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The World Cup of FUTBOL!

Updated on June 20, 2014

The World's Favorite Sport

Soccer, or as the rest of the world knows the sport FUTBOL (for all you English speaking fans: Football), is the world's most popular sport. With that said, my goal is to bring together the many fans worldwide to share their love of the sport and their favorite players especially now that the 2014 World Cup is under way in Brazil. 32 Nations compete with one goal in mind to raise the World Cup trophy at the end of a month long competition as proof of being the best of the best.

YouTube FIFA Theme Song - Official 2010 World Cup Song

World Cup History - 1930 Winner: Uruguay

First World Cup Tournament

URUGUAY 1930

Fox Soccer »Updated May 24, 2010 4:54 PM ET

CHAMPION: Uruguay

RUNNER-UP: Argentina

GOLDEN SHOE: Guillermo Stabile (ARG)

TEAMS: 13

TOTAL MATCHES: 18

GOALS SCORED: 70 (3.9 per match)

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 24,138

SUPRISES: USA (third place)

FORMAT: Four groups of three teams (Group 1 with four teams), group winners advanced to one-match semifinal.

1930 - The first-ever World Cup was nothing like today's tournament as it featured only 13 teams, including none from Africa, Asia or Oceania. Only four teams from Europe participated so it was no surprise that the final was contested by two South American entrants - hosts Uruguay and archrivals Argentina.

The entire tournament was played in the capital city of Montevideo, including the big final at the famous Estadio Centenario in which 80,000 fans watched Uruguay rally from a 1-2 halftime deficit to win the first World Cup 4-2.

The U.S. surprised as well, finishing a respectable third place and claiming the World Cup's first-ever hat trick scorer in Bert Patenaude. That semifinal appearance is still the best ever showing for the Stars and Stripes.

Ironically, the first World Cup almost didn't take place as the European teams were not thrilled about the idea of the two month trip away from home, or the two week boat journey it would require to reach Uruguay. But eventually, France, Belgium, Yugoslavia and Romania decided to participate and the rest is football history.

YouTube World Cup History 1930 - 1930 World Cup Final Video

World Cup History - 1934 Winner: Italy

Second World Cup Tournament

ITALY 1934

Fox Soccer»Updated May 24, 2010 5:09 PM ET

CHAMPION: Italy

RUNNER-UP: Czechoslovakia

GOLDEN SHOE: Oldrich Nejedly (CZE)

TEAMS: 16

TOTAL MATCHES: 17

GOAL SCORED: 70 (4.1 per match)

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 21,058

SUPRISES: Austria (fourth place)

FORMAT: Single-match preliminary round, winners advanced to quarterfinals, then single-match elimination games.

1934 - The World Cup moved to European soil for the first time in 1934 with Italy hosting. Now 16 teams strong, the Azzurri claimed the trophy after defeating Czechoslovakia in the final after taking care of a very dangerous Austrian team in the semifinals.

Uruguay did not participate in the tournament - the first and only time a defending champion refused to defend its title. Egypt also became the first African team to participate in the World Cup.

The tournament wasn't just limited to one city as had been four years earlier in Uruguay, either. The Italians decided it a better idea to distribute matches throughout the country so they selected eight host cities to host the games.

The 1934 World Cup was also the first to require a qualification process. The Italians, even as hosts, were forced to advance into their own tournament - the first and only time this has ever happened. But for their troubles, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini had a special trophy of his own commissioned, the Coppa del Duce, to provide his team even more incentive as the world watched.

YouTube World Cup History 1934 - 1934 World Cup Final Video

World Cup History - 1938 Winner Italy

Third World Cup Tournament

FRANCE 1938

Fox Soccer»Updated May 24, 2010 4:56 PM ET

CHAMPION: Italy

RUNNER-UP: Hungary

GOLDEN SHOE: Leonidas (BRA)

TEAMS: 15

TOTAL MATCHES: 18

GOALS SCORED: 84 (4.7 per match)

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 20,888

SUPRISES: Sweden (fourth place)

FORMAT: Preliminary round followed by single-elimination knockout stage

1938 - The World Cup remained in Europe in 1938, this time moving over to France. The reigning champions Italy successfully defended their title as the threat of war loomed across Europe, causing many prominent teams not to participate.

Italy defeated a strong Hungary side in the final 4-2, and Cuba became the first team from outside of Europe or South America to advance to the second stage of the tournament. A strong Spanish side was ruled out due to civil war back at home.

