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88 years of World Cup History: The Journey Of The Biggest Football Event - How It All Started

Sports by Published on Updated on 13 May, 2018

World Cup, formally FIFA World Cup has been the most popular sporting event in the world, drawing billions of viewers every tournament. Football has been one of the successful games in the world and had fans of every age.

CAPTION: Classic Football History SOURCE: parhlo

Football has been a subject of interest to young, teen, and old at present. There are fewer people who do not know about football.

FIFA was founded on May 22, 1904, in Paris, comprising football associations from different countries pledging to join.

CAPTION: FIFA History SOURCE: Think Hotels

In the beginning, it was contested as an IOC-recognized Olympic games at the 1900 and 1904 Summer Olympics as well as the 1906 Intercalated Games. It became an official FIFA-supervised Olympic competition at the 1908 Summer Olympics.

FIFA’s wish for its world championship was intensified, after the success of the Olympic Football Tournament.

CAPTION: FIFA History SOURCE: FIFA

Questionnaires were sent to the affiliated associations asking about the agreement of tournament. FIFA Congress, Amsterdam decided to stage a world championship tournament organized by FIFA, on May 28, 1928.

Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and Sweden submitted their candidatures, as the organizing country had to be chosen.

Uruguay, 1930

Champion

Uruguay (1st title)

Runner-up

Argentina

Venues

3 venues in 1 host city

Matches played

18

Goals scored

70

Attendance

590,549

Top scorer

Guillermo Stábile (Argentina) - 8 goals

Uruguay was the favorite right from the start, not only for its Olympic gold medal wins, the country was celebrating its 100th anniversary of independence in 1930 at great expense. Uruguay was assigned as the first host country by the FIFA Congress in Barcelona in 1929.

CAPTION: World Cup 1930: Uruguay vs. Argentina SOURCE: NY Daily News

The first World Cup opened at the brand-new Estadio Centenario in Montevideo on July 18, 1930.  It was the starting of a new era in the history of world football, and the inaugural event proved a remarkable success, both in a sporting and a financial sense. The match was contested as a final tournament of 13 teams.

Since then, the World Cup expanded and remodeled to 32-team final tournament preceded by a 2-year qualifying process with the involvement of over 200 teams from around the world.

CAPTION: Argentina team, World Cup 1930 SOURCE: FIFA

Uruguay became the first nation to win the first World Cup, host in the country itself.

CAPTION: Uruguay celebrating the victory SOURCE: ABC

Uruguay made a 4-2 win over Argentina in front of a crowd of 93,000 people at Estadio Centenario, Montevideo.

Italy, 1934

Champion

Italy (1st title)

Runner-up

Czechoslovakia

Venues

8 venues in 8 host cities

Matches played

17

Goals scored

70

Attendance

363,000

Top scorer

 Old?ich Nejedlý (Czechoslovakia) - 5 goals

The second World Cup was hosted by Italy. It was the first World Cup to include a qualification stage. The matches were played in 8 venues in 8 host cities.

CAPTION: 1934 World Cup SOURCE: FIFA

The opening match was between Spain and Brazil on May 27, 1934, at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Genoa. Spain won (3-1) against Brazil in the match. Egypt became the first African country to compete but lost to Hungary in the first round.

CAPTION: Italian national team holding the trophy SOURCE: These Football Times

Italy won the final tournament becoming the first European to do so. They had a 2-1 victory over Czechoslovakia at Stadio Nazionale PNF in Rome.

France, 1938

Champion

Italy (2nd title)

Runner-up

Hungary

Venues

10 venues in 10 host cities

Matches played

18

Goals scored

84

Attendance

375,700

Top scorer

 Leônidas (Brazil) - 7 goals

The 1938 FIFA World Cup, the third staging of the World Cup was held in France. The matches were hosted in 10 venues in 10 cities. France was chosen as a host country over Argentina and Germany in the first round of voting.

CAPTION: 1938 World Cup, France SOURCE: FIFA

The first round of the tournament was held at Parc des Princes, Paris on June 4, 1938. The match was against Switzerland and Germany.

CAPTION: World Cup Finals, 1938, Paris, France, FIFA president Jules Rimet is assisted SOURCE: FIFA

Italy retained the title in a 4-2 victory over Hungary. The match was held at Stade Olympique de Colombes, Paris on June 19, 1938.

CAPTION: 1938 World Cup final SOURCE: The Score

It was the second consecutive victory for Italy. It was the last World Cup before the World War II.

