The European continent is considered to be the ‘best’ in football, with South America being another strong contender.
How did they manage to become such a powerhouse in the footballing world?
Here’s what you need to know.
Why is Europe so good at football?
Here are 5 reasons why Europe is so good at football
#1 Origin of The Sport
Over the years, numerous historians have asserted that football originated in ancient China, while others contend that it first appeared in ancient Roman culture. However, the modern football we know today had its beginnings in the 19th century in England (a European nation), when the first official football association was formed.
Although the popularity of Shrovetide Football matches was also witnessed during the mediaeval era throughout Europe in the 12th century, the Historia Brittonum, documented in the ninth century contains one of the first descriptions of youths playing with a ball using their feet and sticks.
The significance of football as a cultural component of the European countries was greatly impacted by the game being played during important religious holidays like Shrovetide, Christmas, or Easter. The first-ever international football game allegedly took place between Scotland and England in the year 1872, following the development of association football.
The Europeans invented and perfected modern football, giving them a substantial advantage over other regions where the official games began a little later.
Football as a game experienced significant shifts in people’s attitudes during the 1870s and 1880s. It changed from being a competitive individualistic sport to a tactical team game. The competitions and the game’s regulations began to spread like wildfire over all of Europe, and the rest is history.
In Europe, some of the oldest football clubs date back to 1897, and there are almost 4000 recognised professional clubs in England alone. Most Europeans like playing football, and nearly everyone is familiar with the fundamental footwork and concepts of the game.
#2 A Strong Financial Condition
The financial superiority of Europe over other continents has been evident since the middle ages. Europe hosted the beginning of the Renaissance period as well as the Industrial Revolution which played a huge part in shaping the modern world as we know it today.
In comparison to their less wealthy competitors in Asia and Africa, European countries like England and France had a considerable influence over the world. Naturally, the people were more willing to spend in the nurturing and growth of Football as a sport.
Europe is the home to some of the top football leagues like the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga and a lot more, creating a number of opportunities for athletes to showcase their talents and skills.
While the climatic and financial conditions of other continents make them less exposed to opportunities in the field of football, Europe leads the pack in terms of spending huge amounts of money and passion on the sport.
You can find out which are the toughest football leagues here.
Many professional South American players also play for European clubs as they get better exposure and obviously more money. This process helps in accumulating talent from all around the world, flourishing the dominance of Europe in football even more.
European football has invested in technology, science, training and education in a way that no other football culture has done. Medical science and the use of data in European football is far more advanced than the others.
The calibre and sophistication of the training facilities is yet to be achieved by other regions with a popular football culture.
The sport’s prominence and extensive media coverage make it a crucial area of investment for business owners. For instance, even though Neymar isn’t a European, his move from Barcelona to PSG cost a whopping 222 million Euros, making it the most expensive football transfer of all time.
The European nations have constructed a variety of enormous stadiums that can accommodate thousands of spectators at once and the stadiums are constantly crowded despite the exceptionally high ticket prices.
#3 Possession of the highest number of FIFA Cups
Since the beginning of the FIFA World Cup in 1930, European countries have secured the highest number of wins in the World Cup.
FIFA, the world’s football governing organisation was formed in 1904, after which a series of tournaments took place eventually leading to the first-ever international FIFA World Cup in Uruguay. Since then, several nations have participated in the World Cup, but the winner always turned up as a European or a South American nation.
Here’s a list of countries and the number of times they won the FIFA World Cup:-
Despite Brazil, a South American country winning the FIFA World Cup for the highest number of times, the collective total wins of European countries add up to 12 times in a total of 21 times the tournament took place.
The glaring domination of European nations in the World Cups also reflects the continent’s residents’ love and fervour for the game.
#4 Numerous Clubs and Leagues
It is a well-established fact that some of the most renowned football leagues and professional football clubs in the whole world are based in Europe. With prominent leagues like the Premier League and La Liga and well-known clubs like Real Madrid and Barcelona, Europe is a stronghold for high-calibre football.
In comparison to other continents where football is extremely popular, Europe has a far higher number of professional football teams and a plethora of resources, creating more opportunities for players with a strong drive.
Numerous clubs have been formed thanks to Europeans and their passion for the game of football. The players’ continuous improvement is strongly influenced by the overwhelming local recognition and support.
The clubs’ capability to train and coach excellent players is made easier with adequate funds and resources, and the numerous leagues and competitions at every level provide the ideal platform for players to experience professional football.
Players of all ages and skillset have a team to join, providing them ample time on the field which naturally brings in more scope for growth. The abundance of places to play has a pivotal role in the top-notch quality of football produced by European countries.
Professional players from all around the globe desperately seek a chance to play in the European leagues, a dream come true for many. For instance, Pepe, the centre-back for Porto and the Portugal national football team wasn’t actually from Portugal.
Pepe was in fact Brazilian by birth, yet he went on to play for the Portugal national football team and emerged with flying colours, whereas he was rejected by Selecao at every youth level in Brazil.
The abundance of clubs gives rise to more competitiveness among the players and acts as a driving force to keep getting better and better. The children are scouted from a very young age by these clubs, helping them to hone their skills for a longer time.
There are more professional leagues for the teams to play in, as a result of the growing number of clubs. The Union of European Football Association (UEFA) is the governing body of football in Europe which determines the clubs’ participation in the leagues.
The UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League are among the most prominent leagues under the classification.
#5 Cultural Significance of Football
One of the key reasons why European football is more varied and better than the others is due to the game being a part of the European culture and its people.
According to David Goldblatt, the European football industry is more prosperous economically than both the publishing and the film industries, which serves as evidence of the enormous football culture in Europe.
Moreover, the European championships are the third most viewed sporting event after the World Cup and the Olympics.
In Europe, football is so ingrained in society that it occasionally appears in people’s everyday clothing. From streetwear that resembles football gear to youngsters kicking the ball on every block and corner, football is a part of people’s daily lives.
The fans of the sport are equally as fervent as the players, with a great degree of enthusiasm. The emotions of the fans towards their respective clubs are so strong that at times they resort to hooliganism in order to support their teams. Coming back to the economic strength of the people of Europe, the fans don’t hesitate to travel around the continent in order to support their favourite teams.
As mentioned above, the origin of the game, the passionate spectators and the huge investments give Europe the perfect reason and environment to be the best in the field. European Players like Cristiano Ronaldo, David Beckham and Luis Suarez have engraved their names in football history as a few of the best players to have ever existed.
Football played a significant part in boosting people’s morale throughout the World Wars in addition to being played on significant festival occasions. Both civilians and prisoners of war used it as a key form of relaxation. Additionally, several exhibition games were played to aid the war effort.
Overall, football is an integral part of European culture and cannot be replaced anytime soon. The dominance of Europe in the game is expected to last for a long time in the coming future as well.
Europe has played a major role in the development of international football and the culmination of all the factors over hundreds of years has led to Europe’s unmatched performance in the game. However, the most important part of this sport is its potential to unify the whole continent regardless of all social boundaries.
With time, football is starting to grow rapidly in other parts of the world as well, but the current scenario makes it hard for any other region to develop such a solid hierarchy and structure in football. However, the accessibility of the game knows no bounds and will continue to thrive in all parts of the world.
You can find out how European football differs from South American football here.
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