No other sporting event captures the world's imagination like the FIFA Football World Cup. Ever since the first competition in Uruguayin 1930, FIFA's flagship has increasingly grown in popularity and prestige.
A group of visionary French football administrators, led in the 1920s by Jules Rimet(after whom the original gold trophy was named), are credited with the original idea of bringing the world's best national football teams together to compete for the title of World Champions. The competition was contested three times in the 1930s, before the Second World War put a 12-year hiatus to the competition.
When it restarted, the football World Cup rapidly advanced to its undisputed status as the greatest single sporting event of the modern world. Held since 1958 both in Europe and the Americas, the World Cup broke new boundaries with the Executive Committee's decision in May 1996 to run it in Asia and select Korea and Japan as co-hosts for the 2002 edition.
Since 1930, the 16 tournaments have seen only seven different winners. However, the FIFA World Cup has also been punctuated by dramatic upsets that have helped create history - the United States defeating England in 1950, North Korea's defeat of Italy in 1966, Cameroon's emergence in the 1980s and their opening match defeat of the Argentinean cup-holders in 1990....
Today, the FIFA World Cup holds the entire global public under its spell. An accumulated audience of over 37 billion people watched the 1998 tournament in France, including approximately 1.3 billion for the final alone, while over 2.7 million people flocked to watch the 64 matches in the French stadium.
After all these years and so many changes, however, the main focus of the FIFA World Cup remains the same - the glistening golden trophy, which is the embodiment of every footballer's ambition.
World Cup Summaries