History of the FIFA World Cup

History of the FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup started in 1928, when FIFA president Jules Rimet decided to stage an international football tournament. The first competition, in 1930, consisted of just the final tournament of 13 invited teams. The competition has subsequently expanded to a 2 year qualifying process involving almost 200 teams from all over the world.

Previous international competitions

The first international football match was played in 1872 between England and Scotland, although at this stage the sport was rarely played outside Great Britain. An expansion in international football led to FIFA being formed in May 1904, comprising football associations from seven continental European countries. As football began to increase in popularity, it was held as a demonstration sport (with no medals awarded) at the 1900, 1904 and 1906 Summer Olympics before football became an official competition at the 1908 Summer Olympics. Organised by England's Football Association, the event was for amateur players only and was regarded suspiciously as a show rather than a competition. The England national amateur football team won the event in both 1908 and 1912.

There was an attempt made by FIFA to organize an international football tournament between nations outside of the Olympic framework in 1906 and this took place in Switzerland. These were very early days for international football and the official history of FIFA describes the competition as having been a failure.

With the Olympic event continuing to be contested only between amateur teams, competitions involving professional teams also started to appear. The Torneo Internazionale Stampa Sportiva, held in Turin, Italy in 1908, was one of the very first and the following year Sir Thomas Lipton organised the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy, also held in Turin. Both tournaments were contested between individual clubs (not national teams), each one of which represented an entire nation. For this reason, neither was really a direct forerunner of the World Cup, but notwithstanding that, the Thomas Lipton Trophy is sometimes described as "The First World Cup", [ [http://www.shrewsbury.gov.uk/Public/news/thomaslipton.htm 'The First World Cup'. The Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy] . Shrewsbury and Atcham Borough Council. Retrieved on April 11, 2006.] at the expense of its less well-known Italian predecessor.

In 1914, FIFA agreed to recognise the Olympic tournament as a "world football championship for amateurs", [ [http://www.fifa.com/en/history/history/0,1283,4,00.html Where it all began] FIFA official website. Retrieved on April 10, 2006.] and took responsibility for organising the event. This led the way for the world's first intercontinental football competition, at the 1920 Summer Olympics, won by Belgium. [ [http://www.rsssf.com/tableso/ol1920f-det.html VII. Olympiad Antwerp 1920 Football Tournament] rec.sport.soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved on June 10 2006.] Uruguay won the tournaments in 1924 and 1928. In 1928 FIFA made the decision to stage their own international tournament. With Uruguay now two-time official football world champions and due to celebrate their centenary of independence in 1930, FIFA named Uruguay as the host country.

The first official World Cup

The 1932 Summer Olympics, held in Los Angeles did not plan to include football as part of the programme due to the low popularity of football in the United States. FIFA and the IOC also disagreed over the status of amateur players, and so was dropped from the Games. [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A565148 The Football World Cup — An Introduction] , h2g2. Retrieved on March 1, 2006.] FIFA president Jules Rimet thus set about organising the inaugural World Cup tournament to be held in Uruguay in 1930. The national associations of selected nations were invited to send a team, but the choice of Uruguay as a venue for the competition meant a long and costly trip across the Atlantic Ocean for European sides. Indeed, no European country pledged to send a team until two months before the start of the competition.Fact|date=October 2007 Rimet eventually persuaded teams from Belgium, France, Romania, and Yugoslavia to make the trip. In total 13 nations took part — seven from South America, four from Europe and two from North America.

The first two World Cup matches took place simultaneously, and were won by France and the USA, who beat Mexico 4-1 and Belgium 3-0, respectively. The first goal in World Cup history was scored by Lucien Laurent of France. Four days later, the first World Cup hat-trick was achieved by Bert Patenaude of the USA in the Americans' 3-0 win against Paraguay. In the final, Uruguay defeated Argentina 4-2 in front of a crowd of 93,000 people in Montevideo, and became the first nation to win a World Cup. [ [http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/releases/en/fwc_origin_en.pdf FIFA World Cup Origin] FIFA Media Release. Retrieved on January 9, 2006.]


The 1934 World Cup was hosted by Italy, and was the first World Cup to include a qualification stage. 16 teams qualified for the tournament, a number which would be retained until the expansion of the finals tournament in 1982. Uruguay, the titleholders from 1930, still upset about the poor European showing at their World Cup in 1930, boycotted the 1934 World Cup. Bolivia and Paraguaywere absent, allowing Argentina and Brazil to go to the finals in Italy without having to play any qualifying matches. Egypt became the first African team to compete, but lost to Hungary in the first round. Italy won the tournament, but faced accusations of biased officiating, with Benito Mussolini said to have influenced the choice of referees for Italy's matches. [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/3128202.stm Football, fascism and England's Nazi salute] , BBC. Retrieved on April 13, 2006.]

