The FIFA World Cup is International Football’s absolute highlight. Held every four years, one (sometimes two nations) hosts the World Cup over a period of one month. The present World Cup format is that after nearly 3 years of qualifying for some nations, 32 teams make the final. Is a massively viewed event, with an estimated 715.1 million (a ninth of the world’s population) viewing the 2006 final. The World Cup has all the biggest Footballing stars playing with a huge amount of Premier League players.
The FIFA World Cup was held for the first time in 1930 although due to the Second World War it was absent in 1942 and 1946. It was hosted in a total of 17 separate nations, including Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, Mexico, Uruguay, Switzerland, Sweden, Chile, England, Argentina, Spain, USA, Japan and South Korea (collectively), South Africa and Russia. The next World Cup will be held in Qatar while the 2026 World Cup will be hosted jointly by Canada, the United States and Mexico.
Uruguay hosted the inaugural World Cup, organized by the then FIFA President Jules Rimet. The fact that it was in South America meant that there was no particular interest in European teams. At that moment, the price level of traveling the Atlantic was highly expensive. However, Belgium, France, Romania and Yugoslavia agreed to create the journey together with seven South American countries and two North American countries. The host country that defeated Argentina 4-2 in front of a 93,000 crowd in Montevideo won the tournament.
The World Cup held in France in 1934 was again marred by travel problems while only Brazil and Cuba traveled to Italy in 1938. Before World War 2 came, Italy won both contests. That said, there were 16 teams in both tournaments and that was the situation until 1982 when the number of teams rose.
First time after problems with FIFA dating back to 1920, the 1950 World Cup saw British teams join the World Cup. For the second time, Uruguay won the Cup after defeating Brazil’s hosts in the final. Hosted by Switzerland in 1954, West Germany saw their first Jules Rimet trophy with a 3-2 win at Bern’s Wankdorf Stadium, before Brazil became the only non-European team to win the European World Cup after winning Sweden in 1958. This saw an extraordinarily youthful Pele emerge.
Brazil retained the 1962 World Cup in Chile before England, of course, won their only home soil World Cup when, thanks to the Geoff Hurst hat trick, they defeated Germany 4-2. But has it been over the line? Brazil won its third of four World Cups in 1970 when it triumphed in Mexico. For a long moment, this team has been regarded the biggest to grace the stage of the World Cup.
The host country won both 1974 and 1978, while West Germany and Argentina won respectively. Spain hosted their first and only World Cup in 1982 with Italy lifting their first trophy since 1938, while Mexico hosted another World Cup just 16 years later. While at this tournament the’ hand of god’ was an iconic moment, there is little doubt that the overall performance of Diego Maradona was the greatest highlight as Argentina triumphed again.
The 1990s started with Germany winning Italia 90, a tournament in which England painfully fell to the eventual penalty winners in the semi-finals. The USA hosted their first World Cup in 1994 as Brazil triumphed again in what was likely the worst football game ever witnessed by the world, defeating Italy on penalties.
Brazil reached the final again in 1998, but this time they were convincingly beaten by France 3-0 hosts. FIFA attempted to introduce the Golden Goal for the first time, a method by which France advanced in the contest previously. Brazil won its latest World Cup in 2002 when it was first sent to Asia in its history. The World Cup was overshadowed by match-fixing rumors about SouthKorea co-hosts, but after Brazil beat Germany 2-0 in the final, Ronaldo bagged the Golden boot. Ronaldinho also emerged on the international scene in this contest.
Italy beat France when Germany again hosted the final in 2006 when Zinedine Zidane in the neck, famously head-butted Marco Matterazzi, was sent off in the final. Finally, the match was resolved on penalties. Spain’s squad, which also won the Euros straight before and after, came into being in 2010. In 2014, Germany shattered Brazilian dreams by thumping the hosts 7-1 in the semi-finals before beating Argentina’s Lionel Messi in the final after extra time.
Last year’s World Cup’s latest edition was in Russia. France triumphed in the final after beating Croatia’s surprise package 4-2. England also reached its first semi-final since 1990.
While 32 teams have disputed latest World Cups, the next one in Qatar will compete with 48 teams. There has been a lot of bad press about this World Cup and FIFA and UEFA representatives have lost their employment because of supposed wrongdoing in giving the World Cup to Qatar.
The World Cup Trophy
The Jules Rimet was the trophy awarded from 1930-1970. It was merely called’ the World Cup’ initially. The trophy was infamously lacking in England before the 1966 World Cup, but was discovered in a hedge by Pickles the dog when his proprietor took him out for a stroll. His owner received $ 5,000.
This trophy was awarded to Brazil for retention in 1970, but in 1983 the trophy was again stolen and allegedly melted by thieves. The new trophy has been intended by Silvio Gazzaniga and is strong gold. The winners will not hold the trophy for any period of time, but will be awarded a gold plated one immediately after the presentation.
Host nation selection process The World Cup was simply distributed between the Americas and Europe alternatively between 1958 and 1998. Since then, they have been shared with Asia and Africa. When the 2010 World Cup was hosted by South Africa and 2014 by Brazil, it was the first time for two successive World Cups outside Europe.
FIFA World Cup Facts
- South Africa is the only host country that has failed to qualify after the first phase
- Six of the eight teams that won the World Cup have all done so as a host. The only exception is Spain and Brazil.
- Thirty-five billion (almost half of the world’s population) watched the 2018 World Cup at some stage.
- The oldest goal scorer of the World Cup is Roger Milla. When he scored in the USA in 1994, the Cameroonian was 42.
- India withdrew in 1950 because bare feet were not permitted to play.
- The most condensed host will be the Qatar World Cup. All the grounds are within a radius of 55 km.
- The largest distance between two venues in the 2018 Russia World Cup was the distance equal from Moscow to London.
- In 1954, Austria beat Switzerland 7-5 was the highest scoring match in the history of the World Cup.