WORLD CUP FOOTBALL The finals tournament of the football work cup takes place every four years and is the most important competition in international football. It is the most watched and followed sporting event in the world. The finals tournament takes place over a four week period with the qualifying games running over a three year period. FIFA, the sports governing body, nominate the host nation who qualifies automatically for the finals. The finals involve 32 national teams who initially play in groups of 4 teams with the top two from each group making up the final 16 who play in the head to head knockout matches. The next finals take place in Germany in 2006 and the 2010 competition is in South Africa. The 2014 competition is earmarked for South America with Brazil expected to be the hosts.
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1908 Amateur football became part of the Olympic Games for the first time.
1909Sir Thomas Lipton organised this football tournament with the winners receiving the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy; it is often described as the first world cup. Germany, Italy and Switzerland sent their top club sides but The Football Association of England refused to send a team so an amateur from the North East of England called West Auckland FC were invited to take part. West Auckland won the tournament.
1911 West Auckland FC returned to defend their trophy and beat Juventus 6-1 in the final.
1924 & 1928 Uruguay won the Olympic football gold medal and were recognised by FIFA as World Champions.
1930 The first FIFA sanctioned world cup took place in Uruguay and was organised by Jules Rimet who had become president of FIFA in 1921. The competition came about as football was dropped from the 1932 Los Angeles Olympics following a row between FIFA and the IOC over the status of amateur players. Seven South American nations, four European and two North American nations took part. Uruguay became the first winners of the World Cup trophy after beating Argentina 4-2 in the final.
1946 The World Cup trophy was renamed the Jules Rimet trophy in honour of the founder of the competition.
1970 Brazil’s third win entitled them to keep the original Jules Rimet trophy and a new one was designed.
1990 The final saw Argentina become the first team not to score in a final when they were beaten 1-0 by West Germany. They also became the first team to have two players sent off in a final.
1994 The final was the first ever to be decided on penalties with Brazil beating Italy 3-2.
1998 France beat a subdued Brazil team 3-0 perhaps caused by the fit Ronaldo suffered the night before the game. He was initially left off the team sheet but was then reinstated after a last minute hospital check-up gave him the all clear to play but he was clearly not fit to play.
2002 Brazil won for a record fifth time when they beat Germany 2-0 in the final.
Over 160 teams compete in regional qualifying groups.
32 teams take part in the finals with the first round based on eight groups of four teams. The winners and runners go onto the last 16 which are knockout games with the winners going into the quarter finals, then semi-finals and the final.
The winning team retain the World Cup trophy for four years in addition there are five other awards: Golden Boot for top goalscorer: 2002 winner was Ronaldo of Brazil who scored 8 goals.
Golden Ball for best player: 2002 winner was Oliver Kahn of Germany.
Yashin Award for best goalkeeper: 2002 winner was Oliver Kahn of Germany.
FIFA Fair Play Award for the team with the best record of fail play: 2002 winners were Belgium.
Most Entertaining Team Award: 2002 winners were South Korea
Brazil is the most successful team having participated in every finals winning the tournament five times (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002) and being runners-up twice. Germany (1954, 1974, 1990) and Italy (1934, 1938, 1982) have both won the tournament three times.
Gerd Muller of German has scored the most world cup finals goals with a total of 14 goals.
The fastest ever goal scored was in 11 seconds by Hakan Ukur of Turkey in the 2002 competition.
Lucient Laurent of France scored the first ever goal in the finals when France beat Mexico 4-1 in the opening game of the 1930 competition.
England’s Geoff Hurst is the only player to have scored a hat trick in a World Cup final when England beat West Germany in 1966.
Only eleven nations have ever made it to the final itself and out of these only seven have won. Six of these teams have won when they have hosted the competition. England in 1966 and France in 1998 won their only World Cups while playing as host nations.
A pre-match row over which ball to use in the 1930 final game resulted in an Argentine ball being used in the first half and a Uruguayan ball in the second half. It has been rumoured that this is where the saying “a game of two halves” originated.
The current Word Cup trophy will be retired in 2038 the date when the name plaque will be filled up.
In 1938 the Hosts France and the holders Italy qualified for the finals automatically and a tradition that has continued ever since.
The Italian FIFA vice president Dr Ottorino Barassi stored the World Cup trophy in a shoebox under his bed during the Second World War.
In 1950 the British nations Scotland and England were able to take part for the first time having rejoined FIFA. However Scotland said they would only compete if they won the British Championship so did not enter after being beaten by England 1-0 and finishing runners up. England were knocked out of the finals after the shock result of being beaten 1-0 by the USA.
Brazil were the hosts of the 1950 competition and the shock of Brazil losing to Uruguay in the final resulted in them forgetting to present the trophy after the match. Jules Rimet had to belatedly do the presentation honours.
India pulled out of the 1950 finals after FIFA would not permit them to play in bare feet.
In the 1962 competition Italy’s Ferrini was sent of in a match against Chile and had to be dragged from the pitch by police after refusing to leave.
One of the most famous TV commentary pieces of all time was from the BBC commentator Kenneth Wolstenhome just as Geoff Hurst scored England’s winning goal in the 1966 final when he said “Some people are on the pitch, they think it’s all over … it is now”.
At Mexico in 1970 the England team were labelled “thieves and drunks” by the Mexican press. England player Bobby Moore was also arrested on trumpted-up shoplifting charges.
Following Colombia’s exit from the 1994 finals, Colombian player Andres Escobar was murdered when he returned home.
Diego Maradona was sent home part way through the 1994 competition after failing a drugs test.
The 2002 finals organised by South Korea and Japan is the first time two countries have jointly hosted the competition and the first time it had been held outside Europe or the Americas.
Brazil won the 2002 competition for a record fifth time.
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