The History of the World Cup – All FIFA Winners from 1930 Till 2014
The FIFA World Cup can be said to be one of the few events that capture the imagination of the world. The FIFA World Cup has managed to overcome natural disasters, wars, terrorism and disease among other ills. Despite these misfortunes that have plagued mankind, the World Cup has always continued to flourish and it is a show of what sport can do to bring the world together. The quadrennial event has now evolved from an invitational event of 13 Nations to a competition involving over 200 teams worldwide.
The Origins of FIFA
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was founded on May 21, 1904. The idea behind its formation was that the number of inter-nation matches were increasing, and thus there was a need for an international governing body. At first, the idea was to recognise the role of the English, who were the first to come up with their own governing football body, the Football Association. However, the secretary of the FA did not approve of the plan.
This led countries in Europe to come with their own umbrella body now known as FIFA. The founding members were France, Belgium, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Spain and Sweden. Other nations later joined and FIFA is now recognised as the international governing body of association football.
The Concept of the FIFA World Cup Finals
As well as bringing together the crème de la crème of football national teams in the world, the FIFA World Cup also boasts being the largest single-event sports competition in the world. The organizing body FIFA has a global reach, and thus the World Cup offers the ideal platform to raise social and environmental concerns affecting the world. Furthermore, the month-long football bonanza provides an escape where people all over the world can come together and enjoy their diversities as well as enjoying the beautiful game.
The First World Cup
After the successful run of the Olympic Football Tournament, FIFA started seeing the possibility of staging its own global event. Jules Rimet led the effort and a decision was made on May 28, 1928 in Amsterdam to stage a world tournament under the flagship of FIFA. Several countries proposed to stage the event. Uruguay was finally selected since it was celebrating its 100th anniversary since independence and also because it had won Olympic gold medals in 1924 and 1928. Some of the participating teams from Europe were Romania, France, Belgium and Yugoslavia. Uruguay came out as winners of the ever first world cup in 1930.
1930 – 2014 FIFA World Cups
Only 13 teams took place in the inaugural event held in Uruguay. Due to the travel concerns to South America, only 4 European teams took part. Lucien Laurent of France scored the first ever goal in a World Cup. Uruguay emerged as winners after beating Argentina 4-2
This was the first time teams had to qualify. 32 teams took place in the qualifications, with 16 teams making it to the finals tournament. Italy, Germany and Spain, who would be future winners participated in the event. Italy scored an extra time goal against Czechoslovakia in the final to win the trophy after normal time had ended in a draw of 1-1.
The decision to hold the World Cup for the second time in a row in Europe angered South American nations, leading to the withdrawal of Argentina and Uruguay from the finals. Reigning champions Italy retained the cup after a 4-2 win over Hungary.
This was the first time that England has featured in a World Cup event. Although favourites, they were defeated 1-0 by USA and were eliminated after their loss to Spain. Uruguay defeated hosts Brazil 2-1 to be crowned World champions in front of over 200,000 spectators at the Maracana Stadium.
Scotland and newly formed West Germany took part in this tournament. West Germany was then an amateur side, but managed to win the tournament by coming from two goals down to win it 3-2 against Hungary in what is referred to as “The Miracle of Bern.”
The Soviet Union managed to qualify to participate in the World Cup for the first time. England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland also all managed to qualify. It was also the tournament that introduced Pele to the world and he had 2 goals to his credit as Brazil beat hosts Sweden 5-2 to lift the trophy.
The world cup had returned to South America. Hungarian superstar Ferenc Puskas had changed nationality and now represented Spain. Brazil managed to retain the trophy despite the absence of injured Pele by beating Czechoslovakia 3-1.
Months before the tournament was staged, the Jules Rimet trophy had been stolen and recovered. Portugal and North Korea made their debuts. Portuguese striker Eusebio lit up the tournament and was top scorer. England went on to claim their only World Cup to date after beating West Germany 4-2.
