26 Ways Soccer is Played Around the World

Soccer is the world’s most popular sport. Associated Press photographers have turned their lens on the game worldwide from the snowy peaks of northern Afghanistan to the favelas of Rio de Janeiro. We have collected some of the most interesting shots showcasing how soccer is played around the world as we celebrate this year’s World Cup.

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1. With Homemade soccer balls made from discarded medical gloves:

Children play with homemade soccer balls made from discarded medical gloves wrapped in bandages in the village of Nyal in southern Sudan, Nov. 20, 2003. (AP Photo/John Moore) License this imageChildren play with homemade soccer balls made from discarded medical gloves wrapped in bandages in the village of Nyal in southern Sudan, Nov. 20, 2003. (AP Photo/John Moore) License this image

2. In Abu Ghraib:

IRAQAn Iraqi detainee pulls a soccer ball from the barbed wire of his outdoor recreation area while playing with fellow inmates at the Abu Ghraib prison on the outskirts of Baghdad, Iraq Tuesday, June 22, 2004.  (AP Photo/John Moore) License this image

3. In abandoned Soviet-era swimming pools:

Associated Press International News Afghanistan LIFE IN KABULAfghan boys play soccer in an empty and war-damaged Soviet occupation-era swimming pool in Kabul Feb. 26, 2005. After three decades of war, and attempts to rebuild this country in ruin since the fall of the Taliban regime, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest on earth. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) License this image

4. In a refugee camp:

Mideast Israel Palestinians Daily LifeAfghan boys play soccer in an empty and war-damaged Soviet occupation-era swimming pool in Kabul Feb. 26, 2005. After three decades of war, and attempts to rebuild this country in ruin since the fall of the Taliban regime, Afghanistan remains one of the poorest on earth. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder) License this image

5. In the slums of Jakarta:

APTOPIX Indonesia Daily LifeIndonesian child plays soccer at a slum area in Jakarta, Indonesia, Friday, Oct. 21, 2011. (AP Photo/Irwin Ferdiansyah) License this image

6. With a makeshift goal in Bosnia:

BOSNIAN CHILDREN PLAY SOCCERA soccer ball slips through an opening of a makeshift goal during a game played by Bosnian children, most of them refugees from the Zvornik area of Bosnia, in the village of Simin Han, near Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tuesday, July 21, 1998. (AP Photo/Amel Emric) License this image

7. While the sun sets on the Gaza Strip:

Mideast Palestinians Israel WCup SoccerPalestinian boys play soccer in a playground in Beit Lahiya, northern Gaza Strip, on Thursday, June 10, 2010. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis) License this image

8. In the first African nation to host the World Cup:

APTOPIX South Africa WCup SoccerSouth African boys play soccer in a field in the Diepsloot township, South Africa, Saturday June 19, 2010. The first soccer World Cup on the African continent is on its way since June 11. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay) License this image

9. With monks, in a shallow sea right before a cyclone:

Myanmar CycloneNovice Buddhist monks play soccer in shallow sea, Sittwe, northwestern Rakhine State, Myanmar, ahead of the arrival of Cyclone Mahasen, Tuesday, May 14, 2013. The U.N. said the cyclone, expected later this week, could swamp makeshift housing camps sheltering tens of thousands of Rohingya. Myanmar state television reported Monday that 5,158 people were relocated from low-lying camps in Rakhine state to safer shelters. But far more people are considered vulnerable. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe) License this image

10. With perseverance in Lebanon:

Mideast Lebanon Mines International DayA player with his prosthetic leg from a team made up of Lebanese victims of land mine explosions, prepares to play a soccer game against a team made up of players from the foreign embassies of Australia, Britain and Norway, in the village of Ansar, south of Lebanon, Saturday April 4, 2009, as part of events marking the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action. The U.N. says unexploded ordnance and cluster munitions leftover in south Lebanon from the 2006 war with Israel claim an average of two civilian casualties a month in south Lebanon. Landmines and explosive remnants of war affect at least 78 countries and injure or kill between 15,000 and 20,000 people every year. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)  License this image

11. Amongst the puddles in Mumbai:

India Daily LifeBuildings are reflected on a local ground covered with rain water as a boy walks in to play soccer in Mumbai, India, Wednesday, June 20, 2012. (AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool) License this image

12. On the beaches of Rio:

Brazil Daily LifeA man heads the ball as he plays soccer with friends under cloudy skies on Copacabana beach, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. With the World Cup weeks away, Brazil has been struggling to get the country ready for the World Cup. Infrastructure work is far from completed and violent clashes continue to flare up in several cities.  (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar) License this image

