The World Cup is easily the biggest sporting event in the world, countries gather their best soccer players, and the entire globe watches. The World Cup is also an exciting tournament to bet online in the World Cup sportsbook even if your favorite team is not playing. The tradition of the World Cup started in 1930 and in this series we are going to take a look at every World Cup and talk about all of the details surrounding the tournament.
World Cup 1970 (Mexico)
The ninth World Cup was the first to be held in North America when five cities in Mexico hosted the international tournament. This tournament saw the World Cup debut of three nations: El Salvador, Israel, and Morocco. Brazil won their third championship in four tournaments when they defeated Italy 4-1 in the final in Estadio Azteca in Mexico City with 107,412 in attendance.
At the time FIFA had a rule that if a team wins the World Cup three times then they became permanent owners of the Jules Rimet trophy, but in 1983, the trophy was stolen while on display and it was never recovered.
Brazil was historically dominant. They won all six of their World Cup games and they won all of their qualifying matches for a perfect 12-0 record. They are regarded as one of the best World Cup teams of all time. With the advancement in satellite technology, the finals were viewed by a record number of people around the world and this was the first time games were broadcast in color. The top goal scorer of the 1970 tournament was West Germany’s Gerd Muller, who scored 10 goals, three better than Brazil’s Jairzinho.
World Cup 1974 (West Germany)
With the Brazilians keeping the Jules Rimet Trophy, the FIFA World Cup Trophy designed by Italian sculptor Silvio Gazzaniga was awarded to the World Cup winner for the first time. This was the first and only appearance by East Germany in the World Cup until the country was unified in 1990. Australia, Haiti, and Zaire also made their first World Cup appearance in 1974.
This was the first of three World Cups to feature two rounds of group stages. The top two of the four groups would advance to the final group stage, where the top team in each group would play each other in the finals while the second-place teams would square off in the third-place match.
The host country West Germany won their second World Cup, also winning the tournament in 1954. The finals took place in Olympiastadion in Munich, the two teams traded penalty goals and Gerd Muller scored the decisive goal in the 43rd minute for the 2-1 West Germany victory. Poland shut out Brazil to take third place, the 1-0 match also took place in Munich. Poland’s Grzegorz Lato was the top goal scorer of the tournament with seven goals.
World Cup 1978 (Argentina)
Argentina was the host of the World Cup for the first time and the team won their first World Cup in history and became the fifth country to host and win the tournament. There was controversy surrounding the event, as there was a military coup two years before the cup known as the National Reorganization Process. Similar to the 1934 World Cup in Italy, there were allegations of corruption and political propaganda but all 16 teams who qualified participated. This was also the final World Cup to hold a 16-team tournament as the event expanded to 24 teams in 1984. Newcomers to the tournament were Tunisia and Iran.
The finals pitted Argentina against the Netherlands at Estadio Monumental in Buenos Aires. The match was tied 1-1 and headed into extra time and then Argentina scored twice to secure their first world championship by the score of 3-1. Brazil defeated Italy in Buenos Aires 2-1 and placed third. Mario Kempes of Argentina earned the Golden Boot with his six goals during the tournament.
World Cup 1982 (Spain)
Spain was awarded the 12th World Cup and this was the biggest tournament thus far with an expansion of 24 teams spanning across 17 venues and 14 Spanish cities. This was also the first World Cup to have a penalty shoot-out and the last to feature the format of two rounds of group stages. All four of the semi-finalists were European, which had only happened in 1934 and 1966. Italy emerged victorious as they defeated West Germany at Santiago Bernabeu in Madrid by the score of 3-1, while Poland defeated France 3-2 to claim third.
This World Cup saw the debut appearance of Algeria, Cameroon, Honduras, Kuwait, and New Zealand. The top goal scorer of the tournament was Italy’s Paolo Rossi who scored six goals, including the first in the finals.
World Cup 1986 (Mexico)
Colombia was originally scheduled to host the 1986 World Cup but due to economic reasons, they resigned as hosts in 1982. No European country was allowed to host the tournament because the previous World Cup was in Spain, Mexico was chosen in 1983 and became the first country to host a World Cup a second time.
Argentina won their second World Cup in three tries, this was an infamous tournament that saw the “Hand of God” goal by Diego Maradona in which it appears he used his hand to score against England in the quarter-finals. Argentina faced West Germany in the finals at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City and the Argentinians won 3-2 with a game-winning goal by Jorge Burruchaga in the 83rd minute. France won the third-place match, scoring two extra-time goals to beat Belgium 4-2.
World Cup 1990 (Italy)
After Mexico hosted their second World Cup, Italy joined them as they hosted the tournament for the first time since 1934. This was the last World Cup before the end of the Cold War in 1991, making this the last appearance for West Germany, the Soviet Union, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia.
Making their first World Cup appearances were Costa Rica, Ireland, and the United Arab Emirates. The 1990 World Cup is regarded as one of the worst World Cups with a record low of 2.2 goals per game and 16 red cards.
In a rematch of 1986, West Germany redeemed themselves as they beat Argentina 1-0 at Stadio Olimpico in Rome. Argentina’s Pedro Monzon was given a red card and became the first player to be sent off during a World Cup final. The lone goal came in the 85th minute when Andreas Brehme scored a penalty kick to give West Germany their third World Cup and the last before the German unification.
The third-place match was more action-packed, with all three goals coming in 15 minutes. Salvatore Schillaci broke the tie in the 86th minute with a penalty to give Italy the bronze medal. Schillaci was given the Golden Boot, that penalty goal was his sixth of the tournament and put him ahead of Czech footballer Tomas Skuhravy.
1994 World Cup (United States)
Despite the lack of popularity and success of the national team, the United States was awarded the World Cup for the first time with nine cities across the country hosting the event. The tournament was a financial success and is the most attended World Cup in history, averaging 68, 991 per game. There were four new entrants to the World Cup: Greece, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, and Russia following the breakup of the Soviet Union. The world also saw a unified Germany for the first time since 1938.
Brazil became the first team to win four World Cups as they defeated Italy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. This was the first World Cup final to be decided by penalty shots. The game finished 0-0 and Brazil won on penalties kicks 3-2. Sweden shut out Bulgaria in the Rose Bowl, taking third place by the score of 4-0. There was a tie for the top goalscorer award, with Bulgaria’s Hristo Stoichkov and Russia’s Oleg Salenko scoring six goals.
1998 World Cup (France)
France beat Morocco in the bidding process to host their second World Cup and the first since 1938. The tournament lasted 32 days which makes it the longest in World Cup history. The reason for this was the field was expanded from 24 teams to 32 teams. 64 matches were played in ten stadiums in ten different cities. Croatia, Jamaica, Japan, and South America made their debut in the World Cup.
France became the seventh country to win a World Cup and the sixth to win the title at home when the team beat defending champion Brazil in Stade de France in Saint-Denis by the score of 3-0. Zinedine Zidane scored two goals in the first half on corner headers to win the championship.
Croatia’s Davor Suker was awarded the Golden Boot for his six goals during the tournament. His last one came in the third-place match against the Netherlands to win the game 2-1. This was also the first World Cup where the fourth official used electronic boards instead of cardboard, teams were allowed three substitutions per game, and fans saw the introduction of the golden goal.
The World Cup is a global event that is unlike any other, the pride and passion that it creates are only rivaled by the Olympics. The tournament is even more intense with the World Cup odds, anything can happen, a country making its first appearance can shock the world and upset a powerhouse. The World Cup has such a rich history, both good and bad, but there is no doubt that it is the greatest sports tournament in the world.