The first Fifa World Cup was played in 1930 in Uruguay, where the winning home squad were awarded the Victory trophy. The 1950 Fifa World Cup had no official final match. Be the know-it-all in the stadium during the 2010 edition of the tournament with our comprehensive guide to World Cup trivia.
1. The first Fifa World Cup trophy, awarded to Uruguay at the inaugural 1930 tournament, was a cup emblazoned with the female figure of winged victory. In 1946 it was renamed the Jules Rimet Trophy, in honour of the Fifa president of the time. In 1970 the trophy was permanently awarded to Brazil after that team’s then-record third victory in the Fifa World Cup. But it was later stolen, and never seen again. The winged trophy had been a victim of crime before. In 1966 it was stolen from an exhibition before the Fifa World Cup in England. Luckily, it was returned after a small dog called Pickles found it buried under a bush.
2. Today’s Fifa World Cup trophy was first awarded in 1974 to tournament winners Germany. After fifty-three submissions from sculptors in seven countries, Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga’s design was chosen for the new trophy, which features two human figures holding up the globe of the world. Made of 18-carat gold, the trophy is 36.8cm high and weighs 6.175kg. The base has space for 17 winner inscriptions, enough space to last until the 2038 Fifa World Cup. The solid-gold trophy is a challenge cup that remains in the permanent possession of Fifa. The winning association receives a gold-plated replica that it is allowed to keep until the next tournament.
3. Three stadiums hosted the inaugural 1930 Fifa World Cup, including the purpose-built Centenario in Montevideo, Uruguay. Seventeen stadiums in 14 cities hosted Spain’s 1982 tournament, the largest number of stadiums in any World Cup.. In 2002 co-hosts South Korea and Japan each provided 10 stadiums in 10 cities. In 2010 South Africa’s primary city of Johannesburg will host games in two stadiums. Only five other World Cup hosts have had two stadiums on one city: Guadalajara, Mexico City, Monterrey, Barcelona, Madrid, Sevilla, Buenos Aires, London and Paris.
4. Twelve countries, including South Africa in 2010, have been one-time Fifa World Cup hosts. Four countries - Mexico, Italy, France and Germany - have hosted it twice. Ten competitions have been held in Europe, seven in the Americas and one in Asia. In 2010, one in Africa will join the statistics.
5. A total of 23 cities have hosted the World Cup two times − eight in Germany, seven in Italy and four each in Mexico and France.
6. Today’s World Cup format has been in place since 1986. In 1974, 1978 and 1982 the tournament had 24 competing teams, and an additional group stage in the second phase. The knockout system after the group stage (quarter-finals) was used from 1954 to 1970. In 1998 the tournament was expanded to 32 competing teams.
7. The legendary 1950 World Cup in Brazil was the only tournament won without an official final match. Instead, the winners of four preliminary pools qualified for a final pool. Results in this group of four effectively turned the match between Brazil and Uruguay (1-2) into the final, as only these two teams were still in with a chance of winning the tournament on the final day. In a match watched by a record crowd, the Brazilian team made a tragic loss, with suicides in the huge home stadium immediately after the result.
8. The earliest ever kick-off time was 11h35 in 1994, in a tournament hosted in the USA, in a Switzerland-USA first-round match. The latest kick off time is 21h00: more than 100 Fifa World Cup matches have started at this time. Most 2010 Fifa World Cup matches start at either 16h00 or 20h30.
9. The first official substitution was made in the inaugural match of the 1970 Mexico World Cup between the host team and the USSR. Coach Kachalin decided at halftime to substitute Viktor Serebryanikov with Anatoli Puzach.
10. Red and yellow cards were only introduced in 1970, although cautions and dismissals were previously listed in reports. The first player to be sent off was Peru’s Placido Galindo in the match against Romania in 1930.
11. Twelve yellow and four indirect red cards were totted up between the Netherlands and Portugul in a 2006 Round of 16 match. In contrast, not one player was sent off in the 1950 and 1970 Fifa World Cup.
