20 Countries Where Soccer (Football) Is Extremely Popular! (2023)

While soccer is popular in virtually every country on the planet, some countries are most fervent about it than others. If you’re curious about which countries love soccer the most, this list of 20 countries that can’t get enough of the sport should satisfy your curiosity.

These are 20 countries wheresocceris popular.

1. Brazil

When most people think about countries crazy aboutsoccer, Brazil is always near the top of the list. For starters, their men’s national team is consistently ranked as one of the best in the world. They’ve also won the FIFA World Cup many times. Many of the world’s top players also hail from Brazil, and the success of these players is due in large part to how much Brazilian culture embraces and promotes soccer.

2. Germany

Soccer in Germany is right up there with Brazil in terms of both national popularity and international success. The German national team is among the top countries with the most FIFA World Cup tournament victories. They also have a large number of professional and amateur leagues, with the Bundesliga sitting at the top of the pile.

3. Italy

Italy is another country in which enthusiasm for soccer outstrips other sports by a considerable margin. With several World Cup titles, the Italian national team sits among the top countries in terms of success. This is in large part due to the extremely high quality of the Italian professional league, Serie A.

4. Argentina

Like most countries in South America, Argentina has a deep love for soccer. It’s the most popular sport in the country, and many Argentinians playsoccerfrom when they first learn to walk all the way into old age. The Argentinian national team has also seen success in the World Cup, winning their first tournament in 1978.

5. France

France is one of the oldest nations in Europe. Their storied history includes a number of traditions, and soccer is one of those. The first organized club was created in 1863, and since then the French Football Federation has issued over 2 million licenses to players on thousands of registered clubs. They have also had significant success on the international stage, winning the FIFA World Cup more than once.

6. Uruguay

The Uruguayans have a long-standing tradition of playing and watching soccer. First introduced to the country in the 19th century by British immigrants, the simplicity and accessibility of the sport quickly took the country by storm. It is now the most popular sport in the country by far, and Uruguay’s love of soccer has definitely translated intointernationalsuccess. In 1930, Uruguay became the first nation to win the FIFA World Cup after defeating Argentina in the final.

7. England

If there’s a single country to thank for the current state of soccer, it’s probably England. The modern set of rules used around the world today were first codified in England in 1863. With more than 40,000 registered clubs, soccer might be more prevalent in England than in any other country in the world. England also has the first registeredfootballclub and the oldest professional football club.

The English national team won their first FIFA World Cup title in 1966 when they beat West Germany as locals. Today, the sport remains wildly popular in every corner of England.

8. Spain

Soccer is the most popular sport in the country, followed closely bybasketballand tennis. The country is well known for having two of the most popular professional soccer clubs: Real Madridand FC Barcelona. Also, their national soccer league is widely watched by manyfansaround the world.

The nation obtained their first FIFA World Cup in 2010 after playing the final against the Netherlands.

9. Netherlands

Like most European countries, the Netherlands also has soccer as its most popular sport. Soccer came to the Netherlands in 1879, when a 14-year-oldboynamed Pim Mulier founded the country’s first soccer club. A few decades later, the first professional club was formed.

The Dutch professional leagues aren’t typically considered amongst the top in the world, but their national team is respected for their consistently solid performances. In the World Cup, they’ve come in second, as well as reached the semi-final stage on different occasions.

10. Turkey

Socceris also the most popular sport in Turkey, though it is closely followed by basketball. Turkey’s history as a soccer-loving nation dates back to the Ottoman Empire in 1875 when the first official matches in the country were held. Like many countries, Turkey first learned about soccer through visitors from England.

While soccer is wildly popular in Turkey, their national team has not seen as much success as the national teams from other countries mentioned on this list.

11. Serbia

Soccer first came to Serbia in 1896, when a student named Hugo Buli brought a soccer ball with him from Germany. It has since grown to encompass multiple professional leagues, dozens of amateur leagues, and millions of fans around the country.

12. Croatia

The people of Croatia love soccer. Thousands of Croatians participate at the professional level, and millions follow their every move on television and social media. The first professional clubs were created before World War I, and the country’s love for the sport has been growing ever since.

13. United States

Unlike many of the countries on this list,socceris not the most popular sport in the United States. That title is held byAmerican Football, and the runner-up sports in the American popularity contest include baseball and basketball.

Despite this,socceris still very popular in the United States. The professional league ‒ Major League Soccer (MLS) ‒ is followed by millions of fans around the country. There is also a strong base ofhigh schooland collegiate teams to support both the MLS and the popularity of soccer as a whole.

