The FIFA World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world. It is an international football competition for the men’s national teams of countries that are members of FIFA or the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA).
The event is played every four years, with a new member country hosting.
The inaugural tournament happened in 1930 and since then, it has become the most popular international championship for sports, viewed and followed by millions of people from around the world.
The only times the World Cup was halted were in 1942 and 1946, during World War II.
The current champion is Spain, also listed as the number one team in the FIFA rankings. The country won the 2010 edition in South Africa. Surprisingly though, Spain has taken a very early exit in the current World Cup in Brazil, failing to qualify onto the next round.
The very first World Cup match is actually composed of two simultaneous matches. They were played on the 13th of July, 1930. France defeated Mexico with a score of 4-1 while the U.S. defeated Belgium 3-0. The first goal in the history of the tournament was scored by Lucien Laurent of France. In the finals of that tournament, Uruguay defeated the fancied Argentina with a score of 4-2. Hence, Uruguay is the first nation to hoist the World Cup trophy.
In the latest edition of the football/soccer championship, Brazil will once again be hosting. The country last hosted the tournament in 1950. FIFA has very strict standards when it comes to awarding the rights to host the championship. One of the most important requirements is sophisticated, huge, and reliable football stadiums.
For the current host, there are twelve cities that will carry out the games. Some venues have new stadiums specifically built for the World Cup while the rest have undergone major improvements and upgrades. The venues for the event are Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Cuiaba, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, and Sao Paolo. Of all the stadiums, the most popular label belongs to the Maracanã Stadium, which happens to be the host of the final to be played on the 13th of July.
For the 2014 World Cup, thirty two teams qualified. The qualification matches were held from June 2011 to November 2013. Of the thirty two countries, twenty four are returning teams, which mean they also represented their countries in the 2010 World Cup.
The countries/teams that qualified are Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, United States, Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Uruguay.
More Interesting Facts
Now you think you know everything about the World Cup? Think again. There are several interesting facts that you still don’t know about. Good news is we’re giving you some of these fun facts:
– Brazil is only the fifth country in the history of the tournament that will host for the second time. As mentioned earlier, the first time was in 1950. The last South American country to host the event is Argentina, doing it in 1978.
– Although Brazil has won five World Cups, Germany (including West Germany) holds the record for the most matches played.
– If we’re going to list twenty of the greatest players in the World Cup, there’s no doubt the name Zinedine Zidane will be included in that list, along with the greats like Pele. Zidane was a force to reckon with during his stint with France in the late 1990s. However, his legacy is tainted with the reputation of being one of the dirtiest players of the tournament, getting four yellow cards and two red cards in the process. Of course, the highlight is the head butt against Materazzi.
– What’s amazing about Roger Milla from Cameroon is that he is the very first African to play in the World Cup three times. But what’s even more amazing is the fact that he is the oldest player (at 42) to score a goal in the tournament when he did it against Russia.
– How about the most goals scored in a single match? That record belongs to Hungary. In a game against El Salvador in the 1982 edition, the team scored a whopping ten goals. The final score was 10-1.
– For the most goals scored by a player meanwhile that coveted title goes to Ronaldo of Brazil. During his stint in multiple World Cup tournaments, he managed to score fifteen goals.
– The most successful country/team in the history of the tournament is Brazil, winning it five times.
– While there are more than thirty competing teams and countries in the World Cup and the fact that the tournament has been played for 84 years now, it’s quite interesting to know that there are only eight countries that managed to hoist the Cup. These are Uruguay, Italy, Brazil, Germany, France, Argentina, England, and Spain.
It is also worthy of mentioning that although the lead up to the 2014 tournament was met with a lot of criticisms and uncertainty as to the host country’s capability of taking care of the job, it’s interesting to know that there are several new technologies introduced for the matches. The list of innovations includes the vanishing foam, goal-line technology, and the largely improved football production technology.