200+ Football World Cup Facts

205 Football World Cup Facts


The FIFA World Cup, occasionally called the Football World Cup, but usually referred to simply as the World Cup, is an international football competition contested by the men’s national teams of the members of Federation International de Football Association (FIFA), the sport’s global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the first tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not contested because of World War II.

World Cup Finals

The current format of the tournament involves 32 teams competing for the title at venues within the host nation(s) over a period of about a month – this phase is often called the World Cup Finals.

Qualification Phase

A qualification phase, which currently takes place over the preceding three years, is used to determine which teams qualify for the tournament together with the host nation(s). The World Cup is the most widely-viewed sporting event in the world, with an estimated 715.1 million people watching the last 2006 final.

Winners of last 18 World Cup

BRAZIL – Won 5 times , ITALY – Won 4 times , GERMANY – Won 3 times , URUGUAY – Won 2 times , ARGENTINA – Won 2 times , England – Won 1 times and , France – Won 1 times

Current Champions

The most recent World Cup was held in Germany in 2006 and the tile won by ITALY. The next World Cup will be held in South Africa, between 11 June and 11 July 2010, and the 2014 World Cup will be held in Brazil.

Location of First World Cup Final

Estadio Centenario, the location of the first World Cup final in 1930 in Montevideo, Uruguay

First World Cup Initiative

Due to the success of the Olympic football tournaments, FIFA, with President Jules Rimet the driving force, again started looking at staging its own international tournament outside of the Olympics. , On 28 May 1928, the FIFA Congress in Amsterdam decided to stage a world championship organized by FIFA.

The First Goal

The first goal in World Cup history was scored by Lucien Laurent of France.

Crowd of First Final

In the final, Uruguay defeated Argentina 4-2 in front of a crowd of 93,000 people in Montevideo, and in doing so became the first nation to win the World Cup

True tips of Difficulties

The issues facing the early World Cup tournaments were the difficulties of intercontinental travel, and war. , Few South American teams were willing to travel to Europe for the 1934 and 1938 tournaments, with Brazil the only South American team to compete in both. , The 1942 and 1946 competitions were cancelled due to World War II and its aftermath.

Expansion to 32 teams

The tournament was expanded to 24 teams in 1982, and then to 32 in 1998. Allowing more teams from Africa, Asia and North America to take part. The one exception is Oceania, who has never had a guaranteed spot in the tournament.

Qualifier of 2010 World Cup

This time 198 nations attempted to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, while a record 204 countries entered qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

FIFA World Cup Trophy

From 1930 to 1970, the Jules Rimet Trophy was awarded to the World Cup winner. It was originally simply known as the World Cup or Coupe du Monde, but in 1946 it was renamed after the FIFA president Jules Rimet who set up the first tournament. In 1970, Brazil’s third victory in the tournament entitled them to keep the trophy permanently.

Trophy Design and Shape

After 1970, a new trophy, known as the FIFA World Cup Trophy, was designed. The experts of FIFA, coming from seven different countries, evaluated the 53 presented models, finally opting for the work of the Italian designer Silvio Gazzaniga. The new trophy is 36 cm (14.2 in) high, made of solid 18 carat (75%) gold and weighs 6.175 kg (13.6 lb).

The Qualification Process

The qualification process can start as early as almost three years before the final tournament and last over a two-year period. The formats of the qualification tournaments differ between confederations. Usually, one or two places are awarded to winners of intercontinental play-offs. For example, the winner of the Oceania zone and the fifth-place team from the Asian zone entered a play-off for a spot in the 2010 World Cup.

Most Drawn Games

Germany and Italy share the record of most drawn games (19) in World Cup final competition (if we consider knockout stage matches needing a penalty shootout session as drawn games).

Most Final Appearance Team

Brazil are the only team to have competed in every staging of the World Cup final tournaments (19 so far). Germany and Italy follow with 17 appearances: the Mannschaft did not enter in 1930 and was not allowed to compete in 1950, the Azzurri did not enter either in 1930 and they were eliminated during the qualifiers in 1958 (finishing 2nd of their qualifying group behind Northern Ireland).

Brazil Beats Germany

Despite being the teams with most matches played (92) in World Cup final competition, Brazil and Germany only played one World Cup match against each other, when Brazil defeated Germany 2-0 on during the Korean/Japanese World Cup final, on 30th June 2002.

Most Goals Scored/Game

Hungary hold the record for most goals scored per game played in World Cup final competition (2.72 goals scored per game, followed by Brazil, 2.18) and for most goals scored in one single World Cup final tournament (27).

Performance of Host Nations

Six of the seven champions have won one of their titles while playing in their own homeland, the exception being Brazil, who finished as runners-up after losing the deciding match on home soil in 1950. England (1966) and France (1998) won their only titles while playing as host nations. Uruguay (1930), Italy (1934) and Argentina (1978) won their first titles as host nations but have gone on to win again, while Germany (1974) won their second title on home soil.

