The history of FIFA World Cup

World Cup trophyThere is nothing in football that can compare with the World Cup. Even though the UEFA Champions League may produce games in the same quality it can't overreach the status earned from the long tradition and the fact that one team represent a single country. No other sport event can compete in significance: the latest FIFA World Cup reached 3.2 billion television viewers worldwide and one billion watched the final.

All World Cup tournaments

The first World Cup was played in Uruguay and since then the tournament has been held every fourth year (with exceptions for interruption due to the Second World War). Since the first official World Cup in 1930 FIFA had remain the organizer. There was, however, unofficial pre-FIFA World Cups already in the late 1800s, in a time then only few national teams existed. Another unofficial "world cup" arranged before 1930 was Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy held in 1909 and 1911. Besides that, the Summer Olympic football competitions would be a mark of which the best national teams were before 1930 - the Olympic tournaments consisted however only of amateur teams due to the regulations, so the World Cup became the real deal.

1930: Urugay

Official poster World Cup 1930The FIFA World Cup 1930 was played in Uruguay 3 July-30 July, with 13 nations.

The 1930 World Cup

1934: Italy

Official poster World Cup 1934The FIFA World Cup 1934 was played in Italy 27 May-10 June, with 16 nations.

The 1934 World Cup

1938: France

Official poster World Cup 1938The FIFA World Cup 1938 was played in France 4-19 June, with 16 nations.

The 1938 World Cup

1950: Brazil

Official poster World Cup 1950The FIFA World Cup 1950 was played in Brazil 24 June-16 July, with 15 nations.

The 1950 World Cup

1954: Switzerland

Official poster World Cup 1954The FIFA World Cup 1954 was played in Switzerland 16 June-4 July, with 16 nations.

The 1954 World Cup

1958: Sweden

Official poster World Cup 1958The FIFA World Cup 1958 was played in Sweden 8-29 June, with 16 nations.

The 1958 World Cup

1962: Chile

Official poster World Cup 1962The FIFA World Cup 1962 was played in Chile 30 May-17 June, with 16 nations.

The 1962 World Cup

1966: England

Official poster World Cup 1966The FIFA World Cup 1966 was played in England 11-30 July, with 16 nations.

The 1966 World Cup

1970: Mexico

Official poster World Cup 1970The FIFA World Cup 1970 was played in Mexico 31 May-21 June, with 16 nations.

The 1970 World Cup

1974: West Germany

Official poster World Cup 1974The FIFA World Cup 1974 was played in West Germany 13 June-7 July, with 16 nations.

The 1974 World Cup

1978: Argentina

Official poster World Cup 1978The FIFA World Cup 1978 was played in Argentina 1-25 June, with 16 nations.

The 1978 World Cup

1982: Spain

Official poster World Cup 1982The FIFA World Cup 1982 was played in Spain 13 June-11 July, with 24 nations.

The 1982 World Cup

1986: Mexico

Official poster World Cup 1986The FIFA World Cup 1986 was played in Mexico 31 May-29 June, with 24 nations.

The 1986 World Cup

1990: Italy

Official poster World Cup 1990The FIFA World Cup 1990 was played in Italy 8 June-8 July, with 24 nations.

The 1990 World Cup

1994: United States

Official poster World Cup 1994The FIFA World Cup 1994 was played in United States 17 June-17 July, with 24 nations.

The 1994 World Cup

1998: France

Official poster World Cup 1998The FIFA World Cup 1998 was played in France 10 June-12 July, with 32 nations.

The 1998 World Cup

2002: Korea/Japan

Official poster World Cup 2002The FIFA World Cup 2002 was played in Korea/Japan 31 May-30 June, with 32 nations.

The 2002 World Cup

2006: Germany

Official poster World Cup 2006The FIFA World Cup 2006 was played in Germany 9 June-9 July, with 32 nations.

The 2006 World Cup

2010: South Africa

Official poster World Cup 2010The FIFA World Cup 2010 was played in South Africa 11 June-11 July, with 32 nations.

The 2010 World Cup

2014: Brazil

Official poster World Cup 2014The FIFA World Cup 2014 was played in Brazil 12 June-13 July, with 32 nations.

The 2014 World Cup

Teams with most titles and finals

Statistics of all national teams that have won or played a final together with numbers of participations in World Cup.

