International Football logoInternational Football

226 Countries Can't Be Wrong.

RichardContributor INovember 21, 2008


Soccer is the world’s game, it is the No. 1 sport played in every corner of the planet. World Cup fever sweeps the globe, but Canada and the United States are two of the small handful of countries that haven't been entirely seduced by the charms of the beautiful game.

Soccer is, by far, the most popular sport in the world. It is the No. 1 sport in 226 countries around the globe. In fact, there are only 35 countries where soccer isn't No. 1—including the U.S.A.

And the World Cup is the biggest sporting event on the planet, bar none. Period. Exclamation point! Case closed. The World Cup stops the planet—an event 10 times bigger than the Olympic games in popularity and viewership.

So I made up a list of where soccer is not No. 1. USA you’re not alone:

Baseball is first in eight different countries, including Panama, Venezuela, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Japan, Nicaragua, Northern Marianas, and Taiwan.

Cricket is tops in eight countries as well. British Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Trinidad and Tobago, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Australia all enjoy cricket above any other sport.

Rugby is leading in five countries, which include Fiji, Western Samoa, Tonga, New Zealand, and Wales.

Basketball is most popular in five countries: the Philippines, Lithuania, Puerto Rico, Marshall Islands, and the Bahamas.

Following behind is Ice Hockey, which is No. 1 in four countries, including Canada, Finland, Latvia, and Estonia.

The other sports are all tied with being No. 1 in only one country.

Archery: Bhutan

Wrestling: Mongolia

AFL: Nauru

Gaelic Football: Ireland Republic.

And, of course, American football is No. 1 only in the United States.

The rest of the 226 countries in the world put soccer as No. 1. This means the citizens go mostly to soccer games, watch mostly soccer, eat, drink, and live soccer most of their lives—and the majority play soccer.

Soccer is the second most popular sport in Venezuela, Japan, Nicaragua, Northern Marianas, Guyana, Antigua and Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Fiji, Western Samoa,Tonga, Wales, Lithuania, Bhutan, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, Mongolia, Nauru, and Ireland Republic.

That's another 21 countries where soccer is second.

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