Frescos from third century China show women playing a soccer-type game. By the 17th century, women were playing organized soccer matches. In the town of Inveresk Scotland, records show that the married women beat the unmarried women in a football game.
Development of the women’s game was hampered somewhat by their attire. Women were originally required to wear bloomers and to keep their hair under caps. Fortunately this changed during the World War I. During the War, women’s teams attracted large crowds as they played exhibition games, sometimes against men.
The first women’s international match was played in 1920. An English team composed primarily of members of the famous Dick Kerrs Ladies beat Scotland 22-0. In 1921, an English women’s soccer match attracted 53,000 spectators. Unfortunately, the Football Association decided that women’s soccer was “distasteful” and banned women’s games from association pitches. Women formed their own association and began playing on rugby fields. The Football Associations ban against women was not lifted until 1971.