World Cup Facts And Trivia
As if this World Cup isn’t fascinating enough, there’s a rich history and tradition surrounding the World Cup in general. Here we present you some of the interesting World Cup facts and trivia related to the World Cup, its players and significant historical events in football.
It’s as if it has a magical aura surrounding it, one which sucks us in, spellbinds us and causes us to feel we have a personal stake in it. All of this is much to the dismay of many football fan’s wives around the planet, but there’s little they can do, such as the hypnotic power of this awesome tournament! Due to that, there are always some shocking or entertaining World Cup facts and trivia to be displayed!
Here are some curious historical World Cup facts and trivia to bring you up to speed:
- The first tournament was held in 1930 when founder Jules Rimet, the third president of FIFA, decided it was time to stage an international football tournament. Little did he know it would surpass his wildest dreams and morph into a tradition that goes on to this day.
- The original tournament had only 13 teams participate in it and was held in Uruguay. They have since won the tournament twice. Uruguay always has decent World Cup odds, even though their glory days are behind them.
- The desire to hold the World Cup was sparked by the fact that football was being dropped from the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1932.
- The second World Cup was held in Italy in 1934. It was the first to put in place the qualifying process. Italy won the tournament and reigning champions Uruguay boycotted it due to lack of European teams playing.
- Uruguay again boycotted the third World Cup, this time, because it was being played in Europe, specifically France. Italy held onto their title and remained the kings of football for longer than they expected due to some tragic events on the horizon.
- Sadly, in 1942 the World Cup was cancelled as war broke out in Germany and across Europe. The 1946 tournament also had to be canceled because when the second World War ended in 1945, there simply wasn’t enough time to plan it, nor was there the will to host it by any country.
- Yet all dark periods pass and the World Cup sprang back to life in 1950 in Brazil. Reigning champs Italy did show up and take part, despite the fact that many of their national players had been killed in a tragic air accident in 1949. This World Cup also saw the return of the original champions, Uruguay, who vanquished foes Brazil on their own territory in an epic battle which ended 2-1.
- The 1954 World Cup, held in Switzerland, was the first to beam out across the world on TV. This would ultimately take football to a new level. West Germany emerged victorious over Hungary.
- 1958 saw FIFA forced to revise the rules after a political confusion saw Israel qualify without playing a single match. This World Cup is where the legendary Brazilian footballer Pele emerged, scoring two cracking goals in the final and leading Brazil to the victory.
- The World Cup is never without drama, and the 1962 tournament in Chile is no exception. A massive, 9.2 magnitude earthquake, the largest ever recorded, struck before the World Cup qualifications began and damaged the stadium, forcing developers to scramble and fix it before the tournament started. Brazil won again, retaining their title.
- In true World Cup fashion, disaster and drama struck the 1966 cup when the trophy itself was stolen in host country England. Thankfully, a dog named Pickles discovered it, hitting the headlines around the world. Home team England won this year, the first and only time they have ever won the World Cup.
- In 1970, Brazil did the unthinkable and won their third consecutive World Cup, making their mark on football history forever. They were awarded the Jules Rimet trophy for their achievement.
- The 1974 tournament was relatively dismal compared to the flamboyance and all-out shenanigans of the previous ones. Hosts, West Germany took the trophy, and in a shock upset, barely known Poland defeated reigning champs Brazil to take third place.
- In 1978, Tunisia and Iran entered the World Cup for the first time, and Tunisia became the first ever African country to win a World Cup game, winning 3-1 over Mexico. Host team Argentina won, sending the Dutch home with second place prizes.
- In 1982 the World Cup expanded to allow 24 teams to compete. Hosted in Spain, a number of new teams made an appearance including Cameroon and New Zealand, proving the World Cup was becoming a truly global phenomenon. In true style, a heated argument broke out during the France and Kuwait game when Kuwait stopped playing due to a whistle blown in the crowd, allowing France to score. Italy took the World Cup yet again.
- In 1986 the World Cup made its way back to Mexico and saw several more new teams join the ranks including Canada and Iraq. This was the tournament in which Argentine player Diego Maradona scored his now infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England. Argentina went on to win the trophy against West Germany in the final.
- 1990 saw the tournament held in Italy. In characteristic style, a major drama unfolded when Chile, down to Brazil, got disqualified after a firework was thrown onto the pitch and the goalkeeper, Rojas faked an injury by cutting his own face with a razor blade he had in his glove. The entire plot was discovered and Rojas was banned for 12 years. This time, West Germany took revenge and beat Argentina in the final to become champions.
- 1994 became the first World Cup in history to be decided by penalties. In a nail-biting final, Brazil defeated Italy. For Argentina, Maradona’s tenure ended in disgrace mid-way through the tournament as he tested positive for drugs, and tragedy struck as Colombian defender Andreas Escobar was murdered after his own goal saw Colombia eliminated from the tournament.
- In the 1998 World Cup in France, the tournament expanded yet again allowing 32 teams to compete in the finals. Iran set a staggering record beating the Maldives 17-0 in the qualification round. In the end, France was victorious and was crowned champions.
- For the first time, in 2002, the World Cup was held in Asia and was hosted jointly by Japan and South Korea. Australia topped Iran’s record for widest margin of victory after they slaughtered Western Samoa 31-0. In the end, it would be another notch on the belt for Brazil, who beat Germany 2-0 and secured their fifth World Cup title.
- In 2006 the tournament returned to Germany. It was a relatively drama-free affair for a change, except for the red card received by the French captain Zinedine Zidane in the final. After a 1-1 draw, Italy went on to take the title again after a tense penalty shootout.
- 2010 saw the World Cup hosted on African soil for the first time. In South Africa, Spain would take the title of champions for the first time.
- In 2014, the last World Cup, the tournament was held in Brazil and saw Germany defeat Argentina in the finals to become current reigning champions. There was a little drama as players struggled with the crushingly hot temperatures, leading to the introduction of cooling periods.
So, as you can see, the World Cup is rarely without drama. From cheating to theft to murder to drug suspensions and more, this is so much more than just a football tournament – it’s a carnival and a storybook in and of itself.
Some of the greatest moments in sporting history have happened at the World Cup. Will the upcoming one live of to expectations? If the World Cup qualifiers are anything to go by, we’re in for a treat!
Did you know: Brazil has appeared in every World Cup since it began in 1930. They also hold the record for most World Cup wins with 5 cups in the trophy cabinet. Brazil is almost always favourites in the odds, and if not, are a close second or third.
World Cup Facts And Trivia – Summary
We hope you enjoyed these World Cup Facts And Trivia! For more info about World Cup 2018, click here!