The Golden Ball

The Golden Ball for the best player, determined by a vote of media members (first awarded in 1982); the Silver Ball and the Bronze Ball are awarded to the players finishing second and third in the voting respectively

The Golden Shoe

The Golden Shoe (sometimes called the Golden Boot) for the top goal scorer (first awarded in 1982, but retrospectively applied to all tournaments from 1930); most recently, the Silver Shoe and the Bronze Shoe have been awarded to the second and third top goal scorers respectively

Yashin Award

The Yashin Award for the best goalkeeper, decided by the FIFA Technical Study Group (first awarded in 1994)

Best Young Player Award

The Best Young Player Award for the best player aged 21 or younger at the start of the calendar year, decided by the FIFA Technical Study Group (first awarded in 2006)

FIFA Fair Play Trophy

The FIFA Fair Play Trophy for the team with the best record of fair play, according to the points system and criteria established by the FIFA Fair Play Committee (first awarded in 1978)

Most Entertaining Team

The Most Entertaining Team for the team that has entertained the public the most during the World Cup, determined by a poll of the general public (first awarded in 1994)

Most Played World Cup Players

Two players share the record for playing in the most World Cups; Mexico’s Antonio Carbajal and Germany’s Lothar Matthaus both played in five tournaments. Matthaus has played the most World Cup matches overall, with 25 appearances.

World Cup Winner Medals

Brazil’s Pele is the only player to have won three World Cup winners’ medals with 20 other players who have won two World Cup medals.

Most Goal Scorer

The overall leading goal scorer in World Cups is Brazil’s Ronaldo, scorer of 15 goals in three tournaments. West Germany’s Gerd Muller is second, with 14 goals in two tournaments. The third placed goal scorer, France’s Just Fontaine, holds the record for the most goals scored in a single World Cup. All his 13 goals were scored in the 1958 tournament.

The Best Player cum Coach

Brazil’s Mario Zagallo and West Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer are the only people to date to win the World Cup as both player and head coach. Zagallo won in 1958 and 1962 as a player and in 1970 as head coach. Beckenbauer won in 1974 as captain and in 1990 as head coach.

No Debutant Associations

The 2010 World Cup is the first with no debutant associations, although two of the qualifiers (Slovakia and Serbia) have previously appeared only as parts of former competing nations.

Great Achievement

Brazil are the only country to have appeared in every finals, 19 finals tournaments from 1930 to 2010

Common Surname

The most common surname of World Cup players is Gonzalez or Gonzales. The most common score in a World Cup finals match is 1-0.

Highest Amount of Audience

The highest attendance at a World Cup match was 199,854 at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janerio for the 1950 decider between Uruguay and Brazil.

Highest Thrashings

Hungary holds the record for the highest thrashings – beating El Salvador 10-1 in 1982 and South Korea 9-0 in 1954.

Rule is Rule

Shirt swapping was once officially prohibited in 1986 because FIFA did not want players to ‘bare their chests’ on the field.

Oldest Player of World Cup

Cameroon’s Roger Millar is the oldest player at the World Cup – he was 42 years and 39 days old when he played his last match against Russia in 1994.

Most Youngest Player of World Cup

Northern Ireland’s Norman Whiteside is the youngest ever finals player, being just 17 years and 41 days when he took the field against Yugoslavia in 1982.

Cricket plus Football

The only person to have played both World Cup Football and World Cup Cricket is Viv Richards – Antigua at football and West Indies at cricket.

Who scored successive Finals

Two players have scored in four successive finals tournaments? Both Pele of Brazil and Uwe Seeler of West Germany have scored in the finals of 1958, 1962, 1966 & 1970

Which teams unbeaten but Not Champion

Five teams have been unbeaten but not the champions in the same finals. Those unbeaten teams are: , , Scotland in 1974 (1 win, 2 draws), , Brazil in 1978 (4 wins, 3 draws), , England in 1982 (3 wins, 2 draws), , Cameroon in 1982 (3 draws), , Belgium in 1998 (3 draws)

Top Failure of European Teams

No European team has won a World Cup played outside of Europe.

Who Coached for different countries

Bora Milutinovic coached in every tournament between 1986 and 2002 – but for different teams: Mexico, Costa Rica, USA, Nigeria and China.

Home Advantage and Condition

Who says there is no such thing as home advantage? Out of the 19 World Cups so far, 6 have been won by the host country.

Teams of First World Cup

Besides the host Uruguay, there were Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, France, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, the United States and Yugoslavia.

1st World Cup Match

The first world cup soccer match kicked off on July 13th, 1930 with France beating Mexico 4 to 1 goals


Some 3-million tickets will be available for the 2010 World Cup’s 64 matches. One third, or a million, will be allocated to South African football fans, another million to international visitors, and the third million to sponsors, teams and the “Fifa family”

Time zone

South African Standard Time is two hours ahead of Coordinated Universal Time (UTC+2). During June and July, when the 2010 tournament will be held, South African time is the same as that in continental Europe, and an hour ahead of the UK.


