The FIFA World Cup: From 1930 to Now

By Frankie Taddeo

The FIFA World Cup is like the biggest sports party ever! It happens every four years and teams from all over the world come to play soccer. There are 32 teams playing in 64 games over a whole month. Everyone’s super excited to see who will be the best soccer team in the world! It’s a big deal because lots and lots of people watch it, making it the most watched sports event ever!

What is the FIFA World Cup and which countries play?

The World Cup is a big soccer tournament where teams from all around the world compete. It’s organized by FIFA, the soccer federation. There are 211 national teams that can try to qualify to play in the World Cup. The tournament happens every four years, starting in 1930, except during World War II. Women also have their own World Cup, which started in 1991.

Leading up to each World Cup, teams compete in qualifying matches to earn their spot in the tournament. While the host nation is guaranteed a place, other teams must prove themselves worthy through these qualifiers. In the past, the reigning champion also gained automatic entry, but this rule changed in 2006. Each region holds its own qualifying matches, and FIFA determines the number of teams from each region based on their strength. Additionally, these qualifiers often spark excitement among online football bets, who eagerly wager on the outcomes of these crucial matches.

Since 1998, the World Cup has had 32 teams in the final tournament. They’re split into eight groups, each with four teams. These groups are put together based on where the teams are from and how good they are. Each team plays three games against the other teams in their group. The top two teams from each group move on to the knockout stage.

In the knockout stage, teams play single-elimination matches. The winner of each game goes on to the next round, while the loser is out of the tournament. At first, the winner of one group plays against the runner-up of another group. Eight teams lose and go home after this round.

The winners keep playing in quarter-finals, semi-finals, and then the final match. In the knockout stage, if the score is tied after 90 minutes, they play extra time. If it’s still tied after that, they have a penalty shootout to decide the winner.

Historically Successful Teams

As of 2018, 79 countries have played in at least one World Cup, but Brazil is the only one that has competed in all 21 tournaments. Brazil has been the most successful nation, winning the World Cup five times.

The Major Players

Three players have represented their countries in five different World Cup tournaments: Antonio Carbajal from Mexico, Rafael Márquez also from Mexico, and Lothar Matthäus from Germany. The top scorer in World Cup history is German striker Miroslav Klose, who has scored a record-breaking 16 goals.

History of the World Cup

The World Cup happens in a different country (or sometimes a group of countries) every four years. Countries can ask to host it, but the final decision is made by a vote from a FIFA council.

In 2026, the tournament will be hosted by three countries: the USA, Canada, and Mexico. It’s going to be the biggest one yet, with 48 teams playing 80 matches.

The World Cup has become super popular since it started. Around 590,000 people went to the first one in Uruguay in 1930. In Russia in 2018, over 3 million fans showed up! But the most people ever at a World Cup was in 1994, when the USA hosted it and over 3.5 million fans came. This record might be broken in 2026 when the USA, Canada, and Mexico team up to host the biggest World Cup ever!

Qatar 2022

This year, Qatar is hosting the 22nd FIFA World Cup, which is only the second time the competition has been held in Asia.

There are thirty-two teams competing for the trophy: Qatar got a spot automatically as the host nation, while the rest earned their spots through qualifying tournaments organized by their FIFA confederations.

The Qatar World Cup has a few ‘firsts’ to its name: It’s the first World Cup in the Middle East, the first to be played in November/December instead of the usual June/July slot, the shortest World Cup in 44 years at only 28 days long, and it’s hosted by the smallest country ever to host the World Cup. Also, the distances between the venues are the shortest ever in World Cup history.

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