13. In a street-style soccer competition in Mexico:

Mexico Street Style SoccerStreet style soccer Guillermo Mondragon competes at the Street Style Mexico Championships in Mexico City, late Friday, Aug. 17, 2012. The winner will go on to represent Mexico at the World Championships Street Style competition in Italy on Sept. 22.  (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo) License this image

14. With the Bolivian president at 19,700 feet above sea level:

Evo MoralesBolivia’s president Evo Morales controls the ball during a soccer match against alpine guides at 6000 meters, 19,700 feet, above seal level, at the snowcapped Sajama dormant volcano in western Bolivia, in this June 12, 2007 file photo. Bolivia, which has La Paz as the world’s highest capital city, is protesting a recent ruling by FIFA requiring lowland teams be granted an adjustment period before playing international games in the thinner air. (AP Photo/Dado Galdieri) License this image

15. In front of a Hezbollah roadblock:

APTOPIX MIDEAST LEBANONLebanese children play soccer in front of a road-block set by Hezbollah and other Shiite militiamen on the highway leading to the international airport of Beirut, Lebanon, Wednesday, May 14, 2008. Earlier Wednesday anti government factions opened a path for the motorcade of the high-powered Arab League delegation to help mediate an end to street confrontations that have claimed more than 50 lives. (AP Photo/Bela Szandelszky) License this image

16. After curfew in Cairo:

Mideast Egypt Cairo Under CurfewIn this Sunday Aug. 25 2013 photo, Egyptians play soccer during a night time curfew in the Garden City neighborhood of Cairo Egypt. The curfew has been a shock to Cairo, a city where cafes stay packed into the night and parents routinely take their children out for dinners nearing midnight. The military-backed government’s curfew, after violent unrest following the July 3 coup that ousted President Mohammed Morsi, slashed the typical Cairo 24-hour life to just 11 hours. (AP Photo/Thomas Hartwell) License this image

17. On the only dry patch during the rainy season in Niger:

NIGER REFERENDUMBoys play soccer on the only patch of open ground, which also serves as a road in rainy season, near the village of Karey Gorou, outside Niamey, Niger Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009. The president of uranium-rich Niger pushed forward Tuesday with a highly controversial referendum on a new constitution that would remove term-limits and grant him another three years in office this time with increased powers. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell) License this image

18. In exile:

India Tibet Daily LifeAn exile Tibetan child wears a German soccer jersey as he watches a soccer match at the Tibetan Children’s Village School in Dharmsala, India, Monday, July 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Ashwini Bhatia) License this image

19. Amongst the ruins in Brazil:

Brazil Daily LifeChildren and adults play soccer in the ruins of Paricatuba, near Manaus, Brazil, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Manaus is one of the host cities for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana) License this image

20. By the India Gate in New Delhi:

India Daily LifeYouths play soccer early in the morning near the India Gate in New Delhi, India, Friday, Oct. 1, 2010. New Delhi will host the Commonwealth Games, which are scheduled to begin on Sunday. (AP Photo/Eranga Jayawardena) License this image

21. On elephants in Thailand:

Thailand Daily LifeElephants with their keepers perform a soccer game to promote the 2014 World Cup soccer tournament in Brazil during a show at Mae Sa elephant camp in Chiang Mai province, northern Thailand, Sunday, May 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Wichai Taprieu) License this image

22. During lunch break in China:

China Daily LifeWorkers play soccer during their lunch break near a building covered in graffiti at the 798 Art District in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2012.  (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan) License this image

23. In front of a war-damaged palace in Kabul:

Afghanistan Daily Life  Afghan children play soccer in front of the war-damaged Darul Aman Palace in the suburbs of Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, June 8, 2011.  (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe)  License this image

24. At the RoboCup Championships in the Netherlands:

Netherlands RoboCupRobots in the “standard platform” division prepare for kickoff at a match held during the RoboCup championships in Eindhoven, Netherlands on Thursday, June 27, 2013. Around 300 teams from 40 countries are competing this week in the RoboCup championships. The competition has the long-term goal of building a team of androids good enough to beat the human world cup team by 2050. (AP Photo/Toby Sterling) License this image

25. Barefoot in the rain in Bangladesh:

APTOPIX Bangladesh Daily LifeUsing umbrellas as goal posts, children play soccer after heavy rains in Taknaf, Bangladesh, Thursday, June 21, 2012. (AP Photo/ Saurabh Das) License this image

26. As the sun sets in Afghanistan:

Afghanistan Daily LifeAfghan boys plays soccer at the Naderkhan hill in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday Sept. 19, 2011. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili) License this image



Lead Image Caption: Boys gather for a pickup game of soccer at the Sao Carlos slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, March 7, 2014. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana) 

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