With a network that is 99% digital and includes the latest in fixed-line, wireless and satellite communication, South Africa has the most developed telecommunications network in Africa. The country’s three cellular operators provide telephony to over 30-million subscribers.


There is crime in South Africa, but you really don’t need to do much more than take all the usual sensible precautions. Know where you’re going before you set off, particularly at night, watch your possessions, and lock your doors at night.


The health system has excellent facilities and the private health systems is perhaps one of the best, drawing on modern technology and highly qualified specialists and medical staff. There are fully equipped infirmaries with adequate first-aid facilities to meet every need in the stadiums for the 2010 Fifa World Cup.

Most RED Cards Shown

Most red cards shown in a World Cup match: 3. this has happened twice (Hungary v Brazil on 27 June 1954 and South Africa v Denmark on 18 Jun 1998)

Most Goal Scorer/Match

5 Goals scored by Russia’s Oleg Salenko against Cameroon in 1994, a record for a single World Cup match.

Most Goals (TEAM) Scored

10 is the highest number of goals scored by a team in a World Cup match (Hungary vs El Salvador 1982: 10-1)

Most Goals in Single Game

12 is the highest number of goals scored in a single World Cup match, by Austria and Switzerland (7-5) in 1954

Most Record Number of Goals

13 is the record number of goals in a World Cup, held by France’s Juste Fontaine in 1958.

Most Defeat By A Country

13 is the record number of goals in a World Cup, held by France’s Juste Fontaine in 1958.

WC Record

25 Number of appearances by Lothar Matthau’s; a World Cup record.

Number of Hat tricks in the world cup

48 is the Number of hat-tricks scored in World Cup history.

Most World Cup Victories

50 is the Number of World Cup victories by Germany, topped only by Brazil’s 60.


India refused to play in the 1950 World Cup because FIFA told the players they would have to play in soccer cleats, rather than barefoot.

Ronaldo Records

As of August 2008, Ronaldo holds 15 World Cup goals.

Fastest Goal in World Cup

Fastest goal in a World Cup match was scored by Turkey’s Hakan S¸k¸r after only 11 seconds against South Korea in 2002.

Latest Goal of The World Cup

Latest goal was scored by Alessandro Del Piero of Italy, in their semifinal match against Germany in 2006 after 121 minutes.

Fastest hat-trick

Fastest hat-trick was made by Hungary’s Laszlo Kiss against El Salvador in 1982, when he scored after 70, 74 and 77 minutes. He is in fact also the only substitute to have scored a hat-trick.

Who Scored in every match of World Cup

Only players to have scored in every match including the final are Jairzinho of Brazil, who did this in the 1970 World Cup and Alcide Ghiggia of Uruguay in 1950. The latter only played four games where as Jairzinho played six.

Fastest Goal by Substitute

Fastest goal by a substitute was made by Ebbe Sand of Denmark against Nigeria in the second round in 1998. Sand scored only 16 secs after coming on in Denmark’s 4-1 win.

Only players scored in two World Cup Final matches

Only players to have scored in two World Cup Final matches are Vava of Brazil in 1958 and 1962, , Pele of Brazil 1958 and 1970, Paul Breitner of West Germany in 1974 and 1982 and Zinedine Zidane of France in 1998 and 2006.

First Hat-Trick

First player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup match was United States’ Bert Patenaude who did this against Paraguay in the first round of the 1930 World Cup.

Four Goals in one Match

Only player to score four goals in one match and still end up on the losing team was Poland’s Ernst Willimowski against Brazil in 1938.

Scoring for Two Countries

Only player to have scored for two countries is Robert Prosinecki who represented Yugoslavia in 1990 scoring against the United Arab Emirates, and Croatia in 1998 scoring against Jamaica.

First Suicide Goal

First own-goal in World Cup history was scored by Ernst Lˆtscher of Switzerland against Germany in a first round replay game in 1938.

Scored Goal plus Suicide Goal in same match

Only player to have scored a goal plus an own-goal in the same match is Ernie Brandts of Holland in the second phase match against Italy in 1978. The Dutch team won 2-1.

Top Scorer 1930-2006

Ronaldo (BRA) 15 , Gerd Muller (GER) 14 , Juste Fontaine (FRA) 13 , Pele (BRA) 12 , Sandor Kocsis (HUN) 11 , Jurgen Klinsmann (GER) 11 , Helmut Rahn (GER) 10 , Teofilio Cubillas (PER) 10 , Gary Lineker (ENG) 10 , Grzegorz Lato (POL) 10 , Gabriel Batistuta (ARG) 10 , Miroslav Klose (GER) 10 , Roberto Baggio (ITA) 9 , Paolo Rossi (ITA) 9 , Uwe Seeler (GER) 9 , Jairzinho (BRA) 9 , Eusebio (POR) 9 , Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (GER) 9 , Vava (BRA) 9 , Ademir (BRA) 9 , Christian Vieri (ITA) 9

2010 Venue 1 Pretoria

Loftus Versfeld Stadium , , Through the years the stadium has undergone various name changes as sponsors came and went, but locals have always referred as Loftus Versfeld. Minimal upgrading will be required for the World Cup, where it will host first and second round matches. It is also a venue for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. This was the site of South Africa’s historic 1-0 win over Sweden, the first time they had achieved victory over an European team.

