Many Americans have often wondered what the rest of the world finds so appealing about soccer, and perhaps we now have an answer.

Soccer fans get as turned on watching a big match as they do during a night of making love, according to a new study out of Europe.

Fox Sports Soccer reports researchers from Spain and the Netherlands examined hormone levels of 50 Spanish soccer fans watching the 2010 World Cup finals between those two countries. That event drew 8.5 million viewers in the Netherlands (90 percent of all TV viewers) and 15.6 million watched in Spain (86 percent of all TV viewers).

As a result of the study it was discovered that the sex hormone testosterone levels shot up in both male and female soccer fans, win or lose.

In addition, scientists found an increase in the "stress" hormone cortisol. This led researcher Leander van deer Melj to declare it was the result of what's known as the "social self-preservation theory."

Increase in cortisol secretion particularly showed, younger fans especially, felt their social status or acceptance was threatened if the team they pulled for lost.

The study done by researchers from the University of Valencia in Spain and VU University Amsterdam in the Netherlands was published April 18, in the journal PLoS ONE.

Follow Ben Maller on Twitter @BenMaller.

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