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2022 World Cup Banner (courtesy FIFA)

FROM WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men’s national teams of the members of the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport’s global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champion is France, which won its second title at the 2018 tournament in Russia.

The current format involves a qualification phase, which takes place over the preceding three years, to determine which teams qualify for the tournament phase. In the tournament phase, 32 teams, including the automatically qualifying host nation(s), compete for the title at venues within the host nation(s) over about a month.

As of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, twenty-one final tournaments have been held and a total of 79 national teams have competed. The trophy has been won by eight national teams. Brazil have won five times, and they are the only team to have played in every tournament. The other World Cup winners are Germany and Italy, with four titles each; Argentina, France, and inaugural winner Uruguay, with two titles each; and England and Spain, with one title each.

The World Cup is the most prestigious association football tournament in the world, as well as the most widely viewed and followed single sporting event in the world. The cumulative viewership of all matches of the 2006 World Cup was estimated to be 26.29 billion with an estimated 715.1 million people watching the final match, a ninth of the entire population of the planet.

17 countries have hosted the World Cup. Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, and Mexico have each hosted twice, while Uruguay, Switzerland, Sweden, Chile, England, Argentina, Spain, the United States, Japan and South Korea (jointly), South Africa, and Russia have each hosted once. Qatar will host the 2022 tournament, and 2026 will be jointly hosted by Canada, the United States, and Mexico, which will give Mexico the distinction of being the first country to host games in three World Cups.

ATTENDANCE

dagger Source: FIFA

double-dagger The best-attended single match, shown in the last three columns, has been the final in 11 of the 21 World Cups as of 2018. Another match or matches drew more attendance than the final in 1930, 1938, 1958, 1962, 1970–1982, 1990, and 2006.

RESULTS

THE KEY

Notes

  1. ^ There was no third place match in 1930; the two losing semi-finalists are ranked according to their overall records in the tournament.
  2. Jump up to:a b The final stage in 1950 was a round-robin group of four teams. Coincidentally, one of the last two matches pitted together the top two teams (and the only two who could win the title), and the other was between the bottom two teams. Uruguay v Brazil is often considered the de facto final of the 1950 World Cup.

In all, 79 nations have played in at least one World Cup. Of these, eight national teams have won the World Cup, and they have added stars to their badges, with each star representing a World Cup victory. (Uruguay, however, choose to display four stars on their badge, representing their two gold medals at the 1924 and 1928 Summer Olympics, which are recognised by FIFA as World Championships, and their two World Cup titles in 1930 and 1950).

With five titles, Brazil are the most successful World Cup team and also the only nation to have played in every World Cup (21) to date. Brazil were also the first team to win the World Cup for the third (1970), fourth (1994) and fifth (2002) time. Italy (1934 and 1938) and Brazil (1958 and 1962) are the only nations to have won consecutive titles. West Germany (1982–1990) and Brazil (1994–2002) are the only nations to appear in three consecutive World Cup finals. Germany has made the most top-four finishes (13), medals (12), as well as the most finals (8).

COURTESY FIFA & WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

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