2010 Venue 2 Durban

Moses Mabhida Stadium , , The new stadium will be part of Durban’s King Park sporting precinct. The sporting precinct will also include a variety of different sporting disciplines. When completed it will play host to the Confederations Cup in 2009. It will be have a seating capacity of 70,000, and the design of the stadium will be characterized by two large archways above the stadium roof.

2010 Venue 3 Cape Town

Green Point Stadium , , This is a new stadium for the World Cup 2010. It is located at Green Point, at the juncture between Table Mountain and the Atlantic Ocean. The stadium will be used by South African giants Ajax Cape Town. Ajax Cape Town is a feeder club for European and Dutch giants, Ajax Amsterdam. In the World Cup, it will host five first round matches, one second round match, one quarterfinal and one semi-final.

2010 Venue 4 Ellis Park stadium

Ellis Park stadium is the home of Orlando Pirates FC, a club in the Premier Soccer League. In 1995, they were the first South African team to win the CAF African Club Championship. It was constructed in 1928, and until the late 80s it was just for rugby. Then professional clubs began to play there. Teams like Brazil, Arsenal and Manchester United have all played friend lies here.

2010 Venue 5 Johannesburg Stadium

This venue is also known as the First National Bank Stadium (FNB Stadium or Soccer City). The stadium has the third largest capacity in Africa. The stadium is being renovated for World Cup 2010 with a new design inspired by traditional African pottery. The stadium will hold the opening match, four more first-round matches, one second-round match, one quarter-final and the final.

2010 Venue 6 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium

The Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium will be high-tech and modern. It will host the first and second round matches of the 2010 World Cup. The city didn’t have a football-specific stadium, and all international matches player here were at the Eastern Province rugby team’s ground. The locals here are exceptionally passionate about football, despite now having a PSL team (or perhaps because of that). This stadium will also host matches for the 2009 Confederations Cup, and will be the only new stadium included as a venue for that competition.

2010 Venue 7 Free State Stadium

Free State stadium hosted group and quarter-final matches at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations in 1996 and the Rugby World Cup in 1995. It is also the home of Premier Soccer League team, Bloemfontein Celtics. The stadium is being upgraded, and once completed it will have a seating capacity of 48,000. Free State stadium will be one of the venues for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.

2010 Venue 8 Mbombela Stadium

The Mbombela Stadium is a new 46,000 seat stadium and is currently under construction as one of the ten venues for the FIFA World Cup 2010. It will be a multi-purpose stadium, and is expected to host soccer and rugby matches. Mbombela is siSwati and means ‘many people together in a small space’. The stadium will be seven kilometers from the city centre and close to game parks, giving spectators the opportunity of seeing wildlife during the tournament.

2010 Venue 9 Peter Mokaba Stadium

The stadium is one of five new stadiums that is being built for the World Cup 2010. It will host 4 matches. The initial plan was to upgrade the old city stadium, but then the government and FIFA decided to build a new one. Peter Mokaba Stadium will be 5km away from the city’s downtown. The stadium was named after Peter Mokaba, a political activist during apartheid.

2010 Venue 10 Royal Bafokeng Stadium

Originally this was a rugby stadium. The current capacity is 38,000, but will be increased to 42,000 in time for the World Cup. The Royal Bakofeng Stadium will also have electronic boards and a new light system. This stadium has been host to many South African Premier Soccer League games, despite Rustenburg not having a PSL team.

Who scored Goal by God’s Hand

Maradona, one of the best soccer player in the world, was the star of Argentina in the conquest of their second World Cup, defeating Germany in the last match. Germany would have revenge over the Argentinians in the following World Cup of Italy 1990, when even in spite of Maradona, Matthaus’ Germany won the final 1-0

Which city holds the title of World Cup Capital?

Mexico City. ‘A total of 460 venues hosted at least one match. Mexico City is the World Cup Capital as it has hosted the highest number of matches, 74 (23 in final phases). Seoul is 2nd with 54 matches a record for preliminaries – followed by Singapore (48), Montevideo (47), Doha (46), Tegucigalpa (43), Dublin and Paris (42 each)

What was the name of this trophy? In 1970

Jules Rimet. Originally named ‘Victoire aux Ailes d’Or’, the golden statuette, designed by french sculptor Abel Lafleur, was renamed ‘Jules Rimet’ in 1946 in honor of the first president of FIFA, for his efforts in mantaining alive the spirit of soccer during the WWII

Which country has lost the most finals?

Germany. Germany lost the final in 1966, 1982 and 1986. Fortunately, they have also won three (1954, 1974 and 1990).

When Was the Winning 2010 World Cup Bid Announced?

