Which country invented soccer? A look back at football’s early history originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston
Football, often referred to as “The World’s Game,” had to come from somewhere.
Because of its accessibility and no-fuss style, people around the world adore the sport, which is evident in events like the World Cup.
As the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar begins, the 22nd edition of the tournament since it began in 1930, let’s take a look back to see which country invented the global sport:
Which country invented soccer?
The sport’s beginnings take us to China, where “Tsu’ Chu” – pronounced tsoo-joo – was coined as a form of kickball, according to FIFA. This happened during the Han Dynasty from 206 B.C. to 220 AD The ball was made of leather and filled with feathers and hair, with the target being a small net attached to long bamboo canes.
Other early forms of the game are the Japanese “Kemari” which originated some 500-600 years after Tsu’ Chu, the Greek “Episkyros” and the Roman “Harpastum”.
Kemari is a form of players who don’t let the ball touch the ground as they all stand in a circle, which is still played today. There are not many details about Episkyros, but Harpastum took inspiration from it.
Consisting of two teams and a small ball the size of a softball, the main goal of Harpastum was for one team to keep the ball on their side of the field for as long as possible. Tackling, wrestling and fighting appeared to have been allowed, but specific details are unknown, according to FIFA and History of Soccer.
Did England Invent Soccer?
England is usually credited with inventing the modernized version of the sport, which began with the formation of the Football Association in 1863 and differs from China’s origins.
The sport was played in a smaller way in England prior to the formation of the Football Association, but an official governing body helped establish rules that continue to evolve today.
When did the very first international football match take place?
National teams from Scotland and England met on November 30, 1872 in what FIFA now recognizes as football’s first international match. The 0-0 draw between the two countries took place in front of 4,000 spectators who watched the fledgling sport at Hamilton Crescent Cricket Ground in Glasgow, Scotland.
Why do English fans say “It’s Coming Home”?
The nickname of the England national football team is “Three Lions”. In a song by David Baddiel, Frank Skinner and The Lightning Seeds entitled “Three Lions” released in 1996, England fans started chanting at UEFA Euro 1996, the tournament was held in England.
The tournament slogan was “Football Comes Home” to refer to the history of the sport and the hope that England would finally win a major international title after a drought that had lasted since 1966 when they won the World Cup.
England finished the tournament as semi-finalists in 1996 and have still not won a major title since, but came close when they finished runners-up to Italy in the UEFA Euro 2020 competition, held in 2021 due to COVID-19.
With England in Group B with USA, Wales and Iran in Qatar in 2022, keep an eye out for fans and social media users saying “It’s coming home” in a nod to the Three Lions football program – one, hoping for an end to a 56-year international title drought.