A Brief History of the Soccer World Cup

The need for a International football event for the top football nations of the world was due largely to the Olympics' restrictions against professional athletes. In 1930, The Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) held soccer's first World Cup tournament in Montevideo, Uruguay (see more on Uruguay 1930).

After another two events in 1934 (Italy) and 1938 (France), there was a 12 year break due to the World War, before recommencing in 1950 in Brazil. The World Cup has been held every four years since then.

13 teams participated in the first World Cup in 1930. Up until 1978, the tournament was between 16 teams, then it was increased to 24 from 1982, then to the current level of 32 teams from 1998. In 2017, it was decided to expand the World Cup to 48 teams from 2026 onwards. The format will consist of 16 groups of three teams.

Brazil is the only country to have competed in every World Cup finals series, and are also the most successful country with five victories.

Other historical soccer lists

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