On 15 May 2004, in Zurich, FIFA President Sepp Blatter announced to the world that South Africa would host the 2010 World Cup, the first on African soil. After South Africa’s victory was announced, Nelson Mandela hoisted the World Cup trophy and Archbishop Desmond Tutu embraced Blatter

Economic benefits

It has been estimated that the 2010 World Cup will create some 129 000 jobs, contribute around R21-billion to the country’s gross domestic product and another R7.2-billion in government taxes, with the 350 000 visitors spending a some R9.8-billion in the country.


Captain Fabio Cannavaro led Italy to World Cup final victory against France in 2006 in his 100th full international appearance.


Mario de Las Casas was the first player sent off in World Cup history. Peru’s captain was dismissed in a match against Romania in 1930.


The qualifying program for the 2010 World Cup consisted of 853 games and produced 2,344 goals. A total of 268 countries were eliminated.


Players first wore numbered shirts in World Cup Finals during the 1938 tournament in France.


The first World Cup game to be decided by a penalty shoot-out was the semi-final between West Germany and France in Spain in 1982. The Germans won 5-4.


Erwin Vandenbergh’s winner for Belgium against Argentina in 1982 was the first goal scored in the opening match of a World Cup Finals since 1962.


A crowd of 183,341 watched the game between Brazil and Paraguay at the Maracana Stadium in August 1969 – a record attendance for a World Cup qualifier


With England set to meet USA in South Africa, coach Fabio Capello was a member of an Italy team that beat the United States 10-0 in an unofficial international match at the Stadio Olimpico in Rome in April 1975


With 56 each, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru used the most players in their 2010 World Cup qualifying games. Of the 31 qualifiers, Argentina headed the list with 50 players


During the 2006 tournament in Germany, Switzerland became the first team to be eliminated from the World Cup Finals without conceding a goal


In 1958 and 1994 all but one of the World Cup quarter-finalists were from Europe. On both occasions Brazil went on to lift the trophy


Of the 32 countries playing at the 2006 World Cup Finals only six (Costa Rica, Croatia, Iran, Italy, Paraguay and Saudi Arabia) didn’t have a player in their squad who was contracted to an English club.


Germany have been the World Cup’s beaten finalists on a record four occasions (three times as West Germany and once as the unified nation)


South Africa’s Brazilian coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira, is set to lead a team into a sixth World Cup Finals as he has previously been in charge of Brazil in 1994 and 2006, Kuwait in 1982, Saudi Arabia in 1998 and United Arab Emirates in 1990


The newly-built Green Point in Cape Town was previously the site of a multi-purpose stadium. It hosted the matches of two football clubs – Santos FC and Ajax Cape Town


The four home nations failed to take part in the pre-War World Cups until a row about broken-time payments was resolved with FIFA


Japan were the first country to qualify for the 2010 World Cup on 6 June 2009, while Uruguay completed the 32-team line-up on 19 November 2009.


Uruguay, the winners of the first World Cup tournament, refused to travel to Italy to defend their title in 1934 as they felt they had been snubbed by many countries four years earlier


Algeria caused one of the great World Cup shocks when they beat West Germany in their group game in 1982. Algeria failed to progress, though, as a 1-0 win for the Germans in their final game with Austria would mean that they would both go through. Controversially, that very result was played out.


A total of 2,063 goals have been scored in World Cup Finals. Brazil are the leading scorers with 201.


Seven different nations have won the World Cup – Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy and Uruguay


Germany’s Lothar Matthaus made a record 25 World Cup Finals appearances. That’s two outings clear of Italy’s Paolo Maldini


In 1990 Argentina became the first team to fail to score in a World Cup final when they were beaten 1-0 by West Germany. It was the 15th final.


If chosen, David Beckham, Rio Ferdinand and Michael Owen could join Bobby Charlton as the only England players to be selected for four World Cup Finals squads.


Blackburn Rovers striker Benni McCarthy scored South Africa’s first goal at a World Cup Finals in a 1-1 draw against Denmark on 18 June 1998 in Toulouse.


Ivory Coast hold the unique record of being the only country that have never failed to score in a World Cup Finals match. The Elephants scored in all three of their games in 2006 against Argentina, the Netherlands and Serbia and Montenegro.


Amongst his 32 international caps England coach Fabio Capello played in three of Italy’s games at the 1974 World Cup. He scored in the 3-1 defeat by Poland in Stuttgart.


The first-ever World Cup match was played in the Pocitos suburb of Montevideo on 13 July 1930. A crowd of around 1,000 saw France beat Mexico 4-1 with the first goal scored by Lucien Laurent.


The top scorers during the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign were Moumouni Dagano of Burkina Faso and Osea Vakatalesau of Fiji with 12 goals each


The qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup began in Apia, Samoa, on 25 August 2007 – 13 time zones and more than 15,000 kilometers from Johannesburg. New Caledonia’s Pierre Wajoka scored the goal in a 1-0 win against Tahiti.


