Juventus Football Club, colloquially known as Juve, is an Italian professional football club based in Turin, Piedmont. Founded in 1897 by a group of Torinese students, the club has worn a black and white striped home kit since 1903 and has played home matches in different grounds around its city, the latest being the 41,507-capacity Allianz Stadium. Nicknamed Vecchia Signora, the club has won 34 official league titles, 13 Coppa Italia titles and eight Supercoppa Italiana titles, being the record holder for all these competitions; the side leads the historical Federazione Italiana Giuoco Calcio ranking whilst on the international stage occupies the 4th position in Europe and the eight in the world for most confederation titles won with eleven trophies, having led the UEFA ranking during seven seasons since its inception in 1979, the most for an Italian team and joint second overall. Founded with the name of Sport-Club Juventus as an athletics club, it is the second oldest of its kind still active in the country after Genoa's football section and has competed uninterruptedly in the top flight league since its debut in 1900 after changing its name to Foot-Ball Club Juventus, with the exception of the 2006–07 season, being managed by the industrial Agnelli family continuously since 1923.
The relationship between the club and that dynasty is the oldest and longest in national sports, making Juventus the first professional sporting club in the country, having established itself as a major force in the national stage since the 1930s and at confederation level since the mid-1970s and becoming one of the first ten wealthiest in world football in terms of value and profit since the mid-1990s, being stocked in Borsa italiana since 2001. Under the management of Giovanni Trapattoni, the club won 13 trophies in the ten years before 1986, including six league titles and five international titles, became the first to win all three competitions organised by the Union of European Football Associations: the European Champions' Cup, Cup Winners' Cup and UEFA Cup. With successive triumphs in the 1984 European Super Cup and 1985 Intercontinental Cup, it become the first and thus far only in the world to complete a clean sweep of all confederation trophies. In December 2000, Juventus was ranked seventh in the FIFA's historic ranking of the best clubs in the world and nine years was ranked second best club in Europe during the 20th Century based on a statistical study series by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics, the highest for an Italian club in both.
The club's fan base is one of the largest worldwide. Unlike most European sporting supporters' groups, which are concentrated around their own club's city of origin, it is widespread throughout the whole country and the Italian diaspora, making Juventus a symbol of anticampanilismo and italianità; the club has provided the most players to the Italy national team—mostly in official competitions—who formed the group that led the Azzurri squad to international success, most in the 1934, 1982 and 2006 FIFA World Cups. Juventus were founded as Sport-Club Juventus in late 1897 by pupils from the Massimo D'Azeglio Lyceum school in Turin, but were renamed as Foot-Ball Club Juventus two years later; the club joined the Italian Football Championship during 1900. In 1904, the businessman Ajmone-Marsan revived the finances of the football club Juventus, making it possible to transfer the training field from piazza d'armi to the more appropriate Velodrome Umberto I. During this period, the team wore a black kit.
Juventus first won the league championship in 1905 while playing at their Velodrome Umberto I ground. By this time the club colours had changed to black and white stripes, inspired by English side Notts County. There was a split at the club in 1906, after some of the staff considered moving Juve out of Turin. President Alfred Dick was unhappy with this and left with some prominent players to found FBC Torino which in turn spawned the Derby della Mole. Juventus spent much of this period rebuilding after the split, surviving the First World War. FIAT owner Edoardo Agnelli built a new stadium; this helped the club to its second scudetto in the 1925–26 season, after beating Alba Roma with an aggregate score of 12–1. The club established itself as a major force in Italian football since the 1930s, becoming the country's first professional club and the first with a decentralised fan base, which led it to win a record of five consecutive Italian championships and form the core of the Italy national team during the Vittorio Pozzo's era, including the 1934 world champion squad, with star players such as Raimundo Orsi, Luigi Bertolini, Giovanni Ferrari and Luis Monti, among others.
