World Class Players

Frank Lampard

Thierry Henry


David Beckham

Cristiano Ronaldo

Steven Gerrard

Andriy Shevchenko

Ruud van Nistelrooy

Wayne Rooney

John Terry

Fernando Torres

Paolo Maldini

Michael Ballack

Miroslav Klose



Michael Owen

Zinedine Zidane

Diego Maradona

Gheorghe Hagi

Fabio Cannavaro

Franz Beckenbauer

Johan Cruijff

Michel Platini

Roberto Baggio

Francesco Totti

Ryan Giggs

Park Ji-Sung


George Best

Bobby Moore

Samuel Eto'o

Luís Figo

Cesc Fàbregas

Eric Cantona

Stanley Matthews

Lionel Messi

George Weah


Gianfranco Zola

Didier Drogba

World Cup Football

The FIFA World Cup (often called Football World Cup or simply World Cup) is the most important competition in international football (soccer), and the world's most representative team sport event. Organised by Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's governing body, the World Cup is contested by men's national football teams which are FIFA members.

The World Cup finals are held every four years, but the competition itself takes place over a three-year period, and includes a regional qualifying tournament. 197 national teams entered the qualification for the 2006 World Cup. The final tournament involves 32 national teams competing over a four-week period in a previously nominated host nation.


The World Cup final tournament, which has been held every four years since 1930, except in 1942 and 1946, when it was cancelled due to World War II, is the most widely-viewed and followed sporting event in the world, exceeding even the Olympic Games.

Only seven nations have won the World Cup. Brazil is the most successful World Cup team, having won the tournament five times. Germany and Italy follow with three titles each.

The next football World Cup will be held in Germany between June 9 and July 9, 2006.


Previous international competitions

The World Cup was not the first international football competition. Amateur football became a part of the official Olympic programme for the first time in 1908.

In Turin in 1909, in what is sometimes described as The First World Cup, Sir Thomas Lipton organised a football tournament to contest the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy. Italy, Germany and Switzerland sent their most prestigious professional club sides to the competition, but The Football Association of England refused to be associated with it and declined the offer to send a team. Not wishing to have Britain unrepresented in the competition, Lipton invited West Auckland FC, an amateur side from the north-east of England and mostly made up of coal miners, to take part. West Auckland won the tournament and returned to Italy in 1911 to defend their title. In this second competition, West Auckland beat Juventus 6-1 in the final, and were awarded the trophy outright. In the Olympic games of 1924 and 1928, Uruguay won the football gold medal, in the first intercontinental football competitions. These victories led the FIFA to choose Uruguay as the home of the first FIFA sanctioned World Cup.

The first World Cup

In 1927, the 1932 Summer Olympics were awarded to Los Angeles in the United States where the popularity of American football far surpassed that of the international game of association football (by then becoming known as soccer in the US). The general lack of interest from the Americans, and a disagreement between FIFA and the IOC over the status of amateur players, led to football being dropped from the official Olympic programme for the 1932 games.

As a consequence, Jules Rimet, who had become president of FIFA in 1921, set about organising the inaugural World Cup tournament, to take place in Uruguay in 1930. The national associations of selected nations were invited to send a team, but the choice of Uruguay as a venue for the competition meant a long and costly trip across the Atlantic for European sides, and up until two months before the start of the competition no team from that continent had promised to send a team. Rimet eventually persuaded teams representing Belgium, France, Romania, and Yugoslavia to make the trip. In total, thirteen nations took part - seven from South America, four from Europe and two from North America. The first ever goal was scored by Lucien Laurent, who scored for France against Mexico (match ended 4-1 for France). In the final, Uruguay beat Argentina 4-2 in front of a crowd of 93,000 people in Montevideo, to become the first nation to win a World Cup.


The issues facing the early World Cup tournaments were travel (for teams outside the continent of the host nations), and war, with the 1942 and 1946 editions being cancelled due to World War II.

The British home nations, where football was first played, entered the World Cup for the first time in 1950, after reaching an agreement with FIFA about their status.

For the tournaments between 1934 and 1978, 16 teams took part in the final tournament (except in a few cases where teams withdrew after qualifying). Most of the qualifiers were from Europe and Latin America, with a very small minority from Africa, Asia and Oceania. These teams were usually easily defeated by the European and Latin American teams (with the notable exception of North Korea in 1966, which reached the quarterfinals).

The final tournament was expanded to 24 teams in 1982, then to 32 teams in 1998, allowing more teams from Africa, Asia and North America to take part. In recent years, these comparatively newer participants have enjoyed more success, with examples such as Cameroon in 1990, and South Korea, Senegal and USA in 2002. The World Cup is now a truly global event, with as many as 197 nations entering qualification for the 2006 edition.



