". This talks about two main forms of the game, one with and one without a goal.

The heyday of Chinese football was in the Song Dynasty, from 960 to 1279AD. Certainly they have a far better claim than some recent hosts (let alone Qatar). When England hosted the European Championship 20 years ago, the anthem of the home team - also a number one single - had the catchy chorus "It's coming home… football's coming home."

The use of hands is not allowed. But complex games and team sports have tended to arise in big civilisations - the higher the cultural level of a society, the greater the complexity of interaction, and hence perhaps the more complex the forms of sport.

It was the British codifying of the rules that made association football the world's game, the sport of the people, not just of the toffs. The two teams wore different strips, for example all red v all green.

So maybe we should stick to calling the Chinese version "kickball"?

Kicking a ball is probably ubiquitous whether just a ball of cloth, or a skin stuffed with feathers or filled with air.

They remained divided into two camps, those who supported the Cambridge rules (no hands) and those who liked the Rugby school rules (carry the ball all you want). - Football's Coming Home.

Military training and fertility rites The earliest recorded evidence of a soccer-type game comes to us from the third century B.C. Early football players pretty much made up the rules as they went along, resulting in some very interesting and impossible-to-referee games.

The ancient Greeks for example preferred individual not team sports. Queen Elizabeth I took it a step further. There's a Song Dynasty painting of the Emperor Taizu himself apparently playing keepy-uppy, surrounded by beefy courtiers. This is not always the case. What a contrast with the ancient Greek athletes where only victory counted and if that needed gamesmanship, or brutal professional fouls, then so be it. But in China for well over 2,000 years, they have played the game of "kickball" - cuju, pronounced tsoo-joo. As a German soccer fan, I've been doing quite a bit of screaming the past few weeks—especially on Tuesday, after Germany defeated Turkey for a place in the Euro Cup finals against Spain on Sunday.

To make it fair, teams decided to divide the game into halves, playing by the rules of one team during the first half and then switching it up for the second.

It is still not certain from where exactly the invention of soccer originated, who created the rules or how many players a team should have, but by the year 1066, soccer … In fact, soccer boasts a colorful history that has everything from roaming mobs to decapitated heads. "It strengthens the body, supports the digestion and helps combat obesity."

It all sounds a bit static compared with watching Neymar and Messi, and as you'd expect in a Confucian society, kickball clubs were keen on the key virtues of benevolence and courtesy. Around that same time, those crazy kids at Oxford University created a trendy slang in which they shortened words and added "er" to the end (Rugby was now called "rugger.

Subscribe to the BBC News Magazine's email newsletter to get articles sent to your inbox. The ball rolled towards one of the girls who "calmly extended her leg, controlled the ball on her toe, and then powerfully kicked it back in a high arc".

One of my Greek friends was only half joking when he expressed amazement when they won the 2004 Euros: "I never knew you could get 11 Greeks to actually play together like that!". Hundreds of players, usually members of two neighboring villages, would attempt to get the ball into the designated area by any means necessary during matches that could last all day. But it wasn't chiefly about fame or money. Trouble was, they couldn't agree on a standard set of rules. Other players wore hats with curling wings. This beautiful game inspires a fanatical devotion in its fans not seen in any other sport.

Legend has it that the first time this celebratory sport was played in Britain was after the defeat of a Danish Prince.

Then through the 1860s the game swiftly evolved to the one we have today: no catching, 11 a side, corners and penalties, then the 90 minutes.

Successful kicks were rewarded with drum rolls, pennants and wine - maybe something the Premier League should consider? Some top players became rich and famous, and great kickball players and their teams were invited to take part in imperial celebrations.
"No" he replied, "Soccer," having shortened association into "soc.
The "Ten Essentials of Kickball" included respect for other players, courtesy and team spirit.

Handbooks praise the positive effects of the game.

Women were also enthusiastic fans.

Kickball clubs had managers, trainers, and captains, and in recent fascinating research, German scholar Hans Ulrich Vogel has turned up club handbooks that show what kickballing life was like then. " Just think, if this actually did happen, and if he had chosen differently, we could be talking about the sport called "footer. The first appearance of soccer as a sport was in China. The break we know as half-time was born. The members were often young men from wealthy families, though there were also itinerant professional kickballers, whom you could stick in your team as sleepers.

But in China for well over 2,000 years, they have played the game of "kickball" - cuju, pronounced tsoo-joo.Today spelled zuqiu, it's still the word used for football.. So can we say football originated in China? Kickball then was part of the wider urban culture of entertainment, sports, leisure and pleasure and there were different forms. Read about our approach to external linking. Captains wore hats decorated with little stiffened wings - the equivalent of the captain's armband today. The most relevant of these ancient games to our modern day "Association Football" is the Chinese game of Tsu'Chu (Tsu-Chu or Cuju, meaning "kicking the ball"). "While England is the birthplace of the modern game as we know it, we have always acknowledged that the origins of the game lie in China," said Moore, as he showed Xi and Prime Minister David Cameron round the museum.

Media playback is unsupported on your device, A player in traditional cuju clothes at Linzi Football Museum in Shandong, China, Model of traditional cuju at the Linzi Football Museum in China, https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-35409594. In other words, as we used to say, "Play up and play the game.". After decapitating the Prince, in true barbarian fashion, they decided to kick around his head. What happens to your body in extreme heat? Sheffield FC, the world's oldest club still playing, was the first to lay down rules in 1858 - you could still use your hands then, and that became Australian Rules football when exported down under. Invented in the Han dynasty, it is recognized by FIFA as the earliest form of football for which there is evidence, being first mentioned as an exercise in a Chinese military work from the 3rd–2nd …

But what about football much further back in China? These are external links and will open in a new window. But even if China can’t prove soccer originated in China, it still has plenty more sports to lay claim to. Michael Wood explores the stories, people and landscapes that have helped create China's distinctive character over 4,000 years.

And if they do, maybe we could pardon them for reversioning England's Euro 96 anthem.