How did the World Cup Football come about?

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The World Cup Football

The World Cup originated from the Olympic Games, where football had been recognized as an Olympic discipline by the IOC since 1900. The Olympic title was then still contested between three or four amateur clubs.

Founded in 1904, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) attempted in 1906 to organize an international football tournament separate from the Olympics, but this first attempt at a World Cup failed. Beginning in 1908, the ever-expanding Olympic Games were placed under the supervision of FIFA. In 1914, FIFA recognized the Olympic Games as “amateur football World Cup” and also organized the Games, but the “problem” remained that only amateur teams could participate.

The very first official World Cup football tournament

Partly due to the increasing tensions between the IOC and FIFA regarding the status of amateur football players, FIFA organized the very first official football world championship tournament in 1930. It took place in Uruguay and all teams from anywhere in the world could participate without prior qualification. Because of the travel time and travel costs, only four European countries (including Belgium) decided after much insistence to participate. In the end, 13 countries took part. Host nation Uruguay became the first official world champion.

The best teams in this league

In the 21 tournaments organized so far, Brazil has become world champion 5 times and is therefore the record holder. Germany and Italy follow with 4 titles. Argentina, France and Uruguay each took gold twice. England and Spain were allowed to win the World Cup trophy each time.

If we base ourselves on the countries that managed to finish in the top four in the five most recent World Cup editions, Germany scored the best with 4 appearances. Brazil, Argentina, France and the Netherlands succeeded twice.

FIFA World Ranking

A relevant parameter for the current strength of a national team is the FIFA world ranking, which is based on all international matches played, including qualifying matches, friendly matches and international tournament matches. In April 2021, the countries that have excelled in the World Cup in the last five editions or that are currently seen as contenders for the title, top or second top were ranked as follows in the FIFA ranking of 210 countries: Belgium (number 1), France ( 2), Brazil (3), England (4), Portugal (5), Spain (6), Italy (7), Argentina (8), Uruguay (9), Germany (12), Netherlands (16).

Belgian golden team

Unfortunately, the top players of the Belgian golden team in recent years have reached their thirties. Regardless of that age, Belgium remains among the contenders, along with the classic World Cup greats mentioned above, despite their possible more recent ups and downs.

Top teams can of course always disappoint, such as Germany and Brazil in the most recent 2018 World Cup. Germany had to pack the bags with a last place in its group. In the same World Cup, a few outsiders surprised, such as Croatia, who played the final. Only France met the expectations 100%.

What is the competition like?

The FIFA World Cup takes place every four years. Through continental preliminary rounds, 31 national teams can qualify for the group stage of the final round. With the host country added, which is automatically placed, we come to 32 teams.

6 continental confederations

There are 6 continental confederations affiliated with FIFA. The number of World Cup group stage tickets each confederation can be awarded through the preliminaries depends on the continent’s strength. Currently they are distributed as follows:  Europe (UEFA) 13, Africa (CAF) 5, Asia (AFC) 4 or 5 (+1), North America, Central America, Caribbean, and the South American countries Guyana, Suriname , as well as the French Overseas Department of French Guiana (CONCACAF) 3 or 4, South America (CONMEBOL) 4 or 5, Oceania (OFC)  0 or 1. The only remaining ticket is for the organizing country.


The organization of the preliminary rounds is not identical in the different confederations. Some combine qualification for the FIFA World Cup with qualification for a continental tournament. In Europe, for example, 10 of the 13 available tickets are won by the 10 group winners of the European World Cup preliminary round. The ten runner-ups and the two best group winners of the Nation League will play each other for the remaining 3 places via a play-off.

Up to and including the 2002 World Cup, the reigning world champion was automatically qualified, but since then the country of the world champion has also had to play qualifying rounds to qualify for the final round.

The 64 matches of the 2022 World Cup will be played in five host cities that together have eight stadiums.

World Cup Finals

The World Cup final round starts with the group stage, in which 4 matches per day are played in twelve days.

The group stage is followed by the knockout stage, which starts with the eighth finals, in which 2 matches are played per day. The winners advance to the quarter-finals. The four winners advance to the semi-finals. In the consolation final, the losers of the semi-finals play the consolation final. The winner of the final becomes the reigning world champion for four years.

General info

– Germany played the final most often: eight times. With four losses, it immediately holds the record for the number of lost finals. The Netherlands reached the final three times, which they lost each time.

– World Cup all-time top scorer is the German Miroslav Klose with 16 goals.

– The fastest ever goal in a World Cup final was scored by Turkish striker Hakan Sükür after 10.8 seconds in the 2002 World Cup consolation final against South Korea. Christian Benteke scored the fastest ever goal of the World Cup qualifying by scoring for Belgium in 2016 after 8.1 seconds against Gibraltar.

– UEFA is considered the richest and most influential of all continental organizations. Due to the high salaries, almost all of the world’s top football players play in European competitions, with rich football countries such as England, Italy and Spain most clearly present. No less than 13 of the 32 national teams of the 2010 FIFA World Cup came from Europe.

– The next World Cup tournament in Qatar will take place from November 21 to December 18, 2022. With 28 match days, this World Cup will be the shortest tournament in more than four decades. Because the heat in this country makes playing in the summer almost impossible, the World Cup will be contested in the winter. Nevertheless, the average temperature in the winter months is still around 29°, which may play a not insignificant role. More comfortable is the fact that all WK 2022 host cities and facilities are located within a radius of 60 kilometers.

From 2026, the World Cup final round will be contested with 48 countries.


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