Football in Argentina is the most popular sport, the one with the most players (2,658,811 total, 331,811 of which are registered and 2,327,000 unregistered; with 3,377 clubs and 37,161 officials, all according to FIFA) and is the most popular recreational sport, played from childhood into old age. The percentage of Argentines that declare allegiance to an Argentine football club is about 90%.
Football was introduced to Argentina in the latter half of the 19th century by the British immigrants in Buenos Aires. The first Argentine league was contested in 1891, making it the third oldest league (after Great Britain and the Netherlands). The Argentine Football Association (AFA) was formed in 1893 and is the eighth oldest in the world.
The Argentine national team is one of the eight to have won the football World Cup, having done so in 1978 and 1986, and also being runner-up in 1930 and 1990. They have also won the top continental tournament, the Copa América, on fourteen occasions, and the FIFA Confederations Cup in 1992. The nation's Olympic representative has won two Gold Medals (in 2004 and 2008), while the under-20 team has won a record six U-20 World Cups. At club level, Argentine teams have won the most Intercontinental Cups (9) and the most Copa Libertadores (22).
Women's football has a national league since 1991, the Campeonato de Fútbol Feminino. In turn, the female national representative qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 2007 and won their first Campeonato Sudamericano Femenino (top continental competition) in 2006.
In futsal, Argentina were FIFUSA/AMF Futsal World Cup champions in 1994. They also compete in the FIFA code of futsal, where they finished third in the 2004 FIFA Futsal World Cup. The team also won the FIFA Futsal Copa América in 2003. Moreover, Argentina was world champion in futsal for the visually impaired in 1998.
Argentina also compete in the beach football World Cup, where their best finish was third in 2001.
Famous quotes containing the word football:
“... in the minds of search committees there is the lingering question: Can she manage the football coach?”
—Donna E. Shalala (b. 1941)