The most successful team in World Cup history, Brazil traveled to its first-ever finals in 1938 and put on quite a show. Led by tournament top scorer Leonidas, the Samba kings made it all the way to the semifinals before being ousted in a dour match against the eventual champions Italy.

The 1938 World Cup was also the coming out party for the wonderful team from Hungary. The Magyars routed Sweden in the semifinal but could not overcome the Azzurri in the final match. Had war not broken out, the 1942 tournament may have been theirs for the taking.

YouTube World Cup History 1938 - 1938 World Cup Final Video

World Cup History - 1950 Winner: Uruguay

Fourth World Cup Tournament

BRAZIL 1950

Fox Soccer »Updated May 24, 2010 4:55 PM ET

CHAMPION: Uruguay

RUNNER-UP: Brazil

GOLDEN SHOE: Ademir (BRA)

TEAMS: 13

TOTAL MATCHES: 22

GOALS SCORED: 88 (4.0 per match)

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 47,431

SUPRISES: Uruguay beating host favorites Brazil in the final before over 200,000 at the Maracana, United States upsetting England 1-0 in Belo Horizonte.

1950 - After a 12 year hiatus due to World War II, the World Cup returned, this time being hosted by the mighty Brazilians. In order to celebrate the event, Brazil built the world's largest stadium - the famous Maracana.

With the tournament being held in South America once again, a number of teams once again declined to make the trip so only 13 teams participated. France declined due to the fact that they were facing a monumental journey simply within Brazil between matches, while India passed when they learned they wouldn't be allowed to play barefoot.

England were strong favorites to compete for the World Cup but were stunned by the U.S. 1-0 in their famous match in Belo Horizonte. Joe Gaetjens scored the goal that humiliated the Three Lions in their first World Cup appearance, and back home, newspapers concluded that the score they received over the wires was wrong and printed it up as a 10-1 victory for England.

Much to the delight of the home fans, Brazil put themselves in position to win the trophy when they faced old nemesis Uruguay in the final match of the final group. In front of more than 200,000 fans, the Brazilians were shocked as Uruguay won the match 2-1 to claim its second World Cup.

Format: Four group preliminary round, followed by a four-team final group which Uruguay won with five points.

YouTube World Cup History 1950 - 1950 World Cup Final Video

World Cup History -1954 Winner: West Germany

Fifth World Cup Tournament

SWITZERLAND 1954

Fox Soccer »Updated Jun 9, 2010 8:45 PM ET

CHAMPION: West Germany

RUNNER UP: Hungary

GOLDEN SHOE: Sandor Kocsis (HUN)

TEAMS: 16

TOTAL MATCHES: 26

GOALS SCORED: 140 (5.4 per match)

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 34,211

SURPRISES: The 'Miracle of Berne' as West Germany rallied to beat the heavily favored Hungarians in the final.

FORMAT: Four teams in four groups in the preliminary stage, followed by a single elimination knockout round.

1954 - Switzerland hosted a magical tournament in 1954 that featured the 'Magical Magyars' of Hungary, clearly the best team in the world at the time, led by one of the game's greats Ferenc Puskas. The Hungarians scored 25 goals en route to the final, including an 8-3 demolition of West Germany in the group stage.

However, the Germans regrouped and advanced all the way to the final where they once again faced the mighty Magyars. In what was later to be named 'The Miracle of Berne,' West Germany shocked the world with a 3-2 win over Hungary, giving Die Mannschaft its first World Cup title.

The 1954 World Cup still stands as the tournament with the most goals scored as some outrageous results left fans delirious with celebrations. In one match alone, the quarterfinal between Switzerland and Austria, the hosts led 3-0 but eventually fell to a 7-5 defeat.

Another one of the famous Hungarians, Sandor Kocsis, took the Golden Shoe award with 11 goals, while three teams, Czechoslovakia, Scotland and Korea, all exited the tournament without scoring a single goal. But despite the joy of winning the coveted top scorer's award, Kocsis would have surely traded it in for a World Cup title.

