Countries you didn’t know were soccer crazy

In these Soccer Nations, fans live and breathe the sport.

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Fans of Japan's women's national team cheer them on during the 2015 World Cup final. Fans of Japan's women's national team cheer them on during the 2015 World Cup final. (Photo: KAZUHIRO NOGI/AFP/Getty Images)

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Japan

Japan has traditionally placed baseball above soccer. But starting in the early 1990s, with the emergence of the top tier Japan League, the sport has become increasingly popular. By 2002 it had begun to sweep the country and, in recent years, the women's national team has further helped to spread the soccer gospel, winning the World Cup in 2011 and finishing second in 2015.

The success of the men's team doesn't hurt the soccer-spreading cause, either. It is one of the most successful teams in Asia, having qualified for the last five World Cups and having won the AFC Asian Cup a record four times.

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