As the most watched and followed sporting event in the world, it’s no surprise that the FIFA World Cup has a long and storied history. Let’s take a look at how this tournament came to be, its iconic trophy, where it’s been held over the years, how teams qualify for it (and why some don’t), what happens when two countries meet on the pitch—and much more.
The first World Cup was held in 1930, but it wasn’t until the 1950s that it became a global phenomenon. Since then, the World Cup has grown to become one of the most popular sporting events in the world and an important part of many countries’ cultures and histories.
In 1954, FIFA (the governing body for soccer) announced that they would hold their first-ever World Cup outside Europe or South America. They chose to hold it in Brazil because Brazil was hosting several other major sports events at the time—including the Pan American Games—and because FIFA wanted to spread soccer across continents. The tournament went on to be hosted by six different countries before returning to its home continent once again for 1994’s United States World Cup.
The FIFA World Cup, established in 1930, is one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world. Every four years, nations from all over gather to compete for a chance to be crowned “world champions.”
The trophy was designed by French sculptor Abel Lafleur and named after Jules Rimet, who was president of FIFA when the competition was first played. The trophy is made of 18-carat gold and stands 45 centimeters tall (about 18 inches).
There have been 10 World Cups since the first in 1930. Five of those tournaments have been hosted by Brazil and another four have been hosted by Mexico. France and Germany, two countries that were not among the original 13 teams in FIFA but now rank among its most powerful members, each hosted a single tournament. Italy has also hosted two World Cups.
In the qualification process, all 207 FIFA member associations are eligible to enter the qualifying process. Only 10 teams are chosen by FIFA to participate in the final competition, which means that there are nearly 200 teams vying for those spots. A total of 32 nations have participated in every World Cup since its inception, while 80 countries have appeared at least once since 1930.
The number of participants per confederation is determined by their membership in CAF (Africa), CONCACAF (North America), CONMEBOL (South America), and UEFA (Europe). These four regions currently qualify five teams each for a total of 20 out of 32 slots. The remaining 12 spots go to host country Russia as well as one additional team from each confederation based on their rankings in previous World Cups:
- 5 African sides – 1 best African team (highest aggregate point tally from final round) + 4 African group winners
- 4 Asian sides – 1 best Asian team + 3 group winners from Asia’s first two rounds
- 3 North American sides – 1 best North American side + 2 group winners from North America’s first two rounds; host nation the USA automatically qualifies for this berth
The format of the FIFA World Cup has changed over time. Currently, it consists of a single-elimination tournament with a final match at a predetermined venue. It’s held every four years, beginning in 1930.
The tournament begins with a group stage of 32 teams, which are drawn into eight groups of four teams each. The top two teams in each group automatically advance to the round of 16 (also known as the knockout stage). Thereafter, matches are played on a home-and-away basis until the final match at one predetermined venue; some games may also be played simultaneously in order to avoid fixture congestion during this phase of play (such as when several teams from one continent play their second fixture against each other).
- The highest goal scorer at the FIFA World Cup is Iran’s Ali Daei. He scored 23 goals in 62 appearances during the period from 1993 to 2006, including an astounding 18 goals in 1998.
- The best player award has been given to many different players over the years, but Cristiano Ronaldo is far and away one of the most impressive players to win this award. In 2010, he was named best player for his efforts during that year’s tournament in South Africa—a time when he also won FIFA World Player of the Year.
- The best team award goes to France each time they win a World Cup (they’ve won twice). This isn’t too surprising considering they’ve been dominant on a global scale since 1998—winning six major trophies since then (two European Championships and four FIFA World Cups).
- The goalkeeper with the cleanest sheets at any single tournament is German legend Sepp Maier who recorded 16 clean sheets between 1974 and 1978; an average of 3 per tournament!
A referee is an official who enforces the Laws of the Game during a match. He or she is assisted by two assistant referees who advise the referee in certain situations such as offsides and fouls, and help him or she make decisions about balls out of play. In most matches there is also a fourth official who observes the action from behind the halfway line and assists the referee with administrative tasks such as starting and stopping play, signing substitutions, and communicating with coaches when necessary.
The video assistant referee (VAR) provides assistance to officials through video replay technology in four “match-changing” situations: goals, penalties, straight red cards, and cases of mistaken identity when it comes to issuing yellow cards or other disciplinary sanctions. In each case, a review will be initiated by either one of three on-field officials: one goal line official (GLO), one assistant referee (AR), or one-fourth official — although only GLO can initiate reviews without VAR’s approval under certain circumstances; ARs may only do so if they are confident that they have not made any mistakes themselves while observing incidents at goal line; while fourth officials cannot initiate reviews on their own accord but must do so at least once per game upon direction from GLOs/ARs
In conclusion, the FIFA World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world. It has been held every four years since 1930 and will continue to be held every four years until at least 2026. FIFA WorldCup 2022 will be the 22nd FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial international football tournament contested by the men’s national teams of the member associations of FIFA. It is scheduled to take place in Qatar from 21 November to 18 December 2022. There are many exciting competitions with different formats that take place during each World Cup year that you can check out if you want more information!