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Soccer, as it is called in the United States and Canada, is known as football to the rest of the world. The Copa America is the oldest soccer tournament in the world that is still active. The Union of European Football Association (UEFA) Cup is another popular tournament, as is the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup.
The Copa America soccer tournament began in 1916 when it was known as the Campeonato Sudamericano de Selecciones (South American Championship of National Teams). Ten South American countries play in the Copa America, with guest countries such as the United States, Japan, and Costa Rica occasionally invited to participate in a Copa America tournament. Argentina and Uruguay have the most wins in Copa America history. Hosting duties are alternated between the ten countries for each tournament.
The UEFA Cup, known as the International Inter-City Industrial Fairs Cup before 1971, is a soccer tournament that is held every four years since its initial debut in France in 1960. The Soviet Union upset Yugoslavia with a score of 2-1 in the first game in France. Throughout the years, the UEFA cup has undergone immense changes in its format such as in the ever-changing details of the number of teams and players allowed into the finals and semi-finals.
The FIFA World Cup soccer tournament began in 1930 with Uruguay beating Argentina 4-2. Uruguay won the FIFA World Cup again in 1950, this time overtaking Brazil by a score of 2-1. Argentina has also won the FIFA World Cup twice: against the Netherlands in 1978 by 3-1 and against Germany in 1986 with a score of 3-2. Brazil won the FIFA World Cup five times in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002. Italy is a four time FIFA World Cup winner, while Germany has won three World Cups.
David Beckham is one of the best known soccer tournament stars. He played in 94 tournaments and scored over 17 international goals. The English Beckham, born 2 May 1975, is especially known for his passing and crossing skills. Beckham helped his Manchester United team win the UEFA Cup soccer tournament in 1999 and has scored goals in three different FIFA World Cup soccer tournaments as well. Beckham began playing for the Spanish team, Real Madrid, in 2003 after six successful years as the captain of the Manchester United soccer team.
As far as international club soccer tournaments go, the undisputed king is the UEFA Champions League. The champion clubs (and several other of the top-ranked clubs) from every top professional league in Europe are drawn into a gigantic tournament every single year essentially to determine the best club in Europe.
The number of teams from each league chosen for each tournament is determined by the UEFA "coefficient," which is a measurement of how successful each nation's professional leagues are in the prior five Champions League and Europa League (kind of like the second-most important club tournament in Europe ... teams knocked out of certain stages of the Champions League are invited to compete in the later stages of the
Europa League). The more successful a nation's clubs, the more clubs are invited to compete.
It's an exciting tournament where small teams have the chance to upset some of the biggest names in the world. Most of the time, though, it's the big boys who dominate. For instance, Real Madrid, which usually is one of the richest clubs in the world, has won nine CL titles, more than any other club.
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