History and Facts of the World Cup
The FIFA World Cup, also called the football world cup, but usually referred to as the World Cup, is am international football competition played by the National Teams of the members of Federation International de Football Association FIFA the sports global governing body. The championship has been held every 4 years since the first tournament in 1930, excepting 1942 and 1946 when it was not held due to World War 2.
The current format of the tournament involves 32 teams competing for the title at venues within the host nation over a matter of 4 to 5 weeks. This phase is often called the World Cup finals. A qualifying phase which takes place in the years between the World Cups is used to determine the teams that will qualify for the tournament. The World Cup is the most widely viewed sporting event in the world. An estimated 715 million people watched the final match of the 2006 tournament which was held in Germany. The 2010 World Cup will be held in South Africa starting in early June until early July, and the 2014 World Cup will be held in Brazil.
During the 18 tournaments that have been held, seven nations have won the title. Brazil have won the World Cup a record 5 times and are the only team to have played in every tournament. Italy the current champions have won 4 titles and Germany are next with three titles. The other former champions are Uruguay winner of the inaugural tournament, and Argentina with two wins each. England and France have each got one title.
Word Cup Scores:
1930 - Uruguay beat Argentina 4 - 2 in Uruguay
1934 - Italy beat Czechoslovakia 2 - 1 in Italy
1938 - Italy beat Hungary 4 - 2 in France
1950 - Uruguay beat Brazil 2 - 1 in Brazil
1954 - West Germany beat Hungary 3 - 2 in Switzerland
1958 - Brazil beat Sweden 5 - 2 in Sweden
1962 - Brazil beat Czechoslovakia 3 - 1 in Chile
1966 - England beat West Germany 4 - 2 in England
1970 - Brazil beat Italy 4 - 1 in Mexico
1974 - West Germany beat Netherlands 2 - 1 in West Germany
1978 - Argentina beat Netherlands 3 - 1 in Argentina
1982 - Italy beat West Germany 3 - 1 in Spain
1986 - Argentina beat West Germany 3 - 2 in Mexico
1990 - West Germany beat Argentina 1 - 0 in Italy
1994 - Brazil beat Italy 3 - 2 on pens in USA
1998 - France beat Brazil 3 - 0 in France
2002 - Brazil beat Germany 2 - 0 in Korea Republic & Japan
2006 - Italy beat France 5 - 3 on pens in Germany
Estadio Centenario was the location of the first World Cup final in 1930 in Uruguay.
Due to the success of the Olympic football tournaments, FIFA with President Jules Rimet again started looking at staging its own international tournament outside of the Olympics. On the 28th of May 1928 the FIFA congress in Amsterdam decided to stage a world championship organised by FIFA who also name uruguay as the host nation for the first World Cup. The national associations of selected nations were invited to send a team but the problem was with Uruguay as the venue meant a costly trip across the Atlantic for European sides. Jules Rimet eventually persuaded teams from Belgium, France, Romania and Yugoslavia to attend. A total of 13 nations took part, seven from South America, four from Europe, and two from North America. The first two World Cup matches took place simultaneously on the 13th of July 1930 and were won by France and the USA, who defeated Mexico 4 - 1 and Belgium 3 - 0 respectively. The first goal scored in World Cup history was scored by Lucien Laurent of France. In the final Uruguay defeated Argentina 4 - 2 in front of a 93000 crowd in Montevideo.
After the creation of the World Cup the 1932 Summer Olympics did not plan to include football due to the low popularity of it in the USA. FIFA and the IOC also disagreed over the status of amateur players and so football was dropped from the games. However Olympic football was returned at the 1936 Summer Olympics but was overshadowed by the more prestigious World Cup. The issues facing the early World Cup tournaments were the difficulties of the travelling and war. Few South American teams were willing to travel to Europe for either the 1944 or the 1938 games, with Brazil being the only South American team willing to compete in both. The 1942 and 1946 World Cups were cancelled to to the war and it's aftermath.
The 1950 World Cup held in Brazil was the first to include the British as the British teams had withdrawn from FIFA in 1920, partly because they did not want to play against countries they had been at war with and partly as a protest against foreign influence on football, but they rejoined in 1946 following the invitation from FIFA. This tournament also saw the return of the 1930s champions Uruguay who had boycotted the previous two World Cups. Uruguay won the tournament again by defeating the host nation Brazil in one of the most famous matches in the World Cup history.
In the tournaments between 1934 and 1978 16 tams competed in each tournament except in 1938 when Austria was absorbed into Germany after qualifying leaving the tournament with 15 teams, and in 1950 when India, Scotland and Turkey withdrew leaving the tournament with 13 teams. Most of the participating were from Europe and South America with a small minority from North America, Africa, Asia Oceania. These teams were usually easily defeated by the European and South American teams.