Juventus moved to the Stadio Comunale, but for the rest of the 1930s and the majority of the 1940s they were unable to recapture championship dominance. After the Second
Greek Football Cup
The Greek Football Cup known as the Greek Cup or for sponsorship reasons the Football Cup OPAP, is a Greek football competition, run by the Hellenic Football Federation. Because it involves clubs of all standards playing against each other, there is the possibility for "minnows" from the lower divisions to become "giant-killers" by eliminating top clubs from the tournament and theoretically win the Cup; the current holders of the Greek Cup are PAOK, who beat AEK Athens 2–0 in the 2018 final held on 12 May 2018. The Greek Cup under EPO began in 1931. In its early years, entry was optional. Teams were paired against each other without a draw taking place. On, for many years, a proper draw took place and two-legged matches were added. In 1962, there was no cup winner because the final between Olympiacos and Panathinaikos was abandoned; until 1964, if the final score was a draw, the two teams played a replay match, while penalties didn't exist. That year, in the semi-final between Panathinaikos and Olympiacos,fans of both teams stormed the pitch, damaged the football field and stopped the game, believing that it was fixed to end in a draw, in order to be replayed for financial reasons.
Both teams were ejected from the competition and therefore,in 1964 AEK won the title but the final match was not held. AEK won in simiral fashion in 1966 when Olympiacos did not show up in the final. In 1965, a new rule was applied, to determine that, if the game was undecided after extra time, the winner would be determined by the toss of a coin. Panathinaikos won this way in the 1969 final against Olympiacos. Afterwards the penalty shootout was applied; until 1971, teams from all over the country and amateur, had been taking part. Each team first played against clubs from its own association and the winners continued in a nationwide competition. Due to this, strong professional sides met amateur neighbourhood teams, sometimes beating them with high scores. Since 1971, only teams from professional divisions are allowed to participate, while amateur clubs take part in the Amateur Cup. In 1991 and 1992 the finals were two-legged, it is considered that the most exciting match in the history of the competition was the 2009 final between Olympiacos and AEK.
Notes: • In the periods 1933–38 and 1940–46 the competition was not held. • In 1961–62 final match was abandoned. • In 1963–64 and 1965–66 final matches were not held. • Statistical paradox: 76 editions of the competition, 75 concluded with a cup winner, 74 finals. 11 clubs have won the Greek Football Cup, from a total of 6 cities. Greek Super League Greek Super Cup Greek League Cup Cup at UEFA RSSSF
ACF Fiorentina referred to as Fiorentina, is an Italian professional football club based in Florence, Tuscany. Founded by a merger in August 1926, refounded in August 2002 following bankruptcy, Fiorentina have played at the top level of Italian football for the majority of their existence. Fiorentina has won two Italian Championships, in 1955–56 and again in 1968–69, as well as six Coppa Italia trophies and one Supercoppa Italiana. On the European stage, Fiorentina won the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1960–61 and lost the final one year later, they finished runners-up in the 1956–57 European Cup, losing against Real Madrid, came close to winning the 1989–90 UEFA Cup, finishing as runners-up against Juventus after losing the first leg in Turin and drawing in the second one in Avellino. Fiorentina is one of the fourteen European teams that played the finals in all three major continental competitions: the Champions League, the UEFA Cup Winners and the UEFA Cup. Since 1931, the club have played at the Stadio Artemio Franchi, which has a capacity of 43,147.
The stadium has undergone several renovations. Fiorentina are known by the nickname Viola, a reference to their distinctive purple colours. Associazione Calcio Fiorentina was founded in the autumn of 1926 by local noble and National Fascist Party member Luigi Ridolfi, who initiated the merger of two older Florentine clubs, CS Firenze and PG Libertas; the aim of the merger was to give Florence a strong club to rival those of the more dominant Italian Football Championship sides of the time from Northwest Italy. Influential was the cultural revival and rediscovery of Calcio Fiorentino, an ancestor of modern football, played by members of the Medici family. After a rough start and three seasons in lower leagues, Fiorentina reached the Serie A in 1931; that same year saw the opening of the new stadium named after Giovanni Berta, a prominent fascist, but now known as Stadio Artemio Franchi. At the time, the stadium was a masterpiece of engineering, its inauguration was monumental. To be able to compete with the best teams in Italy, Fiorentina strengthened their team with some new players, notably the Uruguayan Pedro Petrone, nicknamed el Artillero.
Despite enjoying a good season and finishing in fourth place, Fiorentina were relegated the following year, although they would return to Serie A. In 1941, they won their first Coppa Italia, but the team were unable to build on their success during the 1940s because of World War II and other troubles. In 1950, Fiorentina started to achieve consistent top-five finishes in the domestic league; the team consisted of great players such as well-known goalkeeper Giuliano Sarti, Sergio Cervato, Francesco Rosella, Guido Gratton, Giuseppe Chiappella and Aldo Scaramucci but above all, the attacking duo of Brazilian Julinho and Argentinian Miguel Montuori. This team won Fiorentina's first scudetto in 1955–56, 12 points ahead of second-place Milan. Milan beat Fiorentina to top spot the following year, but more Fiorentina became the first Italian team to play in a European Cup final, when a disputed penalty led to a 2–0 defeat at the hands of Alfredo Di Stéfano's Real Madrid. Fiorentina were runners-up again in the three subsequent seasons.
