is any of several similar team sports, of similar origins which involve,to varying degrees,kickinga ball with the foot in an attempt to score agoal. The mostpopular of these sports worldwide isassociation football, more commonly known as just"football" or "soccer". Unqualified, the word
Main article:Football (word)While it is widely assumed that the word "football" (or "foot ball") references the action of the foot kicking a ball, there is a historical explanation, which is that football originallyreferred to a variety of games inmedieval Europe, which were played
These gameswere usually played bypeasants, as opposed to thehorse-ridingsports (such aspolo) oftenplayed byaristocrats.There is no conclusive evidence for either explanation, and the wordfootball has always implied a variety of games played on foot, not just those that involvedkicking a ball. In some cases, the word football has even been applied to games which havespecifically outlawed kicking the ball.
Ancient Greek football player balancing the ball. Depiction on anAtticLekythos.TheAncient GreeksandRomansare known to have played many ball games, some of whichinvolved the use of the feet. The Roman game
The Roman politicianCicero(106–43 BC) describesthe case of a man who was killed whilst having a shave when a ball was kicked into a barber'sshop. Roman ball games already knew the air-filled ball, thefollis.
, literally "kick ball"), which originally involved kicking aleather ball through a small hole in a piece of silk cloth which was fixed on bamboo canesand hung about 9 m above ground. During theHan Dynasty(206 BC–220 AD), cuju gameswere standardized and rules were established. Variations of this game later spread to JapanandKorea, known as