The World Cup is the most important international soccer tournament and winning this trophy is a source of huge pride for any country. The tournament has a long history and was first disputed in 1930, where only 13, mostly South-American teams participated. As the years went on, the tournament grew, Brazil has the most titles, Germany have lost the most finals and Uruguay was the first winner of the competition. Check out these and other facts about the World Cup!
The first World Cup took place in Montevideo, Uruguay in 1930. The competition was created by the Frenchmen Jules Rimet who, inspired by the success of the Olympic Games, had the idea of bringing nations together through soccer. Just 13 national teams participated on that occasion, with just four European countries crossing the Atlantic by boat to compete in the tournament: Belgium, France and Romania and Yugoslavia. The other participants were: Peru, USA, Paraguay, Chile, Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia and Uruguay. The hosts Uruguay were the winners, defeating Argentina 4-2.
Due to the Second World War, the tournament didn’t take place in 1942 and 1946. The Olympics were also suspended for this time.
The World Cup’s top scorer is the retired German striker Miroslav Klose who, in 24 games over four tournaments (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014) scored a total of 16 goals. Second place belongs to the Brazilian player Ronaldo, ‘The Phenomenon’ who scored 15 goals in four tournaments (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006), playing in just 19 games. The former French player Just Fontaine still holds the record for top scorer in a single World Cup. In 1958 he scored 13 goals. This tally makes him the fourth top scorer in World Cup history.
The fastest goal of the competition was in 2002 and took just 11 seconds to be scored. Former Turkish international player, Hakan Sukur, scored in the 3rd/4th place playoff between Turkey and South Korea. Turkey ended up winning the game 3-2.
In the twenty previous editions of the World Cup, the team with the most trophies is Brazil. They have won the competition on five occasions, taking the trophy home in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. The German national team is in second place with four trophies, in 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014. Germany is the current holder of the trophy, as the World Cup is held every four years. The Italian national team has also won four World Cups, the same amount as Germany. The Italians won the competition in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006. Just after Italy is Argentina, with two wins in 1978 and 1986. Uruguay also have two World Cup trophies. The first edition in 1930, when they hosted, and another in 1950. The French national team has also won the World Cup, in 1998 and 2018. England also have one trophy, won in 1966. Also on the list of World Cup champions are Spain, who won the trophy in 2010.
The national team with the record of most finals lost is Germany, who have been runners-up four times in 1966, 1982, 1986 and 2002.
The player who has played on a winning team the most times is Brazilian, Pelé, who has won three World Cups altogether, in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He is also the youngest scorer, and winner of the competition, at just 17 years old.
At the other end of the scale, retired goalkeeper Dino Zoff is the oldest player to win the competition. In the 1982 edition, won by Italy, he was 40 years old.
The most decorated coach in World Cup history is Italian Vittorio Pozzo (1886-1968), with two victories, being the only manager so far to achieve such a feat, in 1934 and 1938.
In qualification for the World Cup, Spain and Germany are the only national teams who have managed to win ten out of ten games. In Spain’s case they managed this in 2010, while Germany achieved it in qualification for the 2018 World Cup which will take place in Russia.