Seven countries remained unbeaten during their 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign – Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, South Korea and Spain


Of the 5,602 players who appeared in the 2010 World Cup qualifying matches, the youngest was 14 year-old Abdi Abdifatah of Somalia, while the oldest was 43 year-old Kenny Dyer of Montserrat.


Coach Rabah Saadane successfully led Algeria to South Africa, having been in charge of the Desert Foxes when they last reached the World Cup Finals in Mexico in 1986. It’s his fifth stint in charge of his country.


Brazil have won the World Cup five times and in five different decades – 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002


Ghana (2006), Greece (1994), Honduras (1982), Ivory Coast (2006), New Zealand (1982), North Korea (1966) and Slovenia (2002) will all be taking part in their second World Cup Finals.


All seven previous winners of the World Cup will be competing in South Africa – Argentina, Brazil, England, France, Germany, Italy and Uruguay.


Only two players have played in five different World Cup Finals – Antonio Carbajal of Mexico (1950 to 1966) and Lothar Matthaus (1982 to 1998)


Of the 154 players who have played for Bulgaria in the World Cup Finals, only two did not have a surname that ended in the letter ‘v’ (Milko Gaidarski in 1970 and Petar Mikhtarski in 1994)


At the time of the Finals draw in December 2009 only Japan, North Korea and Slovenia did not have a player currently contracted to a Premier League club who would realistically be selected for their World Cup squad


At 2,665 meters above sea-level the game between Italy and Sweden in Toluca, Mexico, in 1970 remains the highest a World Cup Finals match has ever been played. Johannesburg, situated on South Africa’s Highveld, is 1,753 meters above sea level.


Of the 18 previous World Cup tournaments only six have been won by the host nation


The United States were the leading scorers during the 2010 World Cup qualifying campaign with 42 goals, while England boasted the best average of 3.40 goals per game.


Although European nations have won nine of the previous 18 World Cup tournaments, none have been won outside of Europe


Robert Prosinecki is the only player to have scored for two different countries at the World Cup Finals. He netted for Yugoslavia (against United Arab Emirates) in 1990 and for Croatia (against Jamaica) in 1998.


The 853-game 2010 World Cup qualifying program was watched by an aggregate attendance of 19,346,625. The highest attendance was 104,499 for the game between Mexico and USA at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City on 12 August 2009.


Following their amazing success at the World Cup Finals in England in 1966, North Korea failed to make it to Mexico in 1970 as they were disqualified during the qualifying rounds after refusing to play Israel.


The Brazilian managers, Zeze and Aimore Moreira, are the only brothers to have managed the same nation in World Cup Finals, in 1954 and 1962 respectively.


One of the most unusual injuries in World Cup history occurred as early as the first tournament. In one of the semi-finals in 1930 the United States trainer had to be carried off after he ran onto the pitch to attend an injured player against Argentina, dropped his medicine box and broke a bottle of chloroform. He inhaled the fumes and fell to the ground immediately. The injured player recovered without any treatment.


Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa is set to return to the World Cup Finals, having been in charge of Argentina in 2002. Unfortunately, his home nation failed to progress beyond the group stage in Japan.

Largest Attendance

The highest attendance for one match was in the 1950 final. The official attendance was 199,854 for the match between Brazil and Uruguay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Most Consecutive First-Round Eliminations

Scotland holds the record with eight: 1954, 1958, 1974, 1978, 1982, 1986, 1990 and 1998.

Name of Award

The FIFA trophy for best goal keeper, introduced in 1994, is named in honor of Lev Yashin.

Fastest Goal

In took 15 seconds for Vaclav Masek to score for Czechoslovakia against Mexico in 1962

First Goal Keeper Dismissal

First Goalkeeper to be Dismissed and he is Gianluca Pagliuca of Italy vs Norway in 1994.

First Penalty Miss

First Player to Miss a Penalty by Valdemar de Brito of Brazil (1934)

Nelson Mandela Efforts

How old Nelson Mandela will be when the 2010 World Cup kicks off June 11 in South Africa. Mandela played a pivotal role in bringing the World Cup to Africa for the first time in the tournament’s history.

Largest and Lowest Crowd

A crowd of 199,850 watched Brazil play Uruguay during the 1950 World Cup – but in Uruguay in 1930, only 300 dedicated fans turned up to watch Romania play Peru.

The Power of Soccer

During World Cup France 1998, impoverished districts of Bangladesh suffered four nights of blackouts due to a surge in power consumption, caused by soccer fans tuning in to live World Cup telecasts.

Germany Expects

Germany expects that 4.2 million football fans and guests from around the world will visit the country during the year of World Cup 2006. , Approximately 3.2 million football fans will be present in the stadiums, and more than one million guests will visit as tourists.

Official Slogan for 2010 World Cup

South Africa’s 2010 World Cup official slogan is KE NAKO. Celebrate Africa’s Humanity. “Ke Nako” is a Sesotho, Sesotho sa Leboa and Setswana word for “it’s time”. It is a call to celebrate Africa as the origin of humanity and as a contributor to every sphere of human Endeavour.


