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12 Weird Football Facts That'll Make You Scratch Your Head!

Here's some truly daft trivia from the world of football!

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Beano Team
Last Updated:  December 20th 2023

Football is a sport loved by billions of people around the world and can make spectators feel every type of emotion in just 90 minutes. The beautiful game may have moments of mind-boggling skill and excitement but it's also responsible for some truly weird sporting trivia. Here's 12 facts that'll stop you in your tracks and say '...what?'!

1. A team in Holland has the longest name in football!

There's a Dutch team Nooit opgeven altijd doorzetten, Aangenaam door vermaaken nuttig door ontspanning, Combinatie Breda (Never give up, always persevere, pleasant for its entertainment and useful for its relaxation). They're more commonly known as NAC Breda, which is so much easier to shout on the terrace and fit on a football shirt.

2. Barcelona have never beaten Dundee United!

The Scottish team – and Beano's neighbours – have played the European giants four times and have won each game. No other British team has this 100% win record! Mon the Tangerines!

3. A football isn't a sphere!

A football fan clutching a ball in a big stadium

You could easily be forgiven for thinking a football was a spherical shape, but it's actually a 'prolate spheroid'. It's basically pointy! An American football or a rugby ball would be described as a 'oblate spheroid'. Amazing – and a little confusing – but true.

4. Only one Premier League winner's surname can be spelled using Roman numerals!

Serbian footballer Nemanja Vidić enjoyed a career playing for Red Star Belgrade, Spartak Moscow and Inter Milan. It was during his time at Manchester United that he achieved a record of sorts, where he became the only person to win a Premier League with a surname made up of Roman numerals! V is 5, I is 1, D is 500, and C is 100!

5. Jadon Sancho was the first player born in the 21st century to play for England!

manutd.com

When Jadon Sancho made his England debut in a game against Croatia in October 2018, he was the first player born in the 21st century to represent the country. The game ended in a goalless draw. He also has a Sonic the Hedgehog tattoo on his right arm, which may help him run really fast.

6. Neil Armstrong almost took a football to the moon!

Armstrong, who became the first man on the moon on July 20, 1969, wanted to kick a ball to celebrate this amazing achievement. NASA refused permission, saying that it would be un-American. How amazing would a game of football in space be?

7. One team once scored 149 goals – and didn't even win!

This is a dog looking at a football and feeling sad

Those attending the THB Champions League playoff in Toamasina, Madagascar in October 2002 were about to witness football history. AS Adema faced SO l'Emyrne and became goal-scoring machines. Well, not quite. SO l'Emyrne had a disagreement with the referee and decided to score 149 own goals. Fans of both teams were NOT pleased and asked for their money back.

8. Gareth Bale achieved almost everything in one game!

Tottenham Hotspur

When Tottenham played Liverpool in 2013, the Welsh football legend did a bit of everything during this Premier League game. He scored, he assisted a goal, he scored an own goal and was booked all within 90 minutes.

9. For 9 years, Jose Mourinho's team didn't get beaten at home!

Fifa 17 - Jose Mourinho
FIFA 17

For a period of 9 years, manager Jose Mourinho never suffered a home defeat – that's 150 games! Sporting de Gijón beat Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium on April 2, 2011. We bet that Mourinho didn't send goalscorer Miguel de las Cuevas a Christmas card later that year!

10. Football began in China!

Originally called cuju, the first version of football originated in the Han dynasty more than 2000 years ago.

11. The oldest football team in the world doesn't come from China!

Teams like Liverpool and Newcastle United were founded in 1892 and it seems like they'd be contenders for the oldest team, but that title goes to Sheffield FC – not Wednesday or United – who formed in 1857! They're now based in Dronfield, Derbyshire and play their home games at the Home of Football Ground, which has a capacity of 2089. 

12. Kevin De Bruyne could have represented an African team!

mancity.com

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne represents Belgium, the country he was born in. But he could have chosed to play for Burundi. His mother was born in the East African country, which technically means he was available for selection by their national team.