History of the FIFA World Cup

Nothing in football can compare to the World Cup. While the Uefa Champions League can produce games of the same quality, it cannot surpass the status gained from long tradition and the fact that one team represents an entire country. No other sporting event can compete in such a significant way: the latest FIFA World Cup reached more than three billion television viewers worldwide and one billion watched the final.


Before the World Cup was inaugurated, the soccer tournaments held as part of the Summer Olympics were given the most prestigious awards. But in the 1920s, the game faced a transition to professionalism that was incompatible with the Olympic spirit. Therefore, the governing body, FIFA, NFL made plans to organize the World Cup. The decision to prepare the first edition was officially announced on May 26, 1928.

All World Cup tournaments

The first official World Cup was played in Uruguay in 1930, and since the tournament has been held every fourth year (with the exception of interruptions due to the Second World War). However, the unofficial pre-FIFA World Cup existed in the late 1800s, when few national teams existed. Another unofficial “world cup” held before 1930 was the Sir Thomas Lipton Cup which was held in 1909 and 1911. In addition, the Summer Olympics football competition would be the mark of the best national team before 1930. However, the Olympic and tennis tournament consisted only of from an amateur team – the World Cup becomes the “real deal”.

The team with the most titles and finals

Statistics of all national teams that won or played in the finals along with the number of participation in the World Cup for the period 1930-2018.

All finals including the winners of the 1930-2018 World Cup tournament. World Cup Final

Home advantages * The home and away teams are only technical in nature.
† No final match is played as the tournament is determined by the group phase in which the match registered is the most decisive.
aet means after an extension of time.
pen. stands for penalty shootout, meaning the match is decided after extra time and the result includes a penalty shootout.

One of the important aspects in the history of the World Cup is that the home team has gone too far. On six occasions, the home team won the competition. In addition, many teams that don’t normally compete with the greatest teams have gone far in the tournament then played at home. For example, Sweden reached the final in 1958 and South Korea reached the semifinals in 2006.

Top scorer

These players have scored the most goals in a single World Cup.

The five players who have scored the most goals overall are Ronaldo (18 goals in 4 tournaments), Miroslav Klose (16 goals in 4 tournaments), Gerd Müller (14 goals in 2 tournaments), Just Fontaine (13 goals in 1 tournament) and Péle. (12 goals in 4 tournaments). There are many players who have scored six goals in one World Cup and these are: Erich Probst (1954), Josef Hügi (1954), Max Morlock (1954), Pelé (1958), Helmut Rahn (1958), Helmut Haller (1966) , Mario Kempes (1978), Paolo Rossi (1982), Gary Lineker (1986), Salvatore Schillaci (1990), Hristo Stoichkov (1994), Oleg Salenko (1994), Davor Šuker (1998), James Rodríguez (2014) and Harry Kane (2018).

World Cup Awards

In connection with the World Cup, several awards were given to several players. The most famous of which is the Golden Ball which was awarded to the best player at the FIFA World Cup. Candidates are decided by FIFA who are selected by media representatives. Apart from the Golden Ball there are also Silver Balls and Bronze Balls along with Golden Boots (top scorer) and Golden Gloves (best goalkeeper).

World Cup by continent

Performance comparison by continent (1930-2018 World Cup tournament).

Table 5 shows the number of teams participating in each World Cup tournament. The numbers in the second column discuss the final stage and the third column for all the teams that enter the qualifiers. Additionally, the number of games played (qualifying matches excluded) is shown in the fourth column.

Number of participants and games

Austria’s prize money * was written off before the first game for political reasons.
† France and India withdraw after qualifying.

The prize money for tournaments has increased considerably over the years. The total prize money for the 2018 FIFA World Cup is $ 791 million (winners receive $ 35 million), which can be compared to $ 20 million for the 1982 FIFA World Cup.

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