YouTube World Cup History 1954 - 1954 World Cup Final Video

World Cup History -1958 Winner: Brazil

Sixth World Cup Tournament

SWEDEN 1958

Fox Soccer »Updated May 24, 2010 5:13 PM ET

CHAMPION: Brazil

RUNNER-UP: Sweden

GOLDEN SHOE: Just Fontaine (FRA)

TEAMS: 16

TOTAL MATCHES: 35

GOALS SCORED: 126 (3.6 per match)

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 26,273

SURPRISES: A 17-year old phenom named Pele leading Brazil to its first World Cup title, Just Fontaine scoring a still record 13 goals in one World Cup.

FORMAT: Four teams in four groups in the preliminary stage, followed by a single elimination knockout round.

1958 - The most famous name in football history launched his career in the 1958 World Cup in Sweden. Only 17-years old, Pele was instrumental in leading the Selecao to its first World Cup trophy as they defeated the hosting Swedes 5-2 in the final at the Rasunda stadium.

French striker Just Fontaine set the record that year for most goals in a single tournament with 13. The first 0-0 draw in World Cup history was also played that year between England and Brazil during the group stage.

For the first and only time in World Cup history, all four British nations participated in the same tournament. Fans back in the British Isles were also pleased to watch the World Cup from their living rooms as it was the first finals televised to an international audience.

But no nation celebrated more than the Brazilians. Their revolutionary 4-2-4 formation featuring the aforementioned Pele, along with stars Garrincha and Vava, thrilled attending fans from Gothenburg to Stockholm and began the long history of success that Brazil has enjoyed ever since

YouTube World Cup History 1958 - 1958 World Cup Final Video

World Cup History - 1962 Winner: Brazil

Seventh World Cup Tournament

CHILE 1962

Fox Soccer »Updated Jun 10, 2010 8:40 PM ET

CHAMPION: Brazil

RUNNER-UP: Czechoslovakia

GOLDEN-SHOE: Florian Albert (HUN), Valentin Ivanov (URS), Drazen Jerkovic (YUG), Leonel Sanchez (CHI), Vava (BRA), Garrincha (BRA)

TEAMS: 16

TOTAL MATCHES: 32

GOALS SCORED: 89 (2.8 per match)

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 28,096

SURPRISES: With Pele injured, Garrincha led Brazil to the World Cup title as one of the tournament's six top scorers

FORMAT: Four teams in four groups in the preliminary stage, followed by a single elimination knockout round.

1962 - The World Cup returned to South America in 1962 as Chile hosted the event which had now grown into the largest sporting event in the world. With Pele injured, Brazil's Garrincha took up the slack and led Brazil to a successful title defense, beating Czechoslovakia in the final and earning joint top-scorer honors in the tournament.

Hosts Chile did their nation proud by reaching the semifinals and beating Yugolslavia in the third-place match. The Chileans also contested a fierce group stage match with Italy that included two red cards and a number of ugly incidents marring the match forever to be known as the 'Battle of Santiago.'

The 1962 tournament also served as the first to scrap the playoff match in case of a draw in favor of goal differential. England had that good fortune in the group stage and progressed at Argentina's expense - the first in a long line of contentious World Cup battles between the two nations.

And while strict rules now exist that prevent players from switching national teams at the senior level, Hungarian born Ferenc Puskas, who shone so brightly for the Magyars in 1954, suited up for a disappointing Spain squad after many seasons playing for famed club Real Madrid in the interim years.

YouTube World Cup History 1962 - 1962 World Cup Final Video

World Cup History - 1966 Winner: England

Eighth World Cup Tournament

ENGLAND 1966

Fox Soccer »Updated May 24, 2010 4:57 PM ET

CHAMPION: England

RUNNER-UP: West Germany

GOLDEN SHOE: Eusebio (POR)

TEAMS: 16

TOTAL MATCHES: 32

GOALS SCORED: 89 (2.8 per match)

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 51,093

SUPRISES: North Korea knocked Italy out at the group stage with a 1-0 shock victory.

FORMAT: Four teams in four groups in the preliminary stage, followed by a single elimination knockout round.

1966 - The birthplace of football, England hosted the tournament in 1966 for the first time under coach Alf Ramsey. The Three Lions advanced all the way to the final at Wembley where they controversially defeated West Germany on the strength of a Geoff Hurst hat trick.

Did the ball cross the line or not in extra time after a 2-2 draw after 90 minutes? The linesman judged the ball over the line, then Hurst scored his third and England claimed its first and only World Cup title. To this day, the controversy still exists and is always a hotly debated topic of conversation.

