12 Facts About The World Cup You Probably Didn’t Know

During the year of the iconic event, headlines are dominated by World Cup stories and countless related records and statistics and you will learn about some of them now.

2022 FIFA World Cup Draw. AP

The World Cup only happens every four years so when the time comes is very exciting. With its increased popularity in the United States, it’s my duty to share information even when it’s useless so you can tell your friends stuff they don’t know.

Below are 12 of some of the most incredible World Cup facts that, unless you’re an absolute soccer fanatic, you won’t know:

1. The Tournament Is The Record Leader In Terms of Audience

A total of 3.5 billion people (almost half of the world’s population) tuned in to watch the 2018 World Cup. According to FIFA, the 2018 World Cup final between France and Croatia alone reached an average live audience of 517 million viewers, with more than than 1.1 billion people tuning in over its 90 minutes.

2. Only 8 Countries Have Won the World Cup

To date, only eight countries have ever won the World Cup, though there have been 20 tournaments. These victorious countries are all from Europe or South America: Brazil, Germany, Italy, Argentina, Uruguay, France, England and Spain.

3. Despite Of Being The Country That Invented Soccer, England Has Only Won It Once

England have only ever hosted the tournament once in 1966, which was also the only time they ever won the tournament, defeating Germany in a dramatic 4–2 win.

4. Brazil Is The Biggest Winner, But Not By Far

Brazil are currently the nation to boast the most World Cup wins, having won five. Brazil are also the team with the most World Cup wins, having won 70 of games at the tournament.

However, Germany and Italy are both close behind them, having won four tournaments each.

Brazil

5 TITLES

1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 & 2002

Germany

4 TITLES

1954, 1974, 1990 & 2014

Italy

4 TITLES

1934, 1938, 1982 & 2006

Argentina

2 TITLES

1978 & 1986

Uruguay

2 TITLES

1930 & 1950

France

2 TITLES

1998 & 2018

5. Mexico Is The World Cup's Biggest Loser

Mexico is the team with the most losses, having lost 27 different matches since the World Cup started.

Mexico stats in the World Cup:

MATCHES

57

WINS

16

DRAWS

17

LOSSES

27

BEST PERFORMANCE

QUARTER FINALS in 1970 & 1986

6. It Will Be Easier To Qualify For The Next World Cup

Starting from 2026, when the World Cup will be hosted by United States, Mexico and Canada, the number of teams qualified into a World Cup will jump up from 32 to 48.

7. Argentina Have Been Booked The Most

Argentina are the team with the highest amount of red and yellow cards across all the World Cup tournaments they’ve played in.

8. The World War II Had Prevented The World Cup From Happening Twice

At the onset of World War II in 1939, plans for the 1942 World Cup were cancelled, as was the 1946 World Cup due to FIFA having no funding for the tournament and still having to rebuild itself following the devastating conflict.

9. A Dog Has Found The World Cup Trophy Once

In 1966, the World Cup trophy was stolen prior to the tournament and was missing for 7 days before being found by a dog named Pickles.

10. Then The Same Trophy Was Melted Years Later

After Brazil won their third World Cup in 1970, Brazil were allowed to keep the Jules Rimet trophy permanently. Thirteen years later, the gold-plated sterling silver trophy was stolen, the trophy has been melted down and it has never been recovered.

11. Then Winner Gets A Jackpot

In addition to bragging rights, the winner of the World Cup takes home a staggering $35 million dollars. In a small attempt to offset their disappointment, FIFA awards the runner-up $25 million. But every team who placed second would trade the money for the title.

12. The World Cup Can Cause Increased Birth Rates In Host Countries

Nine months after Germany hosted the World Cup in 2006 their country’s birthrate increased more than 10 percent. A 10 percent increase may not seem like much, but birth rate is something that’s extremely stable. Since 2006, the European Union birthrate has only changed .07%. What’s more, Germany’s birth is one of the lowest in the EU. Watch out, United States!

Conclusion

These World Cup facts don’t even begin to demonstrate the event’s greatness, but hopefully it will keep your excitement about it.

November is not far and when the time comes, go inside, hit the couch, turn on the TV and enjoy the world’s most popular sports competition. 

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