12. Shirt numbers were used for the first time at the World Cup in 1954. A look at which number has produced the most goals at the 13 tournaments played since then reveals a clear picture: number 9 (235 goals), number 10 (213), number 11 (182), number 7 (128), number 8 (127),. Shirt names were first used in 1994.
13. The shirt number 23 appeared officially for the first time at the 2002 Fifa World Cup when teams were allowed a 23-player squad. But in the 1962 tournament, shirt number 23 was given an unofficial debut by Uruguay’s Guillermo Escalada, because superstition removed the number 13 from the Uruguay squad. In 1998, shirt 23 made an appearance for less supernatural reasons in the South African squad when reaserve goalkeeper Gopane replaced Evans (number 22) because of an injury.
14. The 1994 Fifa World Cup in the USA had an unusual number of competition changes:
• three points for a win instead of two
• introduction of a fourth official to support the referees trio
• the first ever indoor match was hosted at the Detroit Pontiac Silverdome
• all roster players could be seated on the bench and considered as potential substitutes
15. To date, the host country has always made it through the group stage to qualify for the second round.
16. Italy’s first round defeat by Sweden in 1950 was the first time that any defending champion lost a game at the Fifa World Cup finals. But no defending champion has ever fared so badly as France in 2002. Not only did they fail to pass the opening round but they also became the first champion not to win at least one game or score a single goal.
17. Some 31-million fans have attended the 708 World Cup matches played since 1930, an average of 44 000 people per game.
18. Despite the sizes of the Maracana Stadium and Azteca Stadium, the 1994 Fifa World Cup USA still set an attendance record. A total of 3 587 538 spectators watched the 52 matches, an average of more than 68 991 per game.
19. More than 100 000 spectators have been recorded at 17 matches in either Rio de Janeiro or Mexico City. The all-time record was at the Maracana Stadium in 1950, when 173 850 fans witnessed the surprise defeat of Brazil and triumph of Uruguay.
20. Football was first televised by the BBC in 1938 for the FA Cup final. The first Fifa World Cup was filmed in Switzerland in 1954. The revolutionary breakthroughs of the 1960s, including the introduction of action replay and communications satellites, meant that the 1970 World Cup in Mexico became the first to be seen live and globally.
21. Today the Fifa World Cup is by far the biggest TV sports event in the world. In 2006, a cumulated audience of more than 26-billion viewers was recorded for the 64 matches. There were fewer than 5-billion viewers of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
22. Fifa’s first marketing programme was launched at the 1982 Fifa World Cup. Two of Fifa’s partners from then are still on board: adidas and Coca-Cola. Their relationship with Fifa dates back to the 1970s.
23. Telstar was the first official Fifa World Cup match ball. It was introduced in 1970 in Mexico, the first tournament ever to be broadcast live on television, as Telstars’ 32 black-and-white panels were more visible on black-and-white televisions. Telstar was used again in 1974. Match balls since then include Tango (1978, 1982), Azteca (1986), Etrusco (1990), Questra (1994), Tricolore (1998), Fevernova (2002), Teamgeist (2006), Jabulani (2010).
24. The first World Cup Mascot was introduced in 1966. “Willie“ was a British lion wearing a Union Jack flag jersey sporting the words "WORLD CUP". The following three tournaments each had boys as mascots: Juanito (Mexico 1970); Tip & Tap (Germany 1974) and Gauchito (Argentina 1978). Spain’s mascot in 1982 was Naranjito, an orange wearing the Spain’s team kit. Pique, the jalapeño pepper with a moustache and wearing a sombrero was Mexico’s mascot in 1986. Italy 1990 saw the first inanimate mascot called Ciao, a stick figure player with a football for a head and an Italian tricolore body. Since then there have always been animals: Striker, the dog, (USA 1994), Footix, the chicken, (France 1998), Goleo, the lion, (Germany 2006) and finally Zakumi, the South African leopard, (2010). The exception was Korea and Japan in 2002 where the mascots were Ato, Kaz and Nik, three futuristic, computer-generated creatures.
