While 2014 FIFA World Cup is going on in Brazil bringing plenty of positive and negative emotions around the Globe, let's have some fun comparing football (soccer) with other popular sports.
Football and tennis
In games so different as football and tennis, we can consider a similarity their origins. England (non-continental Europe) is widely regarded as the place where the modern versions of these sports have come from. The main difference though, besides "small" distinctions like number of players, size of the ball, rules, etc., is that apart of the many famous football and tennis players coming from continental Europe, the rest of the most remarkable footballers come from South America while the rest of the most notable tennis players come from North America. The United Kingdom despite giving these two wonderful sports to the modern world is rarely in the spotlights as a winner.
Football and basketball
The similarity between football and basketball is that in both sports the objective is to score points with balls, which are almost the same in circumference (the basketball is usually slightly bigger). The dramatic difference lies in sizes and numbers. The hoop of the basket in basketball is just 18 inches (46 cm) in diameter, yet the number of points scored by just one of the teams often exceeds 100. The rectangular goal in football is 7.32 m (8 yd) long and 2.44 m (8 ft) high (which means it encompasses an area a hundred times bigger than the area available for shooting in basketball) but you can very rarely see 10 goals scored by both of the teams combined. Actually, seeing more than two goals in a football game is often considered profusion.
Football and (artistic, rhythmic, etc.) gymnastics
Now, one can wonder what could be the similarity between football and gymnastics. Well, hold your breath... in both sports the winner is decided by referees / judges. What is the difference then... In football, if you compete for the World Cup, referees can screw you up just once each four years. In gymnastics, if you want the World Championship title, judges have the option to do it every year. Which one is better though is beyond my humble imagination.
Football and politics
And finally, let's compare football with another popular competition, politics. One of the famous "facts" about both is everyone is an expert on football and politics. Another similarity is the presence of behind-the-scenes manipulation in both games. What differs them is the manipulation in politics often succeeds in making people to believe they are the ones choosing the "champion" while the manipulators in football have not been able to convince anybody about anything yet.