Earlier in the tournament, Pele was brutally tackled into submission with some heavy-footed tactics, and Italy was shocked by North Korea in the group stage but fell to a terrific Portuguese side led by tournament leading scorer Eusebio, despite owning a commanding 3-0 lead at halftime. Portugal eventually settled for a third place finish.

The 1966 World Cup was also the first for German legend Franz Beckenbauer. At only 20-years old, the supremely talented libero scored four goals en route to the final, including a vital one against the Soviet Union's famous goalkeeper Lev Yashin in the semifinals.

You Tube World Cup History 1966 - 1966 World Cup Final Video

World Cup History - 1970 Winner: Brazil

Ninth World Cup Tournament

MEXICO 1970

Fox Soccer »Updated May 24, 2010 4:58 PM ET

CHAMPION: Brazil

RUNNER-UP: Italy

GOLDEN SHOE: Gerd Mueller (GER)

TEAMS: 16

TOTAL MATCHES: 32

GOALS SCORED: 95 (3.0 per match)

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 50,124

SUPRISES: The semifinal 'Match of the Century' between Italy and West Germany featured five extra time goals (after 1-1 at full time) as the Azzurri moved on to the final with a 4-3 victory.

FORMAT: Four teams in four groups in the preliminary stage, followed by a single elimination knockout round.

1970 - For the first time in history, the World Cup was played outside of Europe or South America as Mexico hosted the tournament in 1970. One of the greatest squads ever assembled, Brazil returned to prominence by beating Italy in the final at the famous Estadio Azteca.

Pele, who almost didn't make the trip due to the abuse he suffered in England four years earlier, and Jairzinho thrilled the crowds en route to the Jules Rimet trophy, but German marksman Gerd Mueller took the Golden Shoe honors with 10 goals. Their exploits were further enhanced for the international audience since the tournament was the first to be broadcast in color.

And while Brazil's 4-1 win over Italy in the final was a spectacular finish, it still never compared to the Azzurri's semifinal confrontation with West Germany. In what would later be known as the 'Game of the Century,' the Italians gave up a late equalizer to Karl-Heinz Schnellinger that sent the match into extra time at 1-1.

During the extra time session, both teams erupted and traded goals back and forth until eventually Italy left the pitch with a triumphant 4-3 victory. Many believe that the supreme effort Italy required to win that semifinal left them with nothing left in the tank to face mighty Brazil in the final.

YouTube World Cup History 1970 - 1970 World Cup Final Video

World Cup History - 1974 Winner: West Germany

Tenth World Cup Tournament

WEST GERMANY 1974

Fox Soccer »Updated May 24, 2010 5:01 PM ET

CHAMPION: West Germany

RUNNER-UP: The Netherlands

GOLDEN SHOE: Grzegorz Lato (POL)

TEAMS: 16

TOTAL MATCHES: 38

GOALS SCORED: 97 (2.6 per match)

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 46,530

SUPRISES: East Germany stunned rival West Germany in the group stage 1-0, but the West Germans went on to win the tounament.

FORMAT: Four teams in four groups in the preliminary stage, followed by a single elimination knockout round.

1974 -West Germany hosted its first World Cup in 1974 and was immediately under the gun after losing the final match of the group stage to neighbors East Germany in a historic clash. Instead of advancing to the newly-formatted second stage as group winners, they went in as runners-up, but a fire was sparked.

Once again led by Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Mueller though, the West Germans stormed through the second group stage and upset Johan Cruyff and the heavily favored Dutch in the final in Munich. The Netherlands, who brought their style of "Total Football" to showcase to the world, took an early lead in the final before the Germans had ever touched the ball when Cruyff earned the first-ever final penalty kick within the opening minute.

Johan Neeskens converted it for a goal, but the Germans fought back and eventually claimed their second World Cup title with a 2-1 victory, albeit holding aloft a new trophy as the Jules Rimet version was replaced for the new gold statuette still in use today.

It was a memorable tournament for Poland as well as the Poles claimed third place and the tournament's top scorer in Grzegorz Lato. They defeated a Brazil squad that was a mere shadow of the 1970 winning team in the runners-up final, but also posted impressive group stage wins over Argentina and Italy.

