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Football World Cup

The World Cup is the most important competition in international football (soccer). Organised by FIFA, the sport's governing body, the World Cup finals tournament is the most widely-viewed and followed sporting event in the world, bigger than the Olympic Games.

The finals tournament is held every four years, but the World Cup competition itself takes place over a two year period. Over 160 national teams compete in regional qualifying tournaments for a place in the finals. The finals tournament now involves 32 national teams (increased from 24 in 1998) competing over a 4 week period in a previously nominated host nation. A recent innovation has allowed more than one country to act as joint hosts.

In 1970, Brazil's third victory in the tournament entitled them to keep the Jules Rimet trophy. A new trophy was then designed, which, in its turn, will continue to be used until a team wins it three times. Argentina, Germany (once as West Germany), and also Brazil, have all won the second trophy twice.

Brazil, by a clear margin, are the most successful World Cup team overall, having won the tournament five times in total and finished as runners-up twice. Germany, three-time winners and four-time runners-up, are next, while Italy have also won three trophies. Argentina and Uruguay are both two-time World Champions, although Uruguay's two successes came rather a long time ago, in the early years of the tournament.

The next World Cup finals will be held in Germany, in 2006.

Football World Cup Tournaments
Year Host Winner Runner up Score 3rd Place 4th Place Score
1930 Uruguay Uruguay Argentina 4-2 USA & Yugoslavia -----none----- n/a
1934 Italy Italy Czechoslovakia 2-1(aet) Germany Austria 3-2
1938 France Italy Hungary 4-2 Brazil Sweden 4-2
1950 Brazil Uruguay Brazil n/a Sweden Spain n/a
1954 Switzerland West Germany Hungary 3-2 Austria Uruguay 3-1
1958 Sweden Brazil Sweden 5-2 France West Germany 6-3
1962 Chile Brazil Czechoslovakia 3-1 Chile Yugoslavia 1-0
1966 England England West Germany 4-2(aet) Portugal USSR 2-1
1970 Mexico Brazil Italy 4-1 West Germany Uruguay 1-0
1974 West Germany West Germany Netherlands 2-1 Poland Brazil 1-0
1978 Argentina Argentina Netherlands 3-1(aet) Brazil Italy 2-1
1982 Spain Italy West Germany 3-1 Poland France 3-2
1986 Mexico Argentina West Germany 3-2(aet) France Belgium 4-2(aet)
1990 Italy Germany Argentina 1-0 Italy England 2-1
1994 United States Brazil Italy 0-0(pen) Sweden Bulgaria 4-0
1998 France France Brazil 3-0 Croatia Netherlands 2-1
2002 Japan & S. Korea Brazil Germany 2-0 Turkey South Korea 3-2
2006 Germany            
2010 Africa            
* aet: after extra time; pen: result decided by penalties. In 1950 there was no final or third place play off.


1930 | 1934 | 1938 | 1950 | 1954 | 1958 | 1962 | 1966 | 1970 | 1974 | 1978 | 1982 | 1986 | 1990 | 1994 | 1998 | 2002 | 2006 | 2010



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