In the 1960–61 season, the club won the Coppa Italia again and was successful in Europe, winning the first Cup Winners' Cup against Scottish side Rangers. After several years of runner-up finishes, Fiorentina dropped away in the 1960s, bouncing from fourth to sixth place, although the club won the Coppa Italia and the Mitropa Cup in 1966. While the 1960s did result in some trophies and good Serie A finishes for Fiorentina, nobody believed that the club could challenge for the title; the 1968–69 season started with Milan as frontrunners, but on matchday 7, they lost to Bologna and were overtaken by Gigi Riva's Cagliari. Fiorentina, after an unimpressive start moved to the top of the Serie A, but the first half of their season finished with a 2–2 draw against Varese, leaving Cagliari as outright league leader; the second half of the season was a three-way battle between the three contending teams, Milan and Fiorentina. Milan fell away, instead focusing their efforts on the European Cup, it seemed that Cagliari would retain top spot.
After Cagliari lost against Juventus, Fiorentina took over at the top. The team won all of their remaining matches, beating rivals Juve in Turin on the penultimate matchday to seal their second, last, national title. In the European Cup competition the following year, Fiorentina had some good results, including a win in the Soviet Union against Dynamo Kyiv, but they were knocked out in the quarter-finals after a 3–0 defeat in Glasgow to Celtic. Viola players began the 1970s decade with Scudetto sewed on their breast, but the period was not fruitful for the team. After a fifth-place finish in 1971, they finished in mid-table every year flirting with relegation in 1972 and 1978; the Viola did win the Anglo-Italian League Cup in 1974 and won the Coppa Italia again in 1975. The team consisted of young talents like Vincenzo Guerini and Moreno Roggi, who had the misfortune to suffer bad injuries, above all Giancarlo Antognoni, who would become an idol to Fiorentina's fans; the young average age of the players led to the team being called Fiorentina Ye-Ye.
In 1980, Fiorentina was bought by Flavio Pontello. He changed the team's anthem and logo, leading to some complaints
FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War; the current champion is France. The current format of the competition involves a qualification phase, which takes place over the preceding three years, to determine which teams qualify for the tournament phase, called the World Cup Finals. After this, 32 teams, including the automatically qualifying host nation, compete in the tournament phase for the title at venues within the host nation over a period of about a month; the 21 World Cup tournaments have been won by eight national teams. Brazil have won five times, they are the only team to have played in every tournament; the other World Cup winners are Italy, with four titles each.
The World Cup is the most prestigious association football tournament in the world, as well as the most viewed and followed sporting event in the world, exceeding the Olympic Games. Brazil, Italy and Mexico have each hosted twice, while Uruguay, Sweden, England, Spain, the United States and South Korea, South Africa and Russia have each hosted once. Qatar are planned as hosts of the 2022 finals, 2026 will be jointly hosted by Canada, the United States and Mexico, which will give Mexico the distinction of being the first country to have hosted games in three finals; the world's first international football match was a challenge match played in Glasgow in 1872 between Scotland and England, which ended in a 0–0 draw. The first international tournament, the inaugural British Home Championship, took place in 1884; as football grew in popularity in other parts of the world at the start of the 20th century, it was held as a demonstration sport with no medals awarded at the 1900 and 1904 Summer Olympics, at the 1906 Intercalated Games.
After FIFA was founded in 1904, it tried to arrange an international football tournament between nations outside the Olympic framework in Switzerland in 1906. These were early days for international football, the official history of FIFA describes the competition as having been a failure. At the 1908 Summer Olympics in London, football became an official competition. Planned by The Football Association, England's football governing body, the event was for amateur players only and was regarded suspiciously as a show rather than a competition. Great Britain won the gold medals, they repeated the feat at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm. With the Olympic event continuing to be contested only between amateur teams, Sir Thomas Lipton organised the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy tournament in Turin in 1909; the Lipton tournament was a championship between individual clubs from different nations, each one of which represented an entire nation. The competition is sometimes described as The First World Cup, featured the most prestigious professional club sides from Italy and Switzerland, but the FA of England refused to be associated with the competition and declined the offer to send a professional team.