Team Titles Finals Participations
Brazil 5 7 20
Germany 4 8 18
Italy 4 6 18
Argentina 2 3 16
Uruguay 2 2 12
France 1 2 14
England 1 1 14
Spain 1 1 14
Netherlands 0 3 10
Czechoslovakia 0 2 9
Hungary 0 2 9
Sweden 0 1 11

Top goalscorers

These players have made most goals in a single World Cup.

Player Goals Team Year
Just Fontaine 13 France 1958
Sándor Kocsis 11 Hungary 1954
Gerd Müller 10 West Germany 1970
Eusébio 9 Portugal 1966
Guillermo Stábile 8 Argentina 1930
Ademir 8 Brazil 1950
Ronaldo 8 Brazil 2002
Leônidas 7 Brazil 1938
Jairzinho 7 Brazil 1958
Grzegorz Lato 7 Poland 1974

There are many players that have done 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) and James Rodríguez (2014).

The five players that have made most goals overall are Miroslav Klose (16 goals in 4 tournaments), Ronaldo (15 goals in 3 tournaments), Gerd Müller (14 goals in 2 tournaments), Just Fontaine (13 goals in 1 tournament) and Péle (12 goals in 4 tournaments).

World Cup Awards

In connection to the World Cup several awards are given to some players. The most known is The Golden Ball that is an award that goes to the best player in a FIFA World Cup. Candidates are decided by FIFA which media representatives are voting on. Besides the Golden Ball there are also the Silver Ball and the Bronze Ball together with the Golden Boot (top goalscorer) and the Golden Glove (best goalkeeper).

World Cup by continents

A performance comparison by continents (including World Cup 1930-2014).

Continent Titles To reach final To reach semi-finals
Europe 11 26 56
South America 9 14 22
Asia 0 0 1
Central & North America 0 0 0
Africa 0 0 0
Oceania 0 0 0

Numbers of participants and games

The following table shows the numbers of participating team in all World Cup tournaments. The numbers in the second column concerns the final stage and the third column all teams that took part in the qualification. In addition, you can see the numbers of games (qualification games excluded) in the fourth column.

Year Teams
(final)
Teams
(qualification)
Games
(final)
1930 13 no qualification 18
1934 16 32 17
1938 16* 37 18
1950 15** 36 22
1954 16 37 26
1958 16 55 35
1962 16 56 32
1966 16 74 32
1970 16 75 32
1974 16 99 38
1978 16 107 38
1982 24 109 52
1986 24 121 52
1990 24 116 52
1994 24 147 52
1998 32 174 64
2002 32 199 64
2006 32 197 64
2010 32 204 64
2014 32 203 64

* Austria were abolished before the first game of political reasons.
** France and India withdraw after qualification.

World Cup finals

Table of all finals.

Year Home team* Away team* Result
1930 Uruguay Argentina 4-2
1934 Italy Czechoslovakia 2-1 (a.e.t)
1938 Hungary Italy 2-4
1950** Uruguay Brazil 2-1
1954 West Germany Hungary 3-2
1958 Brazil Sweden 5-2
1962 Brazil Czechoslovakia 3-1
1966 England West Germany 4-2 (a.e.t.)
1970 Brazil Italy 4-1
1974 Netherlands West Germany 1-2
1978 Netherlands Argentina 1-3 (a.e.t.)
1982 Italy West Germany 3-1
1986 Argentina West Germany 3-2
1990 West Germany Argentina 1-0
1994 Brazil Italy (0-0) 3-2 (pen.)
1998 Brazil France 0-3
2002 Germany Brazil 0-2
2006 Italy France (1-1) 6-4 (pen.)
2010 Netherlands Spain 0-1 (a.e.t.)
2014 Germany Argentina 1-0 (a.e.t.)

* The home and away team are only technical.
** No final was played since the tournament was decided by a group phase in which the listed match was the most decisive.
a.e.t. stands for after extra time.
pen. stands for penalties, meaning the match was decided after extra time plus penalty shootout.

The home advantage

One noticeable aspect in the World Cup history is that the home team has been over performing. In six occasions has the home team has won the World Cup. Besides that many teams that normally doesn’t compete with the biggest team had gone far in the tournament then playing at home ground. For example Sweden in 1958, reaching the final, and South Korea in 2006, reaching the Semi-finals.

References:
http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/news/y=2015/m=12/news=2014-fifa-world-cuptm-reached-3-2-billion-viewers-one-billion-watched--2745519.html
http://www.fifa.com/fifa-tournaments/statistics-and-records/worldcup/