FIFA World Cup Winners List and History
by Jordan Adams
Below is a list of the World Cup Soccer winners and details from past events in history.
1930 FIFA World Cup Winners: Uruguay
Hosted by the country of Uruguay, the first ever FIFA World Cup was held eight years after the international game was first recognized through Olympic competition. It was in 1929 that a group voted that the country of Uruguay should be the first nation to host a FIFA World Cup. This tournament started out small, as only thirteen nations were to compete. Four of the countries were from Europe, eight came from South America and the Untied States took part as well.
As far as the games went, Uruguay held strong against its opponents, as they swept through group play, defeating both Peru and Romania via shutouts. Once in the knockout round, Uruguay's team continued its strong play defeating Yugoslavia in the Semifinals, 6-0, and it conquered Argentina in the Championship game, 4-2. Uruguay's tournament success can be attributed to its strikers, having two of the top goal scorers in the tournament in Cae and Anselmo.
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1934 FIFA World Cup Winners: Italy
Italy's triumph in the 1934 World Cup marked the second host team to win the tournament since the creation of the event. Turned down to host the 1930 FIFA World Cup, Italy beat Czechoslovakia 2-1 in extra time after trailing 1-0 through most of the game until an equalizer eight minutes before time ended. A great leap from the inaugural tournament, the second ever World Cup had 32 competitors, so all teams, including the host Italy, had to qualify in order to continue. Sixteen teams went on to the elimination round, however the defending champion Uruguay team failed to send a squad to defend their title.
In the final match it was Czechoslovakia striking first blood when left-winger Puc put a goal through with twenty minutes remaining. With only a few minutes to go and trailing, it was Italy's Orsi that put his squad back in the match with the tying goal, sending the match to extra time where Italy's Meazza would come back from an injury to score the winning goal and capture the victory for his home country.
1938 FIFA World Cup Winners: Italy
Marked by the cloud of war, the third ever World Cup received fewer nations as many held back because of this issue. It was in this World Cup that one of the greatest matches was played by Brazil and Poland. Brazil came away with the victory in extra time, 6-5. While Italy defended its title and came away with its second consecutive World Cup championship, it was Brazil's Leonidas who came into the spotlight with a tournament-leading seven goals and created worldwide interest with his exceptional marksmanship.
However, it was the decision of Brazilian coach Adheniar Pimenta to rest Leonidas, as well as others, for the final. They never got that opportunity, as Italy knocked out the South American power, 2-1. Advancing to the final, Italy captured back-to-back FIFA World Cup titles as they defeated Hungary, 4-2.
1950 FIFA World Cup Winners: Uruguay
Twelve years from the last FIFA tournament, the fourth-ever World Cup took place in Brazil after the Second World War had concluded. This tournament in Brazil marked a new era for soccer as the tournaments were held in much larger stadiums throughout the cities of this South American country.
Instead of qualifying for an elimination format, it was four teams that continued to a round robin format. It was host city Brazil, along with Uruguay, Spain and Sweden which joined for the final round. At this point Brazil cruised past Sweden and Spain, 7-1, and 6-1, respectively. Uruguay also managed to defeat Spain, 2-1, advancing to play the Brazilian squad in the championship. Brazil needed only a tie to capture the title, as Uruguay had only three points. However, Uruguay shocked Brazil and their home crowd and won their second FIFA World Cup, 2-1.
1954 FIFA World Cup Winners: West Germany
The fifth ever World Cup was remembered for its high-scoring matches and an underdog victory by West Germany. Held in Switzerland, the heavy favorites were Hungary, as they were unbeaten in 28 international and Olympic matches.
Hungary seemed to be a lock for the championship as they played great football throughout group play, crushing Korea 9-0 and Germany the same, 8-3. However, after Hungary had reached the finals versus a West Germany team that they had already beaten handily, many never gave the West German squad a chance. The match started as most assumed, as Hungary went up two goals, and seemed to have the match under control. It was the determination of the West Germans that led them to a remarkable victory, fighting hard to even the score and pulling ahead with just six minutes remaining to stun the soccer world.
1958 FIFA World Cup Winners: Brazil
Held in Sweden, this year's tournament marked the first time that the FIFA World Cup would be televised internationally so that the world could witness the best soccer had to offer. This being the sixth World Cup also marked a record number of teams competing. The largest field in the tournament's history gave the world a chance to see more unknown football nations and a possibility of upsets like in the past tournament with the success of the West German team.
The 1958 World Cup will be most remembered for the emergence of Brazilian striker Pele, who at only 17 years of age scored six goals, including two in the final match against the host team, as Brazil would capture the FIFA title, 5-2. Pele was now a star and would be a sight to see in future World Cups to come.
1962 FIFA World Cup Winners: Brazil
Hosted in Chile, the 1962 FIFA World Cup was captured by the Brazilian squad, now claiming the title of world's best for two straight tournaments. Returning to South America 12 years after Brazil had hosted, FIFA now boasted a new team record of 56.
Brazil, once again sweeping through the competition, won with great team play, as leader Pele was only able to play in the opening game versus Mexico before being forced to sit because of an injury. Without its infamous superstar, Brazil would get goals from three different players as they beat Czechoslovakia in the final, 3-1.
1966 FIFA World Cup Winners: England
Again hosted back over in Europe -- this time in London -- the Brazilian team would have an opportunity to win its third FIFA Cup in the last three tournaments. However, once again Pele would be nagged by injuries and that in itself would be enough to crown a new champion.
