The World Cup is football’s global showpiece tournament that is held quadrennially, and anticipation levels reach fever pitch by the time it rolls around.
All roads will lead to Qatar later this year, and as always, we can expect plenty of twists and turns, and it will make for unmissable viewing.
But what are the origins of the World Cup and how did it become so big? Let’s reminisce and plot a short, but intricate history of the tournament, so you can appreciate its illustriousness.
The Early Years
The World Cup wasn’t created in a vacuum. It had been in the pipeline for years, and in 1930, the inaugural World Cup was held in Uruguay after the Uruguayan Football Federation was granted the honor by FIFA.
Taking place solely in Montevideo, the hosts were crowned champions when they beat neighbors Argentina 4-2 in the Final. Uruguay were to triumph again, but they had to wait until 1950 to do so. There was a gap between 1938 and 1950, as the World Cup was put on pause due to World War II.
Brazil Takes Over
If Uruguay were the competition’s early trailblazers, then Brazil encompassed the magic of the World Cup in the 1950s and 1960s. Possessing artistry as well as an array of exceptional talent, including Pele and Garrincha, the Samba Kings were the dominant force.
In the space of 12 years, Brazil stamped its authority on the competition with three wins. They had become the team to beat, and they were just mesmerizing to watch
The World Cup, which consists of 32 teams, hasn’t been short on controversy over the years. If we cast our minds back to past editions, then 1986 and Diego Maradona’s ‘Hand of God’ is still talked about. It created a stir as the Argentine metronome used his hand instead of his head to score, and remarkably, the goal stood.
Meanwhile, Zinedine Zidane — who was France’s hero with a two-goal salvo in the 1998 World Cup Final against Brazil — was the villain of the 2006 Final. The midfielder was sent off after head-butting Italian defender Marco Materazzi, and it brought an unsavory end to what had been a spectacular career for Zidane.
Past World Cup Winners
Littered with great teams, the World Cup has crowned many champions over the years. We have been presented in order some of the more recent winners:
- 2018 – France
- 2014 – Germany
- 2010 – Spain
- 2006 – Germany
- 2002 – Brazil
Golden Boot Winners
The World Cup dishes out individual accolades. Previously known as the Golden Shoe, this was first awarded to the World Cup’s highest scorer in 1982. However, after a rebrand, the Golden Boot as it has now become known, was distributed for the first time in South Africa in 2010.
Among the past winners of the Golden Boot and Golden Shoe includes:
- Harry Kane (England)
- James Rodriguez (Colombia)
- Thomas Muller (Germany)
- Miroslav Klose (Germany)
- Ronaldo (Brazil)
So, Qatar will be thrust into the spotlight for the latest edition of the World Cup, and it all gets underway at the end of November. While there were initial concerns about why the World Cup was awarded to this country, they will be hoping to put on a brilliant advert for football.
While there will be plenty of shredded nails for supporters, the top World Cup betting operators will be regularly posting odds before the tournament to attract interest from fans looking for a flutter. If you want to bet on World Cup soccer, then you may be tempted by the outright winner market, which will contain odds from the US’ biggest operators. Brazil is trading as the favorites at +500 with FanDuel, with France tucked in behind at +550.
Brazil — who could be one of the main protagonists — will be desperate to end a 20-year wait to lift the World Cup for a record-extending sixth time. Usually, there is a lot of hype surrounding Brazil, but whether they can etch another glorious chapter in the history of the World Cup remains to be seen.