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. 2 min read

Nothing in football compares to the FIFA World Cup. The UEFA Champions League may create matches of the same caliber, but it cannot exceed the status and longing attained by the long tradition of the World Cup. Around 3.5 billion people watched the final of the most recent FIFA World Cup in 2018, which was a world record for a television broadcast.

No other sports event can compare in importance to the 4-year awaited football cup. The football competition that was held as part of the Summer Olympics, was accorded the most respect prior to the World Cup's debut. However, the 1920s saw a profession of the sport that was at odds with the Olympics’ ideals. As a result, FIFA, a governmental organization, decided to host a World Cup and name it as such. On May 26th, 1928, the decision to organize the first edition was agreed upon and signed. Hence, the World Cup has been held every four years since its launch in Uruguay in 1930, with exceptions for some interruptions due to the Second World War.

However, unofficial pre-FIFA World Cups took place as early as the late 1800s, when there were very few national teams.

On another hand, and to wrap up with the fun stuff, here are some interesting facts about the World Cup:

The five players that have made the most goals overall are Ronaldo Nazário with 18 goals in 4 tournaments, Miroslav Klose with 16 goals in 4 tournaments, Gerd Müller with 14 goals in 2 tournaments, Just Fontaine with 13 goals in 1 tournament, and finally Pelé do Nascimento with 12 goals in 4 tournaments.

Several awards are given to various players in relation to the World Cup since its inception. The Golden Ball, given to the top player at each FIFA World Cup, is the most prestigious of all. The FIFA committee chooses the candidates, and accordingly, media representatives vote on them. Besides the Golden Ball, there are also the Silver and the Bronze Balls given to the top players coming in 2nd and 3rd place, alongside the Golden Boot that is handed to the top goal scorer and the Golden Glove to the best goalkeeper.

Brazil holds the distinction of being the only country to have participated in each World Cup since it began. It has twice served as a World Cup host and has significantly influenced soccer history.

Brazil was placed in the top 4, 11 times since the start of the FIFA World Cup.

Nonetheless, the World Cup Finals take place every four years, and qualification games up to two or three years beforehand. It takes a lot of qualifying matches to trim down the teams when there are often over 200 countries competing for 32 spots in the finals. FIFA chooses the positions each continent may compete for before the qualifying matches. There are 31 teams that must qualify, as the host team receives automatic participation. The defending champion has a spot in the event, locked down until 2006. But currently, the defending champs must compete for a spot just like everyone else.

The FIFA World Cup 2022 started on November 20th and will end on December 18th, and a total of 32 nations, including the hosts Qatar, have qualified. It is planned that the 22nd World Cup will be the final one with 32 teams, planning to include 48 in the next championship. It is also the first World Cup to be held in the Middle East since its inception.