YouTube World Cup History 1974 - 1974 World Cup Final Video

World Cup History - 1978 Winner: Argentina

Eleventh World Cup Tournament

ARGENTINA 1978

Fox Soccer »Updated May 24, 2010 5:12 PM ET

CHAMPION: Argentina

RUNNER-UP: The Netherlands

GOLDEN SHOE: Mario Kempes (ARG)

TEAMS: 16

TOTAL MATCHES: 38

GOAL SCORED: 102 (2.7 per match)

AVERAGE ATTEDANCE: 40,688

SUPRISES: Tunisia became the first African team to win a World Cup match when they defeated Mexico 3-1 in the group stage.

FORMAT: Four teams in four groups in the preliminary stage, followed by a single elimination knockout round.

FIFA FAIR PLAY AWARD: Argentina

1978 - One of the best teams to have never won the World Cup, Argentina got its best opportunity when it hosted the 1978 tournament. The Dutch were once again favored to win the title, but suffered final heartbreak once again as they fell 3-1 to the hosts in the final at the Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires.

There was controversy along the way though as Brazil was denied a spot in the final when Argentina beat a very relaxed Peru team 6-0 in the final match of the second group stage. The Peruvians, already eliminated, seemed to lie down for an Argentinean side knowing that it needed a four-goal victory to advance. Since then, all final group matches have been played simultaneously in order to avoid similar questionable results.

While 17-year old Diego Maradona was left off the Albiceleste squad for the tournament, 21-year old Michel Platini of France featured for his national team. He made his international debut for Les Bleus in Argentina and scored a goal along the way, but overall France disappointed, failing to reach the second stage. Six years later, Platini would lead the French to the European Championship crown.

In the final before a crazed cauldron of Argentineans, the Netherlands fought back to tie the match at 1-1 and came tantalizingly close to winning it outright in the dying seconds with a shot off the post. But during extra time, Mario Kempes and Daniel Bertoni scored for the hosts and Argentina hoisted its first world title.

YouTube World Cup History 1978 - 1978 World Cup Final Video

World Cup History - 1982 Winner: Italy

Twelvth World Cup Tournament

SPAIN 1982

Fox Soccer »Updated May 24, 2010 5:04 PM ET

CHAMPION: Italy

RUNNER UP: West Germany

GOLDEN BALL: Paolo Rossi (ITA)

GOLDEN SHOE: Paolo Rossi (ITA)

TEAMS: 24

TOTAL MATCHES: 52

GOALS SCORED: 146 (2.8 per match)

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 40,571

SUPRISES: Algeria provided the biggest upset of the tournament by beating European powerhouse West Germany in the group stage.

FORMAT: Four teams in six groups in the preliminary stage, group winners and runners-up advanced to a second four-group, three-team group stage, group winners moved on to single-elimination semifinals.

FIFA FAIR PLAY AWARD: Brazil

1982 - Returning to Europe once again, the 1982 World Cup was hosted by a Spain team with high expectations. The tournament expanded to 24 teams for the first time and at the end of it all, Italy claimed its third trophy in history by defeating West Germany in the final.

Spain disappointed by only reaching the second group stage, including an embarrassing loss in the first group stage to a Northern Ireland team that featured Norman Whiteside - to this day the youngest player to ever appear in a World Cup. But Poland once again provided the shock of the tournament by finishing in third place like they had in 1974.

A few first-timers also made strong impressions, albeit for very different reasons. Algeria provided the upset of the tournament by defeating West Germany in the group stage, while Honduras became the first team to ever concede 10 goals in a match which they lost 10-1 against Hungary.

But Paolo Rossi was the star of the show as the Azzurri triumphed yet again. The Italian striker erupted when it counted most in the second stage with a hat trick against Brazil, then a semifinal brace against Poland. In the final, Rossi got the ball rolling against the Germans and his team never looked back as they cruised to a 3-1 victory.

YouTube World Cup History 1982 - 1982 World Cup Final Video

World Cup History - 1986 Winner: Argentina

Thirteenth World Cup Tournament

MEXICO 1986

Fox Soccer »Updated May 24, 2010 5:10 PM ET

CHAMPION: Argentina

RUNNER-UP: West Germany

GOLDEN BALL: Diego Maradona (ARG)

GOLDEN SHOE: Gary Lineker (ENG)

TEAMS: 24

TOTAL MATCHES: 52

GOALS SCORED: 132 (2.5 per match)

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 46,025

SURPISES: Morocco became the first African team to advance to the second round.

