World Cup History

The FIFA World Cup, usually just called the World Cup, originated in 1930.  It is held every 4 years using different countries as host nations.  The next Cup will be held in South Africa in 2010.

Qualification.  There are 6 FIFA “zones” which have the opportunity to qualify.  The number of teams that qualify from each zone differs.  The zones are:

  1. Africa
  2. Asia
  3. North and Central America and Caribbean (CONCACAF)
  4. South America
  5. Oceania
  6. Europe

Format.  The current format involves 2 stages, a group stage and a knockout stage.  32 teams are included in the group stage and broken into 8 groups of 4.  Eight teams are seeded into separate groups based on FIFA World Rankings and recent World Cup performances.  The groups play a round robin tournament with the top 2 teams advancing from each group to the knockout stage.  The knockout stage consists of single games decided by extra time and penalty kicks if necessary.  It begins with the Round of 16, then Quarterfinals, Semifinals, and finally the Championship Game.

The group stage begins June 11, 2010 and the final game is scheduled on July 11, 2010.

Winners. Of the 18 tournaments held, here are the 7 countries who have won it and how many titles they have:

  1. Brazil 5 – (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
  2. Italy – 4 – (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006)
  3. Germany – 3 – (1954, 1974, 1990)
  4. Argentina – 2 – (1978, 1986)
  5. Uruguay – 2 – (1930, 1950)
  6. France – 1 – (1998)
  7. England – 1 – (1966)

USA has had 2 significant finishes, getting 3rd in 1930 and getting to the quarterfinals in 2002 to get beat by Germany 1-0.  They beat Mexico 2-0 in the Round of 16 to get there.

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Christ the Redeemer, a 130 foot tall statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.  Brazil fans celebrating after finding out they will host the 2014 World Cup.

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