Incredible Fun World Cup Facts Every Fan Should Know

world cup facts

The countdown to the Qatar World Cup has already begun for soccer fans. Seeing the world’s best soccer players in action is always thrilling, which is why we can’t wait to accompany our guests to Qatar for the next FIFA World Cup. To get you started, we’ve compiled a list of World Cup facts that will make you the most knowledgeable soccer person at the next party you attend, so read on and enjoy! 

World Cup Facts: World Cup Winners

In the tournament’s history, the title has only been won by five European countries and three South American countries.

Brazil has won the most World Cups (five). They last won the tournament in 2002, when it was held in South Korea and Japan.

Germany and Italy have won the title four times each, trailing only Brazil. While Germany is the reigning World Cup champion, Italy failed to qualify for Russia after being eliminated by Sweden in qualifying playoff matches.

While both Germany and Brazil have appeared in 15 World Cup finals, their only meeting in the final was in 2002, when Brazil won 2-0.

Argentina and Uruguay each won the tournament twice, while England, France, and Spain each won once.

World Cup Facts: The Host Country

France was the last host nation to win the FIFA World Cup in 1998.

Six of the 20 World Cups have been won by the host country.

South Africa is the only host country that has not advanced to the second round.

The tournament has never been held in Southeast Asia or Oceania.

The first-ever winter World Cup will be held in Qatar in 2022. Every other country holds the tournament during the summer.

Stadiums, highways, and hotels are among the infrastructure projects being built in Qatar. These projects will cost the country a whopping $200 billion. This will be the most expensive World Cup in history.

Only eight stadiums will be used for Qatar’s FIFA World Cup 2022. This is the fewest number of stadiums for a World Cup since Argentina hosted the event in 1978. They only needed six stadiums.

Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup in fully air-conditioned stadiums for the first time.

World Cup Facts: World Cup Stats

With 13 goals in 1958, France soccer player Just Fontaine holds the record for most goals scored in a single World Cup. He is the fourth most prolific World Cup goal scorer of all time.

Roger Milla of Cameroon is the oldest player to have played in a World Cup match. This man was in charge of guiding his country to the World Cup in 1990.

Norman Whiteside of Northern Ireland was the World Cup’s youngest player ever. When he faced Yugoslavia in 1982, the young player had just turned 17 years and 41 days old.

Luis Monti was the first player in World Cup history to represent two different countries. Argentina in 1930 and Italy in 1934. He has been followed by five other players:

  1. Robert Jarni (Yugoslavia 1990, Croatia 1998) Robert Prosinecki (Yugoslavia 1990, Croatia 1998)
  2. Ferenc (Hungary 1954 and Spain 1962) Mazola José Santamaria (Uruguay 1954 and Spain 1962) (Brazil 1958, Italy 1962)
  3. Alessandro Nesta of Italy was the game’s quickest substitute from the start. In a match against Austria in 1998, he was replaced after only four minutes by Italy’s Giuseppe Bergomi.
  4. Uruguay’s Jose Batista was sent off after 56 seconds against Scotland in 1986! He was the World Cup’s quickest player to be sent off. Joel Quiniou, the French referee, has no choice but to punish him for the foul on Gordon Strachan.
  5. Zinedine Zidane of France and Cafu of Brazil hold the record for most cards. They were each given six cautions.

Jurgen Klinsmann became the first player in World Cup history to score three or more goals in three consecutive tournaments, a feat later equaled by Brazilian Ronaldo and German Miroslav Klose.

World Cup Facts: Outfield Player Facts From The World Cup

Fact 1: Another fascinating World Cup fact is that famous cricketer Sir Viv Richards is the only person to have participated in both World Cup Football and World Cup Cricket. He also represented Antigua in the 1974 World Cup qualifiers.

Fact 2: Miroslav Klose of Germany set a world record for the most World Cup goals between 2002 and 2014. Over four tournaments, he scored a total of 16 goals.

Fact 3: Oleg Slanko of Russia set the record for the most individual goals in a match when he scored five against Cameroon in 1994.

Laszlo Kiss of Hungary is the only substitute to score a hat-trick in the World Cup. Kiss scored the first of three goals for Hungary in a 5-1 victory over El Salvador in Spain in 1982. The victory in the World Cup finals was the biggest ever.

