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an early illustration of the
that all players taking part for england in future international matches be presented with a white silk cap with red rose embroidered on the front. these to be termed international caps.
the act of awarding a cap is now international and is applied to other sports. although in some sports physical caps may not now always be given (whether at all or for each appearance) the term "cap" for an international or other appearance has been retained as an indicator of the number of occasions on which a sportsperson has represented a team in a particular sport. thus, a "cap" is awarded for each game played and so a player who has played x games, for the team, is said to have been capped x times or have won x caps.
the practice of awarding a physical cap varies from sport to sport. it may be awarded prior to a player's debut or, particularly for national teams, a commemorative cap may be awarded after a player reaches the 100th cap.