It was the first World Cup to be held in North America. After Brazil won the cup for the third time by hammering Italy 4-1, they earned the right to retain the Jules Rimet Trophy. It was however stolen in 1983 and has never been recovered.
Zaire were the first team from sub-Saharan Africa to qualify for a World Cup event. Johan Cruyff’s Netherlands produced scintillating football but were undone by the West Germans who won their second trophy after winning 2-1.
The participated teams had expanded from 16 to 24. Hungary defeated El Salvador 10-1 in one of the highlights of the event. Italy won the tournament by defeating West Germany 3-1
It was initially supposed to be hosted by Colombia, but the 1986 World Cup was switched to Mexico after Colombia encountered a financial crisis. Maradona inspired Argentina to its second World Cup trophy after defeating West Germany 3-2.
Cameroon lit up the tournament and Roger Milla helped his country reach the quarter-finals where they lost to England. The final pitted West Germany and Argentina in an ill-tempered match that saw two reds dished out. West Germany emerged winners with a 1-0 scoreline.
Diego Maradona did not feature because of a failed drug test. Andres Escobar was shot dead in Colombia 10 days after the World Cup for scoring an own goal. In the final Roberto Baggio blasted his penalty over the crossbar in the penalty shootout to hand Brazil the trophy.
Participating teams were expanded from 24 to 32. France won the tournament by beating Brazil 3-0, becoming the sixth team as host to win.
It was the first time the World Cup was held jointly. Both nations qualified virtually for being hosts. Germany and Brazil met in the final, with Brazil winning 2-0 to lift the the trophy for the 5th time.
The 2006 World Cup was held in a unified Germany for the first time having taken place in West Germany before. This World Cup will be most remembered for that head butt – Zinedine Zidane of France planted on Marco Meterazzi’s chest in their final against Italy. The match ended in a 1-1 draw and Italy went to defeat France after a penalty shootout.
It was the first World Cup to held on African soil and will be remembered for the noisy vuvuzelas. Spain went on to claim their first World Cup trophy after defeating the Netherlands 1-0.
Spain, who were title holders were eliminated in the first round. Brazil were humiliated by Germany 7-1 in the semi-finals before the Germans lifted the World Cup Trophy for the 4th time after defeating Argentina 1-0.
FIFA World Cup Winners
Brazil holds the record after winning 5 World Cup trophies. They won the cup in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. Germany are joint second with four trophies after winning in 1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014. Italy also has four trophies after winning the tournament in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006. Argentina won the 1978 and 1986 events, Uruguay won the first ever World Cup in 1930 and again in 1950. France won in 1998, England in 1966 and Spain in 2010.
FAQ about the World Cup
The first World Cup was held in Uruguay and only 13 teams took part. Due to travelling costs, all matches were held in Montevideo. There were 7 teams from South America, 4 from Europe and 2 from North America. In the first two matches which took place simultaneously, France and USA won against Mexico and Belgium. Uruguay managed to reach the final with Argentina. Uruguay emerged victorious in front of 93,000 spectators.
Although the first trophy was originally named Victory, it later renamed in honour of Jules Rimet the former FIFA president. The Jules Rimet Trophy was given to the winning teams between 1930 to 1970. After Brazil won the trophy in 1970 for the third time in Mexico, they earned the right to retain the trophy. However, it was stolen while on display in Rio de Janeiro in 1983 and has never been discovered. From 1974 to the present day, teams which win the tournament are awarded the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
The two trophies that have been awarded to the World Champions over the year has been of real gold. The current FIFA World Cup is made of 18 karat gold and has a malachite base. It is 36.8 centimetres high and weighs 6.1kgs. As of 2017, the trophy was estimated to be worth up to $150,000.
Brazil has the record for winning the most number of World Cup trophies. They have won five, with both Italy and Germany having won it 4 times each. Others to have won it include Uruguay and Argentina who have won it 2 times each, while Spain, England and France have won it once each.
Since the inaugural event, there has been 16 host countries. Mexico, France, Italy, Germany and Brazil have all hosted the event in two occasions. The Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro and the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City are the only two venues to host two finals.