25. Including 2010 a total of 76 teams will have taken part in the World Cup finals. This includes teams who either no longer exist or have undergone a transformation. When the World Cup was expanded to 24 teams, five countries qualified for the finals for the first time. Since then, there have always been three or four new teams, six in 2006. The 2010 Fifa World Cup will be an exception to the trend as Slovakia will be the only debutant.
26. Italy’s 2006 victory meant that the two football continents, South America and Europe, were drawn 9-9 in the Fifa World Cup scoreboard. Brazil has won five of South America’s titles with Argentina and Uruguay on two wins each. Europe’s winning associations are Italy with four titles, Germany with three and England and France one each.
27. The most successful teams are those which have been in the Fifa World Cup the highest number of times: Brazil (19 World Cups), Italy and Germany (17) and Argentina (15).
28. Brazil is the most prolific team in World Cup history in terms of goals scored - 201 followed by Germany (190), Italy (122) and Argentina (113). Aside from goalscoring, Brazil’s World Cup track record is impressive:19 tournaments, 5 titles, 92 games, 64 victories and 2.2 points per game.
29. Only Brazil has been able to win the World Cup outside of its own continent, first in Sweden in 1958 and then again in Korea/Japan in 2002. No European team has ever won the World Cup on a different continent.
30. Six out of 75 former participating countries have never scored a goal in the history of the World Cup: Greece, the Dutch East Indies, Zaire, Canada, China Trinidad and Tobago. Greece, who failed to score at USA 1994, is the only team with a chance to change this record in South Africa 2010.
31. With regard to African World Cup history Egypt was the first of Africa’s teams to appear in the Fifa World Cup. This was in 1934 when they played just one match against Hungary and were eliminated. Morocco was the next African participant in 1970. The first continental win was in 1978 when Tunisia beat Mexico 3-1. In 1982 Cameroon was the first African team to be eliminated undefeated after three draws in 1982. In 1986 Morocco became the first African team to qualify to the second stage in 1986.
32. The Fifa Statutes recognise the four British associations as separate members. But all four − England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – have qualified for the World Cup only once, in 1958, when they were spread elegantly across all four groups. Wales and Northern Ireland made it as far as the quarter-finals, with England and Scotland missing out. Wales were eventually eliminated by Pelé’s first World Cup goal, while Northern Ireland conceded four against France, including two by Just Fontaine.
33. Two times champions Uruguay play with four stars on their shirts: two for the World Cup wins of 1930 and 1950 and the other two in commemoration of the two Olympic triumphs of the 1920s. This shows the importance attached to the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games Football Tournaments both of which were great successes and encouraged Fifa to launch the Fifa World Cup in 1930.
34. The Republic of Ireland have proved very economical, accumulating 14 points from just ten goals in 13 matches at three different World Cups (1.4 points per goal). Only Croatia (1.33 points per goal) and Cameroon (1.26) can compete in this respect. England and Italy, in comparison, both have the best ratio (1.23) out of all of the world champion teams.
35. Although many countries have been eliminated from the World Cup without being beaten in a match Switzerland’s record is hard to beat. In 2006 Jakob "Köbi" Kuhn’s team had three clean sheets in the group stage, however, returned home after playing the Round of 16 match against Ukraine when they were knocked out in a penalty shoot-out after a goalless draw.
36. The five most frequent outcomes in international football account for 60% of all World Cup results:
• every third World Cup game has ended 1-0 (18%) or 2-1 (14%)
• 11% of games have ended 2-0
• another 10% of games have ended 1-1.
• 8% of all matches played to date have ended 0-0.
37. Ten World Cup match fixtures have been played at least five times. Sweden-Brazil tops this list with 7 games. Conversely, matches the world is still waiting to see include England-Serbia, France-Netherlands and Spain-Portugal.
38. Austria’s 7-5 win over Switzerland in 1954 still tops the list of highest-scoring matches.
39. The three biggest victories have been matches with a margin of 9 goals. In 1954 Puskas & Co. defeated debutants Korea Republic 9-0. In 1974 Yugoslavia also triumphed over Zaire with a 9-0 win. In 1982 it was Hungary again who subjected El Salvador to a similar fate by beating them 10-1.