Fact 4: Two players have the shortest FIFA World Cup careers in terms of minutes on the field. Khemais Labidi played two minutes for Tunisia against Mexico in 1978. On the other hand, former Argentina midfielder Marcelo Trobbiani was instrumental in his country’s 3-2 victory over West Germany in the 1986 final. With two minutes remaining, he made his first and only appearance.

World Cup Facts That Will Blow Your Mind

Fact 1: One of the interesting World Cup facts involves the great Italian footballer Giuseppe Meazza’s penalty shootout. He was allowed to take a penalty kick against Brazil in 1938. Unfortunately, his shorts fell down just as he was about to do so. Despite this, he picked up his shorts and scored, beating the goalkeeper, who was still laughing. This goal advanced Italy to the finals.

Fact 2: During the 2006 World Cup final match, Zinedine Zidane charged at Italian defender Marco Materazzi, striking him with his head. The bizarre assault by Zidane, who is of Algerian descent, stunned spectators and commentators, leading some to believe the player was responding to a racial epithet. Materazzi later admitted to insulting the Frenchman’s sister.

Fact 3: Gianfranco Zola, an Italian forward, was the only player ever sent off on his birthday. Zola was sent off against Nigeria and missed the next two World Cup matches after the referee ruled that he fouled Augustine Eguavoen. However, Italy won the match 2-1 and advanced to the World Cup final. Gianfranco Zola’s place on the team was not restored following his suspension.

Fact 4: Goalkeepers South Korean Hong Duk-Yung conceded the most World Cup goals of any goalkeeper who competed in a single World Cup. Hong Duk-Yung gave up 16 goals in 1954.

Fact 5: West German goalkeeper Bodo Illgner was the first to keep a clean sheet in a FIFA World Cup Final. That happened during the 1990 tournament.

Fact 6: When Zaire was 0-3 down against Yugoslavia after 22 minutes in 1974, the goalkeeper was replaced for any reason other than injury. His replacement, Dimbi Tubilandu, was unable to stop the goal rush, and their country was defeated 9-0.

Fact 7: Walter Zenga of Italy holds the record for the longest unbeaten streak in World Cup history. He went 517 minutes without allowing a goal while competing in the 1990 tournament. Argentina’s Claudio Caniggia ended his run in the semifinals after Italy lost on penalties.

Fact 8: Lev Yashin, nicknamed the “Black Spider” for his all-black goalkeeper gear, played in three World Cups (1958, 1962, and 1966). When asked about his pre-match routine, he said, “I like to smoke before a match to calm my nerves, then drink a strong drink to tone my muscles.”

Fact 9: Dino Zoff was the oldest player to win the World Cup finals as captain of the Italian national team in 1982, at the age of 40 years, 4 months, and 13 days.

World Cup Facts: Coaches

Fact 1: Juan Jose Tramutola was 27 years and 267 days old when Argentina faced France in 1930, making him the youngest coach of a World Cup team.

Fact 2: Gaston Barreau of France was 70 years and 194 days old when France faced Mexico in the World Cup in 1954.

Fact 3: Helmut Schön, who coached the German team 25 times between 1966 and 1978, holds the record for the most World Cup matches as a coach.

Fact 4: Germany won its first World Cup under coach Sepp Herberger in 1954. When Herberger faced favored Hungary in a group stage match, he fielded a reserve team and lost 8-3. When the two countries met again in the final, this time with the best players on the field, West Germany pulled off the “Miracle of Bern” and won 3-2. 

Fact 5: Didier Deschamps of France, Mario Zagallo of Brazil, and Franz Beckenbauer of Germany have all won the World Cup as a player and head coaches.

Fact 6: Surprisingly, no country with a foreign coach has ever won a FIFA World Cup. They’ve all been the same nationally as the winning team.

Fact 7: Bora Milutinovic and Carlos Alberto Parreira hold the World Cup coaching record. Each had five World Cup teams under its tutelage.

World Cup Facts: Never-Before-Seen Facts

Fact 1: The Coupe Jules Rimet was the first trophy awarded at the FIFA World Cup. Abel Lafleur of France invented it in 1930.

