The World Cup, previously FIFA World Cup, is one of the biggest soccer tournaments in the world. Every tournament draws billions of television viewers, making it the most popular sporting event around the world.
Before the World Cup, the summer Olympics football tournament was given the most importance. However, in the 1920s, the game transitioned to professionalism which did not keep with the Olympics spirit, which is why the governing body of FIFA made plans to hold a World Cup.
On May 26, 1928, the decision to organize the first event was officially announced. The first FIFA World Cup was held in 1930 when FIFA, the World’s Football Governing Organization, agreed to have an international men’s football tournament during the time of FIFA’s president Jules Rimet.
The first inaugural edition in 1930 was a competition of 13 teams which the organization invited initially. Since then, the World Cup has grown significantly, with currently a 32-team final tournament followed by a two-year qualifying process featuring nearly 200 teams from all over the World.
History of World Cup Soccer Tournament
1. FIFA to Start The Tournament In 1930
In 1930, FIFA decided to launch the tournament. However, the 1932 Olympics in Los Angles didn’t want football in the program because it was not popular in the United States. Therefore, FIFA’s president Jules Rimet started arranging the first World Cup event. FIFA chose Uruguay, which was already a two-time world champion, to commemorate the country’s anniversary of independence.
2. The National Association of Selected Nations Was Invited To Send a Team
The national associations of the chosen nations got invited to send a team, but Uruguay as the venue meant long and expensive travel across the Atlantic Ocean for European teams. Therefore, no European country promised to send a team until two months before the competition.
Rimet, on the other hand, was eventually able to persuade teams from Belgium, France, Romania, Hungary, and Yugoslavia to join him on the journey. Thirteen countries participated, including seven from South America, four from Europe, and two from North America.
3. The World Cup’s First Two Matches Took Place Simultaneously
The first two world cup matches simultaneously were won by France and the United States, who defeated Mexico by 4-1 and Belgium by 3-0. Lucien Laurent of France scored the first-ever goal in World Cup history.
After four days, Bert Patenaude of the United States achieved a hat-trick in the American 3-0 win over Paraguay. In the final match, Uruguay defeated Argentina by 4-2 in front of 93,000 people in Montevideo to become the first country to win the world cup.
4. Italy Hosted the 1934 World Cup
The world cup of 1934 was held in Italy. It was the first to include a qualification phase. Sixteen teams were qualified for the event, which was a figure that could be maintained until the final tournament’s expansion in 1982. Uruguay, the 1930 World Cup champions, boycotted the 1934 World Cup because they were still unhappy about the low European attendance at their World Cup in 1930.
Bolivia and Paraguay also didn’t participate, which allowed Argentina and Brazil to progress in the finals in Italy without having to play any qualification matches. Egypt was the first African team to compete. But somehow, they got defeated in the first round by Hungary.
Italy won the tournament and became the first European team to do so.
5. The 1938 World Cup Was Held In Europe
The 1938 FIFA world cup took place in France, which disappointed South Americans with Uruguay and Argentina boycotting. For the first time, the championship holders and the host country were automatically qualified.
Austria had legally qualified for the final round after the play-off match against Latvia. Still, the Austrian national team resigned because of the Anschluss with Germany in April 1938.
England was offered Austria’s seat, but they disagreed. This left 15 nations competing in the finals. France hosted the tournament, but the hosts did not win it for the first time as Italy retained their title by defeating Hungary in the finals.
The polish striker Ernest Williamowski became the first player to score four in a World Cup game; numerous players later equaled his record but was only bettered 56 years later in the 1994 World Cup.
6. Germany Hosted the 1942 FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup took place in 1942 and was hosted by Germany on August 13, 1936, in Berlin. Brazil also applied for hosting the event in June 1939.
The starting of European Wars in September 1939 forced the cancellation of further arrangements for the 1942 World Cup before the country’s host was chosen. Therefore, the FIFA World Cup did not take place.
During World War II, FIFA was struggling to stay viable, and it lacked the financial and human resources to arrange a peacetime tournament for when hostilities ended. In 1945 when the war ended, it was evident that FIFA would have no chance of planning and organizing a 1946 World Cup in a single year.
However, FIFA’s inaugural meeting was held on July 1, 1946, when the 1946 World Cup would generally have been held. When it planned the second World Cup in 1949, no country agreed to host it. Hence the big international and important tournament of 1946 was the South American Championship, with Argentina defeating Brazil 2-0 on February 10, 1946.
7. The Tournaments Resumed with the 1950 FIFA World Cup
The tournaments were resumed by the 1950 World Cup, which was hosted in Brazil. It was the first World Cup to include British players. The British teams left FIFA in 1920 due to unwillingness to play with the countries they had been at war with and protest against foreign influence in football. However, they rejoined later in 1946 following FIFA’s invitation.
8. Uruguay Returned to the Competition
Uruguay, the World Cup Champions of 1930, returned to the tournament after boycotting the previous two World Cups. The Eastern European countries, including Hungary, the Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia, did not participate for political reasons.
Even though the Superga air disaster in 1949 killed the entire Grande Torino team, Italy participated. The World Cup of 1950 was the only tournament that did not have a final match, instead opting for two group stages rather than knock-out rounds.
9. The 1954 World Cup Was Aired In Switzerland for the First Time
The 1954 World Cup that took place in Switzerland was the first to be aired on television in Switzerland. The Soviet Union did not participate due to their poor performance in the 1952 Summer Olympics. Scotland first appeared in the tournament but failed to win and exited after the group round.
The tournament established several all-time goal-scoring records, including the highest average goals per game, the most goals in a single match, and the top-scoring team. West Germany won the event by defeating the Olympic champions Hungary 3-2 in the final, overcoming a 2-0 deficit, with Helmut Rahn scoring the game-winning goal. In Germany, the game is known as the Miracle of Bern.
10. Brazil Won the 1958 World Cup
Brazil won the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. The Soviet Union took part this time because of their win at Melbourne in 1956. For the first time, all four British teams qualified. Wales took advantage of a circumstance in the Africa/Asia zone. The number of withdrawals would have given Israel qualification even though they had not played a single qualifying match.
This made FIFA determine that qualification was unacceptable, and Israel was ordered to play against the other teams, finishing second in the other groups. There was a tie because Wales defeated Israel twice by a score of 2-0 in 1958.
The World Cup is a great and revolutionary sports tournament that has changed and shaped the sports industry as we know it to be. A lot of people love watching the tournaments worldwide. Many significant events took place before and after the introduction of the World Cup, including matches, tournaments, team building, etc.
In short, you can say that the history of the FIFA World Cup or just the World Cup is full of unique and unforgettable events.