The biggest football tournament is around the corner, so it’s time to refresh your knowledge before 32 nations battle it out on the field. Let’s dive right in!
Europe and South America are the only two continents that have won the tournament. In fact, of the 20 competitions European countries have been finalists in 18 of them – all apart from 1930 (Uruguay vs Argentina) and 1950 (Uruguay vs Brazil).
Germany has played the most matches (106) and appeared in most finals (8), semi-finals (13) and quarterfinals (16) as well as scored the most goals (224) while Brazil appeared in most tournaments (20). On the other end of the scale is Mexico which lost more games than any other team (25) spread across 16 tournaments - a participation record among countries that have never won the competition.
The player with the most tournament wins is Brazil legend Pelé. He was part of Brazil’s success in 1958 in Sweden. He then helped Brazil win in the next tournament in 1962 and finally took his team to the winning podium in 1970, which was also his final match on the world stage.
The highest goal scorer is Germany’s Miroslav Klose. He has scored 16 goals, which surpasses Brazil striker Ronaldo’s record. He scored five goals in his first-ever cup in 2002, another five in 2006 for which he won the Golden Boot for most goals of the tournament. He added four goals in 2010 and two in 2014 to his sheet.
The most attended match in history was the 1950 game between Brazil and Uruguay. It’s said that 173,850 fans squeezed in the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro to see the favoured home team lose in one of the biggest upsets in football history.
Hely Garagozzo González, a businessman from Venezuela, holds the record for most attended finals by an individual. He went to every tournament between 1982 and 2010 – his streak ended when he missed the final match in South Africa.