World Cup Fever

This June, we will be dedicating some time to the FIFA World Cup being held in Brazil. So expect a number of blog posts about the world’s most popular sport this month.

Spain won the World Cup in 2010 (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Spain won the World Cup in 2010 (Courtesy of Wikipedia)

Let’s kick off our series on the subject of football (or, as our US friends call it, soccer) with some interesting trivia about the world’s most popular sport.

  • There are an estimated 3.3-3.5 billion fans of football worldwide.
  • Only seven countries have won the World Cup since it began in 1930: Brazil (a total of five times), Italy (four), Germany (three), Argentina and Uruguay (two each), England, Spain and France (one each).
  • During the history of the World Cup, there have been two trophies. Between 1930 and 1973, it was called the Jules Rimet Trophy, after a former FIFA president who was key in setting up the games. In 1974, the current trophy was introduced.
  • The original Jules Rimet trophy (which was kept by the winners of the 1970 tournament, Brazil), was stolen in 1983 and never recovered.
  • The current trophy features two figures holding up a globe. It is made from 5kg of 18 carat gold and weighs a total of 6.2kg with the base attached.
  • The winners of each World Cup get to take home a gold-plated replica rather than the real thing.
  • Although it’s called the “World Cup,” the trophy is not really a “cup.” It is impossible to pour a liquid into it and drink from it.
  • Out of the 19 World Cup tournaments, six have been won by the host country.
  • It was against the rules to swap shirts at the 1986 tournament because FIFA did not want players to “bare their chests” on the field.
  • Brazil’s Ronaldo is the top goalscorer in World Cup history with a total of 15 goals in 19 matches played. Germany’s Gerd Mueller and Miroslav Klose are tied in second place with 14 goals each.
  • The Netherlands-Portugal game in the 2006 World Cup saw a record four red cards being shown (two for each team). Another 16 yellow cards were displayed.
  • In 2002, Turkey’s Hakan Şükür scored a goal just 10.89 seconds into a game against South Korea.
  • The next World Cup will be held in Russia (2018) and Qatar (2022).

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