The World's Biggest Football Tournaments
Football is the most universally recognized and watched sport in the world, and every year millions around the globe tune in to watch the largest football events. Here are some of the most popular events that you might be familiar with.
FIFA World Cup
The World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events on the planet. This global football festival is held every four years in a different location. The host nation qualifies automatically for the tournament while everyone else must qualify through region-based groups.
This tournament gathers the best of the best in the world, athletes at the pinnacle of their careers and performing at their peaks. Stars are born here, heroes are discovered, breathtaking goals are scored, and it is thrilling to see who will rise to the occasion on the world's biggest stage. It's a shame that they don't play every year, but perhaps that scarcity and rarity is part of the appeal of the tournament.
The 32 teams are divided into groups of four for the tournament. The top two teams from each group then progress into the knock out rounds of the competition. Millions of people from around the globe tune in to watch the World Cup and there is no greater honour in the game than lifting the Jules Rimet trophy.
The European Championships
The European Championships are Europe's top international football tournament. Like the World Cup, they are held every four years in a different location. The next European Championships are due to be held in France in 2016 and the number of competing teams is set to increase from 16 to 24.
The number of top teams involved in the European Championships make this one of the most exciting football tournaments to watch. A look at the list of previous winners reflects this fact with nine different winners of the competition. Germany and Spain lead the way with three wins apiece.
The Copa America is the oldest football tournament in the world and features the nations of South America. Uruguay are the kings of the Copa America with 15 wins under their belt. Usually held every two years the Copa America features 12 teams, however, as there are only ten football nations in South America two teams from outside the region are invited to participate. USA, Costa Rica, Mexico and Japan have played in the tournament in the past.
The African Cup of Nations
Africa's top international football tournament is also played every two years. After a slow start the African Cup of Nations has grown so much that teams must now come through a qualifying round to play in the event. Egypt are the most successful team in the African Cup of Nations with seven victories to their name.