Cancelation due to World War II

The 1942 FIFA game was canceled and was bettered after 56 years in the 1994 World Cup. Germany officially applied to host the 1942 FIFA Cup at the 23rd FIFA Congress on 13 August 13, 1936, in Berlin.

CAPTION: World War II SOURCE: thinglink

The 1942 FIFA was canceled before a host country was selected. The starting of European hostilities in late 1939 prompted further plans for the tournament to be canceled.

FIFA struggled to keep itself afloat, during World War II but had no financial or personnel resources with which to plan a peacetime tournament for when hostilities ended.

CAPTION: World War II SOURCE: Pinterest

As the war ended in 1945, it became clear that FIFA would have no hope of planning and scheduling a 1946 World Cup in a single year. The FIFA had their first meeting on July 1, 1946. It planned the next World Cup for 1949, but no country would host it.

The major international tournament in the year was the 1946 South American Championship in which Argentina beat Brazil 2–0. The match was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on February 10, 1946. The tournament was considered as the unofficial World Cup by many South-Americans. This is not recognized by FIFA.

Brazil, 1950

Champion

Uruguay (2nd title)

Runner-up

Brazil

Venues

6 venues in 6 host cities

Matches played

22

Goals scored

88

Attendance

1,045,246

Top scorer

Ademir (Brazil) - 8 goals

The competition resumed with a 1950 World Cup hosted by Brazil. The matches were held in 6 venues in 6 cities. The tournament was first to include British participants. The 1930 FIFA champion, Uruguay made their return to the tournament leaving previous two World Cups.

CAPTION: 1950 World Cup SOURCE: YouTube

Eastern European countries like Hungary, the Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia did not participate due to political reasons. Title holder, Italy took part in the tournament despite the 1949 Superga air disaster in which entire Grande Torino team were killed.

CAPTION: Stadium, 1950 World Cup, Brazil SOURCE: Daily Mail

Uruguay earned a 2-1 victory over hosts Brazil at Estádio does Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro.

CAPTION: 1950 World Cup final SOURCE: Fifa Worldcups

This was the second victory by Uruguay in the history of World Cup.

Switzerland, 1954

Champion

West Germany (1st title)

Runner-up

Hungary

Venues

6 venues in 6 host cities

Matches played

26

Goals scored

140

Attendance

768,607

Top scorer

Sándor Kocsis (Hungary) – 11 goals

The 1954 World Cup is the first televised tournament in the history of FIFA. The tournament was hosted by Switzerland. The matches were played in 6 venues in 6 cities.

CAPTION: 1954 World Cup SOURCE: ebay

The Soviet Union did not participate due to their dismal performance at the 1952 Summer Olympics. Scotland was the first country to participate the event.

CAPTION: The Miracle of Bern SOURCE: sportsnet

West Germany became the winner of the final game after a 3-2 defeat to Olympic Champions Hungary. The match is known as the Miracle of Bern in Germany.

Sweden, 1958

Champion

Brazil (1st title)

Runner-up

Sweden

Venues

12 venues in 12 host cities

Matches played

35

Goals scored

126

Attendance

829,810

Top scorer

Just Fontaine (France) - 13 goals

Best Young Player

 Pelé (Brazil)

The 1958 FIFA Cup, the sixth staging of the World Cup, was held in Sweden. The tournament is known for making the debut appearance of a then 17-year-old player, Pelé.

CAPTION: France's Just Fontaine is carried by his teammates' SOURCE: FIFA

 

CAPTION: Pele, 1958 FIFA Cup SOURCE: FIFA
CAPTION: Pele, 1958 FIFA Cup SOURCE: FourFour Two

Brazil won (5-2) the final match against Sweden at Råsunda Stadium, Solna. It was the first victory for Brazil in the World Cup history.

Chile, 1962

Champion

Brazil (2nd title)

Runner-up

Czechoslovakia

Venues

4 venues in 4 host cities

Matches played

32

Goals scored

89

Attendance

893,172

Top scorers

Garrincha (Brazil), Vavá (Brazil), Leonel Sánchez(Chile), Flórián Albert (Hungary), Valentin Ivanov (Soviet Union), Dražan Jerkovi? (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia) – 4 goals each

Chile hosted the FIFA World Cup in 1962. Before that, the country faced the largest ever earthquake recorded at 9.5 magnitudes, prompting officials to rebuild damage to infrastructure.

CAPTION: Pele, 1962 FIFA Cup SOURCE: Remezcla

Champions Brazil retained their title defeating Czechoslovakia (3-1) in the final held at Estadio Nacional, Santiago. This was the second consecutive victory for Brazil.