FORMAT: Four teams in six groups in the preliminary stage, group winners, runners-up and two best third-place teams advanced to the knockout round of sixteen, followed by single elimination knockout through to the final.

FIFA FAIR PLAY AWARD: Brazil

1986 - If Pele put the World Cup on the map, Argentina superstar Diego Maradona put it out of this world. His stunning (and controversial) performances on the way to the final sealed Argentina's second title in eight years. The first country to host the World Cup for a second time, Mexico earned that honor when Colombia pulled out for financial reasons.

The final, once again played at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City, featured a determined West German side that gave Argentina all it could handle (erasing a two-goal deficit), but ultimately Maradona's team prevailed 3-2 and lifted the trophy. But it was an earlier performance, against England in the quarterfinals, that would ultimately define the 1986 World Cup.

The magical No. 10 scored his first goal under a blanket of controversy when he punched the ball into the net over an onrushing Peter Shilton. Forever known as the 'Hand of God,' Maradona followed that up with the great goal in World Cup history, dribbling alone through the entire Three Lions defense and slotting the ball coolly past Shilton once again.

The 1986 tournament also featured a format shift still in use today - the elimination of a second stage in favor of a knockout round of 16. England's Gary Lineker finished as top scorer with six goals, while Morocco became the first African nation to win its World Cup group before losing to the eventual runners-up in the round of 16.

YouTube World Cup History 1986 - 1986 World Cup Final Video

World Cup History - 1990 Winner: West Germany

Fourteenth World Cup Tournament

ITALY 1990

Fox Soccer »Updated May 24, 2010 5:05 PM ET

CHAMPION: West Germany

RUNNER-UP: Argentina

GOLDEN BALL: Salvatore Schillaci (ITA)

GOLDEN SHOE: Salvatore Schillaci (ITA)

TEAMS: 24

TOTAL MATCHES: 52

GOALS SCORED: 115 (2.2 per match)

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 48,391

SURPRISES: The 1990 finals set an unwanted record as the lowest-scoring tournament, with just 2.21 goals per game, while Cameroon advanced to the quarterfinal stage.

FORMAT: Four teams in six groups in the preliminary stage, group winners, runners-up and two best third-place teams advanced to the knockout round of sixteen, followed by single elimination knockout through to the final.

FIFA FAIR PLAY AWARD: England

1990 - Defense was the name of the game during the World Cup in 1990. Hosted by Italy, the tournament was low on goals, but high on drama, including Cameroon's delightful run to the quarterfinals and the emotions displayed by England midfielder Paul Gascoigne after the Three Lions fell to West Germany in a dramatic semifinal shootout.

Argentina tried unsuccessfully to defend its title as it fell 1-0 to an Andreas Brehme penalty kick in the final match of the tournament as West Germany claimed its third World Cup title. German coach Franz Beckenbauer became only the second man to win the World Cup both as player and manager.

The 1990 World Cup also marked the return of the United States after a 40-year absence. Bob Gansler's mostly college squad was completely outclassed in Italy though, going three and out against the hosts, Czechoslovakia and Austria. It was however the first of six straight appearances for the Americans.

Hosts Italy were hoping that home field advantage would carry them to their fourth title, but they fell short at the semifinal hurdle against Argentina in a penalty shootout. The Germans also survived a semifinal shootout against England, but managed to put the brakes on the Albicelestes in the final and needed only Brehme's spot kick to raise the trophy.

YouTube World Cup HIstory 1990 - 1990 World Cup Final Video

World Cup History -1994 Winner: Brazil

Fifteenth World Cup Tournament

USA 1994

Fox Soccer Updated May 24, 2010 5:06 PM ET

CHAMPION: Brazil

RUNNER-UP: Italy

GOLDEN BALL: Romario (BRA)

GOLDEN SHOE: Hristo Stoichkov (BUL), Oleg Salenko (POL)

TEAMS: 24

TOTAL MATCHES: 52

GOALS SCORED: 141 (2.7 per match)

AVERAGE ATTENANCE: 68,991

SURPISES: With fears that a World Cup in the U.S. would not resonate with fans, the tournament set still record numbers for average and total attendance (3,587,538), while Bulgaria stunned the reigning champion Germans to reach the semifinal round.

FORMAT: Four teams in six groups in the preliminary stage, group winners, runners-up and two best third-place teams advanced to the knockout round of sixteen, followed by single elimination knockout play through to the final.

