The FIFA World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world attracting millions of viewers a year, but just when did it start? and how many nations have won it?
The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was created in 1904, and its creation planted the seed for the World Cup. FIFA, from its formation, reserved the right to form a global competition and first tried it in 1906. It wasn’t until after World War I that FIFA took over the administration of the Olympic Games football tournaments, the first of which was a huge success and shocked European fans due to the high levels of play that were seen from South America, with Uruguay winning the tournament.
Less than thirty years after the development of FIFA the first World Cup was played in Uruguay in 1930. It was originated by Jules Rimet, a French lawyer and businessman who was the Honorary President of FIFA from 1921 to 1954. He was in Paris for the Olympic Games in Paris in 1924 and it inspired him to create a worldwide professional competition, open to all world nations.
Uruguay won the first World Cup, beating Argentina 4-2 in the final. The first official World Cup had thirteen teams in it, four from Europe, two from North America and seven from South America.
World Cup Winners
World War II interrupted the World Cup, with the 1942 and 1946 tournaments being cancelled, but afterwards, the UK rejoined FIFA and the Home Championship was used as a qualifying round, which resulted in England going through to the 1950 competition in Brazil.
It was England’s first time playing in the tournament but they lost to a USA team called the ‘Ellis Island Team’ because of their high numbers of immigrant players. England lost again to Spain, who progressed to the final round, but it was Uruguay who won the World Cup again!
England did, of course, go on to win the World Cup in 1966. They beat West Germany 4-2 in the final at Wembley, with Geoff Hurst scoring a hat-trick.
Since then England has never been to a World Cup final, the closest they got was the Semi-Finals in 2018. Brazil has won the World Cup five times. Their most recent came in in 2002.
Italy and Germany are the two nations closest to matching Brazil, with both sides currently on four wins each. A total of eight different nations have won the World Cup, the most recent of which was France who won in in 2018.
The next World Cup is in 2022 in Qatar. This is the first time a World Cup has ever been held in the winter and has brought much controversy. The league seasons across the world are having to be stopped. There are also many reports of bribes being taken place in order for Qatar to host it.
Paddy Power has odds available already on the 2022 World Cup. Brazil is currently the favourites for it at 9/2 with the current holders just behind at 5/1. They have odds on all nations, even though the qualifiers haven’t been played yet.