Soccer and 9 Other Popular Sports Around the World

By Amanda Little

From the Olympics to pick up games in the street, every country has a sport they excel at, and the one they play the most. Check them out below!

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Brazil • Soccer

Like many other countries, football (soccer) is the most popular sport played in Brazil. Brazil takes the top spot in how much football is played, but football still remains the favorite sporting past time in Austria, Colombia, Chile, Denmark, Germany, Greece Ireland (specifically Gaelic football), Morocco, Mexico, Myanmar, Peru, South Africa, Sweden, and Thailand. In fact, football is the most popular sport in the world.

New Zealand • Rugby

The brutal sport of rugby is a favorite for New Zealanders, and in the top five of Australia, South Africa, and France. Played without any padding but with similar styles of tackles that accompany American football, this sport is no tossle in the grass.

Mexico • Basketball

While many associate bull fighting with Mexico, visitors are much more likely to find basketball courts than bull rings. Basketball nets prevail over matador capes in the country, and the sport is very popular in United States, the Philippines, Australia, and Canada.

United States • Baseball

Nothing is more American than a good old fashioned game of ball. Baseball is the United States' game of choice, but American football is close on its heels. Those fond of bubble gum and long innings can also find highly popular ball games in Cuba, Taiwan, Japan, and Puerto Rico.

Switzerland • Ice Hockey

It should come as no surprise that snow sports are Switzerland’s favorite. Ice hockey tops the list, but snowboarding, skiing, and mountaineering are also wildly popular. Those looking for a place outside of Switzerland to slam their opponents into the rinkside can find it in Canada, Czech Republic, Finland, and Russia.

India • Cricket

While India has won eight gold medals in field hockey, the country’s sport of choice is cricket! A complex game originating in England, the sport involves a wide, flat bat, a very hard ball, and darting between two posts. England, Sri Lanka, Zimbabwe, and Ireland all love the sport as well.

Japan • Sumo Wrestling

While Japan excels in winter sports like ski jumping and figure skating and has won the most medals for judo, their sport of choice is still sumo wrestling! Japan has adopted many sports from around the world, with baseball as a very close second favorite, but this traditional form of wrestling still wins out. Surrounding countries like Mongolia, Russia, and China have also adopted sumo wrestling.

Canada • Curling

While the country is most known for ice hockey, Canadians also love curling. The baffling shuffleboard-like game on ice is included in the Winter Olympics, and still seems to be a mystery to all but the biggest of fans.

Scotland • Golf

While the Scottish don’t toss cabers at the Olympics, they do have a great track record in golfing! The most popular sport encompassing the open fields of the Highlands includes a tiny white ball and an excellent backswing. New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, Canada, and Wales follow close behind on the green.

France • Skiing

While trekking through the Alps offers sights of skiers galore, France is the one going skiing. Although the country’s favorite sport is rugby and they’re renowned for their cycling, they still beat out Switzerland as the country that hits the slopes the most on two skis.

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