Most people agree that football as we know it started in the United Kingdom however there is evidence that this kind of ball game was played much earlier in other countries such as China, Japan and Greece.
In the UK football did not actually start off its life as a game as such. Legend has it that the game started in the 8th century when an enemy noble was beheaded and his head was kicked around like a ball. Over the centuries various kinds of football type games evolved around the country often involving hundreds of players - the games here could be violent and dangerous. At one point the English king Edward III even tried to ban his subjects from playing football as it was preventing them from practicing their archery.
It is thought that the modern roots of football as we know it can be traced back to Eton in the 1815. This public school established a set of rules that eliminated the violence of the game at that time which were taken up by other educational establishments. This lead to the formal founding of the Cambridge Rules later in that century. These rules banned certain practices such as tripping and picking up the ball and football began to come together as the sport we now know and lost some of its similarities with rugby.
The modern day sport moved a step closer when the Football Association was formed in the 1860s.
Football today is held to be one of the most popular games in the world.