The FIFA World Cup: 20 Facts You Might Not Know

The 19th FIFA World Cup tournament in history starts tomorrow in South Africa and the whole country is feeling the hype surrounding the biggest sporting event in the world. Brace yourselves for a full month of football madness.

Yesterday more than 180,000 fans lined the streets of Sandton (in the Northern Suburbs of Johannesburg) to show their support for local football heroes Bafana Bafana.

A local radio station urged everyone in South Africa to blow their vuvuzela’s as loud as they can at 12 noon yesterday and a large portion of the country took part. Bosses are giving their employees time off after lunch on Friday.

The whole country is getting into the 2010 FIFA World Cup spirit. The tournament has come a long way though. This post contains some interesting facts about the tournament.

FIFA World Cup in South Africa

In case you were wondering, the aerial photo of the Sandton on this post was taken yesterday by Gauteng traffic reporter Aki Anastasiou.

Here are some facts about the FIFA World Cup:

1. The first tournament was held in 1930 in Uruguay.

2. Only 13 countries participated in the first tournament.

3. The tournament has been held every 4 years since 1930, except 1942 and 1946.

4. Brazil have won the FIFA World Cup 5 times, in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002 (the most times by any other nation in the tournament’s history).

5. Italy have won the FIFA World Cup 4 times (in 1934, 1938, 1982 and 2006), Germany have won the FIFA World Cup 3 times (in 1954, 1974 and 1990), Argentina have won the FIFA World Cup 2 times (in 1978 and 1986), Uruguay have won the FIFA World Cup twice as well (in 1930 and 1950) and France and England have won the FIFA World Cup once (in 1998 and 1966 respectively).

6. Over 76 countries have competed in the tournament Cup since it started in 1930.

7. Six of the seven champion nations have won 1 of their titles whilst playing in their own countries (Brazil is the only country which could not achieve this in 1950).

8. Both Germany and Brazil have both appeared in 7 final matches in the tournament.

9. Brazil is the only country that has competed in each and every tournament since 1930.

10. Mexico has lost 22 matches in the history of the tournament (the most any nation competing has ever lost).

11. Brazil has scored 201 goals in FIFA World Cup tournaments (the most in the tournament’s history).

12. In 1954 Hungary scored 27 goals in the tournament, setting the record for most goals scored in a tournament.

13. Pelé (from Brazil) is the player with the most FIFA World championships under his belt. He was part of Brazil’s squad in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He also holds the record for youngest goalscorer, youngest hat-trick scorer and youngest goalscorer in a final.

14. Oleg Salenko (from Russia) is the player who has scored the most goals in a match. He scored 5 goals in a match against Cameroon in 1994.

15. Geoff Hurst (from England) is the player who has scored the most goals in a final match. He scored 3 goals against West Germany in the final at Wembley Stadium in 1966.

16. Roger Milla (from Cameroon) is the oldest goal scorer in FIFA World Cup history. He got this title when he was 42 years old and scored a goal against Russia in 1994.

17. Nils Liedholm (from Sweden) is the oldest goalscorer in tournament history. He was 35 years old when he scored a goal in the final match against Brazil in 1958.

18. Hakan Şükür (from Turkey) holds the record for fastest goal from kickoff in a FIFA World Cup Match. He scored a goal 11 seconds into a match against South Korea in 2002.

19. The most goals in a FIFA World Cup tournament were scored in 1998 in France. 171 goals were scored in the tournament.

20. The South African National Football team has only played in 2 FIFA World Cup tournaments (in 1998 and 2002). They were knocked out in the first round on both occasions. (At least SA is hosting the tournament this time, let’s hope they do better this time).

There you have it, 20 facts about the FIFA World Cup (mostly statistical and historical).

Watch this space for updates in the Facts category on Running Wolf’s Rant.


Henno Kruger

Blogger, Desktop Activist, Twitter / Facebook Addict, Music Festival Addict, Avid lover of South African music, Founder and owner of Running Wolf's Rant

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