In 1982 the tournament had 24 teams in it which then went up to 32 teams in 1998, which allowed more teams from Africa, Asia and North America to take part. The one exception is Oceania who have never had a guaranteed spot in the tournaments. In recent teams from these regions have enjoyed more success and those who reached the quarter finals include Mexico in 1986, Cameroon in 1990, Korean Republic in 2002 and both Senegal and the USA in 2002. European and South American teams have remained the stronger force.
198 nations attempted to qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup, whilst a record 204 nations entered qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The FIFA Confederations Cup is a tournament held one year before the World Cup, as a dress rehearsal for the upcoming World Cup.
From 1930 to 1970 the Jules Rimet Trophy was awarded to the World Cup Winner, it was originally known as the World Cup or Coupe du Monde, but in 1946 it was renamed after the FIFA President Jules Rimet who first set up the tournament. In 1970 Brazil again won the trophy for the third time and this enabled them to keep the trophy permanently. However the trophy was stolen in 1983 never recovered and was presumed melted down for scrap value.
After 1970 a new trophy known as the FIFA World Cup Trophy was designed. The experts from FIFA coming from seven different countries, considered the 53 suggested models that had been put forward eventually going for the one from the Italian designer Silvio Gazzaniga. The new trophy is 36cm high and made of solid 18 carat gold and weighs 6.175kg. The base contains 2 layers of semi precious malachite while the bottom side of the trophy bears the engraved year and name of each FIFA World Cup winner since 1974. From the remarkable body of the sculpture rise the figures of two athletes at the moment of victory. This trophy is not awarded to the winning nation permanently. World Cup winners retain the trophy until the next tournament and are awarded a gold plated replica to keep rather than the solid gold original.
Since the second World Cup in 1934 qualifying tournaments have been held to reduce the field for the final. They are held within the six FIFA continental zones which are Africa, Asia, North America, Central America, Caribbean, Oceania and Europe. For each tournament FIFA decides the number of places awarded to each of the zones beforehand, normally on the relative strength of the teams involved.
The qualification process can start up to 3 years before the final tournament and last over a two year period. The format of the qualification tournaments differ between confederations. One or two places are normally awarded to the winners of the intercontinental play offs . From the 1938 World Cup onwards the host nation have received automatic qualification to the final tournament.
The current final tournament features 32 national teams competing over a month in the host nation. There are two stages, firstly the group stage, followed by the knockout stage. In the group stage teams compete within 8 groups of 4 teams each. 8 teams are seeded including the hosts with other seeded teams selected using a formula based upon FIFA World rankings and then drawn to separate groups. The other teams are assigned to different pots usually based on geographical criteria and the teams in each pot are drawn at random to the 8 groups. Since 1998 constraints have been applied to the draw to ensure that no group contains more than 2 European teams or more than 1 team from any other confederation.
Each group plays a round robin tournament which guarantees that every team will play at least 3 matches. The last round of matches in each group is scheduled at the same time to preserve fairness amongst all 4 teams. The knock out stage is a single elimination tournament in which teams play each other in one off matches, with extra time and penalty shoot outs used to decide the winner if required, it begins with the round of 16 in which the winner of each group plays against the runner up of another group. This is followed by the quarter finals, the semi finals and the final.
The host country is now chosen by a vote by FIFA's Executive Committee. This is done under a single transferable vote system. The national football association of a country wishing to host the event receives a hosting agreement from FIFA that sets out the steps and requirements that are required for a strong bid. The bidding association also receives a form the submission of which represents the official confirmation of the candidacy. After this a FIFA designated group of inspectors visit the country to identify that meets the requirements needed to host the event and a report on the country is produced. The decision on whom will host the next World Cup is usually made 6 or 7 years prior to the event. However there have been occasions where the hosts of multiple future tournaments were announced at the same time as will be the case for the 2018 and the 2022 events.
The World Cup was first televised in 1954 and is now the most widely viewed sporting event in the world, exceeding even the Olympic Games. The total audience of all the matches in the 2006 World Cup was 26.29 Billion and 715.1 Million watched the final match of the tournament, that is a 9th of the entire population of the planet. The 2006 World Cup draw which decided the distribution of teams into groups was watched by 300 Million viewers. FIFA has so far received 11 bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup events.
History of how St Georges Day came about.
St George is the patron saint of England and his emblem a red cross on a white background was made the flag of England.
St George's Day is celebrated by different countries of which St George is the patron saint; these countries include England, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Greece and many more. In Albania & Kosovo it is a day of joy and believing in God, people will go out and build a fire and play around it, people will bless their houses, fields, their children and everything around them with water as it was the holy water.
