Countries’ best for World Cup
Today, MIDWEEK SPORT kicks off its countdown to the 2014 World Cup Finals, scheduled for Brazil from June 12 to July 13 with a look at the tournament’s format and winners from the inaugural event in 1930 to the last tournament in 2010.
The?FIFA World Cup was established in 1930 when the inaugural tournament was held. It is contested by the men’s national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport’s global governing body.
The tournament has been held every four years, except in 1942 and 1946, when the competition was cancelled due to World War II.
The most recent World Cup, hosted by South Africa in 2010, was won by Spain, who beat the Netherlands 1-0 after extra time.
This year’s World Cup is scheduled to be held in Brazil from June 12 to July 13 while the next two World Cups will be hosted by Russia in 2018, and Qatar in 2022.
A qualification phase, which takes place over the preceding three years, is used to determine which teams qualify for the Finals together with the host nation.
The World Cup Finals are the last phase of the competition, with the current format of the tournament involving 32 teams competing for the title at venues within the host nation over a period of about a month. The results determine which country’s team is declared world champions.
The tournament has been decided by a one-off match on every occasion except 1950, when the tournament winner was decided by a final round-robin group contested by four teams (Uruguay, Brazil, Sweden, and Spain). Uruguay’s 2-1 victory over Brazil was the decisive match (and one of the last two matches of the tournament) which put them ahead on points and ensured that they finished top of the group as world champions. Therefore, this match is regarded by FIFA as the de facto final of the 1950 World Cup.
In the 19 tournaments held, 76 nations have appeared at least once. Of these, 12 have made it to the final match, and eight have won.
With five titles, Brazil are the most successful World Cup team and also the only nation to have participated in every World Cup Finals tournament.
Italy have four titles and Germany three. The other former champions are Uruguay, who won the inaugural tournament in 1930, and Argentina, with two titles each, and England and France, who have each won one. The current champions, Spain, won their first title in 2010.
The World Cup is among the world’s most widely viewed sporting events. An estimated 715.1 million people watched the final match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup held in Germany. (EZS)