England, 1966

Champion

England (1st title)

Runner-up

West Germany

Venues

8 venues in 7 host cities

Matches played

32

Goals scored

89

Attendance

1,563,135

Top scorer

Eusébio (Portugal) - 9 goals

Best Young Player

Franz Beckenbauer (West Germany)

England, one of the oldest team in football, hosted the 1966 FIFA World Cup. England was the country to embrace marketing, featuring a mascot and official logo.

CAPTION: Official mascot SOURCE: Sportskeeda.com

World Cup Willie was the official mascot of the tournament. The mascot represents a lion, a typical symbol of the United Kingdom, wearing a Union Flag jersey with the words "WORLD CUP." The official trophy was stolen in the run-up to the tournament but was found by a dog, a week later.

CAPTION: England celebrating their victory SOURCE: Daily Mirror

England beat West Germany (4-2) in the final winning the Jules Rimet Trophy. This was the first victory by England and is the third host nation to win FIFA Cup after Uruguay and Italy.

Mexico, 1970

Champion

Brazil (3rd title)

Runner-up

Italy

Venues

5 venues in 5 host cities

Matches played

32

Goals scored

95

Attendance

1,604, 065

Top scorer

Gerd Müller (West Germany) - 10 goals

Best Young Player

Teófilo Cubillas  (Republic of Peru)

Fair Play Award

Peru

The 1970 World Cup was held in Mexico. It was the first world to be held in North America. The official mascot for the competition was Juanito, a boy wearing Mexico's kit and a sombrero with the words "MEXICO 70."

CAPTION: Official mascot SOURCE: Pinterest

Brazil made a 4-1 victory over Italy in the final at Estadio Azteca, Mexico. The victory gave Brazil its third World Cup title which allowed them to keep Jules Rimet Trophy permanently.

CAPTION: 1970 World Cup, Pele SOURCE: Goal
CAPTION: 1970 World Cup champion: The Brazilian team giving Pelé a lift SOURCE: Worldcup Brazil

The victorious team led by Carlos Alberto featuring players such as Pelé, Gérson, Jairzinho, Rivellino, and Tostão, often cited as the greatest-ever team in the history of World Cup.

West Germany, 1974

Champion

West Germany (2nd title)

Runner-up

Netherlands

Venues

9 venues in 9 host cities

Matches played

38

Goals scored

97

Attendance

1,865,762

Top scorer

Grzegorz Lato (Poland) - 7 goals

Best Young Player

W?adys?aw ?muda (Poland)

The 1974 World Cup was held in West Germany. A new trophy was introduced for the 1974 edition.

CAPTION: 1974 World Cup, West Germany SOURCE: Wikipedia

Tip and Tap, two boys, wearing Germany kits, with the letters WM (Weltmeisterschaft, World Cup) and #74, was the official mascot of the competition.

CAPTION: Official mascot SOURCE: Pinterest

West Germany won the title beating the Netherlands (2-1) in the final at Westfalenstadion, Dortmund.

CAPTION: 1974 FIFA World Cup Germany, Final: Germany - Netherlands SOURCE: FIFA

West Germany v The Netherlands at the final FIFA Cup 1974.

Argentina, 1978

Champion

Argentina (1st title)

Runner-up

Netherlands

Venues

6 venues in 5 host cities

Matches played

38

Goals scored

102

Attendance

1,545,791

Top scorer

Mario Kempes - 6 goals

Best Young Player

Antonio Cabrini (Italy)

The 11th staging of FIFA, the 1978 World Cup was held in Argentina. The tournament started from June 1 to June 25, 1978.

CAPTION: Logo, Official Mascot SOURCE: MatchDayApp

The Official mascot for the tournament was Gauchito, a boy wearing an Argentina kit. He wore a hat (with the words ARGENTINA '78), neckerchief, and whip are typical of gauchos.

CAPTION: Super Mario: Kempes (second left) celebrates putting Argentina in front of 1978 World Cup SOURCE: Daily Mail

Argentina won the title defeating Netherlands (3-1) in the final at River Plate's home stadium Estadio Monumental.

CAPTION: Argentina team, celebrating SOURCE: Daily Mail

This was the first title for Argentina becoming the fifth to be both hosts as well as the winner.

Spain, 1982

Champion

Italy (3rd title)

Runner-up

West Germany

Venues

17 venues in 14 host cities

Matches played

52

Goals scored

146

Attendance

2,109,723

Top scorer

Paolo Rossi (Italy) – 6 goals

Best Player

Paolo Rossi (Italy)

Best Young Player

 Manuel Amoros (France)

Spain hosted an expanded edition of the World Cup in 1982 that featured 24 teams. It was the second expansion after 1934. The tournament also featured the first ever penalty shoot-out in FIFA competition.