For the first time in history, FIFA is contracting non-hotel accommodation, such as national parks, bed-and-breakfasts, lodges and guest houses. , South Africa already has 80000 graded rooms – more than enough to cover the number of 55000 required by FIFA.

Chance of Memorable History Making

As in the number of times an African nation has hosted the World Cup. South Africa, a soccer and rugby-mad nation, will make history by being the first.


During the 1994 World Cup, German soccer player, Stefan Effenberg, was sent home because he gave the finger to a fan during a game.

Golden Boot Award

The soccer player who scores the most goals during the 2002 World Cup wins the Golden Boot Award.

Same Venue

Every match at the inaugural 1930 World Cup in Uruguay was played in one city: Montevideo.

Defender Defends

Sweden’s Jan Olsson, wearing No. 2, was the defender that Dutch star Johan Cruyff famously bamboozled with his inventive “Cruyff Turn” at the 1974 World Cup in West Germany.

King of World Cup

Brazil’s Pele is the only player to win three World Cups: in 1958, 1962 and 1970.

Two Hat-Trick Haul

The number of players who recorded two hat tricks at the World Cup: Hungary’s Sandor Kocsis (both in 1954), France’s Just Fontaine (1958), West Germany’s Gerd Muller (1970) and Gabriel Batistuta (one in 1994 and one in 1998).

5 Goals in one Game

Russia’s Oleg Salenko scored a tournament-record five goals in one game during a 6-1 win over Cameroon at the 1994 World Cup in the United States.

One MAN Show

Paolo Rossi was the top scorer at the 1982 World Cup in Spain with six goals, leading Italy to its third title.

History Behind Rescued

The number of days the World Cup trophy went missing when it was stolen prior to the 1966 Cup in England. A dog named Pickles, being taken out for a walk by his owner in South London, discovered the trophy wrapped in some newspapers at the bottom of some bushes a week after it was taken.

Scotts Failure

Scotland has qualified for the World Cup on eight occasions. All eight times it failed to advance beyond the first round

Head Butt of Zidane

the number of minutes left in extra time of the 2006 World Cup final when France’s Zinedine Zidane head-butted Italian defender Marco Materazzi.

High Scoring Game

Austria and Switzerland teamed up for the highest-scoring game in World Cup history in 1954 when they combined for 12 goals. Austria won 7-5.

Teary Reaction

99 was the minute in which England’s Paul Gascoigne earned a yellow card against Germany in the semifinals in 1990, which led to his famous teary reaction.

The Roberto Baggio Magic

88 is the minute in which Roberto Baggio scored against Nigeria in the second round of the World Cup to help Italy stave off elimination. Baggio went on to score the winner in extra time to help the Italians move on to the next round.

Highest Yellow Card Match

Russian referee Valentin Ivanov brandished 16 yellow cards (tying a tournament record) in a second-round match at the 2006 World Cup in Germany between Portugal and the Netherlands.

Four European Teams

The four European teams that competed at the first World Cup (Romania, Belgium, France and Yugoslavia) set sail for Uruguay on June 21, 1930.

Portuguese Sticking in 1966

North Korea took a shocking 3-0 lead after only 22 minutes against Portugal in the quarter-finals of the 1966 World Cup, only to see the Portuguese storm back to win the game 5-3

The 24 Passes

24 is the number of consecutive passes made by Argentina before midfielder Esteban Cambiasso scored against Serbia and Montenegro during the first round of the 2006 World Cup.

25 Games Played

Germany’s Lothar Matthaus has played in a tournament record 25 games at the World Cup

MAY 26, 1928

on May 26, 1928, at its Amsterdam conference, FIFA, soccer’s world governing body, announced plans to stage a World Cup tournament independent of the Olympics. Two years later, the first World Cup was held in Uruguay.

Most Goals Scored by a Country

Hungary scored the most goals by one team at a single tournament, finding the back of the net 27 times in 1954 in Switzerland.

The Unbeaten Runner Up

Hungary entered the 1954 World Cup as the favorites, having gone undefeated in their previous 28 games (24 wins, four draws) in international play, before losing to West Germany in the final.

Referres For 2010 World Cup

30 is the number of referees who will work the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. They’ll come from 28 countries.

Ireland Request

Ireland asked FIFA to let it enter the 2010 World Cup as the tournament’s 33rd team after Thierry Henry’s infamous handball helped France qualify for the competition at the expense of the Irish. Their request was denied.

1930 World Cup Trophy

The height (35 centimeters) of the World Cup trophy presented to Uruguay after it defeated Argentina in the final of the first World Cup, in 1930.

36th Hat-trick Man

Polish legend Zbigniew Boniek was the 36th player in World Cup history to record a hat trick, scoring three past Belgium in 1982. Regarded as one of the best players of his era, Boniek was suspended for the semifinals that year against Italy, which easily won 2-0.

