Football World Cup Records & Appearances » All Players List

The FIFA World Cup is, by its very nature, a tournament of superlatives, featuring the best teams and players on the planet, gathered together to perform before a vast and fervent audience, both in the stadiums and sat in front of televisions. Billions of pounds’ worth of talent is on the pitch and the moods of entire nations can swing upon the outcome of matches. Given such a scale of competition, it is inevitable that it should be a treasure trove for all lovers of records.

National Teams Appearances at FIFA World Cups

Perhaps no one will be surprised to hear that the record for the greatest number of World Cup games played by any nation belongs to Germany who have got through a grand total of 106 games over the decades. On the other hand, the team with the lowest number of World Cup games on its tally is Indonesia (then, the Dutch East Indies), who have played just one World Cup match, thanks to having reached the 1938 World Cup tournament, after Japan’s withdrawal from the qualifiers.

The record for the most consecutive successful qualification attempts is 14, between 1934 and 2018, held jointly by the twin powerhouses of Brazil and Germany. But not so fortunate have been Luxembourg, who have managed the most consecutive failed qualification attempts, with 20, during that same period.

Most Player Appearances at FIFA World Cups

Just two players have managed the extraordinary feat of appearing in five World Cup tournaments. The first to achieve it was Antonio Carbajal of Mexico, between the years of 1950 and 1966. That feat was later replicated by Lothar Matthäus of Germany who did exactly the same thing between 1982 and 1998. Not satisfied with that, Matthäus also holds the record for the most number of World Cup games played in a career, which is 25.

The record for the highest number of World Cups won by an individual is held by Pelé of Brazil, who collected 3 World Cups in total, those of 1958, 1962 and 1970.

FIFA World Cup Records

Inevitably, those aren’t the only records the tournament has given us, and listed below are just some of its statistical landmarks:

  • The highest ever attendance for a World Cup Final was 114,600, for Argentina v West Germany, in the Estadio Azteca, Mexico City, 1986.
  • However, the highest ever attendance for any World Cup game was 199,854 for Uruguay v Brazil, in the Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro, 1950.
  • Conversely, the lowest ever attendance was just 300, for Romania vs Peru, at the Estadio Pocitos, Montevideo, Uruguay, 1930.
  • The highest average attendance per match is 68,991, achieved by the United States who hosted the 1994 World Cup tournament. Predictably, that competition has the highest ever total attendance of 3,570,000. Meanwhile, the lowest World Cup average attendance, of 23,235, was set in 1934, producing the competition’s all-time low total attendance of just 390,000.
  • No nation has hosted three World Cups. The ones that have hosted two are; Mexico (1970/1986), Italy (1934/1990), France (1938/1998), Germany (1974/2006), and Brazil (1950/2014).
  • The highest-scoring tournaments ever were those of 1988 and 2014, which each produced 171 goals. The lowest scoring World Cups were those of 1930 and 1934, which mustered just 70 goals apiece.
  • The highest number of goals scored in one match is 12, thanks to Austria beating Switzerland by 7 goals to 5, in 1954.
  • The biggest margin of victory is 9 goals, achieved by Hungary against South Korea in 1954, Yugoslavia against Zaire in 1974, and Hungary against El Salvador in 1982.
  • Brazil holds the record for the highest number of consecutive games won, with 11, while Mexico have achieved the most consecutive defeats, with 9.
  • The World Cup’s all-time top goal-scorer is Miroslav Klose of Germany, with 16, scored between 2002 and 2014.
  • And perhaps some sympathy should be felt for Australia who hold the record for the largest distance travelled in a single qualifying campaign, with 155,000 miles, in order to get to Russia, 2018.