No other sporting event captures the world's imagination like the FIFA World Cup. Ever since the first tentative competition in Uruguay in 1930, FIFA's (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) flagship has constantly grown in popularity and prestige.

A group of visionary French football administrators, led in the 1920s by the innovative Jules Rimet, are credited with the original idea of bringing the world's strongest national football teams together to compete for the title of World Champions. The original gold trophy bore Jules Rimet's name and was contested three times in the 1930s, before the Second World War put a 12-year stop to the competition.

When it resumed, the FIFA World Cup rapidly advanced to its undisputed status as the greatest single sporting event of the modern world. Held since 1958 alternately in Europe and the Americas, the World Cup broke new ground with the Executive Committee's decision in May 1996 to select Korea and Japan as co-hosts for the 2002 edition.

Since 1930, the 16 tournaments have seen only seven different winners. However, the FIFA World Cup has also been punctuated by dramatic upsets that have helped create footballing history - the United States defeating England in 1950, North Korea's defeat of Italy in 1966, Cameroon's emergence in the 1980s and their opening match defeat of the Argentinean cup-holders in 1990....

Today, the FIFA World Cup holds the entire global public under its spell. An accumulated audience of over 37 billion people watched the France 98 tournament, including approximately 1.3 billion for the final alone, while over 2.7 million people flocked to watch the 64 matches in the French stadium.

After all these years and so many changes, however, the main focus of the FIFA World Cup remains the same - the glistening golden trophy, which is the embodiment of every footballer's ambition.

World Cup Summaries

Year Champion Runner-Up Result 3rd Place Host
1930 Uruguay Argentina 4-2 United States Uruguay
1934 Italy Czechoslovakia 2-1 (ot) Germany Italy
1938 Italy Hungary 4-2 Brazil France
1950 Uruguay Brazil 2-1 Sweden Brazil
1954 West Germany Hungary 3-2 Austria Switzerland
1958 Brazil Sweden 5-2 France Sweden
1962 Brazil Czechoslovakia 3-1 Chile Chile
1966 England West Germany 4-2 (ot) Portugal England
1970 Brazil Italy 4-1 West Germany Mexico
1974 West Germany Holland 2-1 Poland West Germany
1978 Argentina Holland 3-1 (ot) Brazil Argentina
1982 Italy West Germany 3-1 Poland Spain
1986 Argentina West Germany 3-2 France Mexico
1990 West Germany Argentina 1-0 Italy Italy
1994 Brazil Italy 0-0 (3:2 pk) Sweden United States
1998 France Brazil 3-0 Croatia France
2002 Brazil Germany 2-0 Turkey Korea / Japan
2006 - - - - Germany


Team Records

Brazil holds the most World Cup championships with five and Italy and West Germany/Germany are tied with three World Cup titles. Hungary has tallied the most goals in a single World Cup when they scored 27 in 1954. In the 1954  World Cup Austria beat Switzerland 7-5 for the most goals (12) combined in a World Cup match. Hungary beat El Salvador in 1982, 10-1 for the highest goal differential in a World Cup match (Hungary is also the only team to score 10 or more goals in a World Cup).

Individual Records

Gerard Muller is the top scorer in World Cup history with 14 goals. Salenko of Russia scored 5 goals in a match during the 1994 World Cup. Guillermo Stabile of Argentina was the first player to ever record a hat trick (1930 World Cup). Hakan Sukur of Turkey scored the fastest goal in World Cup history in 2002 when he scored 11 seconds into the match against South Korea. Lothar Matthaus of Germany / West Germany has the most appearances by a player in the World Cup with 25. Norman Whiteside of Northern Ireland was the youngest player (17 years old) to ever step on the field in World Cup (1982). Pelé of Brazil was also the youngest player to score in a World Cup (1958) match. Pelé also was the youngest player to ever win a World Cup (1958). Roger Milla of Cameroon was the oldest (42 years, 39 days) player to play in a World Cup (1994). Milla also scored a goal in that match against Russia. The first player to ever be ejected from a World Cup match was Galindo of Peru in 1930.

World Cup Records

The 1994 World Cup held in the United States had the highest average attendance with over 68,990 for each match. The 1950 World Cup Final (Uruguay vs. Brazil) had over 174,000 spectators for the largest number of spectators to watch a final. The 1954 World Cup held in Switzerland holds the highest average for goals per game 5.38 (140 goals in 26 matches).

     SOURCE - National Soccer Hall