The History of the World Cup and ALL THE FINALS

flags of different countries

The world cup soccer event is a huge event with a long history going back to the 1930s. The former FIFA world cup is now just known as the world cup.  It is up there with the largest sporting events in the world with huge numbers of people tuning in to watch the football matches, the viewing numbers are in the billions.

The First World Cup in 1930


The first tournament was held in 1930 on July 30th 1930, Uruguay beat Argentine 4-2 in Uruguay. Amazingly the first competition had no qualification matches. The event took place in Uruguay and three stadiums were used to host the World Cup. The Estadio Picitos, Estadio Gran Parque and The Estadio Centenario were the starting where all the matches took place.  The 1934 World cup took place in Italy. This was the first event to have a qualification stage. The tournament took place in 8 different stadiums all around Italy.

 Italy won this World Cup, they beat Czechoslovakia in the final with a final score of 2-1 to Italy.

Tournaments from the 1930s to 1950

worldcup stadium

The 1938 competition took place in France, and a lot of South Americas were very disappointed with France being appointed as the host nation. Ten stadiums were used including the Parc des Princes with a capacity of 40,00 to play all the matches.  Italy played Hungry in the final with Italy taking the trophy with a score of 4 – 2 to the Italians. Brazil finished in third place beating Sweden 4 –2.

The 1942 tournament never happened because of World War 2, the soccer event was cancelled before a host country was selected. While World War 2 was being waged, FFFIA has problems keeping itself afloat. They struggled with financial issues.  The 1946 completion was also cancelled because of the war.

The tournament was kicked off again in 1950 with Brazil hosting the football tournament. Brazil won their group and progressed to the last 16. The final saw Uruguay meet Brazil with Uruguay winning 2 – 1.

World Cups from 1950 to 1970

german football crowd

The 1954 event took place in Switzerland, this was the first to be televised. Scotland made their first appearance at the event. This tournament saw a number of records broken, with Hungry getting the most scored goals with 27 goals scored.  The final was won by West Germany beating favourites Hungary 3 – 2.

The 1958 competition took place in Sweden. This year saw Brazil win their first-ever World cup, they beat host nation Sweden a whopping 5 – 2 in the final. Pele and Vara scored twice in the final for Brazil. Pele really did shine in the World Cup.

The 1962 International soccer event took place in Chile with Brazil successfully defending its title. They played in a very impressive tournament. The tournament took place from the 30th of May to the 17th of June 1962. Brazil won the final against Czechoslovakia, they beat them 3 – 1. 

1966 saw England host the tournament, it was played in 8 different stadiums around the Uk. The final was held in Wembley stadium and England won it. They beat West Germany on the 30 of July 1966, the final score finished 2 – 1. The queen of England, Queen Elizabeth presented the captain Bobby Moore with the trophy, it is the only time England have won a world cup.

1970 was a good year for Brazil with them retaking the trophy. The event was held in Mexico from the 31st of May to the 21st of June 1970. Brazil won it 4 – 1 with Pepe opening the scoring of the final game.

From 1974 to 1994

football players playing a stadium

1974 was the 10th FIFA tournament, which took place in West Germany.  The final took place in Munich on the 7th of July 1974. Dutch football star Johan Cruyff and their total football system came up against a strong West German side that was led by Franz Beckenbauer. West Germany won the final with the final core finishing at 2 – 1

The tournament took place in Argentina in 1978. The final was played in the Argentina capital of Buenos Aires. There were 4 goals scored in total in the final with Argentina taking the trophy. They beat the Netherlands 3 – 1. This final had a bit of controversy with the Dutch accusing the Argentines of using stalling tactics in the match.

Spain hosted the 1982 competition, the final took place in Madrid. The final saw Italy play West Germany. The Italians won it with a score of 3 – 1. Italy’s Paolo Rossi won the golden boot that year.

The 1986 competition was a cracker. The event took place in Mexico with Argentina shining in the tournament. The final took place in a packed Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on the 29th of June 1986.

The final was contested between West Germany and Argentina. 114,600 attended the final and the final didn’t disappoint with Argentina beating the Germans 3 – 2 in a thrilling final. The tournament saw the great Diego Maradona lift the trophy with a memorable match against England in the quarter-final.  Maradona’s goal against England was dubbed the hand of god as he was seen handling the football in the England net.  Amazingly the goal was not disallowed, England players were furious.

The 1990 tournament was a very memorable event for Irish fans with Ireland qualifying for this tournament. English man Jack Charlton, the Irish manager, guided Ireland to a world cup.  The competition took place in Italy, The final saw Argentine play West Germany in Rome. The Germans won the game 1 -nil.  The game was decided by a penalty awarded to the Germans which was scored by Andreas Brehme.

1994 to 2022 World Cups

brazil players playing football

The 1994 competition took place in the United States, and Ireland was again favoured in the tournament. The final took place in California with Brazil and Italy meeting in the final. The match went to extra time and penalties. Brazil beat Italy with penalty kicks and took the trophy.

The 1998 competition was held in France. The French national teams performed well in this tournament, they had serval excellent players in the group including Zidane and Patrick Viera with Barthez in goals. The final took place in Paris with a capacity of 75,000. The estimated number of television viewers was 1.7 billion worldwide.   France beat Brazil 3 – nil with Zinedine Zidane scoring twice in the final.

2002 saw Japan host the biggest soccer tournament in the world. Japan’s amazing stadiums hosted some memorable matches, the final was won by Brazil. They beat a formidable German side 2 -nil with the Brazilin star Ronaldo scoring twice in the final

The 2006 tournament took place in Germany. The final was hosted in Berlin on the 9th of July 2006 with Italy facing France in the final. The match went to penalties after extra time was played. Italy took the prized trophy with a score of 5 – 3 on penalties. The match has a bit of controversy when the great Zidane was sent off.

The 2010 tournament was hosted by South Africa. The event saw 32 teams on the group’s stages with 16 professing to the knock-out stages.  The final took place at Soccer City in Johannesburg. The Netherlands met Spain in the final with only one goal deciding it. Spain’s player Iniesta scored to take the trophy to Spain.

2014 was the year for Brazil to host the biggest soccer competition in the world, the final took place in Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Germany and Argentina played a tense final with Germany just winning by a goal. The final score was 1 – 0.

The 2018 event was hosted by Russia with the final taking place in Moscow. The final was a high-scoring match with 6 goals.  France and Croatia played a high-tempo final game with France winning 4 – 2. Paul Pogba and Mbappe both scored for France taking the trophy back to the French.

Let me know which final was your favourite in the comments section!!

See some of my other articles below

The Troubles in Northern Ireland Explained

Ireland Travel Guide

Irish Leprechaun Folklore History

John C

Hey, my name is John Conway and I love travelling around Ireland. I have a passion for All Things Ireland. I love the Emerald Isle! I love Guinness and green fields!

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