There are some football facts that everyone involved in the game simply knows, from players and coaches to pundits and fans.
Yet of course, over the century and a half of professional football that we’ve all enjoyed, there are some moments that have become misremembered or forgotten among the annals of history.
So, put your football knowledge to the test with these six football facts and see if you can correctly answer whether they’re true or false.
1. Everton have won more top-flight titles than Manchester City
As of April 2023, Everton have nine top-flight league titles to Manchester City’s eight.
Remarkably, despite City’s dominance of English football over the last decade, Everton still have more top-flight wins than their Manchester opponents.
The Toffees have nine First Division titles to their name, first crowned as champions in the 1890/91 season, while their most recent first-placed finish came in the 1986/87 season.
Of course, were Manchester City to pip Arsenal to the post in the 2022/23 Premier League title race, then this would see them draw level with Everton on nine each.
2. The Netherlands were the first European team to win a World Cup
There are two reasons that this fact is untrue: firstly, the first European team to win the tournament was Italy in 1934; and secondly, despite producing some of the best players in world football, the Dutch have never secured a World Cup win.
The Oranje have been involved in three finals and yet could only manage to be runners-up on each occasion, playing against:
- West Germany in 1974, losing 2-1
- Argentina in 1978, losing 3-1 after extra time
- Spain in 2010, losing 1-0 after extra time.
This means the Dutch are the holders of the unfortunate record of being World Cup runners-up on most occasions without having ever won a final.
3. There has never been a Premier League player with a surname starting with “X”
While this is of course untrue, there have actually only been three players with an “X” surname to feature in the Premier League.
Abel Xavier played for Everton, Liverpool, and Middlesborough throughout the early and mid-2000s, and Spanish striker Xisco spent an ill-fated five years at Newcastle where he made just a handful of appearances.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s Swiss midfielder, Granit Xhaka, is currently playing in the Premier League, also making this one untrue.
4. Eiður Guðjohnsen played in the same Iceland team as his father
This fact is well-known as true among football fans but interestingly, it isn’t quite accurate.
It’s true that Eiður Guðjohnsen was named in the same Iceland squad to face Estonia as his father, Arnór, and it’s also true that both men played in the match.
However, the pair were never actually on the field at the same time, with 17-year-old Eiður coming on to replace 34-year-old Arnór as a second-half substitute.
— Eidur Gudjohnsen (@Eidur22Official) April 24, 2016
The footballing dynasty of the Guðjohnsens has continued on too, with Eiður’s three sons, Sveinn Aron, Andri Lucas, and Daníel Tristan, all currently playing professionally.
5. Gary Lineker never received a yellow or red card in his professional career
This incredible feat seems almost impossible to achieve, but the legendary England forward has confirmed it to be true.
Across more than 650 professional games spanning England, Spain, and Japan, Gary Lineker never received a yellow or red card on any occasion.
For a time, fans did mistakenly believe that Lineker did pick up a card in his short stint for Nagoya Grampus in the J.League, but the prolific striker confirmed in a tweet in 2013 that he never even troubled the referee there.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) April 2, 2013
It’s an incredible record that will likely never be broken.
6. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has won more Champions League finals than any other player
You might think that Ibrahimovic could be in the running for having more Champions League winners medals than anyone else. Yet surprisingly, although he played for six clubs that won Europe’s biggest prize, Zlatan was never a victor himself.
Ibra holds almost every other honour in club football, having won 34 trophies in an illustrious career, but he was never part of a team that reached the dizzy heights of being European champions.
That said, the legendary Swedish forward does hold one impressive Champions League record, as he is the only player to have scored in the competition with six different clubs: Ajax, Juventus, Inter Milan, Barcelona, AC Milan, and PSG.
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