With the English national football team securing their flights to join the fun, festivities and carnivals of the Brazil 2014 World Cup, a sigh of relief was breathed across England’s green and pleasant lands.

If the nation that created football were not at the World Cup in the sport’s spiritual home of Brazil, there would have been national mourning and a public enquiry. See the goal that got 50 million English fans celebrating!

Here at the Oxford Scholastica Academy, we have our list of the top 5 sports that England “invented” (or at least formalised):

  • Tennis – whilst the game has origins in 12th century France and a version of it was played by King Henry VIII, lawn tennis was first played near Birmingham in the 1870s. Subsequently, the world’s first major tournament was held at Wimbledon in 1877 as the “The All England Lawn Tennis Club Single Handed Champion of the World” trophy.
  • Cricket has a known history from the 16th century, and the laws of the game were codified in 1744. This gentlemanly game is now played professionally in most of the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • Field hockey – Stick and ball games with features common to hockey have been dated to more than 3000 years ago to our neighbours Ireland. However the modern field hockey version was founded in English public schools in the early 19th century – and eventually inspired the North American version of hockey on ice!
  • Rugby – many believe that this sport was born in 1823 when William Webb Ellis picked up a normal football at Rugby School and ran with it. Again, our American cousins have been inspired to create their own version in the form of American Football.
  • Football – Association Football, more commonly known as football (or soccer) can be traced back to medieval Britain but the modern game originates from London in 1863 (and celebrating the 150th anniversary with the first ever game at the royal Buckingham Palace).

Photo by The Laird of Oldham (CC BY-SA 2.0)