With the games now in full swing, and a significant portion of the sports fans throughout the world watching…we thought it be a good time to give a brief history lesson on the FIFA World Cup itself.
The World Cup was born on May 28, 1928, the FIFA Congress decided to host a World Championship. The inaugural 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 the 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)