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The History of the FIFA World Cup!

Updated: Apr 9, 2023




The 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar is here!


This is the biggest sporting event in the world featuring the best soccer nations competing for the ultimate glory.


Soccer, or football, is the most popular sport in the world. Why? Perhaps because of its rich history. Perhaps it is due to the fact that anyone, anywhere can play it with only a ball. Perhaps its simplicity is its beauty.


Nevertheless, the 'beautiful game' is here and putting on a show!


The World Cup unites and divides, inspires and crushes, brings joy and brings pain. It is a rollercoaster of emotion, passion and luck.


Who do you support? Check out the full schedule here.




The History of the World Cup

The World Cup is the most important tournament in soccer and one of the most popular sporting events in the world. It’s a way for countries to compete with each other on an international level, and it has a long history. The first international soccer match was played in Glasgow, Scotland in 1872 between Scotland and England as part of a fundraising event for Queen's Park F.C.. It ended 0-0 but that didn't stop fans from wanting to keep playing! In 1929 FIFA decided to formalise this idea by creating an official competition called the "World Championship". This was then changed to "World Cup" after FIFA realised their mistake: there was already another championship called "World Football Championship". The first tournament took place in Uruguay in 1930 where 13 teams competed over four weeks before Argentina won against Uruguay 2-1 (and they haven't stopped winning since). One thing that has remained unchanged since then is Brazil being the only nation to have played every World Cup tournament.




The first international soccer match was played in Glasgow, in 1872.

You may not know this, but the first international soccer match was played between Scotland and England in 1872. It was held at the West of Scotland Cricket Club in Partick, Scotland with 4,000 spectators in attendance. The match ended 0-0, but it was an important moment for the game as a whole.



The first World Cup took place in Uruguay in 1930.

The first World Cup took place in Uruguay in 1930. The host nation, Uruguay, won the championship after beating Argentina 4-2 in the final.



In 1950, FIFA officials decided to hold a World Cup again after the end of World War II.

The second World Cup was held in Brazil in 1950, with a total of 13 teams competing. The official name of this competition is the FIFA World Cup, but you can call it “the big one” or “the world cup” because there are also other world cups around the globe.

The first winners were Uruguay (Uruguay), who defeated Italy (Italy) 4-2 in front of a crowd of 200,000 people at Rio de Janeiro's Maracanã Stadium.



Brazil is the only country to have played in every tournament.

Brazil is the only country to have played in every tournament, with its first appearance coming against France in 1930 and its latest coming against Germany in 2014.

Brazil is also the only country to have won the World Cup five times: 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. They were runners up on four other occasions (1938, 1950), losing out to Italy 3-2; Uruguay 2-1; West Germany 3-1; France 1-0 respectively.

They are also one of only two teams who have qualified for every World Cup since their inception (the other being Mexico).



The majority of tournaments have been won by nations from Europe and South America.

The majority of tournaments have been won by nations from Europe and South America. In fact, the world has only ever seen one team win the World Cup outside of these two continents: Cameroon in 1990.


The majority of world cup winners are from Europe and South America. The majority of world cup winners are from Europe and South America.


Hosting privileges are rotated between the continents.

In 1986, FIFA's decision to rotate hosting privileges between continents was a landmark moment. The World Cup had always been contested in Europe, so this new system was a fresh change that would allow other continents to host the tournament. In 2002, it was Japan and South Korea's turn; they hosted the first Asian World Cup.


In 2010, South Africa became the first African nation to hold the tournament—and they haven't been done yet! In 2022, Qatar will host its first-ever World Cup after being chosen over Australia and other countries in an election by FIFA officials in December 2010 (some say Russia also bid for 2022 but withdrew). And just recently FIFA announced that 2026 will have three hosts: North America (United States), Central America (Mexico) and Caribbean region nations including Cuba as well as Guyana on South America's coast



A group stage was introduced in 1934.

The group stage was introduced in 1934. Teams played two games each, against teams from other groups. The winners of each group were promoted to the next round, while the losers were relegated to another round.


In 1938 and 1950, a first knockout round (quarterfinals) had been added to the tournament. However, teams continued to play each other twice over as there were only 4 teams per group at that time.



The 'golden goal' method was introduced in 1998, but was subsequently dropped.

The 'golden goal' method was introduced in 1998, but was subsequently dropped.

The rule stated that if the scores were level at the end of extra time then a golden goal would be played to determine who wins. This meant that if one team scored during this period of additional time and their opponent could not score in reply, they would win the match immediately and go through to the next round or tournament.




In 2006, the format of shootouts was changed.

In 2006, the format of shootouts was changed. The 'golden goal' rule (the first team to score wins) was replaced by 'sudden death', so that if there is no winner after five minutes of extra time, play continues until one side scores and wins.


The change was made in order to prevent draws in the knockout stages and ensure that teams do not take games into extra time unnecessarily.



As with all sports, players and referees can commit fouls which result in penalties.

As with all sports, players and referees can commit fouls which result in penalties. A foul is any action that is against the rules of a game and has been committed by a player on the pitch. A penalty can be awarded if a foul has been committed inside the penalty area, or if an offside offence is committed by the attacking team inside their opponent's goal box (this includes touching the ball before it crosses their own goal line).

The different types of foul include:

  • holding back - preventing an opposing player from getting to where they want to go through physical contact;

  • tripping - making contact with your feet (or lower legs) while another person is running past you toward your goal; * pushing – using your upper body strength to force someone into another player/object on purpose;



The World Cup has a rich history, or maybe just a long one!

The FIFA World Cup is the most important competition in international football. It was first held in 1930 and has been held every four years since then, except for 1942 and 1946 because of the Second World War.


The current champion is France after winning the 2018 final against Croatia 4-2. France are the second European team to win back-to-back titles after Germany won in 1954 and 1990 (Germany also won three times before that). They have also hosted two tournaments - 1998 (France) and 2006 (Germany).



Conclusion

We hope you enjoyed learning about the World Cup, and that you have a better appreciation of its history. While watching games can be fun, there’s nothing quite like being there in person! If you get the chance to attend one in person, we highly recommend taking advantage of it.



Get into the World Cup in your classroom

Help your students learn more about the World Cup, engage and have fun with these awesome activities! Here's how:


Get the classroom resources here!


This is the biggest sporting event on the planet and this year is going to be fantastic. Enjoy the tournament with this fun activity pack which includes:

  • 4 fun and interactive activities

  • Printable format for individual activities OR booklet format

  • Instructions

  • Beautifully presented and formatted

These activities are perfect for end-of-year lessons.

  • Can be done as a class or in groups

  • Can be done independently by students

  • Students can work on this throughout the World Cup

  • Can be linked to curriculum!




Get into the World Cup in PE (or lunch time!)


Get the PE resources pack here

Enjoy the tournament with these soccer-inspired PE activities! This pack features:


3 soccer activities perfect for any PE class!

  • 2 fun warm-up activities

  • 1 main 'Mini World Cup' activity

Pack features:

  • Printer-friendly PDF's

  • Detailed instructions

  • Diagrams

  • Differentiation ideas including regression and progression

  • Beautifully presented and formatted



OR


Try a few of these soccer-themed challenges with your class!







Good luck and may the best team win!



Want to learn more? Check out all PE Buddy's videos



Check out our website for more



Get teaching resources for this topic



Thanks legends!


Mr D, your online PE Buddy



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