FIFA Fair Play Award: Brazil

1994 - Few expected a World Cup in the United States to generate the kind of buzz that would launch the game in America, but record crowds turned out to make the 1994 tournament the best attended in history. From Boston to Dallas and Los Angeles to Orlando, an average of just under 69,000 people witnessed each historical match.

Two surprise teams, Sweden and Bulgaria, reached the semifinals, with the Bulgarians led by Hristo Stoichkov upsetting defending champions Germany in the quarters. But there was no bigger surprise (or disappointment) when Argentina star Diego Maradona was expelled from the tournament for failing a drug test.

Cameroon star Roger Milla set a record as the oldest player to score a goal at the World Cup at 42-years old in the same match that Russian hitman Oleg Salenko set another record by finding net five times.

The U.S. also fared well by beating Colombia in the group stage and narrowly losing out to the eventual champions Brazil in the round of 16. There was tragedy though soon after as the own goal which sunk Colombia's fortunes against the Americans resulted in the murder of defender Andres Escobar upon his return to South America.

But it was the Brazilians who shone brightest in America behind stars Romario and Bebeto, defeating Roberto Baggio's Italy in the final after a penalty shootout at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. Scoreless after 90 minutes, The Divine Ponytail Baggio would suffer the ignominy of a horrible penalty kick miss that handed Brazil its first World Cup title since 1970.

YouTube World Cup History 1994 - 1994 World Cup Final Video

World Cup History - 1998 Winner: France

Sixteenth World Cup Tournament

FRANCE 1998

Fox Soccer »Updated May 24, 2010 5:10 PM ET

CHAMPION: France

RUNNER-UP: Brazil

GOLDEN BALL: Ronaldo (BRA)

GOLDEN SHOE: Davor Suker (CRO)

TEAMS: 32

TOTAL MATCHES: 64

GOALS SCORED: 171 (2.7 per match)

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 43,517

SUPRISES: Croatia became the second underdog in a row to upset Germany in the quarterfinals as leading tournament scorer Davor Suker led the small Balkan nation to a third-place finish.

FORMAT: Four teams in eight groups in the preliminary stage, group winners, runners-up advanced to the knockout round of sixteen, followed by single elimination knockout play through to the final.

FIFA FAIR PLAY AWARD: England, France

1998 - After hosting the World Cup in 1938, the tournament returned to France 60 years later and featured one of the strongest Les Bleus sides to date, led by star midfielder Zinedine Zidane. Oft criticized for underachieving (having only won the 1984 Euro), the French came out swinging and never looked back.

With the tournament expanded for the first time to 32 teams, the hosts won their first World Cup trophy, beating Brazil 3-0 in the final thanks to two headed goals by Zidane himself. Brazil produced fireworks of its own during the tournament though, mostly in the form of young superstar Ronaldo, who would later take the title as top all-time scorer in World Cup history in 2006.

Croatia was the surprise of the 1998 World Cup by finishing in third place and knocking Germany out along the way. The Croats were led by top goal scorer Davor Suker who finished the tournament with six goals.

In the group stage though, one match caught the world's attention for political reasons when the United States faced Iran in Lyon. With millions watching and waiting for something incendiary to occur, the two teams played a match of great spirit and fairness which the Iranians won 2-1.

There was also another memorable match between Argentina and England, this time in the round of 16. England midfielder David Beckham was sent off for kicking out at Diego Simeone and the Lions eventually lost on penalties, further contributing to this massive rivalry.

YouTube World Cup History 1998 - 1998 World Cup Final Video

World Cup History - 2002 Winner: Brazil

Seventeenth World Cup Tournament

KOREA/JAPAN 2002

Fox Soccer »Updated May 24, 2010 5:06 PM ET

CHAMPION: Brazil

RUNNER-UP: Germany

GOLDEN BALL: Oliver Kahn (GER)

GOLDEN SHOE: Ronaldo (BRA)

TEAMS: 32

TOTAL MATCHES: 64

GOALS SCORED: 161 (2.5 per match)

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 42,268

SURPRISES: Tournament hosts South Korea stunned the world by reaching the semifinals, having knocked out Portugal, Italy and Spain along the way. The USA also provided some drama by reaching the quarterfinals.

FORMAT: Four teams in eight groups in the preliminary stage, group winners, runners-up advanced to the knockout round of sixteen, followed by single elimination knockout play through to the final.