Qualifying tournaments are held to reduce the field for the final tournament (except in 1930, when teams were invited to take part). These tournaments are held within the six FIFA continental zones (Africa, Asia, North and Central America and Caribbean, South America, Oceania, Europe), and are organized by their respective confederations. For each tournament, FIFA decides the number of spots awarded to each of the continental zones beforehand, generally based on the relative strength of the confederations' teams, but also subject to lobbying from the confederations.

Starting from the 1938 World Cup, the host nations have received an automatic berth in the finals. Moreover, until 2002, the defending champions had also received an automatic berth, but starting from the 2006 World Cup they have to enter the qualifying tournament in order to gain a berth.

Nowadays, the qualification process can start as early as almost three years before the final tournament, and last over a two-year period. The formats of the qualification tournaments differ between confederations. Usually, one or two spots are awarded to winners of the Intercontinental Play-offs. For example, the winner of the Oceanian zone and the fifth-placed team from the South American zone entered a play-off to decide which team would qualify for the 2006 World Cup.

Final tournament

Currently, the final tournament involves 32 national teams competing over a month in the previously nominated host nation(s). It is divided into two stages, a group stage and a knockout stage.

For the first round, teams are drawn into eight groups of four. During the draw, eight teams are seeded, with one being drawn into each group, while the other teams are allocated into pots based on geographical considerations, then drawn into each group. The basic constraint is that no group contains more than two European teams or more than one team from any other confederation. In each group, a round-robin tournament is played, with each team playing three matches. The last round of matches of each group are held at the same time to ensure fairness. Three points are awarded for a win, one for a draw and none for a loss. The top two teams from each group advance to the knockout stage.

In the knockout stage, teams play each other in one-off matches, with extra time and penalty shootouts used to decide the winner, if necessary. In the Round of 16, the winner of each group plays against the runner-up from another group. This is followed by the quarterfinals, the semi-finals and the final. The losing semi-finalists also contest a third place match.


World Cup summaries

Year Host   Final   Third Place Match
Winner Score Runner-up 3rd Place Score 4th Place
Uruguay Uruguay 4 - 2 Argentina USA


Italy Italy 2 - 1
after extra time
Czechoslovakia Germany 3 - 2 Austria
France Italy 4 - 2 Hungary Brazil 4 - 2 Sweden
Brazil Uruguay n/a(2) Brazil Sweden n/a(2) Spain
Switzerland West Germany 3 - 2 Hungary Austria 3 - 1 Uruguay
Sweden Brazil 5 - 2 Sweden France 6 - 3 West Germany
Chile Brazil 3 - 1 Czechoslovakia Chile 1 - 0 Yugoslavia
England England 4 - 2
after extra time
West Germany Portugal 2 - 1 Soviet Union
Mexico Brazil 4 - 1 Italy West Germany 1 - 0 Uruguay
West Germany West Germany 2 - 1 Netherlands Poland 1 - 0 Brazil
Argentina Argentina
3 - 1
after extra time
Netherlands Brazil 2 - 1 Italy
Spain Italy 3 - 1 West Germany Poland 3 - 2 France
Mexico Argentina 3 - 2 West Germany France 4 - 2
Italy West Germany 1 - 0 Argentina Italy 2 - 1 England
USA Brazil 0 - 0
(3 - 2) on penalties
Italy Sweden 4 - 0 Bulgaria
France France 3 - 0 Brazil Croatia 2 - 1 Netherlands
South Korea
& Japan
Brazil 2 - 0 Germany Turkey 3 - 2 South Korea
South Africa            
South America            

Note: FIFA has not yet specified which continent will host the World Cup in 2018.

1 There was no official World Cup Third Place match in 1930; USA and Yugoslavia lost in the semi-finals.
2 There was no official World Cup final match in 1950. The tournament was decided in a final group contested by four teams. However, Uruguay's 2-1 victory over Brazil (match known as Maracanazo), was the decisive match which put them ahead on points and ensured that they finished top of the group as world champions.

Successful national teams

In all, 207 teams have competed to qualify to the World Cup, but only eleven have made it to the final match, and of those eleven, only seven teams have actually won. As a consequence of this exclusiveness, the World Cup inspires a great deal of enthusiasm and national pride amongst the tournament's fans.

Brazil, by a clear margin, is the most successful World Cup team overall, having won the tournament five times in total, as well as having finished as runners-up twice. Brazil is also the only nation to have participated in every World Cup so far.

South America holds the most titles at nine, followed by Europe at eight. The two countries with the most appearances in the World Cup final match are Germany and Brazil, each with 7 appearances in the final match (Brazil won 5 while Germany won 3). Brazil and Italy were finalists each up for their 3rd cup in 1970 and for their 4th cup in 1994, both times Brazil edged Italy.