CAPTION: Official mascot SOURCE: football Tripper

Naranjito, an orange, a typical fruit in Spain, wearing the kit of the host's national team was the official mascot of the tournament.

CAPTION: 1982 FIFA Cup Final SOURCE: FIFA

Italy retained the title defeating West Germany (3-1) in the final held at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, Madrid.

CAPTION: Italian team celebrating their victory SOURCE: FIFA

Mexico, 1986

Champion

Argentina (2nd title)

Runner-up

West Germany

Venues

12 venues in 9 host cities

Matches played

52

Goals scored

132

Attendance

2,394,031

Top scorer

Gary Lineker - 6 goals

Best Young Player

Enzo Scifo (Belgium)

CAPTION: 1986 FIFA Cup, Mexico SOURCE: Wikipedia

Mexico hosted the 1986 FIFA World Cup. The format changed again, with the second round being replaced by a pre-quarterfinal, knockout competition, for which 16 teams would qualify.

The official mascot of the tournament was Pique, a jalapeño pepper, characteristic of Mexican cuisine, with a mustache.

CAPTION: Official mascot SOURCE: Twitter
CAPTION: Maradona in action, World Cup final SOURCE: quora

Argentina were the winners of the tournament beating West Germany (3-2).

CAPTION: Argentina team celebrating their victory SOURCE: Telegraph

The match watch was inspired by Diego Maradona who set up player Jorge Burruchaga for the winner.

Italy, 1990

Champion

West Germany (3rd title)

Runner-up

Argentina

Venues

12 venues in 12 host cities

Matches played

52

Goals scored

115

Attendance

2,516,215

Top scorer

Salvatore Schillaci (Italy) – 6 goals

Best Player

Salvatore Schillaci (Italy)

Best Young Player

Robert Prosine?ki (Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia)

The 1990 World Cup was hosted by Italy. The opening match was between Italy and Austria, held on June 8, 1990, at Stadio Olimpico, Rome.

CAPTION: Official mascot, Italy SOURCE: Game of the People

The official mascot for the 1986 FIFA was Ciao, a stick figure player with a football head and an Italian tricolored body.

CAPTION: 1990 FIFA Cup SOURCE: Sportskeeda

The final was held at Stadio Olimpico Stadium, Rome on July 8, 1990.

CAPTION: West Germany, Winning moment SOURCE: Goal

West Germany made the victory over Argentina (1-0) in the match.

The United States, 1994

Champion

Brazil (4th title)

Runner-up

Italy

Venues

9 venues in 9 host cities

Matches played

52

Goals scored

141

Attendance

3,587,538

Top scorers

Oleg Salenko (Russia), Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria) – 6 goals each

Best Player

Romário (Brazil)

Best Young Player

Marc Overmars (the Netherlands)

Best Goalkeeper

Michel Preud’homme (Belgium)

The 1994 World Cup broke the record of average attendance with nearly 69,000 spectators per game. The total attendance of nearly 3.6 million for the final remains the highest record in the World Cup history.

CAPTION: World Cup 1994, Official Mascot SOURCE: Pinterest

The official mascot for the competition was Striker, the World Cup Pup. The mascot represents a dog, a common US pet animal, wearing a red, white and blue soccer uniform with the words "USA 94".

CAPTION: World Cup 1994 SOURCE: FIFA

Russian professional, Oleg Sallenko became the first player to score five goals in a single World Cup finals in his country's 6–1 group stage win over Cameroon. The same match, Roger Milla, a Cameroon footballer became the oldest player ever to score in a World Cup match.

CAPTION: Brazil celebrating their victory, World Cup 1994 SOURCE: Alchetron

Brazil made the victory (3-0) in a penalty shootout at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The victory made Brazil the first country to win four titles. Greece, Nigeria, and Saudi Arabia made their first appearances at the FIFA Cup.

France, 1998

Champion

France (1st title)

Runner-up

Brazil

Venues

10 venues in 10 host cities

Matches played

64

Goals scored

171

Attendance

2,784,687

Top scorer

Davor Šuker (Croatia) – 6 goals

Best Player

Ronaldo (Brazil)

Best Young Player

Michael Owen (England)

Best Goalkeeper

Fabien Barthez (France)

CAPTION: World Cup 1998 Logo SOURCE: Pinterest

The 1998 World Cup, the first tournament with an expanded format of 32 teams, was held in France from June 10-July 12, 1998. The group stage was expanded for the first time from 24 to 32 with eight teams of four. The opening match and the final was staged at the Stade de France, Saint-Denis.