Lipton invited an amateur side from County Durham, to represent England instead. West Auckland won the tournament and returned in 1911 to defend their title. In 1914, FIFA agreed to recognise the Olympic tournament as a "world football championship for amateurs", took responsibility for managing the event; this paved the way for the world's first intercontinental football competition, at the 1920 Summer Olympics, contested by Egypt and 13 European teams, won by Belgium. Uruguay won the next two Olympic football tournaments in 1924 and 1928; those were the first two open world championships, as 1924 was the start of FIFA's professional era. Due to the success of the Olympic football tournaments, FIFA, with President Jules Rimet as the driving force, again started looking at staging its own international tournament outside of the Olympics. On 28 May 1928, the FIFA Congress in Amsterdam decided to stage a world championship itself. With Uruguay now two-time official football world champions and to celebrate their centenary of independence in 1930, FIFA named Uruguay as the host country of the inaugural World Cup tournament.
The national associations of selected nations were invited to send a team, but the choice of Uruguay as a venue for the competition meant a long and costly trip across the Atlantic Ocean for European sides. Indeed, no European country pledged to send a team until two months before the start of the competition. Rimet persuaded teams from Belgium, France and Yugoslavia to make the trip. In total, 13 nations took part: seven from South America, four from Europe and two from North America; the first two World Cup matches took place on 13 July 1930, were won by France and the USA, who defeated Mexico 4–1 and Belgium 3–0 respectively. The first goal in World Cup history was scored by Lucien Laurent o
Captain (association football)
The team captain of an association football team, sometimes known as the skipper, is a team member chosen to be the on-pitch leader of the team: it is one of the older/or more experienced members of the squad, or a player that can influence a game or have good leadership qualities. The team captain is identified by the wearing of an armband; the only official responsibility of a captain specified by the Laws of the Game is to participate in the coin toss prior to kick-off and prior to a penalty shootout. Contrary to what is sometimes said, captains have no special authority under the Laws to challenge a decision by the referee. However, referees may talk to the captain of a side about the side's general behaviour when necessary. At an award-giving ceremony after a fixture like a cup competition final, the captain leads the team up to collect their medals. Any trophy won by a team will be received by the captain who will be the first one to hoist it; the captain generally leads the teams out of the dressing room at the start of the match.
A captain is tasked with running the dressing room. The captain provides a rallying point for the team: if morale is low, it is the captain who will be looked upon to boost their team's spirits. Captains may join the manager in deciding the starting eleven for a certain game. In youth or recreational football, the captain takes on duties, that would, at a higher level, be delegated to the manager. A club captain is appointed for a season. If he is unavailable or not selected for a particular game, or must leave the pitch the club vice-captain will assume similar duties; the match captain is the first player to lift a trophy should the team win one if he was not the club captain. A good example of this was in the 1999 UEFA Champions League Final when match captain Peter Schmeichel lifted the trophy for Manchester United as club captain Roy Keane was suspended. In the 2012 UEFA Champions League Final, match captain Frank Lampard jointly lifted the trophy for Chelsea with club captain John Terry.
A club may appoint two distinct roles: a club captain to represent the players in a public relations role, correspondent on the pitch. Manchester United has had both of these types of captains. After Neville retired in 2011, regular starter Nemanja Vidić was named as club captain. São Paulo's Rogério Ceni is the player. A vice-captain is a player, expected to captain the side when the club's captain is not included in the starting eleven, or if, during a game, the captain is substituted or sent off. Examples include Thomas Müller at Bayern Munich, Marcelo at Real Madrid, César Azpilicueta at Chelsea, Sergio Busquets at Barcelona, Harry Kane at Tottenham Hotspur, James Milner at Liverpool and Ashley Young at Manchester United; some clubs name a 3rd captain or a 4th captain to take the role of captain when both the captain and vice-captain are unavailable. In the 1986 FIFA World Cup, when Bryan Robson was injured and vice-captain Ray Wilkins received a two-game suspension for a red card, Peter Shilton became England's captain for the rest of the tournament.