40. Two teams have scored five goals in a game and yet failed to win. In 1938, Poland lost 6-5 to Brazil despite the match finishing 4-4 at the end of normal time. In 1954 Switzerland were defeated 7-5 by Austria after leading 3-0 after nineteen minutes before a flood of goals overwhelmed Swiss goalkeeper, Eugene Parlier.
41. To date twenty matches have been decided by penalty shoot-out, the first in 1982, when Germany FR beat France in the semi-finals and the last in 2006 when Italy beat France 5-3 in the final. Germany, France, Argentina and Italy have all played four World Cup penalty shoot out matches. Germany, however, were the only team to have won all four.
42. A world champion team has only lost a tournament match on three occasions but still go on to win the final. Germany FR were defeated by Hungary 8-3 who they then beat in the 1954 final. Before Germany FR’s 1974 victory they lost the “derby” against the German DR 1-0. Four years later eventual champion Argentina was beaten by Italy 1-0.
43. 2,063 goals have been scored in the 708 matches that have been played so far - an average of nearly three goals per game. The 1954 tournament in Switzerland had the greatest average of goals scored - 5.4 per match. This is compared to 2.2 goals per match - the lowest ever - in Italia ‘90.
44. In 1954, Hungary scored a total of 27 goals in five matches, an average of 5.4 per game – clearly the best goal record ever.
45. In 2002, Turkey’s Hakan Sukur scored the fastest ever World Cup goal after just eleven seconds in the third-place play-off against host nation Korea Republic.
46. All in all, 154 goals have been scored from the penalty spot (7.5% of World Cup goals), and 34 have been own goals (1.6%).
47. A total of 47 hat tricks have been scored in the history of the World Cup. Kocsis (1954), Fontaine (1958), Müller (1970) and Batistuta (1994/1998) are the only players to have done this twice. Batistuta has even done it at two different tournaments.
48. The fastest World Cup hat trick was scored by Hungary’s Laszlo Kiss against El Salvador in 1982. It took him just seven minutes, three fewer than Batistuta against Jamaica in 1998.
49. When it comes to own goals, Ernie Brandts’ 1978 goal remains unmatched. The Dutchman initially had Italy dreaming of the final when he put through his own goal against the Azzurri, but he then scored the equaliser to put his side on the road to victory, which ultimately led to the final.
50. Only once in the history of the Fifa World Cup have two own goals been scored in the same match. It happened during the USA’s 2002 group stage meeting with Portugal. Jorge Costa was the first to score in his own net, putting the US 2-0 up. Later, with the score at 3-1 and 19 minutes still left to play, Jeff Agoos then accidentally gave a goal back to the Portuguese. Fortunately for Agoos, the Americans held on to book their place in the Round of 16 at Portugal’s expense.
51. The current Fifa World Cup goal total is 2,063. The last milestone scorer was Sweden’s Allback in 2006 and before then famous names have included Gerd Müller (800, 1970), Rob Rensenbrink (1,000, 1978), Jean-Pierre Papin (1,200, 1986), Gary Lineker (1,300, 1986) and Christian Vieri (1,900, 2002).
52. Only Fontaine (1958) and Jairzinho (1970) have scored in all six matches played by their teams. Jairzinho won the World Cup with Brazil, while Fontaine’s goals carried France to the semi-finals. In 1990, Italy’s short lived hero Salvatore “Toto” Schillaci only narrowly failed to join the elite list of World Cup goalscorers: he scored in six out of seven games but failed to find the net in the second.
53. A record number of ten different players were on the scoreboard for France in 1982 and Italy in 2006.
54. 6,352 players have so far featured in World Cup squads, a quarter (1,545) of whom were never on the field.
55. Players with the most tournament appearances are Mexico’s goalkeeping legend Antonio Carbajal (1950-66) and Germany’s Lothar Matthäus (1982-98), both having played five World Cups each. In terms of playing time, Italy’s Paolo Maldinis’ 2,217 minutes in 23 matches at four World Cups, is ahead of Matthäus, whose 25 matches in five World Cups remains unsurpassed.