Team Titles Winning years (* as hosts) Runners-up (* as hosts)
Brazil 5 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002 2 (1950*, 1998)
 Germany 3 1954, 1974*, 1990
(all as West Germany)
4 (1966, 1982, 1986, 2002)
(all but latest as West Germany)
Italy 3 1934*, 1938, 1982 2 (1970, 1994)
Argentina 2 1978*, 1986 2 (1930, 1990)
Uruguay 2 1930*, 1950 -
England 1 1966* -
France 1 1998* -
Czechoslovakia - - 2 (1934, 1962)
Hungary - - 2 (1938, 1954)
Netherlands - - 2 (1974, 1978)
Sweden - - 1 (1958*)

Six of the seven teams have won a world championship while playing in their own homeland at least once: this is one of the reasons why nations actively lobby to be selected as World Cup hosts, and one of the main critiques from the detractors of the tournament and FIFA itself, accused of favourable refereeing and draws for the host. The only previous winner not to have won on home ground is the otherwise extremely successful Brazil, who famously lost the deciding match when they hosted the 1950 tournament. Even traditionally "weaker" nations have been successful during their spell as hosts, most recently South Korea, who made it to the semifinals while hosting the 2002 World Cup, even if in every previous attempt never managed to pass the first round. Both England (1966 World Cup) and France (1998 World Cup) won their only World Cups while playing as host nations.

A total of 78 national teams have qualified for the final tournament at least once. The top 10 national teams in terms of the number of appearances are (includes appearances in the upcoming 2006 Football World Cup):

Appearances Team
18 Brazil
16 Germany
14 Argentina
13 Mexico
12 England
11 Belgium

Best performances by continental zones

To date, the final of the World Cup has only been contested by European and/or South American teams.

The greatest success of a North American team was reaching the semi-finals, achieved by the USA at the 1930 World Cup.

The first Asian team to make it to the semi-finals was South Korea at the 2002 World Cup (Turkey also made it to the semi-finals at the same tournament, but since they are a member of UEFA, they are considered a European team).

Two African teams have reached the quarter-finals: Cameroon at the 1990 World Cup and Senegal in 2002.

The only visits of teams from Oceania in the tournament ended in the first round: Australia at the 1974 World Cup and New Zealand in the 1982 World Cup. Australia has now qualified for the 2006 Cup after winning through a play-off with Uruguay.

The trophy

From 1930 to 1970, the Jules Rimet Trophy (originally simply known as the World Cup or Coupe du Monde but renamed in 1946 after the president of FIFA who organized the first tournament in 1930) was awarded to the World Cup winner. In 1970, Brazil's third victory in the tournament entitled them to keep it permanently. However, the trophy was stolen in 1983 and never recovered.

After the Jules Rimet Trophy went to Brazil forever, a new trophy, the FIFA World Cup Trophy, was designed. This trophy will not be awarded to the nations permanently (no matter how many times they win it). Argentina, Germany (both times as West Germany) and Brazil have all won the second trophy twice, but the current trophy will not be retired until the name plaque has been entirely filled with the names of winning nations (this will not happen until 2038).


At the end of each World Cup final tournament, several awards are presented to the players and teams which have distinguished themselves from the rest in different aspects of the game.

At the end of each World Cup final tournament, several awards are attributed to the players and teams which have distinguished from the rest, in different aspects of the game.

There are currently six awards:

  • The adidas Golden Shoe (formerly called the Golden Shoe, or, sometimes, the Golden Boot, first awarded in 1930) for top goal scorer;
  • The adidas Golden Ball for best player (formerly called the Golden Ball, first awarded in 1982);
  • The Yashin Award for best goalkeeper (first awarded in 1994);
  • The FIFA Fair Play Award for the team with the best record of fair play (first awarded in 1978);
  • The Most Entertaining Team award for the team that has entertained the public the most, during the World Cup final tournament, as determined by a poll of the general public, first awarded in 1994;
  • The Gillette Best Young Player award for best player under 21 years of age at the start of the calendar year, which will be awarded for the first time in 2006.

Records and statistics

  • Biggest margin of victory: Hungary 9-0 South Korea, 1954; Hungary 10-1 El Salvador, 1982
  • Fastest goal from kickoff: Hakan Şükür, 11 seconds, Turkey vs South Korea, 2002
  • Most World Cup match appearances: Lothar Matthäus, 25
  • Most goals scored: Gerd Müller (West Germany 1970-1974), 14
  • Most goals scored in one tournament: Just Fontaine (France), 13, 1958

Media coverage

The World Cup is the most widely-viewed and followed sporting event in the world, exceeding even the Olympic Games. The cumulative audience of the World Cup 2002 event is estimated to be 28.8 billion viewers. 1.1 billion individuals have watched the final match of this tournament. The World Cup 2006 draw, which decided the distribution of teams into groups, has been watched by 300 million viewers.

