In British football if neither team scores a goal, the score is said to be: nil-nil or nil-nil draw. Curiously, the winning team's results are always spoken first. So if Arsenal are playing home the score will be written as:
Arsenal 0 Manchester Utd 1 but when spoken: "Manchester Utd 1, Arsenal nil" or "Arsenal lost 1 nil".
I know that nil is derived from Latin nihil, which means nulla, niente in Italian, and nothing in English but why wasn't the Old English nowiht (nought) preferred? Could it be that the game was first introduced into Britain by the Romans, and the Latin term nihil, stuck? There is a short reference in Wikipedia which claims:
Certainly the Romans played ball games, in particular, Harpastum. There is also one reference to ball games being played in southern Britain prior to the Norman Conquest.
There are sources that claim the forefather of modern football is calcio fiorentino played in 15th century Florence, which suggests that the sport had continued to be played in Italy long after the fall of the Roman empire.
To further back up my hypothesis, English football is not alone in using the term nil. The French and Dutch say nul; the Greeks, nil; the Russians, ноль (nol); the Swedes, noll; the Norwegians and Germans, null, and the Hungarians nulla. Surprisingly, the Italians use the term zero, and the Spanish, cero.
Am I therefore correct in thinking the Latin-derived term nil is used in British football because of the Roman conquests?
If not, what is the history of nil, a word I barely, if ever, hear outside the realm of football? When was it first introduced in British football (soccer)?