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Known as much for the emotional outbursts and violence of its fans as for its own stars, soccer (or football, as it is known outside the United States) is a global game. Its international controlling body, FIFA, boasts more members than the United Nations. Bill Murray traces the growth of what during pre-industrial times was called "the simplest game" through its codification in the nineteenth century to the 1994 World Cup, held for the first time in the United States. Murray weaves the sport's growth into the culture and politics of the countries where it has been taken up, analyzing its reputation as a game that has seen more riots and on-field brawls than all other types of football combined. He vividly illustrates how soccer has become the world's most popular sport, one that has resisted the interference of politicians, dictators, and profiteers and - more recently - the demands of television, through which it has spread to virtually every corner of the globe. The World's Game will be entertaining and enlightening to anyone from the most avid, knowledgeable fan to those who merely hope to learn a little about the sport.