Often regarded as the greatest sport in the world, soccer (or football if you live outside the U.S.) is an exciting game that brings great joy to people across the globe. The professional players from soccer clubs around the world have for many years been an inspiration to generations of young, aspiring athletes. Fans worship their favorite club teams, but when it comes to world soccer tours, in which different countries compete for international glory, the citizens of those nations band together to support their team and their country. These international soccer tours draw some of the biggest crowds and television viewership of any sporting events, and planning a soccer event of this magnitude is no easy feat. So what are some examples of these great, international tournaments?
- FIFA World Cup – The most famous of all international soccer tournaments by far is the World Cup. Even those who don’t follow soccer, or those who don’t really care for the sport, know about and look forward to this great event. The World Cup brings the best men’s soccer teams from 32 different countries together to compete in a month-long soccer tournament. Teams are placed in groups of four during the first phase of the competition, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the next phase. From here, teams must win in order to advance. This continues until one team is declared the World Cup Champion. The tournament began in 1930 and takes place every four years.
- Confederations Cup – The Confederations Cup is another popular international soccer tour that brings men’s teams from different countries together to compete for the title. Like the World Cup, the Confederation Cup is held every four years, and it takes place in the country that will host the World Cup the following year. Eight teams compete in this tournament, including the six winners of the different FIFA confederation championships, the nation that currently holds the World Cup title and the host nation. After being taken over by FIFA, or the Federation Internationale de Football Association, in 1997, it wasn’t until 2005 that the tournament gained its mass popularity. Since then, the Confederations Cup has been a highly anticipated international event.
- Copa America – As the oldest continental soccer tournament, the Copa America has great historical significance. Twelve teams vie for the title of South American Champion in this tournament, including the 10 teams that make up CONMEBOL, also known as the South American Football Confederation, and two other teams belonging to the FIFA confederation. Uruguay is the winningest team in tournament history, having captured 15 Copa America titles over the years.
The wonderful thing about these international soccer tours is that they can be appreciated by people all over the world, and even those who don’t regularly follow soccer. Nothing brings the people of a country together quite like a little healthy competition for an international soccer title.