On 25 December 1914, British and German troops stationed on the front lines near Ypres, Belgium engaged in an impromptu football match in the no-man's land between their respective trenches. The match was part of the Christmas Truce that had begun the night before when the opposing sides took a break from hostilities to sing Christmas carols and exchange gifts.
On Christmas morning, the British Royal Welch Fusiliers left their trench to meet the German troops. Someone produced a football, though no one involved could later recall who provided it or where it was obtained, and the game began. According to Fusilier Corporal Bernie Felstead, "It was not a game as such--more of a kick-around and a free-for-all. There could have been 50 on each side for all I know." The game lasted about a half hour and no one kept score.
In most areas, the truce lasted through Christmas night, but it extended to New Year's Day in some spots.
The Christmas Truce has been popularized in music, books, and movies, including the 2005 film Joyeux Noël.