As preparations intensify for the FIFA 2022 World Cup later this year in Qatar, we bring you some facts, some trivia and some general knowledge about the biggest sporting festival in the world.
The FIFA World Cup is the biggest sporting festival in the world and by extension, the most prestigious football competition in the world. A host nation is decided by FIFA’s executive Council to host the top 32 national teams in the world for a month-long tournament every four years.
However the current format of the World Cup has seen a lot of changes since its inception in 1930.
FIFA was formed as a seven-nation organisation of European countries namely France, Belgium, Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.
As these nations continued to play each other in football tournaments, interest in a global tournament began to grow. After a back-and-forth with the International Olympic committee who were already hosting football tournaments as an Olympic sport, FIFA decided to come up with their own tournament which allowed nations to select players only from local leagues.
The first FIFA World Cup tournament was hosted by Uruguay in 1930 and had only 13 Nations participating. Uruguay was selected as the first nation to host the World Cup because they were the winners of the last two Olympic gold medals in men’s football (1924 and 1928).
As was expected, Uruguay won the first ever World Cup in 1930 as they were the best team on display at the time.
The games have continued every four years to this day, with the only break happening when World War II began in 1942. The World Cup picked up again in 1950 with Uruguay winning their second ever World Cup to date.
FIFA has since officially stamped its authority as the chief footballing organisation in the world. It consists of 208 member football federations of countries across all continents on Earth.
There have been 21 tournaments including Uruguay 1930 across many nations and many federations. There have even been a few inter-confederation hosting of the tournament in its history.
However, no country outside of Europe or South America has ever won the World Cup.
The nation with the most World Cup wins in history is Brazil with five wins from the 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002 tournaments.
Italy and Germany are the second most successful nations at the World Cup with four wins each. Italy’s four wins came from the 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006 tournaments while Germany’s four wins came from the 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014 tournaments.
Brazil remains the only nation to have competed in all 21 FIFA World Cup tournaments held so far and they have also qualified for the upcoming tournament in Qatar this December.