Eight fun facts about football you should know

Discover some interesting and entertaining information about football by reading the following.

Eight fun facts about football you should know
Take a look at these interesting and entertaining football facts. Photo by Nigel Msipa / Unsplash

Here is some interesting knowledge about football that you should know.

One of the precursor games to football is episkyros, a very popular sport in ancient Greece, practiced by figures such as Plato and Alexander the Great. It is mentioned in the Odyssey, and Galen recommended it as a healthy exercise. Its resemblance to football is such that FIFA decided to decorate the first European Championship trophies with an engraving of an episkyros player. A version of this game, the harpastum, was used as military training in the Roman legions in Britain, where it was adopted by the natives; hence, football is considered to be of British origin.

The second-largest Argentine football fan base is in China. Nearly forty million people follow the South American country's league, and more than seven million stay up in the wee hours of the morning to watch the Boca Juniors vs. River Plate derbies. The Argentine Football Federation is also the most popular and has the highest jersey sales in the Asian nation.

A football ball floated for a year in the sea, from the coast of Japan to the coast of Alaska—almost six thousand kilometers! The ball belonged to a boy named Misaki Murakami, who lost all his belongings in the tsunami that hit his country in 2011. The person who found the ball signed by the original owner's friends floating offshore reported the find and returned it to Murakami by mail.

In 1998, Basanga and Bena Tshadi, two teams in the Republic of Congo League, faced each other on the turf. During the first half, there was a thunderstorm, and near the ninetieth minute, lightning struck the pitch. The discharge killed all eleven Tshadi players, while the Basanga players were unharmed. The Bena Tshadi fans accused their opponents of using black magic; however, it was later proven that what happened was due to the fact that those affected were wearing tennis shoes with metal studs, while the survivors were wearing plastic ones.

Vugar Huseynzade, a 21-year-old student from Azerbaijan, was hired in February 2012 as manager of FK Baku, a team in his country's first division. The uniqueness of this decision was that the young man's only training had been behind a screen: he was a fan of Football Manager, a video game that simulates the management of a football team. On the list of candidates for the job, Huseynzade beat out professional coaches such as Jean-Pierre Papin, a French football legend.

The first football team to reach the moon was Independiente, from Argentina. The name of man responsible is Héctor Rodríguez, then the club's Secretary of Culture and Public Relations, who decided to make Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins members of the institution shortly before the Apollo 11 mission took off. After several negotiations with the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires, Rodriguez managed to send team flags to the astronauts, who took them with them on July 20, 1969.

In the Indonesian region of Probolinggo, children play football in a way that is as strange as it is dangerous: barefoot and with a ball of dried coconut wrapped in flames. This game, played on asphalt, is known as Sepak Bola Api and is related to Pencak Silat, a traditional Indonesian martial art. Before the start of each match, players dip their feet in anti-inflammatory solutions and say a prayer. During Islamic holidays like Muharram and Eid al-Adha, this type of football is often played.

There is still no consensus on what was the first televised football match in history. The English argue that it was a match between Arsenal's first team and substitutes, filmed by the BBC on April 4, 1937. Others claim it was a match between Yugoslavia and France during the Switzerland 54 World Cup, which was televised to approximately four million households.

Source: Revista de la Universidad