Francisco Varallo

100 years is the current age of Argentina’s Francisco Varallo, the only person who is still alive to have played in the first World Cup in 1930.

First World Cup Final

On 37th minute in which Guillermo Stabile scored to give Argentina a 2-1 lead in the 1930 World Cup final. Uruguay came from behind to win 4-2.

Greatest Upset of Tournament

Joe Gaetjens scored in the 38th minute for the U.S. against England in the first round of the 1950 World Cup. The Americans went on to win 1-0, registering the greatest upset in tournament history.

39th Hat-Trick in 1986

Gary Lineker, one of only two English players to score three goals in a game at the World Cup, recorded the 39th hat trick in tournament history in 1986.

Oldest Player Wining

Italian goalkeeper Dino Zoff was 40 when he became the oldest player ever to win the World Cup, at the 1982 tournament in Spain.

Youngest Player of Ireland

As in 17 years and 41 days, the age of Northern Ireland’s Norman Whiteside when he became the youngest player to appear at the World Cup, in 1982

The Oldest Player Play and Scored

42 – the age of Cameroon’s Roger Milla when he became the oldest player to score and play at the World Cup, in 1994 in the United States.

The Average Attendance

43 is the average attendance (per game) at the World Cup: just over 43,000 fans.

44 Years Gap to Win Title

The gap is 44 years between Italy’s second World Cup title (in 1938) and third (in 1982)

Giuseppe Meazza Story

The Italian legend Giuseppe Meazza scored over 50 goals during his international career, with his 45th coming against Brazil in the semifinals of the 1938 World Cup. Famously, Meazza was set to take a penalty shot against Brazil when the elastic holding up his shorts snapped. Undaunted, Meazza held up his shorts with his left hand while scoring from the spot to give Italy a 2-0 lead. Meazza’s shorts fell down around his waist after he scored.

The 47th Hat-Trick

Germany’s Miroslav Klose was the 47th player in history to record a hat trick at the World Cup, in 2002 against Saudi Arabia. Amazingly, all three goals were scored on headers.

Most Played Games in World Cup

Spain has played 49 games at the World Cup, the most of any nation that has not won the tournament.

Final was Absent

The 1950 World Cup was the only tournament not to have a final game. Instead, the winner was determined via a four-team round robin after Brazil, Uruguay, Spain and Sweden won their respective first-round groups. Uruguay defeated hosts Brazil 2-1 in the final game of the round robin to win the World Cup.

The 51st Minute of Hand of God Goal

The 51 is the minute in which Argentina’s Diego Maradona scored his infamous “Hand of God” goal against England in the quarter-finals of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

Leader and Coach of Success

52 is the age of Vittorio Pozzo at the time he led Italy to World Cup glory in 1938. Pozzo is still the only coach to win two World Cup titles.

The Oldest Referee

The oldest referee in a World Cup game was George Reader of England, who was 53 when he took charge of the Brazil-Uruguay World Cup final in 1950.

The Fastest Ejection

Uruguay’s Jose Batista was red carded a mere 56 seconds into a first-round game against Scotland at the 1986 World Cup, the fastest ejection in tournament history.

Greatest Player but Never Played in the World Cup

The legendary Alfredo di Stefano of Argentina acquired Spanish citizenship and played four World Cup qualifying matches for Spain in 1957, but the team failed to qualify. Di Stefano is considered the greatest player never to have played at the World Cup.

First Mistake in Showing Cards

The English referee Graham Poll mistakenly showed Croatian defender Josip Simunic three yellow cards during a first-round game against Australia in 2006. Poll cautioned Simunic the first time in the 61st minute.

63 Saves in Three World Cup

Soviet star Lev Yashin, considered the greatest goalkeeper ever to play the game, made 63 saves (according to several statisticians) during his three World Cup appearances.

Total Win of Brazil

64 is the record number of World Cup victories registered by Brazil.

The Top Scorer of 1966

Portugal’s Eusebio was the top scorer at the 1966 World Cup in England with nine goals.

the battle of Santiago

73 was the minute in which Jaime Ramirez opened the scoring in Chile’s 2-0 win over Italy in the first round of the 1962 World Cup, a match that was later dubbed “the battle of Santiago” because several fights broke out between players.

Cuba and Indonesia Fact

76 years ago Cuba and Indonesia last played in the World Cup in 1938, which means when 2014 Cup rolls around, it will have been 76 years since their previous World Cup appearance – a tournament record in futility.

The Most Lopsided Games

Yugoslavia embarrassed Zaire 9-0 at the 1974 World Cup in one of the most lopsided games in tournament history. Dusan Bajevic finished off the scoring in the 81st minute.

The Miracle of Berne

Germany’s Helmut Rahn scored the winning goal against Hungary in the 84th minute of the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland. The game, forever known as “the miracle of Berne” saw the Germans win their first World Cup in one of the most dramatic finals ever.

The First Repeat Host

Mexico became the first repeat host when it staged the World Cup for the second time in 1986