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Football Glossary: Cap

(a) Cap/(to) Cap


An appearance for your country, the number of times someone plays international games.

This week is an international week, there are lots of countries playing friendly matches. When you play for your country you get a cap. In 1886 the first caps were awarded to England players. The cap, a real hat, was white with a red rose. Now, international caps are awarded for other sports, not just football, but a real cap is not usually given. However, players keep count of the number of caps, or appearances they make. So, if a player has played ten games for his country he has ten caps. An example this week of a player being awarded his first cap is Joey Barton for England against Spain. International cap.

  • Example: David Beckham earned his 100th cap against the USA in May 2008.
  • Example: Lionel Messi was first capped by Argentina in 2005 and this debut was against Hungary.
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