56. Pelé is the only player with three World Cup wins to his name (1958, 1962 and 1970), although in 1962 he did miss most of the games through injury, including the final. His compatriot team member Cafu is the only player to have played in three consecutive finals (1994-2002).
57. Brazil’s Ronaldo is not only the best ever scorer with 15 goals but also the player who has scored in the most number of matches, 11. He is followed by Germany’s Jürgen Klinsmann who scored his 11 goals in 10 different matches.The record for a single tournament is held by Frenchman Just Fontaine who incredibly scored 13 times in 1958. Kocsis has the best goal score average with 11 goals in five games.
58. The best scorer of a tournament has only four times been a player from a World Champion team. Brazil’s Garrincha and Vava were first in 1962 along with four other players, followed by Argentina’s Mario Kempes in 1978, Italy’s Paolo Rossi in 1982 and another Brazlian, Ronaldo, in 2002.
59. Russia’s Oleg Salenko scored five goals in the 6-1 winning match against Cameroon in 1994 - the most goals ever scored at a single World Cup match. The list of those who have scored four in a game is also short and comprises a number of players who rank at the very top of the all-time goal scorer list (Wilimowski/Poland, Ademir/Brazil, Kocsis/Hungary, Fontaine/France, Eusebio/Portugal and Butragueño/Spain).
60. Although Alfredo Di Stefano is regarded by many as one of the greatest players of all time he never actually played in a Fifa World Cup. He travelled to Chile with the Spanish team in 1962 but a last-minute injury meant that he did not play. Hungarian, Ladislao Kubala, had the same destiny in 1962 and only appeared in a World Cup later in 1978 as Spain’s coach. Other great players that were unfortunate to miss a World Cup because of failure to qualify are George Best (Northern Ireland), Allan Simonsen (Denmark), Liam Brady (Rep. of Ireland), Eric Cantona (France), Abedi Pelé (Ghana), George Weah (Liberia) and Ryan Giggs (Wales).
61. Only two players have won a Fifa World Cup as both player and coach: Mario Zagallo as player for Brazil (1958/62) who he then coached to victory in 1970. Franz Beckenbauer achieved the same feat in 1974 and 1990. The “Kaiser” also featured on the losing side for Germany FR in the 1966 and 1986 finals as a player and coach respectively. Milorad Arsenijevic, was the first person ever to have had both roles – as player for Yugoslavia in 1930 and later as coach in 1950.
62. Only four out of 50 players have scored in two finals: Brazil’s Vava (1958/62) and Pelé (1958/70), Paul Breitner of Germany FR (1974/82) and Zidane of France (1998/06).
63. Not many players have won an Olympic football tournament and a World Cup. Ten Uruguayans and three Italians, however, managed this feat during the first three World Cups in the 1930s and the Olympic Football Tournaments of 1924, 1928 and 1936. In 1954 Puskás and Kocsis were part of the Hungarian team who had previously won the 1952 Olympic title. The “Miracle of Berne,” however, prevented them from also securing a World Cup victory.
64. Six players have so far achieved the rare feat of both scoring and being sent off in the same game. Amongst these players are Brazil’s Garrincha in 1962 and Ronaldinho in 2002. The last player to do so was Zinedine Zidane at the 2006 final against Italy. After just seven minutes he scored the opening goal by penalty but he was nevertheless sent off later during the second period of extra time.
65. Seven players have played at least one World Cup match for two different nations: Monti and Demaria (ARG 1930 - ITA 1934), Santamaria (URU 1954 - ESP 1962), Puskás (HUN 1954 - ESP 1962), Altafini (BRA 1958-ITA 1962), Jarni and Prosinecki (YUG 1990-CRO 1998/2002). Prosinecki is the only person to have scored goals for two national teams: 1990 against the United Arab Emirates and 1998 to Jamaica.
66. Italy’s Gianluca Pagliuca is the only goalkeeper ever to have been sent off. After 21 minutes in a match against Norway he was given a red card by German referee, Krug. Nevertheless, Italy still won 1-0.