It was the host country that would make the most of its opportunity. England met West Germany in the final match and led by a hat-trick by striker Geoff Hurst, England would successfully keep the FIFA Cup in its own country, 4-2. However, one of Hurst's goals was in question if it had ever crossed the line after striking the crossbar. The argument from both sides still continues today.
1970 FIFA World Cup Winners: Brazil
In this ninth edition of the FIFA Cup, it would be now allowed for substitutions to take place throughout the matches, as well as yellow and red cards to be introduced during play. Held in Mexico, the 1970 FIFA World Cup tied a record first set in 1950 for no players sent off the field do to conduct or unnecessary play.
To no one's surprise it was Brazil who again claimed the title of world's best. This time the play of Jairzinho, who became the first player to score a goal in every match, led the South Americans. Brazil defeated Italy in the final, 4-1. Because of Brazil's spectacular play, overlooked was Italy's semifinal match against West Germany, which became the first match in FIFA World Cup history to have five goals scored in extra time.
1974 FIFA World Cup Winners: West Germany
This FIFA Cup marked the first time that people could enjoy the matches on color television. Hosted by the West Germans, they were able to successfully win the tournament, but their victory claimed a new trophy. This time instead of being awarded the Jules Rimit trophy, a new solid gold statuette would be known as the "FIFA World Cup." Ninety-eight nations now competed for this new trophy, which was sculpted by Silvio Gazzaniga, who also designed the first trophy.
1978 FIFA World Cup Winners: Argentina
Not since they reached the final match in 1930 had Argentina had a better outcome. Hosting and winning the FIFA Cup, the Argentineans rallied from a poor performance against Italy in the opening round, eventually defeating the Netherlands in the final, 3-1. Boasting the top goal scorer of the tournament, Argentina was lead by Mario Kempes and a solid surrounding unit that managed to keep consistent play throughout the tournament and capture the title for its home fans.
1982 FIFA World Cup Winners: Italy
It was Italy who came away with their third FIFA championship, after surviving its opening round game on goal difference. Italy went right through Brazil as Paolo Rossi led the Italian attack with a hat-tick and chalked up a victory over the perennial power, 3-2. Italy then went on to defeat West Germany in the final, 3-1. Rossi finished the tournament with six goals and was the top scorer.
1986 FIFA World Cup Winners: Argentina
Wining the tournament for the second time in three tries, the Argentina team, led by Diego Maradona, captured the title with a victory over West Germany, 3-2. In one of its games versus England, he dubbed one of his two goals as "the hand of God." The tournament was originally to be awarded to Columbia, but in 1983 they announced that they could no longer afford to stage football's grandest stage. Also noted was the terrible earthquake that devastated the country beforehand, but was not to postpone this event that brought joy to so many after the fact.
1990 FIFA World Cup Winners: West Germany
Looked down upon because of too many matches decided by penalty kicks, the 1990 World Cup was held in Italy. Ten of the 12 stadiums were recreated for the matches so that the event could be at its best. Despite the top goal scoring being from the host city, it was West Germany that claimed the title over Argentina, 1-0. Both semifinal matches were decided via penalties, as well as one settled in similar fashion in the quarterfinals.
1994 FIFA World Cup Winners: Brazil
The first-ever World Cup hosted in the United States, it was Brazil that came away with another Cup victory. Viewed as an exceptional tournament, Brazil knocked out Italy in the final after a goalless draw forced the match to penalty kicks. The hosts bowed out gracefully to the eventual champions in the second round, as Brazil was clearly the best overall team throughout the tournament.
1998 FIFA World Cup Winners: France
Held in France, the 16th FIFA World Cup was the largest ever. Thirty-two teams competed and 64 matches were played throughout. Match format were styled in eight groups of four, as the field was spread out until 30 countries were to qualify. France ousted defending champion Brazil in the final match 3-0, and they brought great joy to its home fans, as it seemed almost inevitable that they would be successful in this tournament.
2002 FIFA World Cup Winners: Brazil
The most recent World Cup was held in Korea, and to no surprise it was the Brazilian squad that came out on top. Winning its unprecedented fifth FIFA World Cup, the South Americans bumped Germany from another shot at the championship, 2-0. Ronaldo was the leading goal scorer in the tournament, netting eight goals; the most since Gerd Muller in 1970. While the tournament field could be considered quite deep, Brazil was the clear cut favorite as they made German goalie Oliver Kahn, who was dominant throughout, seem mortal in the final. In one of the more entertaining and star-studded matches, Brazil defeated England, 2-1, despite a great attempt from David Beckham, Michael Owen, and company.
2006 FIFA World Cup Winners: Italy
In this edition of the biggest sporting event in the world, much was built on the hopes that hosts Germany could thrive. They were ranked in the top ten coming into the tournament and finished very strong in third place. The elimination rounds featured some tension-filled and exciting moments. From the questionable penalty that saw Italy through in the Round of 16 vs. Australia to the heated collisions that Portugal had with both the Netherlands and England, the 2006 World Cup was a brilliant sight to behold. France's 2002 epic failure was quickly wiped clear with a memorable march to the 2006 Final behind their legendary countryman Zinedine Zidane (injured right before 2002 World Cup). The French bested world powers Brazil, Spain and then Portugal on way to their epic clash with rivals Italy. The eventual champions Italy came through with a memorable semifinal match against Germany, one that they won 2-0 in added extra time. Not only was that the best match of this World Cup but also one of the better meaningful matches over the last decade. In the end penalties saw Italy to the top of the world football pyramid and they raised the trophy as the best in the globe.
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