The World Cup, organised by FIFA is held once in 4 years with a total of 32 teams participating in the final phase. The qualifying process for the same takes place during the preceding 3 years with each continent having a certain number of slots for the final round. Teams play a Group and Knock Out format to reach the final and get a chance to win the top most honour in the sport.
The World Cup was conceived in 1928 by the then FIFA president Mr.Jules Rimet, with the first event scheduled to be held at Uruguay in 1930. The first edition of the World Cup saw 13 teams taking part with the hosts Uruguay becoming the first ever country to win the World Cup. Lucien Laurent, of France was the first player to score a goal in a World Cup. Subsequently, the 2nd edition was held in 1934 in Italy who also were the eventual winners. 1938 edition, held in France was also won by Italy. Sadly, the 1938 and 42 editions were cancelled due to the then on going World War II. The tournament was restarted in 1950, from when it hasn’t been discontinued till date. FIFA awards the tournament to host nations according to a rotation policy where in a country from each continent gets a chance to host the event. The World Cup had gone on to capture the imagination of billions across the globe and grew into one of the most prestigious sporting tournaments in the world.
World Cup Trophy
The trophy for the FIFA world cup was called the Jules Rimet Trophy after the founding father of the tournament. The trophy was permanently awarded to Brazil in 1970 after it became the first country to win the World Cup thrice. The current trophy came into being in 1974. Brazil are the most successful team in the history of the World Cup, having won it 5 times (’58, ’62, ’70, ’94 and ’02). Italy have won it 4 times (’34, ’38, ’82 and ’06) and Germany have won it thrice (’54, ’74 and ’90). Incidentally, Brazil are also the first team to have won the trophy outside of their continent in 2002 WC, which was held in South Korea-Japan. Brazil have appeared in all FIFA World Cups held, never missing an event. There are also prestigious individual honors to be won such as Golden Boot (for the top Scorer), Golden Ball (Best Player), Golden Glove (Best Goalkeeper), Best Young Player award (Best U-23 player of the tournament).
Brazilian striker Ronaldo holds the record for having scored the most number of goals in World Cups with 15 goals. While the legendary Pele is the only player to have won 3 winners’ medal, Lothar Mathaeus of Germany holds the record of having played in the most number of matches, 25, across 5 World Cups.
The World Cup is the Ultimate Holy Grail for a footballer and thus has seen some prolific and glorious performances as well as some tragic scenes. No matter how prolific a player was for a club, he was ultimately judged on what he displays on the grandest stage of them all. No wonder the World cup has provided fans with some unforgettable moments that made the tournament special – The Humbling of Brazil at the Maracana by a certain Obdulio Varela, who inspired Uruguay to a victory in the 1950 WC Final, The exploits of the legendary Pele in ’58, ’62 and ’70, when Eusebio took the ’66 world cup by storm, That Save off a Pele header by Gordon Banks in ’70, The revolutionary Total Football by Rinus Michels and Johan Cruijff, The Rise of Paolo Rossi in ’82, The Diego Maradona of ’86, That tragic penalty miss by Roberto Baggio in ’94, the emergence of France, Zidane and Ronaldo(El Phenomenon) in ’98, The Comeback of Ronaldo in ’02 , The Tragic end to Zidane’s WC Career in ’06 Final. The memories are never ending. Some tragic, Some glorious. But they all make the tournament special to the fans and followers alike. It would be safe to assume, the career of a footballer revolves around the World Cup.
Football’s grandest stage is back and ready to capture the imagination of billions across the globe. New Stars will be born, some old stars may make way. A whole country will rejoice, some might cry, some will go back holding their heads high, but ultimately,the Beautiful Game – is what triumphs. Football’s grandest spectacle is here.