It is the most famous sporting competition in the UK and football's oldest competition. It's watched by millions of people. Read more to understand Britain's obsession with the FA Cup final.

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History

The Football Association Challenge Cup (FA Cup for short) is the oldest football competition in the world. The first ever FA Cup was held in the 1871–1872 season and it has been held every year since, except for the years during both World Wars.

Since 1923 the FA Cup final has been played at Wembley Stadium in London, but was moved to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, between the years 2001 and 2006 while Wembley Stadium was being redeveloped.

Format

The FA Cup is a knockout competition with teams selected randomly in a 'draw'. This 'draw' is often shown live on television and decides which team plays at their home ground and which team plays away.

The competition starts in August when the non-league and amateur teams enter the draw. The big professional teams such as Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool don't enter the competition until the third round in January.

If the scores are level after 90 minutes, the match is replayed at a different stadium. If the score is still level after two games, the lottery of a penalty shoot-out decides which team progresses to the next round.

The semi-finals are always played at a neutral ground and the final is played at Wembley Stadium in May. Millions of British families watch the final, and national newspapers and news reports cover every detail of the game for days afterwards. Posters and pictures of the winning captain lifting the cup inspire teenage footballers all over the country.

The romance of the FA Cup

People often say the FA Cup has a special quality and romance different from other sporting competitions. Over 700 teams take part, from the mega-rich superstars of Manchester United to the part-time teachers, mechanics and electricians that play in amateur teams. The romance of the Cup refers to when smaller teams beat the superstar professional teams from the Premier League. Surprise victories are both common and part of FA Cup history, and these small teams become known as 'giant-killers'.

The most successful teams in FA Cup history are Manchester United and Arsenal. In recent years, however, Chelsea have also been successful in the competition. But every year, fans of every team in the UK hope and dream that this will be their year to go to Wembley and win the most famous of cups.

This year's final

Which teams are heading for the final this year? Check out the FA's website (www.thefa.com/competitions/thefacup) to see the latest news and results.

Who will you be supporting?

Total votes: 183
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Discussion

Will you be watching the FA Cup final this year? Who will you be supporting?
Which football teams are popular in your country?

Comments

azmiihsan's picture
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azmiihsan 20 May, 2013 - 05:35

I don't like football and I can't play it. I think football is boring. But, in my country, Indonesia, lots of boys love it. In some occasion, I'd love to see it :)

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50 users have voted.
sailor moon's picture
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sailor moon 19 May, 2013 - 20:48

i like very much football. my favourite team is Barcelona
but i like and Milan. It is a very good team.

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50 users have voted.
Simon's picture
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Simon 13 May, 2013 - 14:47

So, surprisingly Wigan beat Manchester City 1-0 and won the FA Cup for the first time, and Wigan scored the winning goal in the last minute. It was a great game, did anybody see it?

Simon (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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24 users have voted.
pablyko's picture
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pablyko 13 May, 2013 - 13:28

I think this paragrapah is very useful.I really like the football and i am so interested in it.

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11 users have voted.
jaime c.e.'s picture
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jaime c.e. 13 May, 2013 - 13:18

that is incredible, but I would like to be in some teams because I love football

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6 users have voted.
Jesusvillarreal's picture
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Jesusvillarreal 13 May, 2013 - 13:14

I hope Chelsea win!! In Chelsea there are some Spanish players, and It would be amazing that someone from mu own country could win FA cup!! Come on Mata, Torres and Azpilicueta!!! :)
And also, I'd like to see back Villarreal CF, remenbering those year, when we played the semifinals in Wembley Stadium ... quite good years for the team. We will be backin the 1st Spanish Division!!

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6 users have voted.
Clecs's picture
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Clecs 12 May, 2013 - 16:14

Yes, I really like football. In Poland we've got ,, Ekstraklasa ''. I quite like watching it, but I prefer other football competitions, for example - FA Cup ;)

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7 users have voted.
fatmira n's picture
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fatmira n 6 May, 2013 - 16:10

I like football,I am a fan of Inter team and i will see the FA cup this year/////

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8 users have voted.
MALINE's picture
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MALINE 4 May, 2013 - 21:29

No, I won´t,I don´t like it, though in my country there are a lot of fotball fans.

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4 users have voted.
ellen's picture
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ellen 3 May, 2013 - 17:11

Hello Everyone!
İ don't like football.i am hate football !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Every year Azerbaijan organise Azerbaijan Super Liga and it's a football competition.
İ like running sport......
Kros is a running competition, and it very popular among teens and youngsters. I participated several times, and had a great time.
and.............................
I like bicycle competition. My country,it is very popular competition.
Every year Azerbaijan organise bicycle competition.

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6 users have voted.
Natalija's picture
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Natalija 2 May, 2013 - 10:38

No, I won't. I don't like football at all, but some of my friends like it and I'll recommend them to watch it, because it seems to be really good for football lovers.
Every year Serbia organise Serbian Super Liga and it's a football competition. Than we have Serbia Open-we organised that competition a few years before, and it was wrestling competition. I don't like wrestling at all, it's so rough sport. We also have a bicycle race, and it was last year, I think, and it was organised for invalids. And I'd like to mention the funniest competition-it's Trka na stiklama(or The race on heels)-for women only, and they have to run on high heels, and it's so funny to watch it. The majority doesn't even resist 10 minutes, but persistent ones reaches to the end, and won very expensive things. We also organise Belgrade rollerblading and I participated once at that competition and won the 2nd place.
Serbia also organise many dance competitions, and that's the only competition I watch every time, because I train dance and I participate at dance competition every year.
And teens from whole Serbia once a year, in mid-April, have opportunity to participate at Kros. Kros is a running competition, and it very popular among teens and youngsters. I participated several times, and had a great time.
I'd like to hear something about sporting events in the other countries, so write:).

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6 users have voted.

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