On July 13, 1930, the first World Cup match was played. In Montevideo, Uruguay, France faced Mexico. France triumphed 4-1.

In the same game, the first-ever World Cup goal was scored. The goal was scored by Frenchman Lucien Laurent from outside the box.

Fact 2: Jimmy Douglas of the United States kept the first clean sheet in the 1930 World Cup tournament. On July 13, 1930, they defeated Belgium 3-0.

Fact 3: Placido Galindo of Peru was the first player to be ejected from a World Cup match in 1930. He was taken off after 70 minutes of their game against Romania. 

Fact 4: On June 17, 1930, Manuel Rosas of Mexico set a record by converting the first-ever penalty shot.

Fact 5: The 1954 World Cup in Switzerland was the first live television broadcast. This was a significant catalyst for the global expansion of soccer.

Fact 6: The 1970 World Cup introduced yellow cards and substations. On May 31, 1970, USSR’s Kakhi Asatiani was the first player to receive a yellow card caution. They were taking on the devious Mexican team.

Fact 7: Chile’s Carlos Caszely became the first player in World Cup history to be sent off with a red card. That was back in 1974.

Fact 8: In 1982, France faced West Germany in the first World Cup penalty shootout. The Germans prevailed 5-4 in the semi-final penalty shootout. Germany won thanks to a penalty conversion by Horst Hrubesch.

Fact 9: On June 23, 1994, Italy’s goalkeeper Gianluca Pagliuca became the first goalkeeper in World Cup history to be sent off. He was sent off the field after 21 minutes in their game against Norway for handling the ball outside the penalty box.

Fact 10: Laurent Blanc scored the first-ever World Cup Golden Goal on June 28, 1998, as France defeated Paraguay 1-0.

World Cup Facts: Prizemoney

Fact 1: The winning team in the 2022 World Cup final will receive a prize fund of $42 million. The winner in 2018 was France, which received USD 38 million.

Fact 2: Runners-up aren’t left out either. They will receive $30 million. The runners-up in 2018 received $27 million. Croatia was the case.

Fact 3: The prize money for the 2018 World Cup in Russia was 791 million US dollars, a significant increase from the previous World Cup in Brazil in 2014.

Fact 4: The prize money pot in Qatar is $700 million. Each qualifying team for the World Cup will receive $2 million to cover preparation costs. The winner of the World Cup final will receive $42 million. Each team that advances from the group stages will receive $10 million. As a result, the winner of the 2022 World Cup will receive $54 million.

World Cup Facts: Trophy for the World Cup

Fact 1: The FIFA World Cup trophy went missing seven days before the 1966 World Cup.

Fact 2: The original World Cup trophy, known as the Jules Rimet trophy from 1930 to 1970, was the first. Brazil was given it permanently after winning the tournament three times.

Sadly, the Jules Rimet trophy was stolen in 1983 and has never been recovered.

Fact 3: The FIFA World Cup trophy is made of 18 karat gold, which is interesting.

Fact 4: The FIFA World Cup trophy was in danger during World War II. So Fédération Internationale de Football Association Italian Vice President Ottorino Barassi moved it from the bank vault where it was kept and placed in a shoebox under his bed to protect it from the Nazis.

Fact 5: Someone stole the Jules Rimet Trophy from an exhibition at Westminster Central Hall in 1966, just four months before England hosted the FIFA World Cup. A dog discovered it, and his owner was rewarded with 6,000 British pounds.

World Cup Facts: Attendance at the World Cup

Fact 1: The most people who have ever attended a World Cup match are 199,854 (more than half the population of Iceland!). It was a July 1950 match between Brazil and Uruguay in Rio de Janeiro.

Fact 2: All World Cup matches were watched by a total of 26.29 billion people in 2006.

Fact 3: The tournament’s final match was watched by 7.5 billion people, or nearly one-fifth of the world’s population.

Fact 4: On July 14 1930, only 300 people attended the Romania-Peru match at Estadio Pocitos in Montevideo, Uruguay.

Fact 5: Most matches have been refereed by Joel Quiniou of France. Between 1986 and 1994, he was in charge of eight matches, including four in USA ’94. Another record was set by Nicolaj Latychev (RUS 1962), José Ramiz Wright (BRA 1990), and Jan Langenus (BEL 1930), who all refereed four games in one tournament.

