A World Cup History Primer

The Jules Rimet Trophy was the original trophy awarded to the winner of the World Cup tournament. Jules Rimet was the President of soccer’s governing body, FIFA from 1921- 1954. That’s the figure of Nike on there, and the Cup is where we get the name of the tournament. During WWII, the trophy was being held by Italy, the 1938 winners.  The vice-president of FIFA was worried the Nazis would take this trophy, so he took it back and hid it under his bed.  In 1966, the trophy was again stolen, this time in England.  It was recovered shortly afterward by a dog named pickles.  Jules Rimet had stipulated that if a country were to win the tournament three times, they would get to keep the trophy outright.  This happened in 1970 when Brazil worn the tournament for the third time. In 1983, the trophy was stolen in Brazil and has never been recovered.

The second trophy, below has been used from 1974 through the present. The trophy is currently being held by Italy, the 2006 winners. These two trophies are without a doubt the most coveted trophies in the world.

In 1930, Uruguay was the first nation to host the World Cup. There were given this honor as they were winners of the two previous Olympic Football gold medals.

Believe it or not, the USA not only played in the first World Cup, but one of the first two teams (they played simultaneously) to win a World Cup match. France was the other. Below is the jersey the boys will be wearing this year.

In 1950, the US defeated England 1-0 in Brazil at the World Cup.  This game is often referred to as “The Miracle on Grass” and remains one of the biggest upset victories in the US Men’s National Team (USMNT) World Cup history. The US jerseys this year are based on the jerseys that the US wore in 1950. See Below for the 1950 USMNT

Below are some of the tournaments record holders.


Most World Cup Championships (3): Youngest Goal Scorer- 17 years and 239 days: Youngest Hat Trick Scorer: Most Tournaments with at least 1 goal (4): Longest period between first and last World Cup Goal (12 years)

Cafu- Most matches won (16)

Diego Maradona- Most matches played as a captain (16)

Ronaldo- Most Goals Scored (15)

Just Fontaine- Most Goals in a single tournament- by the way, there were only six games (13): Most Consecutive matches with a goal, tie (6): Most matches with at least two goals, tie (4):

Sandor Kocsis- Most consecutive matches with at least two goals: Most hat tricks:

Fabien Barthez- Most shutouts, tie (10)

Peter Shilton- Most shutouts, tie (10)

Helmut Schon- Most Matches won as a coach (16)

Mario Zagallo- Most Finals appearances as a player and a coach (5)

Joel Quiniou- Most matches refereed

World Cup Victors:

Year Winner Runner-Up
1930 Uruguay Argentina
4 – 2
Montevideo, Uruguay
1934 Italy Czechoslovakia
2 – 1
Rome, Italy
1938 Italy Hungary
4 – 2
Paris, France
1950 Uruguay Brazil
2 – 1
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
1954 West Germany Hungary
3 – 2
Bern, Switzerland
1958 Brazil Sweden
5 – 2
Stockholm, Sweden
1962 Brazil Czechoslovakia
3 – 1
Santiago, Chile
1966 England West Germany
4 – 2
London, England
1970 Brazil Italy
4 – 1
Mexico City, Mexico
1974 West Germany Netherlands
2 – 1
Munich, Germany
1978 Argentina Netherlands
3 – 1
Buenos Aires, Argentina
1982 Italy West Germany
3 – 1
Madrid, Spain
1986 Argentina West Germany
3 – 2
Mexico City, Mexico
1990 West Germany Argentina
1 – 0
Rome, Italy
1994 Brazil Italy
0 – 0
Pasadena, California
1998 France Brazil
3 – 0
Saint-Denis, France
2002 Brazil Germany
2 – 0
Korea / Japan
2006 Italy France
5 – 3

Estadio Centenario, Uruguay- Host of First World Cup Final

Soccer City Stadium, Johannesburg: Site of opening match and final match- 2010 World Cup

Cape Town Stadium, Cape Town: Awesomest Stadium

The World Cup consists of two stages.  The first stage is referred to as the group stage. In this stage, each team plays against the other three teams in their group. The groups are below.

Final Groups
Group A Group B Group C Group D
South Africa Argentina England Germany
Mexico Nigeria United States Australia
Uruguay Korea Republic Algeria Serbia
France Greece Slovenia Ghana
Group E Group F Group G Group H
Netherlands Italy Brazil Spain
Denmark Paraguay Korea DPR Switzerland
Japan New Zealand Côte d’Ivoire Honduras
Cameroon Slovakia Portugal Chile

As you can see in the Groups above, the World Cup matches nations against nations who would never compete against each other at everything. Where else will you see Japan facing off against Cameroon, Serbia facing off against Ghana, North Korea facing off against Argentina?  And for most of the world, these matches are the most important sporting events of the year. After the group stage, the top two teams from each group continue into a single elimination bracketed playoff style stage- called the elimination stage or the knockout stage.

As the tournament progresses, we will see the world’s drama unfold. South Africa is the first African host nation for the World Cup. They are playing Mexico right. Best of luck to the Bafana Bafana. Beat El Tri!

The best sporting event in the world has begun!

Published in: on June 11, 2010 at 5:56 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. For another post, could you run down some of the team nicknames and what nicknames are associated with which country? I’m sure most casual readers wouldn’t know that the Three Lions is England and so on.

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