Blog post

World Cup mania

18 vintage football photographs

by
Europeana Foundation

Football is the world’s most popular sport. Its success is in its simplicity. With just some land, goal markers and a ball, anybody can play it. This popular sport is not just a game. To many, it is the stuff of life. In some countries, football is part of the national culture: families, friendships and communities are brought together, or forced apart by it.

The first FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup took place in Uruguay in 1930. Following a 12-year pause due to the outbreak of World War Two, the World Cup resumed in 1958 and is now held in a different country every four years. The tournament is so popular that over 37 billion people watched the France 1998 championship. One of the world’s most famous football matches however, took place between German and British troops in the No Man’s Land of the Western front during the 1915 Christmas truce of World War One. We have delved into Europeana's football-related collections for you, and highlight here a selection of historical pictures of the world's most popular sport below. Want to explore more?

Browse through thousands of football-related items here. Woolwich, London, association football, match against English French Army Armee | Public Domain, BnF

Ellesmere win the Ethelston Cup after 43 years by defeating Sarn Rovers 3-2 at Whitchurch | CC-BY-NC-SA, NLW Football match FC Barcelona | CC-BY-NC-ND, Catalunya

Football match Barcelona Football Club Valencia Football Club season 1930 1931 | CC-BY-NC-ND, Catalunya Football match against Racing Strasbourg | Public Domain, BnF

Public in the rain during a football match | CC-BY-NC-ND, Catalunya Football field Courts of Barcelona Football Club | CC-BY-NC-ND, Catalunya

Shrewsburry versus Southampton | CC-BY-NC-SA, NLW

Shrewsburry versus Southampton | CC-BY-NC-SA, NLW

Presentation of French and English football teams military A. Landry Minister of Marine | Public Domain, BnF Team of Romilly | Public Domain, BnF Football team of the Women's Section | CC-BY-NC-ND, Catalunya

Charvel goalkeeper Vitry | Public Domain, BnF Fred Wright, referee | Public Domain, BnF

Real Madrid | CC-BY-NC-ND, Catalunya

English Cup final | Public Domain, BnF

English Cup final | Public Domain, BnF English Cup 23.4.1921 | Public Domain, BnF

Images: French National Library, Generalitat de Catalunya. Arxiu Nacional de Catalunya, National Library of Wales, Archivo de la Imagen de Castilla La Mancha

sport football