World Cup

The FIFA World Cup is the world’s most viewed sporting event. The event is so huge and costly, that the 4 years time period between World Cups has never changed! Since 1950, there has been a World Cup every 4 years. It is quite sad that it takes so much time to experience another World Cup, but the bright side is: when this event arrives, you know it is going to be BIG! A FIFA World Cup will always create that special feeling, that unique experience we probably won’t feel when it would be organised every year! 20 FIFA World Cups have been organised so far. The 21st FIFA World Cup will kick-off on June 14 2018 and the big final will be played on July 15 2018. So far 77 countries have participated at least once in a World Cup.

Find Out all the 2018 FIFA World Cup Facts You Need to Know!

The first World Cup was hosted in 1930 in Uruguay.  It was a small tournament with only 13 participants: Uruguay, Argentina, Chile, Mexico, France, Yugoslavia, Brazil, Bolivia, Romania, Peru, United States, Paraguay and Belgium. African, Asian and Oceanian teams were not included. Uruguay won the first FIFA World Cup by defeating Argentin with 4-2.

Uruguay won the very first FIFA World Cup in 1930

The FIFA World Cup has always been organised every 4 years. Except for the 40s decade. After the 1938 World Cup it took 12 years before the 4th FIFA World Cup was hosted. World War II prevented FIFA from organising the 1942 and 1946 World Cup. There were no more exceptions anymore after the 1950 World Cup hosted in Brazil.

All 6 confederations have to qualify for the World Cup. Only the host nation qualifies automatically. The qualification stage resembles with the qualification stages of the continent’s own tournament. A fixed amount of World Cup spots are available per confederation. For example in the 2014 World Cup there were 13 spots for the UEFA teams  and only 5 for the CAF teams. Since the 1970 World Cup there were fixed spots for African teams. Asia still had to compete with Oceania for 1 spot which changed in the 1986 World Cup. Asia was finally guaranteed 2 spots. Oceania is till this very day the only confederation that doesn’t have a fixed spot in the big tournament. The current champion of the OFC Nations Cup has to play a play-off against another team from a different confederation. Only when this play-off is won, the Oceanian team qualifies for the FIFA World Cup.

The FIFA World Cup trophy

The current champion is Germany, they defeated Argentina with 1-0 in the 2014 World Cup Final. Therefore they qualified for the 2018 Confederations Cup. The most succesful World Cup team is Brazil. Not only they did win the World Cup 5 times, they are also the only ones who have participated in every single World Cup! Brazil won the tournament in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. The current all-time top scorer is former German player Miroslav Klose with 16 goals.

Germany are the current FIFA World Cup champions


Between the 1930 and 1950 World Cup the amount of participants varied between 13 and 16. Since the 1954 World Cup there was a steady amount of 16 participants which increased to 24 in the 1982 World Cup. 4 FIFA World Cups later in 1998, the amount increased to 32 teams. There are talks to increase the amount again in the future of the World Cup, but this is pure speculation for now.

The upcoming 2018 World Cup in Russia will contain 32 teams as the previous tournaments. Next to Russia, England, Portugal/Spain, and Netherlands/Belgium placed a bid succesfully as well for hosting rights. Against the expectations of many, it was Russia that gained the most votes and was officially announced as 2018 FIFA World Cup host nation on December 2 2010.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup official logo

Find Out all the 2018 FIFA World Cup Facts You Need to Know!

Although the 2014 World Cup is still fresh in our memories, the preparations for the 2018 World Cup have started for some time now. The 12 stadiums are under construction or in renovation, and are currently on schedule. FIFA does everything for the “Brazil situation” not to occur in Russia. In other words, there should be no delays as was the case with many Brazilian World Cup stadiums. The logo has been announced in October 2014. The mascot and the poster are expected to be revealed in late 2015. The qualifying draw will take place at the Konstantinovsky Palace in Strelna, Saint Petersburg on 25 July 2015. Only then we will know the details of the qualification stages of all confederations. The qualifications however already kicked-off in March 2015. Russia qualifies automatically as host nation. The champion of the 2018 World Cup qualifies for the 2021 Confederations Cup.

