The FIFA World Cup is one of the most popular sporting events globally with an ever-increasing viewership with each passing edition. The Federation Internationale de Football (FIFA) organised the inaugural edition of the football World Cup in 1930. The 13-team event was hosted and won by Uruguay and the tournament has been a regular feature on the football calendar ever since. 

The World Cup is held once every four years (except for 1942 and 1946 due to World War II) and includes group stage matches followed by a knockout competition. The cup was named the Jules Rimet Trophy from 1930 to 1970, which was permanently awarded to then three-time winners Brazil. The new trophy was then called the FIFA World Cup.

While only 13 teams took part in the first edition, 16 teams played in the tournament between 1954 and 1978. From 1982 to 1994, 24 teams took part in the FIFA World Cup. The tournament has been extended to 32 qualified nations from the 1998 edition. The current format involves a qualification phase, taking place over the preceding three years and the hosts are granted automatic qualification. 

The Brazilian football team is the most successful in the history of the FIFA World Cup with five titles - 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. Brazil are followed by Germany and Italy who have both won four titles each. The German football team’s recent accomplishment came in 2014, headlined by a 7-1 victory against Brazil in the semi-final. West Germany have won three of Germany’s four titles. Italy, the first country to win two World Cups, last won the title in 2006.

France have won two FIFA World Cups, including the latest edition of the tournament held in 2018. South American teams, Argentina and Uruguay have also won two titles each. European powerhouses England and Spain have won the tournament once each. 

Brazil, France, Italy, Germany and Mexico have each hosted the FIFA World Cup twice. Qatar will host the 2022 edition, followed by the 2026 World Cup jointly hosted by the United States of America, Canada and Mexico, which will make Mexico the first nation to host the football World Cup thrice.

Miroslav Klose has scored 16 goals in the FIFA World Cup history for Germany and is the tournament’s all-time top goal-scorer. Klose is followed by Brazil’s Ronaldo Nazario (15 goals) and German legend Gerd Muller (14 goals). Thomas Muller is the top goal-scorer in the tournament among the currently active players with 10 goals, while Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Suarez of Uruguay have both scored seven goals. Overall, there have been more than 1,250 goal-scorers in the history of this tournament.

FIFA World Cup winners list

Year

Winner

Runner-up

Host

1930

Uruguay

Argentina

Uruguay

1934

Italy

Czechoslovakia

Italy

1938

Italy

Hungary

France

1950

Uruguay

Brazil

Brazil

1954

West Germany

Hungary

Switzerland

1958

Brazil

Sweden

Sweden

1962

Brazil

Czechoslovakia

Chile

1966

England

West Germany

England

1970

Brazil

Italy

Mexico

1974

West Germany

Netherlands

West Germany

1978

Argentina

Netherlands

Argentina

1982

Italy

West Germany

Spain

1986

Argentina

West Germany

Mexico

1990

West Germany

Argentina

Italy

1994

Brazil

Italy

USA

1998

France

Brazil

France

2002

Brazil

Germany

South Korea and Japan

2006

Italy

France

Germany

2010

Spain

Netherlands

South Africa

2014

Germany

Argentina

Brazil

2018

France

Croatia

Russia