During the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, Germany had three captains. Michael Ballack had captained the national team since 2004, including the successful qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup, but he did not play in the latter tournament due to a last minute injury. Philipp Lahm was appointed captain in South Africa, but due to an illness that ruled him out of Germany's final fixture, Bastian Schweinsteiger captained the team for that game, the third-place match. Lahm stated in an interview that he would not relinquish the captaincy when Ballack returned, causing some controversy, so team manager Oliver Bierhoff clarified the situation saying "Philipp Lahm is the World Cup captain and Michael Ballack is still the captain". Lahm ended up becoming the permanent captain of Germany until his retirement, as Ballack was never called up to the national team again. Captain
Olympiacos Football Club known as Olympiacos, Olympiacos Piraeus or with its full name as Olympiacos C. F. P. is a Greek professional football club based in Athens. Part of the major multi-sport club Olympiacos CFP, their name was inspired from the ancient Olympic Games and along with the club's emblem, the laurel-crowned Olympic athlete, symbolize the Olympic ideals of ancient Greece, their home ground is a 32,115-capacity stadium in Piraeus. Founded on 10 March 1925, Olympiacos is the most successful club in Greek football history, having won 44 League titles, 27 Cups and 4 Super Cups, all records. Τotalling 75 national trophies, Olympiacos is 9th in the world in total titles won by a football club. The club's dominating success can be further evidenced by the fact that all other Greek clubs have won a combined total of 38 League titles, while Olympiacos holds the record for the most consecutive Greek League titles won, with seven in a row in two occasions, breaking their own previous record of six consecutive wins in the 1950s, when Olympiacos was unequivocally nicknamed Thrylos.
Having won the 2014–15 league title, Olympiacos became the only football club in the world to have won a series of five or more consecutive championships for five times in their history, a record, praised by FIFA with a congratulatory letter of its president, Sepp Blatter. They are the only Greek club to have won five consecutive national Cups, as well as six League titles undefeated. Olympiacos are one of only three clubs to have never been relegated from the top flight of Greek football, by winning the 2012–13 title, their 40th in total, they added a fourth star above their crest, each one representing 10 League titles. In European competitions, Olympiacos best performances are their presence in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals in 1998–99, losing the semi-final spot in the last minutes of their second leg match against Juventus, as well as in the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup quarter-finals in 1992–93; the Red-Whites are the highest ranked Greek club in the UEFA rankings, occupying the 29th place in Europe as of 2018, one of the founding members of the European Club Association.
Olympiacos won the Balkans Cup in 1963, at a time when the competition was considered the second most important in the region after the European Cup, becoming the first Greek club to win an international competition. Olympiacos is the most supported football club in Greece being the most popular club in Athens, gathering strong support from Greek communities all over the world. With 83,000 registered members as of April 2006, the club was placed 9th in the 2006 list of football clubs with the most paying members in the world. Olympiacos share a long-standing rivalry with Panathinaikos, with whom they contest in the Derby of the eternal enemies, the most classic football derby in Greece and one of the most well known around the world. Olympiacos was founded on 10 March 1925, in the Athenian-port of Piraeus; the club's initial aim, as stated in the statutes, was the systematic cultivation and development of its athletes' possibilities for participation in athletic competitions, the spreading of the Olympic athletic ideal and the promotion of sportsmanship and fanship among the youth according to egalitarian principles, by stressing a healthy and social basis as its foundation.
Members of "Piraikos Podosfairikos Omilos FC" and "Piraeus Fans Club FC" decided, during a historical assembly, to dissolve the two clubs in order to establish a new unified one, which would bring this new vision and dynamic to the community. Notis Kamperos, a senior officer of the Hellenic Navy, proposed the name Olympiacos and the profile of a laurel-crowned Olympic winner as the emblem of the new club. Michalis Manouskos, a prominent Piraeus industrialist, expanded the name to its complete and current status, Olympiacos Syndesmos Filathlon Pireos. Besides Kamperos and Manouskos, among the most notable founding members were Stavros Maragoudakis, the post office director. Andrianopoulos, a family of well-established Piraeus merchants, played a pivotal role in the founding of Olympiacos; the five brothers, Dinos, Giorgos and Leonidas Andrianopoulos raised the reputation of the club and brought it to its current glory. Yiannis, Dinos and Vassilis were the first to play, while Leonidas, the youngest of the five, made his debut on and played for the club for eight years.