The 1938 World Cup competition was also held in Europe, much to the consternation of many South Americans, with Uruguay and Argentina boycotting. For the first time the title holders and the host country were given automatic qualification. Following a play-off match against Latvia, Austria had officially qualified for the final round but because of the Anschluss in April 1938, could not attend. Their place was offered to England, but they declined. This left the Finals with 15 nations competing. France hosted, but for the first time the hosts did not win the competition, as Italy retained their title, beating Hungary in the final.

World War II and its aftermath resulted in the cancellation of the 1942 and 1946 competitions.


Competition resumed with the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, which was the first to include British participants. British teams withdrew from FIFA in 1920, partly out of unwillingness to play against the countries they had been at war with, and partly as a protest against a foreign influence to football, [ [http://www.bbc.co.uk/scotland/sportscotland/asportingnation/article/0001/index.shtml Scotland and the 1950 World Cup] , BBC. Retrieved on March 1, 2006.] but rejoined in 1946 following FIFA's invitation. The tournament also saw the return of 1930 champions Uruguay, who had boycotted the previous two World Cups. For political reasons, Eastern European countries (such as Hungary, the Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia) did not enter. Title-holder Italy did take part, despite the Superga air disaster of 1949 in which the entire Grande Torino team (many who were national team players) were killed. The 1950 World Cup was the only tournament not to stage a final tie, replacing knockout rounds with two group phases. However, the final match of the second group phase was in effect a final, as the group standings meant the winners would be crowned champions. Uruguay were surprise victors over hosts Brazil (in a match which would later be known as Maracanazo) and became champions for the second time.

The 1954 World Cup, held in Switzerland, was the first to be televised. The Soviet Union did not participate because of their dismal performance at the 1952 Summer Olympics. Scotland made their first ever appearance in the tournament, but were unable to register a win, going out after the group stage. The quarter-final match between Austria and Switzerland saw a World Cup record of number of goals scored in a match, when the Swiss lost 5-7, after going 3-0 up. West Germany were the tournament winners, defeating Olympic champions Hungary 3-2 in the final, overturning a 2-0 deficit in the process, with Helmut Rahn scoring the winner. The match is known as the Miracle of Bern in Germany.

Brazil won the 1958 World Cup, held in Sweden, and became the first and so far only team to win a World Cup outside their home continent (though they repeated the feat in 2002). The Soviet Union participated this time, most likely due to their win at Melbourne 1956. For the first (and so far only) time, all four British teams qualified for the final round. Wales was able to take advantage of a situation in the Africa/Asia zone, where the amount of withdrawals would give Israel qualification without having played a single qualifying match. This prompted FIFA to rule that qualification without playing was not allowed (despite allowing this to happen in earlier years of the Cup), and so Israel were ordered to play against one of the teams finishing second in the other groups. A tie was created, and Wales defeated Israel 2-0 twice in 1958. It was the first (and so far the only) time that a country played a World Cup final round after having been eliminated in the regular qualifiers. The tournament also saw the emergence of Pelé, who scored two goals in the final. Joao Havelange (former FIFA President from 1974 to 1998) claimed that the 1966 and 1974 World Cups were fixed so that England and Germany would win respectively.

Chile hosted the 1962 World Cup, a tournament dominated by defensive play which Brazil won, retaining the Jules Rimet trophy.

The 1966 World Cup, hosted by England, was the first to embrace marketing, featuring a mascot and official logo for the first time. The trophy was stolen in the run-up to the tournament but was found a week later by a dog named "Pickles". [ [http://www.thefa.com/England/SeniorTeam/NewsAndFeatures/Postings/2006/04/England_Pickles.htm Pickles is top dog] , by David Barber, TheFA.com. Accessed on April 10, 2006.] South Africa was banned for violating the anti-discrimination charter (apartheid). The ban remained in effect until 1992 when the South Africa Football Association was finally accepted by FIFA. The qualifying rounds of the tournament saw a controversy when the African nations decided to withdraw in protest of only one qualifying place allocated by FIFA to the regions of Asia, Oceania and Africa. The eventual qualifiers from the zone, North Korea, became the first Asian team to reach the quarter-finals, eliminating Italy in the process. England won the tournament even if Joao Havelange (former FIFA President from 1974 to 1998) claimed that the 1966 and 1974 World Cups were fixed so that England and Germany would win respectively [ [http://www.goal.com/en/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=753029 Goal.com 1966 & 1974 World Cups Were Fixed - Former FIFA President] ] . Geoff Hurst became the first player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup Final and Eusébio, whose team Portugal were taking part in their first World Cup, was the tournament top-scorer, with 9 goals to his name.