67. When Cameroon’s Roger Milla scored a consolation goal for the Indomitable Lions in a 6-1 trouncing by Russia in 1994, he became the oldest goalscorer in World Cup history at 42 years and 39 days. Pelé was almost a quarter of a century younger (17 years, 239 days) when he claimed his first World Cup goal against Wales in 1958.
68. At 17 years and 41 days, Northern Ireland’s Norman Whiteside became the youngest World Cup player of all time when he took to the field against Yugoslavia in 1982. Cameroon legend Roger Milla was almost exactly 25 years older (42 years, 39 days) when he made his last appearance in 1994.
69. Marcelo Trobbiani's Fifa World Cup career was the shortest in the history of the Fifa World Cup at just one minute long, but what a minute to experience! He was an 89th minute substitute for Argentina in their 3-2 win over Germany FR in the 1986 Fifa World Cup final. Trobbiani is one of eight players to have only played for one minute of a Fifa World Cup.
70. England’s Peter Shilton kept a clean sheet in ten different matches between 1982 and 1990. Fabien Barthez from France managed the same feat from 1998 to 2006.
71. “Super-sub.” Brazilian Denilson can be considered the most successful substitute in World Cup history, having come on as a replacement 11 times in 1998 and 2002, including both finals.
72. A foreign coach has never managed a World Cup winning team.
73. Hungarian Joszef Nagy became the first coach to compete against his home association, when in 1938, he coached Sweden who lost 5-1 to Hungary in the semi-finals.
74. No list of famous coaches would be complete without certain names. Serbia’s Velibor “Bora” Milutinovic not only coached at five World Cups between 1986 and 2002 but he also did it with five different teams (Mexico, Costa Rica, USA, Nigeria and China PR). In 2010, Carlos Alberto Parreira will take on his sixth World Cup campaign and match Milutinovic’s list of five different teams – taking charge this time of the South African hosts, following earlier assignments with his native Brazil (twice), Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait. Josef “Sepp” Herberger (West Germany), his successor Helmut Schön, Walter Winterbottom (England), Lajos Baróti (Hungary) and Henri Michel (France, Morocco, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire) all coached at four different Fifa World Cups.
75. Five coaches have reached the final on two occasions: Pozzo (Italy, 1934/38), Schön (Germany FR 1966/74), Zagallo (Brazil 1970/98), Beckenbauer (Germany FR, 1986/90) and Bilardo (Argentina, 1986/90). Only Pozzo won both.
76. Guus Hiddink and Felipe Scolari are the only two coaches to have made it to the semi-finals with two different teams. Dutchman Hiddink did so with the Netherlands in 1998 and Korea Republic in 2002. Scolari’s record was with Brazil in 2002 and Portugal in 2006.
77. Helmut Schön coached Germany FR in 25 World Cup matches. He reached the final twice (1966, 1974) and the semi-final once (1970). The 1978 tournament was the only one to end in disappointment for the coach of the then World Cup holders.
78. The youngest World Cup coach of all time is Argentina’s Juan Jose Tramutola. In 1930, aged just 27 years and 8 months, he managed a team containing a number of players who were older than him. Conversely, Cesare Maldini, at 70, was old enough to have been the grandfather of many of his Paraguayan charges in 2002.
79. French referee, Joel Quiniou, officiated a record number of eight matches between 1986 and 1994. Benito Archundia (Mexico) and Horacio Elizondo (Argentina) however managed to officiate five matches in only one tournament, the 2006 FWC in Germany. Mexican referee, Arturo Brizio Carter, on the other hand holds the record for sending off seven players in the six matches that he officiated in 1994 and 1998.
80. Argentina’s Horacio Elizondo is the first referee to have officiated both an inaugural match as well as a final in a Fifa World Cup. In 2006 Elizondo refereed Germany-Costa Rica and Italy-France. In 1950 the Englishman George Reader directed the inaugural match Brazil-Mexico and also the last match of the final group Uruguay-Brazil but this one not technically considered as a final.