Association football, also called simply football, is a common team sport usually played between two parallel teams of eleven players. It is played internationally by about 250 million players in more than 200 different countries and alliances, making it the most popular game in the world. It is widely played for fun, for competition and for the purpose of passing the time; even international tournaments like the World Cup, which are organized and hosted by countries, are known to attract large crowds of spectators and participants. As a result, football has become an important part of many people’s lives; it has gradually turned into a recreational activity that people take on as a hobby, a passion and even as a way of earning money. Football is even more popular among children and youth.
Football can be played either as a single player game, in which each team plays with one forward player who attempts to score goals using any method available, or a two-way game, in which each team attempts to score against the other team by passing the ball through the goal and onto the playing field or onto the opposite goal by running with it. The latter type is usually more played outdoors, with a ball made of rubber or plastic, which is kicked or thrown into a goal. Most games of football occur outdoors, during hot summer months when the sun is strongest. Football is generally played between two groups of players, and the goal is to become the first team to win a set number of goals, with the match being played to the death. A match can last up to three hours and fifteen minutes, depending on how long the playing time is for each side. There have been some memorable matches that went longer than usual, with some matches being played until the early hours of the next day.
Since football is often played in various forms, depending on the country where it was played, the rules may vary from one country to another. In most countries, the game consists of only eleven players on each side. The goal is scored when the ball makes contact with the opponents goal or the sideline, or when it is put into an empty goal. The object of the game is to win, with the score kept being the sum of the amount of goals scored by each side. Goals scored by one team can also be scored by the other team, with the result that a draw is declared.