The World Cup is easily the biggest sports event in the world as countries gather their best soccer players while seemingly the entire globe watches. The World Cup is also an exciting tournament to bet online on 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 soccer news and talk about all of the details surrounding the tournament.
1930 World Cup (Uruguay)
The inaugural FIFA World Cup took place in Uruguay as the country retained its soccer title at the 1928 Summer Olympics. 13 teams were a part of the tournament, and all matches were played in Montevideo, the capital of Uruguay.
Estadio Centenario was the main venue for the event. Lucien Laurent of France scored the first-ever World Cup goal as France beat Mexico 4-1 and the United States beat Belgium 3-0 in simultaneous World Cup openers.
The host nation Uruguay won the inaugural World Cup, as they beat Argentina 4-2 in the final. The United States finished third, their best result in history. There was no third-place game. However, the United States was awarded third because of their overall record in the tournament and beat out Yugoslavia. The top goal scorer came from Argentina, as Guillermo Stabile totaled eight goals, beating Uruguay’s Pedro Cea by three goals.
1934 World Cup (Italy)
Italy was the host nation of the second World Cup, and the 1934 World Cup was the first where teams had to qualify to take part in the tournament. Every country affiliated with FIFA could participate in 1930. Italy did not join the 1930 World Cup, so defending champions Uruguay boycotted the event in retaliation of only four European teams participating in 1930. This sporting event was used for political gain as Benito Mussolini used the World Cup to promote fascism.
Once again, the host city emerged victorious as Italy defeated Czechoslovakia 2-1, with Germany winning the third-place match 3-2 against Austria. There were accusations of bribery and corruption in Italy’s games by Mussolini, but the Italian National Football Team claimed they earned the title. Oldrich Nejedly of Czechoslovakia scored the most goals in the tournament with five.
1938 World Cup (France)
The World Cup stayed in Europe in 1938, as France edged out Argentina and Germany in the host selection process. This infuriated South American teams as air travel was not as advanced yet, and to travel by ship over the Atlantic was a long journey.
Uruguay and Argentina did not enter the tournament because of the outrage, and Spain could not participate due to the ongoing Spanish Civil War. Brazil, Cuba, and the Dutch East Indies were the only non-European nations to qualify for the event, the smallest amount ever for teams outside of the host continent.
Italy repeated as world champions, defeating Hungary 4-2 in Stade Olympique de Colombes in Paris. Brazil took third place, beating Sweden 4-2 in Parc Lescure in Bordeaux. The top goal scorer of the tournament was Leonidas of Brazil, scoring seven goals, two better than any other competitor.
1950 World Cup (Brazil)
Because of World War II, the World Cup was put on hold until 1950, and it returned to South America as Brazil was selected as the host country. For the first time, the FIFA World Cup trophy was referred to as the Jules Rimet Cup in honor of Jules Rimet’s 25 years as FIFA president.
The format of the tournament was unlike any other. Brazil wanted to maximize games and ticket sales, so instead of a knockout stage, the winners of each group would advance to another group where they would play a round-robin format to determine the winner.
200,000 packed Maracanã in Rio de Janeiro to watch Brazil face Uruguay in the final match of the tournament, and the safe World Cup bet was on Brazil since the team had crushed Spain and Sweden on their way to the final match.
The host nation only had to draw to secure the title, but Uruguay stunned the home crowd with a 2-1 victory to win their second World Cup. Brazil’s Ademir earned the top goalscorer with eight.
1954 World Cup (Switzerland)
Switzerland was chosen to be the fifth host nation of the World Cup, and this tournament saw many records get written into the books. It is the highest-scoring World Cup in history that saw an average of 5.38 goals scored per game, a record that still stands today. Hungary was a goal-scoring machine, scoring 5.4 goals a game by themselves and totals 27 goals for the tournament, also World Cup records.
Hungary striker Sandor Kocsis set a new World Cup record with 11 goals scored in the tournament.
The final of the 1954 FIFA World Cup is known as “The Miracle of Bern” as World Cup betting favorites Hungary took on the underdog West Germany. Hungary took an early 2-0 lead but a Helmut Rahn goal in the 84th minute capped the comeback as West Germany won their first World Cup championship 3-2. For the first time ever, Uruguay did not win a World Cup they were a part of; they lost to Austria 3-1 in the third-place match.
1958 World Cup (Sweden)
For the first time, a World Cup would take place in a Nordic country as the word stage emanated from Sweden. This tournament is famous for Brazil winning their first World Cup as they defeated the home team Sweden 5-2 in the final. This was also the first World Cup for a 17-year-old Brazilian player named Pele.
The young Brazilian striker scored the most goals for the world champions with six, but that was nowhere close to the man who won the Golden Boot, Just Fontaine of France. Fontaine scored a record 13 goals and scored in every French match, including four goals in the third-place match against West Germany, winning 6-3.
1962 World Cup (Chile)
The seventh World Cup took place in Chile. This was the second and last time a team has repeated as World Cup champions. Pele and Brazil successfully defended their title as they defeated Czechoslovakia in the Chilean capital of Santiago by the score of 3-1. Chile was able to secure third place as they defeated Yugoslavia 1-0 in the third-place match.
In May 1960, Chile suffered the largest recorded earthquake (9.5 magnitudes on the Richter Scale), which caused major damage to the country and construction for the World Cup. Miraculously, the Chileans were able to rebuild in record time, and there were no delays or setbacks to the tournament.
This was the first tournament to use goal differential to separate teams in the group stage if they were tied on points. Six players were tied for the top goal scorer of the tournament with four, Brazil’s Vava and Garrincha, Chili’s Leonel Sanchez, Hungary’s Florian Albert, Soviet Union’s Valentin Ivanov, and Yugoslavia’s Drazan Jerkovic.
Unfortunately, this tournament is also known for one of the most violent games in soccer history. Named the “Battle of Santiago.” The tension came from Italian journalists describing Santiago as “a poverty-stricken dump.”
Chileans did not take this description of their country lightly. Multiple punches were thrown during the match, and the police had to intervene four times with two Italians being sent off, Giorgio Ferrini and Mario David. The referee of this match was Ken Aston of England, who is credited with the invention of the yellow and red card system.
1966 World Cup (England)
The last World Cup to be broadcasted entirely in black and white, the 1966 World Cup emanated from eight stadiums across England and finished at Wembley Stadium for the World Cup Finals. For the third time ever, and the first since 1938, the host country won the tournament as England won their first and only World Cup to date.
West Germany were the English’s opponents in the finals, and the match went to extra time. Geoffry Hurst completed a hat trick by scoring two goals in the extra period, beating the Germans 4-2. The Jules Rimet trophy was actually stolen four months before the tournament, but a dog named Pickles was the hero and recovered the stolen trophy.
Defending champion Brazil did not perform well; they lost two of their two matches and were eliminated after the group stage. Two debuting teams did perform well, however. North Korea was able to make it to the quarterfinals in their first World Cup, while Portugal placed third after beating the Soviet Union 2-1. Portugal’s Eusebio won the Golden Boot with his nine goals, bettering West Germany’s Helmut Haller by three.
Every four years, except for any interruption due to a world war, the globe gathers to watch the best soccer players in the world to determine who is the best. The early years of the World Cup were chaotic, and it had its fair share of controversies, but as time went on, FIFA organizers developed the tournament format that is familiar to today’s fans.
The World Cup is a global event. Viewers and fans from around the world will be watching. Some will be checking before the tournament even starts, so they can find out their team’s odds to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the online sportsbook.