FIFA FAIR PLAY AWARD: Belgium

2002 - For the first time in history, the World Cup was played on Asian soil as South Korea and Japan hosted the event. It was a wide open tournament with stunning upsets, including the U.S. opening round victory over Portugal, and the high-flying Turks advancing all the way to the semifinals.

However, no team captured the imagination of the tournament more than the Guus Hiddink led South Koreans. With fanatical home support, the Asian Tigers defeated Portugal, Italy and Spain before being knocked out by Germany in the semifinals. They eventually defeated Turkey to claim third place.

The reigning champions France departed miserably, failing to score a goal in the group stage and finishing with a single point. Their opening match against Senegal provided one of the shocks of the tournament as the African side beat the French 1-0 after Papa Bouba Diop's industrious strike.

The U.S. put on its best performance in the modern era by finishing second in its group and beating hated rivals Mexico in the round of 16. The Americans were on their game against Germany in the quarterfinals but failed to find net despite numerous chances. In the end, a Michael Ballack header sunk U.S. hopes.

In the end though, Brazil claimed its record fifth World Cup title by defeating the Germans in the final 2-0 behind the scoring prowess of superstar Ronaldo. German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn had performed heroically throughout the tournament, but his first real error in seven matches opened the door for Ronaldo to strike and the Brazilians were back on top.

YouTube World Cup History 2002 - 2002 World Cup Final Video

World Cup History - 2006 Winner: Italy

Eighteenth World Cup Tournament

GERMANY 2006

Fox Soccer »Updated May 24, 2010 5:08 PM ET

CHAMPION: Italy

RUNNER-UP: France

GOLDEN BALL: Zinedine Zidane (FRA)

GOLDEN SHOE: Miroslav Klose (GER)

TEAMS: 32

TOTAL MATCHES: 64

GOALS SCORED: 147 (2.3 per match)

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE: 52,491

SUPRISES: After a 32-year absence, the Socceroos of Australia made a surprising run to the second round before being cruelly ousted by a late Italy goal as the Azzurri went on to win the tournament.

FORMAT: Four teams in eight groups in the preliminary stage, group winners, runners-up advanced to the knockout round of sixteen, followed by single elimination knockout play through to the final.

FIFA FAIR PLAY AWARD: Spain, Brazil

2006 - Germany came alive in 2006 as the World Cup returned to Europe once again, and the hosts didn't disappoint as they carved their way through the tournament to reach the semifinals (eventually taking third place). Head coach Juergen Klinsmann did a masterful job motivating his players and the nation alike during the entire World Cup.

Brazil's Ronaldo became the World Cup's all-time leading scorer, but the Samba kings couldn't get past France in the quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Portugal came alive with victories over Holland and England in the knockout stages before eventually falling to France and settling for fourth place after a loss to Germany.

It was a forgettable World Cup for the Americans as they went three and out once again. A devastating first loss to the Czech Republic set the tone, followed by a spirited and red-card heavy draw with the eventual champions Italy, and finally a disappointing 2-1 defeat to Ghana when victory would have earned them a place in the knockout stage.

Once again it was Italy providing the biggest drama as their team effort against the hosts in the semifinal secured the Azzurri a final berth against France. With the match delicately poised 1-1, France's Zinedine Zidane shocked the world by being sent off after his head butt on Marco Materazzi, reducing Les Bleus to 10 men. Italy failed to capitalize during the extra time session, but won its fourth World Cup title after a thrilling penalty kick shootout.

YouTube World Cup History 2006 - 2006 World Cup Final Video

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Futbol Fan Guestbook - 2010 FIFA World Cup Fan Comments

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      salestop81 6 years ago

      Nice lens., soccer is the most beutiful sport of the world, this page really show that http://www.el-futbol.net/

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      Anthony Godinho 7 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Nice to catch another soccer (futbol) fan here on Squidoo. I closely followed the 2010 WC and was happy to see Spain becoming world champions for the first time. Though, I wanted Brazil to win...with the 2014 WC being held in Brazil, will the odds favour them...we will see. You've got a lot of history packed into this lens. I've created a few soccers lenses as well. All the best with Squidoo! :)

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      RedSportNiac 7 years ago

      Hi there. You got plenty of soccer history here. Looks good to me. I guess sports fan like us won't have enough of sports ever. By the way thanks for stopping by on my lens..