Although the men haven’t had much success on the international stage, thewomen’s national teamis among the most successful countries, in terms of World Cup titles.

14. Russia

When many people think about sports in Russia, they immediately think about ice hockey. While ice hockey is certainly popular in Russia, it is nowhere near as popular assocceris. A large portion of the population prefers watching soccer over any other sport.

15. South Africa

Although South Africa is geographically pretty far removed from the other countries on this list, soccer is nevertheless the most popular sport here as well. It beats outrugbyand cricket to gain the top spot in the consciousness of the majority of South Africa’s sports-following citizens.

16. Israel

Soccer is also extremely popular in Israel. The popularity of soccer here is due to England, whose control of Mandatory Palestine brought the sport to the region in the early 1900s.

17. Portugal

Soccer is basically Portugal’s national sport. This long-standing popularity can be traced back to 1875, when English businessmen and Portuguese students returning home from England brought the sport to some of Portugal’s biggest cities.

18. Mexico

Soccer’s popularity in Mexico began to rise quickly when the first professional league was instituted in 1943. Since then, Mexico has produced a number of highly successful players, and has also seen decent success on the international stage.

19. Japan

Japan joins the United States as one of the few countries where soccer is not the most popular sport. While baseball may be the most popular sport in Japan, theirprofessional soccerleagues are still followed by millions of people around the country.

20. Australia

Rounding out this list is Australia, which surprisingly enough is also a country in which soccer isnot the most popular sport. Cricket takes that honor in the land down under, but soccer is stillextremely popularhere ‒ as it is in most of the world.


How many countries is soccer the most popular sport? ›

Soccer is the world's most popular sport, played by over 250 million people in more than 200 countries.

Which country football is most popular? ›

American (NFL) Football

In the United States, the most popular sport is American football. Football is one of the most-watched sports in the U.S. and has about 390 million to 410 million fans worldwide, the majority of which are in the United States.

Which country is known for football? ›

England. England is home to the richest, most popular football league in the world. It attracts talents from all across the world, though it is rare for English players to move abroad generally.

Where is football soccer popular? ›

In the big five European markets (Spain, Italy, Germany, France, and England), there are over 130 million soccer fans. Additionally, just over half of Russia is invested in soccer. While modern soccer started in England, the U.K. alone has over 70 different clubs.

How many countries call soccer soccer? ›

And, of course, American football is number one only in the United States. The rest of the 226 countries in the world is where soccer is No.

What is the 3 most popular sport in the world? ›


250 million people play the sport in 200 different countries, and there are around 3.5 billion fans worldwide. The next three most popular sports are field hockey, which has 2.2 billion fans globally, basketball, and cricket, which has 2.5 billion fans (2 billion).

Why is soccer not popular in the US? ›

There are all sorts of reasons people will cite for soccer's failure to fully take off in the US: the lack-lustre performance of men's national team, TV rights limitations, the superiority of the women's national team, Major League Soccer (MLS) or even Jurgen Klinsmann.

What is the world's most popular sport? ›

Football is the world's most popular sport because it has the most fans (3.5 billion) and players in almost every country in the world. It is accessible to everyone, regardless of age, physical fitness and economic situation. Football gained popularity in the early 20th century, especially after the 1930 World Cup.

Which country loves to play football? ›

Ranking second among countries with the highest number of NFL supporters (19.7 million people), Brazil is one country whose love for football is unmatched.

Is America known for football? ›

American football is the most popular sport in the United States in terms of broadcast viewership audience. The most popular forms of the game are professional and college football, with the other major levels being high-school and youth football.

Which country is the first to play football in the world? ›

The early years

Modern football originated in Britain in the 19th century. Since before medieval times, “folk football” games had been played in towns and villages according to local customs and with a minimum of rules.

How popular is football soccer? ›

11 percent of Americans between ages 18-29 named soccer their favorite sport, only trailing football and basketball. Steve Gans, an attorney who ran for U.S. soccer president in 2018, believes there are multiple reasons for this recent change.

Why is football popular in Germany? ›

Football in Germany became more popular because it opened up for normies with easy-to-find broadcasts and easy-to-understand commentary.

Why football is so popular in Brazil? ›

The sport brings people together and promote a collective identity. In a society that is still extremely segregated by race and class, these moments of collective union are essential to the formation and maintenance of a national identity. Nowadays, it is indisputable the major effect football has on Brazilian culture.

Which two countries call football soccer? ›

One of the best-known differences between British and American English is the fact that the sport known as football in Great Britain is usually called soccer in the United States. Because the sport originated in England, it is often assumed that soccer is an Americanism.