The qualification stages of the 1970 World Cup were the cause of the Football War between Honduras and El Salvador. The finals were held in Mexico. Israel had been with Europe, but due to political issues, it was becoming harder to place them adequately in the qualifying rounds. They were grouped in Asia/Oceania. Korea DPR then refused to meet them, even though this meant automatic disqualification. The group stage clash between defending champions England and Brazil lived up to its billing, and is still remembered for England goalkeeper Gordon Banks' save from a Pelé header on the six-yard line, arguably the greatest save ever. The tournament is also remembered for the semi-final match between Italy and West Germany, in which 5 goals were scored in extra time, and Franz Beckenbauer played with a broken arm, since Germany had used up all their allowed substitutions. Italy were the eventual 4-3 winners, but were defeated 1-4 in the final by Brazil, who became the first nation to win three World Cups, and were awarded the Jules Rimet trophy permanently for their achievement.

A new trophy was created for the 1974 edition, held in West Germany. After a draw in their first UEFA/CONMEBOL Intercontinental play-off match against Chile in the qualifiers, the Soviet Union refused to travel to the Chilean capital for the return fixture for political reasons, and in accordance with the regulations, Chile were awarded a victory. East Germany, Haiti, Australia and Zaire made their first finals. The tournament also saw a new format, where the two top teams from each of the earlier four groups were divided into two groups of four each again, the winner of either group playing each other in the final. The West German hosts won the competition by beating the Netherlands 2-1 in the final, but it was also the revolutionary Total Football system of the Dutch that captured the footballing world's imagination. The very well-playing Poland finished third, after defeating Brazil 1-0 (and after defeating Argentina 3-2 and eliminating Italy 2-1 in the initial group play), having barely lost in terrible rain in the semifinals to West Germany 0-1.

The 1978 World Cup was held in Argentina, causing controversy as a military coup had taken place in the country two years earlier. Dutch star Johan Cruyff refused to participate for this reason, though none of the teams decided to stay away. Iran and Tunisia were first time participants. There was some on-field controversy as well, when Argentina, needing to win by a clear four goals in order to make the final in place of Brazil, beat Peru 6-0, the total number of goals they had scored in the tournament till this match. They went on to win the final 3-1, Mario Kempes scoring twice, with the Dutch being runners-up for the second time running.


Spain hosted an expanded 1982 World Cup which featured 24 teams, the first expansion since 1934. The teams were divided into six groups of four, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the second round, where they split into four groups of three. The winners of each group advanced to the semi-finals. Cameroon, Algeria, Honduras , New Zealand and Kuwait were the debutants. The group match between Kuwait and France was stage of a farcical incident. As the French were leading 3-1, the Kuwaiti team stopped playing after hearing a whistle from the stands which they thought had come from referee, as French defender Maxime Bossis scored. As the Kuwaiti team were protesting the goal, Sheikh Fahid Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, president of the Kuwaiti Football Association, rushed onto the pitch and gave the referee a piece of his mind, who proceeded to disallow the goal. Bossis scored another valid goal a few minutes later and France won 4-1. The semi-final between West Germany and France saw another controversy when German keeper Harald Schumacher's challenge took out Patrick Battiston, with the score at 1-1. Schumacher escaped a red card, and Germany won in a penalty shoot-out, after coming back to level from having gone 1-3 down. The final was won by Italy, making Italian captain Dino Zoff the oldest player to win the World Cup. Italian striker Paolo Rossi, who was making his comeback after a match-fixing scandal and the ensuing ban, was the tournament top-scorer with six goals including a classic hat-trick against mighty Brazil.

Mexico became the first nation to hold two World Cups by hosting the 1986 World Cup. The format changed again, with the second round being replaced by a pre-quarterfinal, knockout competition, for which 16 teams would qualify. It was also decided that the final two matches in all groups would kick off simultaneously, to ensure complete fairness. Canada, Denmark and Iraq made their first finals. The quarterfinal match between England and Argentina is remembered for two remarkable Diego Maradona goals, later regarded as player of the tournament, the first, the controversial Hand of God goal, and the second, considered to be the Goal of the Century, in which he dribbled half the length of the field past five English players before scoring. In the final, Argentina beat West Germany 3-2, inspired by Diego Maradona, who set up Jorge Burruchaga for the winner.

The 1990 World Cup was held in Italy. Cameroon reached the quarter-finals, a first for an African team. As a result of a two-year FIFA ban imposed for falsifying age at a youth championship, Mexico was suspended from the 1990 World Cup preliminary competition. An unpleasant episode marred the South American preliminaries: during the match between Brazil and Chile, a firework landed close to the Chilean goalkeeper Rojas, who then feigned injury by cutting his own face with a razor blade he had hidden in his glove. His team refused to continue the match (as they were down a goal at the time). The plot was discovered and resulted in a long suspension for Rojas and Chile being banned from World Cup 1994. The final featured the same teams as in 1986. After finishing runners-up in the two previous tournaments, West Germany won their third World Cup.

