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World Cup Soccer History

During the second part of the 19th century in England, rugby as well as most sports experienced a massive boost in popularity. This was mostly an effect of the Industrial Revolution, which drew people in cities and factories, depriving them from outdoor activity. Recreation became common and people turned to sport on Sundays, in addition to their religious activities. British traders, sailors, and workers carried the sport all over the world (and especially their colonies).

The game of soccer officially emerged during the late 19th century in England, where a variety of ball games had already developed, all of which involved both handling and kicking. At a meeting of the London Football Association (FA) in 1863, the game of football was split into rugby football (the parent sport of American football), in which handling and carrying the ball was allowed, and association football, which banned the use of the hands. The FA established the first set of rules for soccer, which at that time, was played competitively (or officially) only in private schools and universities.

Soon after, amateur competition grew widely popular amongst British blue-collard workers. The FA Cup, an annual tournament first organized in 1871, sparked massive interest in soccer throughout Britain. The tournament, which is still played today, starts off with a large pool of teams and climaxes with the FA Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in London. Working-class people followed, participated and bet on matches from the FA Cup. In 1885, the FA reluctantly (after four years of debate) recognized the legitimacy of professional players. Early professional footballers were paid little more than the average workers who would pay to watch them. In 1888, 12 clubs from England founded the Football League, the first professional league competition.

The first international football match was played in Glasgow, Scotland, on 30th of November, 1872 when an English all-star team met its Scottish counterpart. England played in an individualistic manner using the 1-1-8 formation, whereas the Scots focused on combination play. According to football historian Ged O'Brien "Scotland was a more communitarian and egalitarian place than England" and this was reflected in their game. Regardless that the match ended in a scoreless draw, it was significant, because it introduced the cooperative mentality to English football. It also stimulated the signing of many Scottish footballers by English clubs.

Modern Era

Soccer, as we know it today, was molded during the 1960s. Increased media coverage and TV broadcasts made the game far more popular than it ever was. Commercial air flight replaced traveling by ship, which made it more efficient to conduct international matches.