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Striking facts

* Lacrosse is thought to date from the 14th century, when it was played by teams of hundreds of Native Americans on pitches of up to a mile in length. Games could last several days, and were often played as a way of settling disputes between tribes.

* The name lacrosse stems from French missionary Jean de Brebeuf, who encountered it being played by two tribes in the 17th century. He observed that the sticks used resembled the crosiers carried by French bishops, and nicknamed it "la crosse".

* Lacrosse featured in the Olympics of 1904 and 1908. Three teams took part, and Canada won both tournaments.

* The men's World Championships, organised by the International Lacrosse Foundation, first took place in 1967, and have been held every four years since 1974. The US has won every tournament, except in 1978, when they narrowly lost to Canada. Nineteen countries are set to compete in next year's World Championships.

* A team representing the Iroquois Nation, including members from the Oneida, Onondaga, Cayuga, Seneca, Mohawk and Tuscarora tribes, has participated in every World Championships since 1990. The Iroquois finished fourth out of 11 teams in the 1998 tournament.

* The women's World Cup, run by the International Federation of Women's Lacrosse Association, has been held seven times. The US has emerged victorious on five occasions, with Australia grabbing the honours twice.

* Lacrosse is one of Canada's two national sports. The other is hockey.

* A men's field lacrosse team contains 10 players, while a women's team has 12. Pitches range from 60 yards by 110 yards (men's) to 70 yards by 120 yards (women's).

* Lacrosse goals are 6ft by 6ft, and the ball weighs 140-150 grams with a circumference of about 8 inches.

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