A spin-off tournament, the FIFA Women's World Cup, was first held in 1991. It is similar to the men's tournament in format, but so far has not generated the same level of interest. As of 2007, the USA women's team and the German women's team are the most successful, having each won two of the five Women's World Cups. The German team won the 2007 tournament without conceding a single goal.

The 1994 World Cup, held in the USA, saw the first World Cup final to be decided on penalties, with Brazil edging out Italy. Yugoslavia was excluded due to UN sanctions in connection with the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina. Russia (taking the place of USSR which had disintegrated over 1990 and 1991) played their first World Cup competition as a new country, with Greece, Nigeria, Norway and Saudi Arabia as the other first-timers. Along with disgrace — Diego Maradona being banned mid-tournament after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs — the tournament also saw tragedy when Colombian defender Andrés Escobar was murdered 10 days after his own-goal against the hosts in their first round match that eliminated Colombia. The total attendance for the final tournament of nearly 3.6 million remains the greatest in World Cup history. Oleg Salenko of Russia became the first player to score five goals in a single World Cup finals game in his country's group stage win over Cameroon.

The 1998 World Cup was held in France, and had an expanded format featuring 32 teams. Iran beat the Maldives in qualification by the widest margin in World Cup history — 17-0. In the finals, the second round match between France and Paraguay witnessed the first Golden Goal in World Cup history, as Laurent Blanc scored to give the hosts a 1-0 victory. Hosts France won the tournament by beating Brazil 3-0 in the final, as the scorer of four goals in the tournament, Ronaldo, appeared to be less than a hundred percent in the match, and was unable to make any impact. Debutants Croatia finished a commendable third.

The 2002 World Cup was the first to be held in Asia, and was hosted jointly by Japan and South Korea. Togolese Souleymane Mamam became the youngest player ever to take to a World Cup preliminary game field at 13 years, 310 days in Lomé in May 2001. Australia defeated American Samoa 31-0 in a preliminary match - a new record for the margin of victory, and the highest-scoring match ever. The tournament was a successful one for teams traditionally regarded as minnows, with South Korea, Senegal and USA all reaching the last eight. Brazil beat Germany 2-0 in the final for their fifth title.

The 2006 World Cup was held in Germany. It is the first world cup for which the previous winner had to qualify. The host will continue to receive an automatic berth.

First seed and holders Brazil and second seeded England were initially bookmakers' favourites. A strong performance by Germany brought them as far as the semifinals. However, the final match-up was between Italy and France, in which French captain Zinedine Zidane was sent off in the last 10 minutes of extra time for a headbutt to the chest to Italian central defender Marco Materazzi. Italy went on to win 5-3 in a penalty shootout, the score having been 1-1 after 90 minutes and extra time.

Format of each final tournament

The number of teams and the format of each final tournament have varied considerably over the years. In most tournaments, the tournament consists of a round-robin group stage followed by a single-elimination knockout stage.cite web
title=Formats of the FIFA World Cup final competitions 1930–2010 | work=FIFA.com | accessdate=January 1 |accessyear=2008 |format=PDF

*1930: A group stage, followed by a knockout stage with 4 teams (group winners; note that no third-place match was played)
*1934–1938: Single-elimination tournament; these are the only tournaments without a group stage
*1950: A first group stage, followed by a final group stage with 4 teams (group winners); this is the only tournament without an official final match
*1954–1970: A group stage, followed by a knockout stage with 8 teams (group winners and runners-up)
*1974–1978: A first group stage, followed by a second group stage with 8 teams (first round group winners and runners-up), followed by the final (second round group winners; second round group runners-up played in the third-place match)
*1982: A first group stage, followed by a second group stage with 12 teams (first round group winners and runners-up), followed by a knockout stage with 4 teams (second round group winners)
*1986–1994: A group stage, followed by a knockout stage with 16 teams (group winners, runners-up and the four best third-placed teams)
*1998–present: A group stage, followed by a knockout stage with 16 teams (group winners and runners-up)

In summary:

1No third-place match was played

2Austria pulled out after qualifying, leaving the tournament with only 15 teams

3India, Scotland and Turkey pulled out after qualifying, leaving the tournament with only 13 teams, and thus, one group had only 3 teams and one group had only 2 teams

4Each group had two seeded and two unseeded teams; the seeded teams played only unseeded teams and vice versa (unless two teams were tied for second, which resulted in a playoff). Therefore, most teams played only two games in the group stage.

5The third-place match was contested by the round 2 group runners-up

Winning teams, captains, and managers

ee also

* History of FIFA
* [http://www.fifa.com/infoplus/IP-201_14A_PrelHistory.pdf FIFA overview of qualification campaigns]


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