FIFA World Cup African Teams

CountryFIFA World CupTotal
Cameroon1982, 1990-2002, 2010-20147
Nigeria1994-2002, 2010-20145
Morocco1970, 1986, 1994-19984
Tunisia1978, 1998-20064
Algeria1982-1986, 2010-20144
South Africa1998-2002, 20103
Ghana2006-20143
Ivory Coast2006-20143
Egypt1934, 19902
Congo DR19741
Senegal20021
Angola20061
Togo20061

  • Congo DR participated as Zaïre in the 1974 World Cup

FIFA World Cup Oceanian Teams

CountryFIFA World CupTotal
Australia1974, 2006, 2010, 2014 (from 2010 as AFC member)4
New Zealand1982, 20102

  • Australia participated in the first 2 World Cups as an OFC member

FIFA World Cup Asian Teams

CountryFIFA World CupTotal
South Korea1954, 1986-20149
Japan1998-20145
Australia1974, 2006 (as OFC member), 2010, 20144
Iran1978, 1998, 2006, 20144
Saudi Arabia1994-20064
North Korea1966, 20102
Indonesia19381
Israel19701
Kuwait19821
Iraq19861
United Arab Emirates19901
China PR20021
  • Indonesia participated as Dutch East indies in the 1938 World Cup
  • Israel participated as an AFC country in 1970, but became an UEFA member in 1994
  • India did qualify once which was for the 1950 World Cup, but ended up withdrawing before the start of the tournament
  • Australia participates as an AFC member since the 2010 World Cup

FIFA World Cup North/Central American Teams

CountryFIFA World CupTotal
Mexico1930,1950-1970, 1978, 1986,1994-201415
United States1930,1934,1950,1990 - 201410
Costa Rica1990,2006,2010-20144
Honduras1982,2010-20143
El Salvador1970,19822
Cuba19381
Haiti19741
Canada19861
Jamaica19981
Trinidad and Tobago20061

FIFA World Cup South American Teams

CountryFIFA World CupTotal
Brazil1930-2014 (all World Cups)20
Argentina1930-1934, 1958-1966, 1974-201416
Uruguay1930, 1950-1954, 1962-1974, 1986-1990, 2002, 2010-201412
Chile1930, 1950, 1962-1966, 1974, 1982, 1998, 2010-20149
Paraguay1930, 1950, 1958, 1986, 1998-20108
Colombia1962, 1990-1998, 20145
Peru1930, 1970, 1978-19824
Bolivia1930, 1950, 19943
Ecuador2002-2006, 20143
  • Venezuela is the only CONMEBOL member which has never qualified for a World Cup

FIFA World Cup European Teams

CountryWorld CupTotal
Germany1934-1938, 1954-201418
Italy1934-1954, 1962-201418
France1930-1938, 1954-1958, 1966, 1978-1986, 1998-201414
Spain1934, 1950, 1962-1966, 1978-201414
England1950-1970, 1982-1990, 1998-201414
Belgium1930-1938, 1954, 1970, 1982-2002, 201412
Serbia1930, 1950-1962, 1974, 1982, 1990, 1998, 2006-201011
Sweden1934-1950, 1958, 1970-1978, 1990-1994, 2002-200611
Netherlands1934-1938, 1974-1978, 1990-1998, 2006-201410
Switzerland1934-1954, 1962-1966, 1994, 2006-201410
Russia1958-1970, 1982-1994, 2002, 201410
Czech Republic1934-1938, 1954-1962, 1970, 1982, 1990, 20069
Hungary1934-1938, 1954-1966, 1978-19869
Scotland1954-1958, 1974-1990, 19988
Romania1930-1938, 1970, 1990-19987
Austria1934, 1954-1958, 1978-1982, 1990, 19987
Poland1938, 1974-1986, 2002-20067
Bulgaria1962-1974, 1986, 1994-19987
Portugal1966, 1986, 2002-20146
Denmark1986, 1998-2002, 20104
Croatia1998-2006, 20144
Norway1938, 1994-19983
Northern Ireland1958, 1982-19863
Ireland1990-1994, 20023
Greece1994, 2010-20143
Turkey1954, 20022
Slovenia2002, 20102
Wales19581
Israel1970 (as AFC member)1
Ukraine20061
Slovakia20101
Bosnia and Herzegovina20141

  • Israel was an AFC member and became an UEFA member in 1994
  • Germany participated as West Germany from the 1954 World Cup till the 1990 World Cup
  • Russia is allocated the Soviet Union team record by FIFA and participated as Soviet Union for the last time in the 1990 World Cup
  • Czech Republic is allocated the Czechoslovakia team record by FIFA and participated as Czechoslovakia for the last time in the 1990 World Cup
  • Serbia is allocated the Yugoslavia team record by FIFA, they participated as Yugoslavia for the last time in the 1998 World Cup and in the 2006 World Cup they played as Serbia and Montenegro
  • Montenegro became a separate country in 2006, Serbia was then allocated the Serbia and Montenegro team record and played as Serbia since then

Learn more about the FIFA World Cup!

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