The national flag of England, known as St Georges Cross, has been the national flag since the 13th century, originally the flag was by the Maritime State the Republic of Genoa. The English monarch paid a tribute to the Doge of Genoa so that from 1190 onwards the English ships could fly the flag as a means of protection when they entered the Mediterranean. A red cross acted as a symbol for many crusaders in the 12th & 13th centuries. It became associated with St George along with the countries & cities that claimed him as their patron saint and used his cross as a banner. You can now get balloons in Red and White to decorate the party. Since 1606 the St Georges Cross has formed part of the design of the union flag also known as the Union Jack, which is the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In England, St Georges Day is also called National Day. Most countries that celebrate St Georges Day celebrate it on April 23rd which is the traditional accepted date of St Georges death in 303 AD. It is still used to represent England and by those who wish to show pride in England. Nowadays, this is mainly done at such events as football and rugby. That is apart from on St Georges Day when people in England hold parties to celebrate the occasion.
Richard the Lion Heart adopted the St George emblem and brought it to England in the 12th century. The kings soldiers wore it on the battlefield on tunics to avoid confusion in battle. Originally it is said that St George was a brave Roman Soldier who protested against the Romans torture of Christians and was killed for his beliefs. The popularity of St George in England came during the early crusades when it is believed he appeared to the Normans in a vision and they were victorious. The best known story of St George was his fight with a dragon, but it is unlikely that he ever fought a dragon, indeed it is also highly unlikely that he ever came to England. Despite this St George is known as the dragon slaying patron saint of England.
St George is usually seen as a Knight in shining armour carrying a burnished shield with a red cross on it, usually sitting on a horse and slaying a dragon. St George is also the patron saint of the scouts movement and on the Sunday nearest to the 23rd of April scouts and guides throughout England attend a St Georges Day service at their local church.
A red cross acted as a symbol for many crusaders in the 12th and 13th centuries. it became associated with St George along with the countries and cities that claimed him as their patron saint and used his cross as a banner. Since 1606 the St Georges Cross has formed part of the design of the union flag also known as the Union Jack which is the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In England St Georges Day is also called National Day. Most countries that celebrate St Georges Day celebrate it on April 23rd which is the traditional accepted date of St Georges death in 303AD. It is still used to represent England and by those who wish to show pride in England. Nowadays this is mainly done at such events as football and rugby. That is apart from on St Georges Day when many people in England hold parties to celebrate the occasion.
In tradition St Georges day the 23rd of April people used to wear a red rose in the buttonhole, the rose being our national flower. But England unlike other countries does not celebrate it in a big way, such as America on Independence Day, in fact there are more St Patrick celebration in England than St George celebrations. In most cases we treat it as a normal day and despite the fact that St George has been the patron saint of England since the 14th century, only 1 in 5 people are aware of when St Georges day is, and more than 30% of people in England do not know who St George is.
In 2009 the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, spearheaded a campaign to encourage the celebration of St Georges Day. He said St Georges Day had been ignored in England for far too long. We have much to be proud of in this great country, as England has given so much to the world both politically and socially. St Georges Day is the time to celebrate the very best of everything English and the cross of St George will fly proudly outside the City Hall on the 23rd of April. In 2009 London celebrated St George with a week of events that included parades, food festivals and theatrical events.
Things to do on St Georges Day are:
- Wear a red rose in your buttonhole.
- Fly the flag of St George and England in your window or on your car.
- Attend a St Georges Day event many churches have a service for St Georges Day.
- Go to an old traditional English pub, these are closing rapidly these days but some still remain.
- Have our old traditional meal of Roast Beef.
- Join the Royal Society of St George.
There are too many legends and myths fictional no doubt about St George and the slaying of the Dragon. But they all have a common theme. St George must have been an outstanding person for that reputation to have survived over 1700 years.
During his travels St George arrived in Egypt where he met a tribesman who told him that everyone in the land was in great distress for a Dragon had been ravaging the country, every day said the tribesman a young girl has to be sacrificed and now only the Kings daughter is left and the King has declared he will give his daughters hand in marriage to the champion who can slay the Dragon. After St George listened to the story he rested the night and then he set out to save the princess. He went to the wood where the Dragon was reputed to live and when he got there he saw the lovely princess dressed with silk finery and jewels being taken to the Dragon. He stopped the princess and went into the woods where he found the Dragons Lair. As soon as the Dragon saw him it rushed out of its cave roaring and breathing fire, but St George was not afraid, he struck the monster with his sword but the sword broke into pieces and he fell under some bushes, but within minutes he had recovered and was able to fight again. He found his spear and rushed at the Dragon to kill it but the Dragon roared fire at him, he ducked under the flames and stabbed the Dragon with his spear in its throat and it died at his feet. A story was told that St George went into a city in Libya where a dragon lived and kept the people in terror, to keep the dragon peaceful the townspeople tethered an animal daily until they had no more, and then in desperation they offered up young maidens. The story continues with St George arriving on his white charger dismounted and fought the Dragon on foot until he overcame it. He then dragged the dying dragon into the city and slew the dragon in front of the people. St George was then greeted as their savior and the King offered him a bag of gold as a reward. But he would not take it and asked for the gold to be given to the poor.