The club's offensive line, made up of the five brothers, became legendary, rising to a mythical status and soon Olympiacos gained enormous popularity and became the most successful and well-supported club in Greece. Back their fan base consisted of the working class, with the team's home ground at Neo Phaliron Velodrome, before moving to its current Karaiskakis Stadium, they became Piraeus Champions in 1925 and 1926. In 1926, the Hellenic Football Federation was founded and organized the Panhellenic Championship in the 1927–1928 season; this was the first national championship, where the regional champions from EPSA league, EPSP league and EPSM league
Greece the Hellenic Republic, self-identified and known as Hellas, is a country located in Southern and Southeast Europe, with a population of 11 million as of 2016. Athens is largest city, followed by Thessaloniki. Greece is located at the crossroads of Europe and Africa. Situated on the southern tip of the Balkan Peninsula, it shares land borders with Albania to the northwest, North Macedonia and Bulgaria to the north, Turkey to the northeast; the Aegean Sea lies to the east of the mainland, the Ionian Sea to the west, the Cretan Sea and the Mediterranean Sea to the south. Greece has the longest coastline on the Mediterranean Basin and the 11th longest coastline in the world at 13,676 km in length, featuring a large number of islands, of which 227 are inhabited. Eighty percent of Greece is mountainous, with Mount Olympus being the highest peak at 2,918 metres; the country consists of nine geographic regions: Macedonia, Central Greece, the Peloponnese, Epirus, the Aegean Islands, Thrace and the Ionian Islands.
Greece is considered the cradle of Western civilisation, being the birthplace of democracy, Western philosophy, Western literature, political science, major scientific and mathematical principles, Western drama and notably the Olympic Games. From the eighth century BC, the Greeks were organised into various independent city-states, known as poleis, which spanned the entire Mediterranean region and the Black Sea. Philip of Macedon united most of the Greek mainland in the fourth century BC, with his son Alexander the Great conquering much of the ancient world, from the eastern Mediterranean to India. Greece was annexed by Rome in the second century BC, becoming an integral part of the Roman Empire and its successor, the Byzantine Empire, in which Greek language and culture were dominant. Rooted in the first century A. D. the Greek Orthodox Church helped shape modern Greek identity and transmitted Greek traditions to the wider Orthodox World. Falling under Ottoman dominion in the mid-15th century, the modern nation state of Greece emerged in 1830 following a war of independence.
Greece's rich historical legacy is reflected by its 18 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The sovereign state of Greece is a unitary parliamentary republic and developed country with an advanced high-income economy, a high quality of life, a high standard of living. A founding member of the United Nations, Greece was the tenth member to join the European Communities and has been part of the Eurozone since 2001, it is a member of numerous other international institutions, including the Council of Europe, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the World Trade Organization, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the Organisation internationale de la Francophonie. Greece's unique cultural heritage, large tourism industry, prominent shipping sector and geostrategic importance classify it as a middle power, it is the largest economy in the Balkans. The names for the nation of Greece and the Greek people differ from the names used in other languages and cultures.
The Greek name of the country is Hellas or Ellada, its official name is the Hellenic Republic. In English, the country is called Greece, which comes from Latin Graecia and means'the land of the Greeks'; the earliest evidence of the presence of human ancestors in the southern Balkans, dated to 270,000 BC, is to be found in the Petralona cave, in the Greek province of Macedonia. All three stages of the stone age are represented for example in the Franchthi Cave. Neolithic settlements in Greece, dating from the 7th millennium BC, are the oldest in Europe by several centuries, as Greece lies on the route via which farming spread from the Near East to Europe. Greece is home to the first advanced civilizations in Europe and is considered the birthplace of Western civilisation, beginning with the Cycladic civilization on the islands of the Aegean Sea at around 3200 BC, the Minoan civilization in Crete, the Mycenaean civilization on the mainland; these civilizations possessed writing, the Minoans writing in an undeciphered script known as Linear A, the Mycenaeans in Linear B, an early form of Greek.
The Mycenaeans absorbed the Minoans, but collapsed violently around 1200 BC, during a time of regional upheaval known as the Bronze Age collapse. This ushered from which written records are absent. Though the unearthed Linear B texts are too fragmentary for the reconstruction of the political landscape and can't support the existence of a larger state contemporary Hittite and Egyptian records suggest the presence of a single state under a "Great King" based in mainland Greece; the end of the Dark Ages is traditionally dated to the year of the first Olympic Games. The Iliad and the Odyssey, the foundational texts of Western literature, are believed to have been composed by Homer in the 7th or 8th centuries BC. With the end of the Dark Ages, there emerged various kingdoms and city-states across the Greek peninsula, which spread to the shores of the Black Sea, So