The FIFA World Cup is a competition that captures the imagination of people around the world.
It’s a spectacle like no other, bringing young and old together for the love of the game.
Gerd Müller was a goal machine 🇩🇪😳
Check out all 🔟 of his goals from 1970 on day 62 of our countdown #FIFA World Cup!
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) September 19, 2022
This popular and prestigious tournament began its historic journey in Uruguay in 1930 when the first World Cup was held. The idea of the inaugural tournament took 26 years to become a reality due to politics.
The 1904 FIFA Congress agreed that FIFA has the sole right to organize a tournament that brings together the world’s strongest national football teams. However, it wasn’t until the 1920s, when French football administrator Jules Rimet took over FIFA leadership, that the idea of a global football competition gained momentum.
At the 1920 FIFA Congress in Antwerp, the creation of the World Cup was proposed and accepted in principle, and during the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris it was discussed more realistically. The Uruguayan winners of the 1928 Olympic title were brave when they asked to host the first World Cup. By offering to build a new stadium in Montevideo for the flagship project and providing travel and accommodation for the teams, they made them hosts.
This beautiful World Cup story began on July 13, 1930. In the first game of the World Cup, France defeated Mexico 4-1 at Pocitos Stadium. The first goal of the tournament was scored by Frenchman Lucien Laurent in the 19th minute.
It wasn’t a good start considering the European nations didn’t want to send teams. Only France, Romania, Belgium and Yugoslavia made the three-week voyage to South America.
The history of the tournament is also dramatic and that’s what makes it so beautiful. For example the Jules Rimet trophy stolen in England in 1966 and found by a dog, the hand of God that presented Argentina with the trophy in 1986, the rise of Cameroon in the 1980s, Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt on Italy’s Marco Materrazi in the 2006 final you make it a big spectacle.
Italy hosted the 1934 World Cup and it was a tournament that had its fair share of controversy. Defending champions Uruguay, embittered by the retreat of European teams in 1930, did not defend their title.
World politics overshadowed the tournament as fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was present at most games.
At the 1938 tournament in France, Italy retained the title under coach Vittorio Pozzo. The tournament was also plagued by political problems. Europe was in turmoil; Spain was in the midst of a bloody civil war, Germany under the leadership of Adolf Hitler had annexed Austria and forced many of its best players to switch nationalities, while the United States of America was in the midst of the Great Depression.
Named courtesy of FIFA and French football president Jules Rimet, the original World Cup trophy was contested twice more in the 1930s. The Second World War of 1939-1945 put an end to the World Cup for 12 years. The tournament returned in Brazil in 1950. The Samba Boys lost to Uruguay at the famous Maracana Stadium in front of about 200,000 spectators.
Four years later, in scenic Switzerland, West Germany, led by Sepp Herberger, heralded their arrival on the world stage by defeating Hungary in the final. Due to the seeding format, 26 games were played in just 19 days – a system that was never used again.
A new era began with the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, led by Pele and Garrincha. Under coach Vicente Viola, Brazil played with a new direction of higher quality and style that helped them win their first World Cup. With a lot of creative flair and skill, the 60’s belonged to the Samba Boys.
Led by the king of football, Pele, Brazil retained the title in Chile 1962.
Alf Ramsey led England to the 1966 home World Cup title. The only time the Three Lions won the tournament. Led by Mario Zagallo, who featured in the 1958 and 1962 triumphs, Brazil won the World Cup for the third time in Mexico 1970.
It was the first World Cup to be televised in color worldwide.
In the 1970s, West Germany won for the second time in 1974, led by Gerrad Müller and Franz Beckenbaur. In 1978, Argentina won the tournament at home for the first time amid speculation about corruption.
Italian coach Enzo Bearzot ushered in the magical decade of the ’80s. Italy joined Brazil for a third title in 1982 Spain. Thanks to a great individual performance by Diego Maradona, Argentina won the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
West Germany won it for the third time in Italy in 1990 and it was the last time they competed as West Germany. From then on they were united as Germany. In the US, Brazil won the World Cup for the fourth time in 1994 under coach Carlos Alberto Perreira with a supporting cast of Romario, Bebeto and Dunga.
In 1998, Zinedine Zidane led the way as France won for the first time at home, beating Brazil in the final to a packed house in Paris.
The tournament is evolving as the 2002 competition in Japan and South Korea marked the first time the World Cup was held in Asia and was the first time it had co-hosts. Brazil won it for the fifth time, beating Germany 2-0 in the final.
With state-of-the-art arenas such as Berlin, Munich, Stuttgart and Dortmund, Germany took over the hosting rights to the 2006 World Cup. Led by Marcello Lippi, Italy won their fourth World Cup, beating France on penalties in the final.
In 2010, the tournament was held in Africa for the first time, with South Africa as the host. Thanks to a late goal from Iniesta, Spain won the World Cup for the first time, beating the Netherlands in the final.
In 2014 Brazil were unlucky again, losing at home to eventual winners Germany. Led by the likes of Mezut Özil, Toni Kross and Thomas Müller, Germany beat Brazil 7-1 in the quarter-finals at Maracana Cathedral. In 2018, a different generation of French stars clinched the title for France for the second time in Russia.
The FIFA World Cup is cyclical, new players come and go, new stories emerge, new drama awaits Qatar 2022, where the World Cup will be hosted in the Middle East for the first time. Captivating the world public, billions around the world will be tuning in to see this great football spectacle.