Why is USA called soccer? ›

What many people don't know is that the term “soccer” actually comes from Britain. The term “soccer” actually came from Britain and Americans use it to differentiate from American “football.”

What is football called in Japan? ›

Although the official English name of the Japan Football Association uses the term "football", the term sakkā (サッカー), derived from "soccer", is much more commonly used than futtobōru (フットボール).

What is the #1 sport in America? ›

Football - America's Favorite Sport to Watch and Follow

According to Gallup.com, 37% of U.S. adults picked football as their favorite sport to watch. Football has been the favorite since 1972.

What is America's 3rd most popular sport? ›

The most popular team sports in the United States are American football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey, and soccer.

What is the number 1 hardest sport? ›

According to Sports Virsa, the top 10 hardest sports in the world to play in 2022 are as follows: Boxing (hardest), American football, mixed martial arts, ice hockey, gymnastics, basketball, soccer, wrestling, rugby, and water polo.

Is America more popular soccer or football? ›

While these two sports have kind of shared a name forever, 'football' has found most of its popularity merely in the U.S., and soccer has found it, well, in every other country in the world.

Is the US getting better at soccer? ›

High school soccer participation grew 32% from 2002 to 2019, surpassing baseball, hockey, basketball and American football (which has actually fallen), according to a new report by Telemundo. Soccer is also the fastest growing mainstream sport for fans in the U.S., where the number rose 52% between 2012 and 2019.

Has the US ever been good at soccer? ›

The United States won the 2002 Gold Cup to set up the team's best performance since 1930 in the 2002 World Cup, when the U.S. team reached the quarter-finals.

What are the top 5 most liked sports? ›

Top 5 Most Popular Sports in America in 2022- Viewership and TV Ratings. According to ExpressVPN's report on sports streaming, football is the nation's favorite, closely followed by basketball, soccer, and baseball. Hockey takes fifth place. Let's dive into the stats and streaming data about these sports.

What is the fastest growing sport in the United States? ›

Pickleball is America's fastest-growing sport.

What is the 1st most popular sport in the world? ›

The Most Popular Sports In The World
  • Football (Soccer) – Over 3.5 Billion Fans.
  • Cricket – Over 2.5 Billion Fans.
  • Table Tennis – Over 850 Million Fans.
  • Golf – Over 450 Million Fans.
  • In Summary.
Oct 20, 2022

What sport gets the most money? ›

Basketball is the highest paid sport in the world, with the average annual salary in the NBA in 2023 being nearly $10.5 million.

What's the most watched sport in America? ›

American football takes the crown when it comes to popularity, and this is the most-watched sport in the US.

What are the 4 most watched sports? ›

The World's Most Watched Sports
  • NFL. Fans: 400 million. Outside of the U.S., this sport has limited following. ...
  • Basketball. Fans: 400 million. ...
  • Golf. Fans: 450 million. ...
  • Baseball. Fans: 500 million. ...
  • Table Tennis. Fans: 850 million. ...
  • Volleyball. Fans: 900 million. ...
  • Tennis. Fans: 1 billion. ...
  • Field Hockey. Fans: 2.2 billion.

Are there any countries that don't play soccer? ›

On the flipside, recognised UN countries such as Nauru, The Vatican City State, Monaco and the Sovereign Military Order of Malta don't actually have international football teams that can qualify for the World Cup.

Which countries like American football the most? ›

According to the Global Web Index, Mexico is the country with the most NFL followers outside the United States. The North American neighbors of the United States have over 23 million people following the league. They are closely followed by Brazil with approximately 20 million fans.

Which states like football the most? ›

The National Championship runs through the SEC - and the popularity spike between Georgia and Alabama in 2021 was no surprise to several viewers. States that love NCAA Football include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Why do Americans like football so much? ›

American football certainly stands out among other sports for its sheer physicality. The combination of strategy, speed, agility, and contact makes it a thrilling spectator sport. Players must outmaneuver their opponents while being prepared to take hits from all angles.

Why is football only popular in America? ›

Unlike basketball, which only needs a ball and two hoops, American football requires a very specific infrastructure, along with expensive sports equipment, which makes it so difficult to popularize the sport in other countries.

Do other countries enjoy American football? ›

The International Federation of American Football (IFAF) has grown to a global community of 120 member nations spanning North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania, making the game a global phenomenon.

What is soccer called around the world? ›

The chief governing body is FIFA - Fédération Internationale de Football Association, though you don't hear people calling it Association football, usually it's soccer or football, and in non-English speaking countries, it is often some form of the word football, written phonetically (e.g. "futbol") or a translation of ...

