It was 84 years ago that the very first World Cup was held in the nation of Uruguay. Out of the 13 countries competing for the Cup, there were 18 matches and 70 goals scored, with Uruguay having a home-field advantage that allowed them to win the first World Cup. This trend continued in 1934 when Italy hosted and defeated 16 other teams in the second Cup. Unfortunately for France, this trend did not continue when they hosted the next World Cup in 1938; Italy was victorious here as well.
The next Cup was delayed until 1950, as many of the competing nations had fought in and were recuperating from World War II. It was held in Brazil, who would not host again until 2014 (by this time, they had won a record five tournaments). Once the Cup was up and running again, it would continue to be hosted by Switzerland, Sweden and then Chile, where attendance saw a drop as it fell under one million. Brazil’s 1958 win in Sweden also constitutes the only time where a European World Cup venue was won by a non-European team. England would hold the next Cup in 1966, attracting an audience of 1.6 million, and the finale in Wembley Stadium was the last World Cup game broadcast in black and white. Mexico held the first games broadcasted live and in color, when they hosted in 1970. The next was held by West Germany, where the current trophy, created by Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga, was first awarded. Following that, the World Cup would be hosted by Argentina, Spain and Mexico again; it was in the stands of the 1986 Cup in Mexico that the “wave” was popularized worldwide.
Italy hosted the Cup for a second time in 1990 and HD broadcasting began. The 1994 World Cup was held in the United States, where 24 teams participated. Brazil won here as well, and it is currently the best attended tournament in history with 3.5 million people overall, a little less than 70,000 people on average per game. By 1998, the current roster of 32 teams was implemented when France hosted. France finally won the Cup on their home turf, only 60 years after they had previously failed to do so. South Korea and Japan hosted the next World Cup in 2002, bringing the venue to Asia for the first time. The 2006 World Cup was hosted in Germany, where an estimated 26.29 billion non-unique viewers watched the broadcasts. The most recent World Cup was held in South Africa, the first African venue for the Cup. Spain was victorious, celebrating to the noise of the local Vuvuzelas. As the 20th World Cup kicks off in Brazil, it’s still impossible to say which of the 32 competing nations will bring home the next victory.
World Cup Artwork & copy courtesy Elanders Printing, UK
Edited by Jonathan Keshishoglou