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Welcome toFifa World Cup

Some people think football is a matter of life and death. I assure you, it's much more serious than that
Bill Shankly

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HISTORY OF FIFA WORLDCUP

The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champions are Spain, who won the 2010 tournament in South Africa.

The current format of the tournament involves 32 teams competing for the title at venues within the host nation(s) over a period of about a month; this phase is often called the World Cup Finals. A qualification phase, which currently takes place over the preceding three years, is used to determine which teams qualify for the tournament together with the host nation(s).

The 19 World Cup tournaments have been won by eight different national teams. Brazil have won five times, and they are the only team to have played in every tournament. The other World Cup winners are Italy, with four titles; West Germany, with three titles; Argentina and inaugural winners Uruguay, with two titles each; and England, France, and Spain, with one title each.
The next three World Cups will be hosted by Brazil in 2014, Russia in 2018, and Qatar in 2022.

No other sporting event captures the world's imagination like the FIFA World Cup™. Ever since the first tentative competition in Uruguay in 1930, FIFA's flagship has constantly grown in popularity and prestige.

A group of visionary French football administrators, led in the 1920s by the innovative Jules Rimet, are credited with the original idea of bringing the world's strongest national football teams together to compete for the title of World Champions. The original gold trophy bore Jules Rimet's name and was contested three times in the 1930s, before the Second World War put a 12-year stop to the competition.

When it resumed, the FIFA World Cup rapidly advanced to its undisputed status as the greatest single sporting event of the modern world. Held since 1958 alternately in Europe and the Americas, the World Cup broke new ground with the Executive Committee's decision in May 1996 to 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 footballing 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 France 98 tournament, including approximately 1.3 billion for the final alone, while over 2.7 million people flocked to watch the 64 matches in the French stadia.

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.

 

FIFA TEAM EXPANSION

The tournament was expanded to 24 teams in 1982,and then to 32 in 1998, also allowing more teams from Africa, Asia and North America to take part. Since then, teams from these regions have enjoyed more success, with several having reached the quarter-finals: Mexico, quarter-finalists in 1986; Cameroon, quarter-finalists in 1990; Korea Republic, finishing in fourth place in 2002; Senegal, along with USA, both quarter-finalists in 2002; and Ghana as quarter-finalists in 2010. Nevertheless, European and South American teams continue to dominate, e.g., the quarter-finalists in 1994, 1998 and 2006 were all from Europe or South America.

The tournament was expanded to 24 teams in 1982 and then to 32 in 1998,also allowing more teams from Africa, Asia and North America to take part. Since then, teams from these regions have enjoyed more success, with several having reached the quarter-finals: Mexico, quarter-finalists in 1986; Cameroon, quarter-finalists in 1990; Korea Republic, finishing in fourth place in 2002; Senegal, along with USA, both quarter-finalists in 2002; and Ghana as quarter-finalists in 2010. Nevertheless, European and South American teams continue to dominate, e.g., the quarter-finalists in 1994, 1998 and 2006 were all from Europe or South America.

Two hundred teams entered the 2002 FIFA World Cup qualification rounds; 198 nations attempted to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, while a record 204 countries entered qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

 

OTHER FIFA TOURNAMENTS

An equivalent tournament for women's football, the FIFA Women's World Cup, was first held in 1991 in the People's Republic of China. The women's tournament is smaller in scale and profile than the men's, but is growing; the number of entrants for the 2007 tournament was 120, more than double that of 1991.

Football has been included in every Summer Olympic Games except 1896 and 1932. Unlike many other sports, the men's football tournament at the Olympics is not a top-level tournament, and since 1992, an under-23 tournament with each team allowed three over-age players. Women's football made its Olympic debut in 1996, and is contested between full national sides with no age restrictions.

The FIFA Confederations Cup is a tournament held one year before the World Cup at the World Cup host nation(s) as a dress rehearsal for the upcoming World Cup. It is contested by the winners of each of the six FIFA confederation championships, along with the FIFA World Cup champion and the host country.

FIFA also organises international tournaments for youth football (FIFA U-20 World Cup, FIFA U-17 World Cup, FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, FIFA U-17 Women's World Cup), club football (FIFA Club World Cup), and football variants such as futsal (FIFA Futsal World Cup) and beach soccer (FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup). Since the 2010 edition, the U-20 Women's World Cup has played the same role in women's football as the Confederations Cup plays in the men's game. When the U-20 Women's World Cup is held the year before the Women's World Cup, both tournaments are awarded in a single bidding process, with the U-20 tournament serving as a dress rehearsal for the larger competition.

 

QUALIFICATION PROCESS

The qualification process can start as early as almost three years before the final tournament and last over a two-year period. The formats of the qualification tournaments differ between confederations. Usually, one or two places are awarded to winners of intercontinental play-offs. For example, the winner of the Oceanian zone and the fifth-placed team from the Asian zone entered a play-off for a spot in the 2010 World Cup.From the 1938 World Cup onwards, host nations receive automatic qualification to the final tournament. This right was also granted to the defending champions between 1938 and 2002, but was withdrawn from the 2006 FIFA World Cup onward, requiring the champions to qualify. Brazil, winners in 2002, were the first defending champions to play qualifying matches.