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20 Countries Where Soccer (Football) Is Extremely Popular!

While soccer is popular in virtually every country on the planet, some countries are most fervent about it than others. If you’re curious about which countries love soccer the most, this list of 20 countries that can’t get enough of the sport should satisfy your curiosity. 

These are 20 countries where soccer is popular. 

1. Brazil

When most people think about countries crazy about soccer, Brazil is always near the top of the list. For starters, their men’s national team is consistently ranked as one of the best in the world. They’ve also won the FIFA World Cup many times. Many of the world’s top players also hail from Brazil, and the success of these players is due in large part to how much Brazilian culture embraces and promotes soccer. 

2. Germany

Soccer in Germany is right up there with Brazil in terms of both national popularity and international success. The German national team is among the top countries with the most FIFA World Cup tournament victories. They also have a large number of professional and amateur leagues, with the Bundesliga sitting at the top of the pile. 

3. Italy

Italy is another country in which enthusiasm for soccer outstrips other sports by a considerable margin. With several World Cup titles, the Italian national team sits among the top countries in terms of success. This is in large part due to the extremely high quality of the Italian professional league, Serie A. 

4. Argentina

Like most countries in South America, Argentina has a deep love for soccer. It’s the most popular sport in the country, and many Argentinians play soccer from when they first learn to walk all the way into old age. The Argentinian national team has also seen success in the World Cup, winning their first tournament in 1978.

5. France

France is one of the oldest nations in Europe. Their storied history includes a number of traditions, and soccer is one of those. The first organized club was created in 1863, and since then the French Football Federation has issued over 2 million licenses to players on thousands of registered clubs. They have also had significant success on the international stage, winning the FIFA World Cup more than once.  

6. Uruguay

The Uruguayans have a long-standing tradition of playing and watching soccer. First introduced to the country in the 19th century by British immigrants, the simplicity and accessibility of the sport quickly took the country by storm. It is now the most popular sport in the country by far, and Uruguay’s love of soccer has definitely translated into international success. In 1930, Uruguay became the first nation to win the FIFA World Cup after defeating Argentina in the final. 

7. England

If there’s a single country to thank for the current state of soccer, it’s probably England. The modern set of rules used around the world today were first codified in England in 1863. With more than 40,000 registered clubs, soccer might be more prevalent in England than in any other country in the world. England also has the first registered football club and the oldest professional football club. 

The English national team won their first FIFA World Cup title in 1966 when they beat West Germany as locals. Today, the sport remains wildly popular in every corner of England. 

8. Spain

Soccer is the most popular sport in the country, followed closely by basketball and tennis. The country is well known for having two of the most popular professional soccer clubs: Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. Also, their national soccer league is widely watched by many fans around the world.  

The nation obtained their first FIFA World Cup in 2010 after playing the final against the Netherlands.  

9. Netherlands

Like most European countries, the Netherlands also has soccer as its most popular sport. Soccer came to the Netherlands in 1879, when a 14-year-old boy named Pim Mulier founded the country’s first soccer club. A few decades later, the first professional club was formed. 

The Dutch professional leagues aren’t typically considered amongst the top in the world, but their national team is respected for their consistently solid performances. In the World Cup, they’ve come in second, as well as reached the semi-final stage on different occasions. 

10. Turkey

Soccer is also the most popular sport in Turkey, though it is closely followed by basketball. Turkey’s history as a soccer-loving nation dates back to the Ottoman Empire in 1875 when the first official matches in the country were held. Like many countries, Turkey first learned about soccer through visitors from England.

While soccer is wildly popular in Turkey, their national team has not seen as much success as the national teams from other countries mentioned on this list.

11. Serbia

Soccer first came to Serbia in 1896, when a student named Hugo Buli brought a soccer ball with him from Germany. It has since grown to encompass multiple professional leagues, dozens of amateur leagues, and millions of fans around the country. 

12. Croatia

The people of Croatia love soccer. Thousands of Croatians participate at the professional level, and millions follow their every move on television and social media. The first professional clubs were created before World War I, and the country’s love for the sport has been growing ever since.  

13. United States

Unlike many of the countries on this list, soccer is not the most popular sport in the United States. That title is held by American Football, and the runner-up sports in the American popularity contest include baseball and basketball. 

Despite this, soccer is still very popular in the United States. The professional league ‒ Major League Soccer (MLS) ‒ is followed by millions of fans around the country. There is also a strong base of high school and collegiate teams to support both the MLS and the popularity of soccer as a whole.

Although the men haven’t had much success on the international stage, the women’s national team is among the most successful countries, in terms of World Cup titles. 

14. Russia

When many people think about sports in Russia, they immediately think about ice hockey. While ice hockey is certainly popular in Russia, it is nowhere near as popular as soccer is. A large portion of the population prefers watching soccer over any other sport. 

15. South Africa

Although South Africa is geographically pretty far removed from the other countries on this list, soccer is nevertheless the most popular sport here as well. It beats out rugby and cricket to gain the top spot in the consciousness of the majority of South Africa’s sports-following citizens. 

16. Israel

Soccer is also extremely popular in Israel. The popularity of soccer here is due to England, whose control of Mandatory Palestine brought the sport to the region in the early 1900s. 

17. Portugal

Soccer is basically Portugal’s national sport. This long-standing popularity can be traced back to 1875, when English businessmen and Portuguese students returning home from England brought the sport to some of Portugal’s biggest cities. 

18. Mexico

Soccer’s popularity in Mexico began to rise quickly when the first professional league was instituted in 1943. Since then, Mexico has produced a number of highly successful players, and has also seen decent success on the international stage. 

19. Japan

Japan joins the United States as one of the few countries where soccer is not the most popular sport. While baseball may be the most popular sport in Japan, their professional soccer leagues are still followed by millions of people around the country. 

20. Australia

Rounding out this list is Australia, which surprisingly enough is also a country in which soccer is not the most popular sport. Cricket takes that honor in the land down under, but soccer is still extremely popular here ‒ as it is in most of the world.