History of FIFA World Cup Soccer
Courtesy of: FIFA
Soccer is the No. 1 sport in most of the world. The FIFA World Cup is an international tournament that allows any country in the world with a national soccer team may compete.
Since the World Cup was held in 2006, 204 countries submitted applications to play in this year’s 2010 World Cup to held in South Africa.
As the 2010 World Cup neared, the initial 204 teams were narrowed down down to the competing 32. As the tournament begins, 64 matches will be played before just one team remains and stands the winner above all the others.
The president of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), Jules Rimet, first suggested back in 1926 that an international soccer tournament “could reinforce the ideals of a permanent and real peace.”
Soccer fans and officials desired a need to have an international soccer tournament for national teams outside of the Olympics and other smaller tournaments.
Back then, only soccer teams made up of amateur players were admitted to the Olympics Games. But most of the world’s best players were professionals.
The World Cup was born. On May 28, 1928, the FIFA Congress decided to host a World Championship and organized by FIFA. The innagural tournament was given to the World Champions Uruguay, after all the European countries eventually withdrew their bid offers.
Unfortunately, only 13 teams participated in the first World Cup. The primary reason was the high cost of travel to South America. The 13 World Cup teams included seven from South America, four from Europe, and two teams from North America.
Even thought eh soccer tournament was commonly known as the World Cup, the championship trophy was formally named the Jules Rimet Cup. Host country Uruguay was the winner of the first championship, by beating Argentina 4-2 in the championship game.
There have been 18 World Cups held. Sadly, two were canceled due to World War II and its aftermath.
Politics have played a role in past World Cups. Back in 1950, the World Cup was the first Cup to include British teams. Great Britain actually withdrew from FIFA in 1920 because it did not want to compete against other teams it had battled against in war.
In 1974, the Jules Rimet Cup was replaced by the present day trophy, the FIFA World Cup. The FIFA World Cup is made up solid gold and malachite.
In 1982, the FIFA World Cup expanded to 24 total teams. Expansion continued in 1998, as FIFA expanded the current format to 32 teams.
The 32 teams are divided into eight groups that play round-robin tournaments. The top two teams from each group then advance into the single-elimination tournament round.
Brazil still leads in total World Cup wins with five. Italy moved into sole position of second place with four titles, with their win over France in 2006 in a thrilling 5-3 shootout after the two countries played a 1-1 draw in regulation.
Countries with the most World Cup Wins:
Brazil – 5 (2002, 1994, 1970, 1962, 1958)
Italy – 4 (2006, 1982, 1938, 1934)
West Germany – 3 (1990, 1974, 1954)