The most popular sport in the world is soccer, and that is also the most popular sport to bet on too. Millions of people around the world like to get in on the action with wagers on games every week, and the widespread popularity of the sport means there is no offseason. There are always matches going on somewhere in some part of the world, as different leagues have different schedules.
The best club soccer is played in Europe, and there are five leagues that stand out among the rest. England’s Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, Germany’s Bundesliga, Italy’s Serie A, and France’s Ligue 1 are in a tier of their own. A team from one of those first four leagues nearly always wins the Champions League, but France’s Ligue 1 has risen in prominence due to Paris Saint-Germain.
These leagues follow the traditional soccer schedule and are in action from August to April with some having breaks around the holidays. They avoid the hottest times of the year, and that gives their players some time off in order to rest and recuperate. That also helps during even-numbered years when there are international competitions like the World Cup, European Championships, the Africa Cup of Nations, or Copa America.
International Club Competitions
This is the most prestigious club competition in the world. The Champions League is only open to European teams in conjunction with UEFA, and at least one team from each country’s top league is eligible to take part in this competition.
Spain, England, and Italy are responsible for 43 of the competition’s winners, and Germany, Netherlands, and Portugal have all had multiple teams claim titles too. Teams spend hundreds of millions annually to be competitive in this tournament, and for giant clubs like Read Madrid, Bayern Munich, and Juventus, this competition is the gold standard.
FIFA Club World Cup
The FIFA Club World Cup was first held in 2000. It is designed by FIFA to bring together the best clubs in the world, and it has risen in prestige after being somewhat overlooked originally by the top European teams.
There is typically one team from every confederation in this competition. Europe (UEFA), South America (COMNEBOL), Asia (AFC), Africa (CAF), North America (CONCACAF), and Oceania (OFC) are all represented, so this is meant to be a global competition in the same vein of the World Cup.
This competition’s format is slated to change significantly in the coming years to more closely resemble the World Cup, and FIFA is hoping that will lead to a surge in popularity.
Billions of fans tune in to the World Cup every four years, making it easily the biggest sporting event in the world. The World Cup takes place over the span of three to four weeks every four years, and it is the event that every player wants to win at least once in their career.
Nothing matches the World Cup. The raucous crowds, the incredible atmosphere, the passion, the excitement…it’s exhilarating. National hopes rise and fall with every goal, and reputations are made at this competition. Players that win the World Cup or lead a smaller country on a deep run are considered national heroes, while players that fail to achieve this honor are considered to have a hole in their careers.
This is the second-biggest international tournament. The UEFA European Championship, or the Euros, is held along with other regional tournaments in between World Cup years. That’s why soccer fans love even-numbered years, as there will either be a World Cup or Euros to cheer.
We’ve seen some surprising results in the Euros over the years. Smaller countries like Portugal, Greece, and Denmark have all won this event since 1992, giving them a chance to earn international glory.
There is no set schedule for Copa America, but it is the top soccer tournament for South American teams. All ten COMNEBOL teams take part in this event, and we have seen eight of those ten countries win it all.
Three countries have dominated this competition. Uruguay, Argentina, and Brazil have won 38 of the 46 Copa Americas contested to date. Paraguay, Chile, and Peru all have won this tournament twice, while Bolivia and Colombia have each one once.