Each Football World Cup usually has its own mascot. World Cup Willie, the mascot for the 1966 competition, was the first World Cup mascot. Mascots for the forthcoming World Cup 2006 are Goleo, a lion, and Pille, a football.

Selection of hosts

At present, the host country of the World Cup is decided six years before the tournament, voted by FIFA's executive committee.

The World Cups between 1930 and 1998 were all held in either Europe or the Americas, with the hosting rights almost always alternated between them. The 2002 World Cup was the first World Cup held outside the two continents, when the tournament was co-hosted for the first time by South Korea and Japan. Initially, the two Asian countries were competitors in the bidding process, but at the last minute before the vote, they agreed with FIFA to co-host the event. However, the competitive nature of the two host nations (partly due to a historical rivalry) and the distance between them led to problems in organization and logistics. After the tournament, FIFA has repeatedly said co-hosting will likely not happen again, and in 2004 FIFA stated that its statutes do not allow bids that involve co-hosting.

The decision to award the 2006 World Cup to Germany was controversial, as it was widely expected that the tournament would take place in South Africa. The final tally was 12 votes to 11 in favour of Germany. The New Zealand FIFA member, Charles Dempsey, who was instructed to vote for South Africa by the Oceania Football Confederation, abstained from voting at the last minute. If he had voted for the Africans, the tally would have been 12:12, giving the decision to FIFA President Sepp Blatter; it was widely believed then that Blatter would have voted for South Africa. There has been much speculation since the vote of 2000 as to why Dempsey pulled out; German satirial magazine Titanic reported threats and bribes, but later admitted it was a hoax. Consequently, FIFA has decided to rotate the hosting of the final tournaments between its constituent confederations.

The first World Cup bidding process under continental rotation was the 2010 World Cup. Africa was the continent chosen, and South Africa won the vote over four other African nations. This will be the first World Cup held in Africa, and will be the largest sporting event ever held there (the Olympics have never been held there).

The 2014 World Cup, which FIFA has earmarked for South America, is expected to be held in Brazil as CONMEBOL, the South American Football Confederation, has already backed it as their choice. Several nations have expressed interest in hosting the 2018 World Cup. However, FIFA has not decided which continent will host it, as they have indicated that they might back out of the rotation.



  1. ^  Uruguay 1930 FIFA World Cup site. Retrieved on January 9, 2006.
  2. ^  Ibid.
  3. ^  FIFA World Cup Origin FIFA Media Release. Retrieved on January 9, 2006.
  4. ^  FIFA Newsletter by Joseph S. Blatter, FIFA General Secretary, June 1997. Retrieved on January 8, 2006.
  5. ^  "Socceroos face major challenge: Hiddink", ABC Sport, December 10, 2005. Retrieved on January 8, 2006.
  6. ^  ^a  Host nation of 2010 FIFA World Cup™ - South Africa, FIFA Media Release, May 15, 2004. Retrieved on January 8, 2006.
  7. ^  "FIFA president Blatter a big loser with Germany getting 2006 World Cup" by Robert Wagman, SoccerTimes, July 7, 2000. Retrieved on January 8, 2006.
  8. ^  "German magazine takes credit for bribery hoax", IOL, July 7, 2000. Retrieved on January 8, 2006.
  9. ^  "Games win inspires bid to host 2018 World Cup" by John Goodbody, The Timess, November 16, 2005. Retrieved on January 8, 2006.


i think that you should be able to ask a certain question when searching for information and it comes up with the nearest answer to the chosen subject. i think that this site is a lot better that some and you get loads more information on this one which i think is loads better.

Re: History - In the 20's it was also known as soccer in the UK! It was still known as that in the 50's and 60's when I was growing up. (vide "Boy's Book of Soccer" and other similar titles) The only publication I remember using the other designation was "Charles Buchan's Football Monthly". It is only a recent conceit that "soccer" is a term used only by Americans.

I'm a guy from Maldives, I like football very much. My favourite player is Mr.Ronaldo lach/lh.Hin

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Best Footballer in the world

Top Five Players

1. Ronaldo 2. Messi
3. Ronaldinho  4. Pele
5. Gerrard

Vote for the best football player on the planet

stevie gerrard is the best because he can do everything whereas other good players specialise in a few things. Also he works hard and is loyal to club and country.

C.ronaldo is d best footballer

mi jugador es iniesta de espana

I think c ronaldo is the best

ronaldinho he's the master

Christino Ronaldo is the best player of the world. In 47 matches he scored 48 goals in only one year compared to messi who only scored 106 in 159 matches in 6 years. The ballon d'or earned.

my vote is with xavi of barcelona technically he is brilliant. his control vision and touch is first class i hope he wins fifa world player of the year in a week or sos time
Lionel messi is the best playeq in the world by yinkusengine

torres,messi,kaka,cristiono ronaldo,villa and xavi