What is the old name of football? ›

Indeed, the earliest form of football is understood to be 'cuju' which was played in China during the Han dynasty from 206 BC to 220 AD. 'Cuju' translates literally as 'kick ball' and the aim of the game was to kick the ball into a net. Like later forms of the game in England, cuju outlawed the use of the hands.

Is it soccer or football? ›

Technically, the words football and soccer are both correct. They describe the same sport which was codified by the Football Association in 1863 and the words can be considered synonyms. The word 'soccer' is actually a British export, which was used for many years before the globalisation of football.

How many Americans play soccer? ›

There are 4.2 million players (2.5 million male and 1.7 million female) registered with U.S. Soccer. As of 2012, thirty percent of American households contain someone playing soccer, a figure second only to baseball. Increasing numbers of Americans, having played the game in their youth, are now avid spectators.

What is more popular than soccer? ›

According to Statista, soccer ranks fourth on America's most popular sports list. The top three sports are American football, baseball, and basketball.

What word is more popular football or soccer? ›

And while American football is the most popular sport in America, football (aka soccer) is the world's most popular sport. The FIFA World Cup, held every 4 years, is the world's most popular sporting event with viewership numbers that exceed those of the Olympics.

What are Germany's 3 most popular sports? ›

As we've seen, in terms of the numbers that go and watch, football, followed by handball and ice hockey, are the most favorite sports in Germany. Boxing also gathers huge crowds.

What do Germans call soccer? ›

The sport known as soccer in the U.S. is called football (fussball) in German-speaking countries and in most of the world.

Why is football popular in Portugal? ›

Football started to gain popularity in Portugal in the late 19th century, brought by Portuguese students who returned from England. The first organized game in the country took place in 1875 in Camacha, Madeira, organized by Madeira-born Harry Hinton, who brought a football from England where he was studying.

Why is football so popular in Latin America? ›

Football is considered one of the greatest sports in South America. Football was first introduced to the continent during the nineteenth century, as part of the worldwide diffusion of British culture initiated by the British diaspora and subsequent acceptance of the sport by the region's Anglophile elite.

Why is soccer so big in Mexico? ›

One of the main reasons why soccer is so important to Mexicans is its deep historical roots. Soccer was first introduced to Mexico in the late 19th century, and since then, it has become an integral part of the country's identity.

What is Brazil famous for? ›

Brazil is famous for its stunning beaches, rainforests, and diverse cities. It is known as the country of football with world-renowned footballers such as Pelé and Neymar born there.

Is soccer number 1 sport in the world? ›

Even though soccer is not the most popular sport in the United States there is no double it is the most popular sport in the world. The top leagues are in Europe and, arguably, the biggest sporting event the world over is the World Cup, which takes place every four years.

Is soccer the 2nd most popular sport in the world? ›

Although it would be challenging to provide a precise number for how many fans soccer has, the World Atlas reports that there are more than 3.5 billion fans around the globe. This makes soccer the most watched sport in the world!

What is the 2 most popular sport? ›

Cricket is the second most popular sport in the world.

There are numerous reasons why this sport has gained popularity across the globe, particularly in South Asia. First, people of all ages play and watch this sport, Pakistan is a great example.

What is America's biggest sport? ›

Football has the most participants of any sport at both high school and college levels, the vast majority of its participants being male. The NFL is the preeminent professional football league in the United States. The NFL has 32 franchises divided into two conferences.

What is America's 2nd most popular sport? ›


Known as “America's pastime,” baseball is the second most popular sport in the United States and is the 7th most popular sport in the world. Professional baseball in the United States is played by the teams that make up the Major League Baseball (MLB).

What is the #2 sport in the world? ›

Cricket is an immensely complex game, but it is also the world's second-most popular sport.

Is soccer the most popular sport in the US? ›

While football and basketball continue to dominate the American sports market, soccer has slowly risen to popularity despite long-standing barriers.

What is America's #1 sport? ›

According to research recently published by Statista the most popular sport in the United States is football. Football according to respondents is followed by 74.5 percent of Americans.

Who is number 1 in sports? ›

Top-10 List of the World's Most Popular Sports
rankSportEstimated Fans
1.Soccer / Association Football3.5 Billion
2.Cricket2.5 Billion
3.Field Hockey2 Billion
4.Tennis1 Billion
6 more rows

Why do Americans call it soccer? ›

The word 'soccer' actually comes from Britain

“Rugger” (rugby football) was the name for rugby football and “Assoccer” (association football) was later shortened to “soccer,” according to History.


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