Fact 6: When he officiated the match between Yugoslavia and Bolivia in 1930, Francisco Mateuccia of Uruguay became the World Cup’s youngest referee.

On the other hand, the oldest FIFA World Cup referee was George Reader of England, who was 53 years and 236 days old when he officiated the 1950 Brazil-Uruguay final.

Fact 7: Croatian Josip Simunic was booked three times before being sent off by English referee Graham Poll in 2006. After the second card, he should have been sent off. However, Poll became perplexed.

Fact 8: Referees occasionally call upon to add injury time to games. However, in the 1990 semi-final between Italy and Argentina, Michel Vautrot added 8 minutes in the first period of extra time! It was later revealed that he had forgotten the time.

World Cup Facts: Unusual World Cup Statistics

Fact 1: Over 750,000 liters of beer were sold within the stadiums during the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. That works out to 3,170,064 beers!

Fact 2: During the 1958 quarter-finals, none of the four losing teams scored a single goal.

Fact 3: The popular song “Coup de Boule” (“Headbutt”) was inspired by what France’s Zinedine Zidane did during the 2006 World Cup final. He used his head to strike Italy’s Marco Materazzi in the chest.

Fact 4: The first time goal-line technology was used was in the 2014 World Cup.

Fact 5: The highest-scoring World Cup game in history was played in 1954 when Austria defeated Switzerland 7-5. The 1996 World Cup was memorable for more than just England’s performance on the field. World Cup Willie’s union flag football shirt and lion’s mop-top mane helped him set new standards for World Cup merchandise. 

Fact 7: Turkish soccer legend Hakan Sukur scored the fastest goal in World Cup history against South Korea just 10.8 seconds after the opening whistle in the 2002 World Cup bronze medal match.

Fact 8: The 1994 World Cup, hosted by the United States at Soldier Field in Chicago, began with a comic relief moment. During the opening ceremonies, the main performer was American singer Diana Ross, who led an elaborate song-and-dance number culminating in a triumphant salute. Ross missed the net with a long shot, but the goal ripped open on cue.

Fact 9: Jiujiang Jiuxing Sports Facility constructed a 138 m (452 ft) long foosball table on September 27, 2019. When it was built, China hosted the table football world championships.

Fact 10: Every four years, the traditional sport of Speak Takraw holds its own World Cup. It is a part of the Southeast Asian Games, which are held every two years, as well as the Asian Games.

World Cup Facts: Facts About the Women’s World Cup

Fact 1: There have been eight World Cup Women’s Soccer Tournaments. The United States has four victories, while Germany has two. Norway and Japan are the only other winners. In 1971, Mexico hosted an unofficial Women’s World Cup.

Fact 2: The USA beat Thailand 13-0 in the first game of the 2019 Women’s World Cup to set the record for most goals scored in a single World Cup match.

Fact 3: The 1991 Women’s World Cup matches were only 80 minutes long.

Fact 4: Bulgaria was supposed to host the Women’s World Cup in 1995. It never occurred. After Bulgaria failed to qualify, Sweden was honored to host the women’s tournament.

Fact 5: China was supposed to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2003. SARS, however, struck. Because of its existing infrastructure, the United States was able to host the Women’s World Cup for the second time in a row.

World Cup of Beach Soccer FIFA

Fact 1: Rolf Liefden, who has competed in six beach world cups, is the tournament’s oldest player. When he faced Argentina in 2013, the Netherlands international was 46 years and 216 days old.

Fact 2: The 2006 FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup saw a total of 286 goals scored, for an average of 8.94 goals per match.

Fact 3: Brazil won their fifth Beach Soccer World Cup title overall after a dominant victory over Tahiti in the 2017 final.

Fact 4: At least 37 countries have competed in the World Cup tournament.

Fact 5: Brazil vs. Portugal is the most recurring match in Beach Soccer World Cup history.

Fact 6: Romário Faria, the 1994 FIFA World Cup winner, scored six goals in four matches for hosts Brazil in the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup 2005.

Fact 7: Share these World Cup facts with your friends or on your social media profile.

In everything we do, we strive for accuracy and fairness. If you notice any errors, please let us know!

Incredible Fun World Cup Facts Every Fan Should Know
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