CAPTION: World Cup 1998 Official Mascot SOURCE: Pinterest

The official mascot of the competition was Footix, A cockerel, one of the national symbols of France, with the words "FRANCE 98" on the chest.

CAPTION: World Cup 1998 Final SOURCE: FIFA

France won the tournament beating Brazil (3-0) in the final.

CAPTION: France celebrating their victory, World Cup 1998 SOURCE: FIFA

France won its first title becoming the sixth nation to win the tournament as a host.

South Korea - Japan, 2002

Champion

Brazil (5th title)

Runner-up

Germany

Venues

12 venues in 12 host cities

Matches played

64

Goals scored

161

Attendance

2,705,197

Top scorer

Ronaldo (Brazil) – 8 goals

Best Player

Oliver Kahn (Germany)

Best Young Player

Landon Donovan (U.S.)

Best Goalkeeper

Oliver Kahn (Germany)

The 2002 World Cup, the first tournament held in Asia, took place from May 31 to June 30, 2002, in South Korea and Japan. It was the first World Cup to be jointly hosted by more than one nation.

CAPTION: World Cup 2002, Official Mascot SOURCE: Pinterest

Ato, Kaz, and Nik (The Spheriks) is the official mascot for the 2002 World Cup. The mascot represents Orange, purple and blue (respectively) futuristic, computer-generated creatures. Ato is the coach while Kaz and Nik are players, collectively members of a team of "Atmoball" (a fictional football-like sport). 

CAPTION: World Cup 2002, Final SOURCE: Goal.com

The tournament faced several upsets and surprising results, which include France and Argentina elimination in the group stage match.

CAPTION: World Cup 2002, Brazil Celebrating their victory SOURCE: Sparky in Rotterdam '91 - WordPress.com

Brazil retained the 2002 title becoming the first and the only nation to win the FIFA title to date. Brazil defeated Germany (2-0) in the final match at Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama.

Germany, 2006

Champion

Italy (4th title)

Runner-up

France

Venues

12 venues in 12 host cities

Matches played

64

Goals scored

147

Attendance

2,516,215

Top scorer

Miroslav Klose – 5 goals

Best Player

Zinedine Zidane (France)

Best Young Player

Lukas Podolski (Germany)

Best Goalkeeper

Gianluigi Buffon (Italy)

The 2006 World Cup held in Germany, the 18th World Cup was one of the most watched events in the TV history with an estimated non-unique viewer over 26.69 billion. The final attracted an estimated audience of 175.1 million people.

Goleo VI Sidekick: Pille was the official mascot of the tournament. The mascot represents a lion wearing a Germany shirt with the number 06, and a talking football named Pille.

Italy won the title defeating France (5-3) in a penalty shoot-out after the extra time finished in a 1-1 draw. It was Italy fourth title to date.

South Africa, 2010

Champion

Spain (1st title)

Runner-up

Netherlands

Venues

10 venues in 9 host cities

Matches played

64

Goals scored

145

Attendance

3,178,856

Top scorers

Diego Forlán (Uruguay), Thomas Müller (Germany), Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands), David Villa (Spain) - 5 goals each

Best Player

Diego Forlán (Uruguay)

Best Young Player

Thomas Müller (Germany)

Best Goalkeeper

Iker Casillas (Spain)

The 2010 World Cup was held in South Africa and was the first ever cup hosted on African soil. The official mascot for the tournament was Zakumi, a leopard with green hair wearing a shirt saying South Africa 2010.

European Champions, Spain grabbed the title defeating the Netherlands (1-0) in the final. Spanish professional, Andrés Iniesta scored the winning goal at the time.

Brazil, 2014

Champion

Germany (4th title)

Runner-up

Argentina

Venues

12 venues in 12 host cities

Matches played

64

Goals scored

171

Attendance

3,429.873

Top scorer

James Rodríguez (Colombia) – 5 goals

Best Player

Lionel Messi (Argentina)

Best Young Player

Paul Pogba (France)

Best Goalkeeper

Manuel Neuer (Germany)

Fair Play Award

Colombia

Brazil hosted the 20th World Cup after 1950. It took place in Brazil from June 12 to July 13, 2014. The official mascot for the tournament was Fuelco, a Brazilian three-banded armadillo wearing a white T-shirt reading "Brasil 2014."