World Cup History
Over 200 teams enter the qualifications for the World Cup, but only 32 make it to the end. All tournaments held so far have been won by a total of eight different national teams, with Brazil lifting the trophy a total of 5 times. Considering they are the hosting nation for this edition, the majority of bookmakers are predicting a 6th outright win.
However, we wouldn’t want to disregard the Netherlands, who has been credited as the best team to ever take part in the World Cup but never win it. To date they have managed to find themselves as runners up three times, most recently in 2010. This is the team that gave the world countless legends — of course everyone remembers Johan Cruyff. The Dutch playmaker managed to make his team one of the most respected national teams, while at the same time having the vision which allowed him to make a path to the goal from any situation.
England consider themselves the inventors of modern day football, that beautiful style of play that captivates the attention of everyone around the planet. However, this team seems to be under some kind of curse, as they always seem to get eliminated as a result of penalty shootouts.
Spain was considered the under performers for years until they won the last edition of the World Cup in 2010. This is the team that always showcases some of the biggest talents, yet has never lived up to expectations until recently. France is another underachiever, winning their first World Cup in 1998, but until then they have been pretty solid performers.
Argentina looks like one of the teams ready to challenge Brazil’s dominance on the football arena, and their displays of power never leave anyone indifferent. Previously they had Diego Maradona to charm the crowds; now they have Lionel Messi. And we can’t wait to see what else they have in store for us after managing to win the trophy 2 times.
Italy is a team that could give a master class to anyone about defense, and if their 4 World Cup titles can teach us anything, it’s that one should never disregard them even if their current form is not one of the best.
And we’ve come to Germany, the team to play the most organized style of football ever. It’s no wonder they’re called a German machine, seeing as their efficiency and ability to play until the very last second has always secured them a spot among the first three standing nations at the end of the World Cup. They even managed to win the trophy three times and be remembered as the ruthless team that takes no prisoners when scoring goals.
For the very first edition held in 1930 in Uruguay, there wasn’t a draw, and there weren’t qualifications. There were only teams being present by invitation. The first winners were the hosts, and up until 1978 there were only 16 teams taking part. After a few years the number rose to 24 and to 32 since 1998, so now the automatic qualification is given only to the hosts, while the winners have to undergo qualification levels like everybody else.
While there may be favorites on paper, the odds of some great upsets and big wins are as high as ever. There hasn’t been a single World Cup without them. In the end it’s all about the Golden Trophy; all matches lead to it, the moment when the captain of a national team lifts it over his head and declares that his team is the best in the world.
We’ve compiled some facts and data to help you remember different editions of previous World Cups, so that by knowing the past you can get ready for the future:
- Pele is the only player who managed to win three World Cups: in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
- The highest scoring game in World Cup history took place in 1954 in the match between Austria and Switzerland, when Austria won with 7-5.
- In the 2006 World Cup match between the Netherlands and Portugal, the Russian referee Valentin Ivanov showed a record of 16 yellow cards to both teams.
- Dino Zoff, the coveted Italian goalkeeper, was 40 years old when he helped his team win the title in 1982, becoming the oldest player to do so.
- Oliver Kahn is the only goalkeeper to have won the Golden Ball trophy as the best player of a World Cup edition.
- The first goal in the World Cup was scored by Lucien Laurent, the French player who opened the scoring table in a 4-1 win against Mexico in the inaugural game in 1930.
- The 2010 World Cup edition in South Africa amassed 260 yellow cards and 17 red cards. The Netherlands ended up as “winners” with 25 yellow cards for the entire tournament, while Australia, Uruguay, Brazil and Algeria each had 2 red cards per team.
- The first ever World Cup in 1930 took place in one city: Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay.
- In 2002 Brazil and Germany met for the very first time in a World Cup match.
- The first game to end in a goalless draw was in 1958 in clash between Brazil and England.