Topend Sports Logo

FIFA World Cup Formats

Since the first World Cup in 1930, the format for the finals has changed significantly. The first World Cup was the only tournament not to have a qualifying tournament, all the teams that attended were invited.

Once the team has qualified for the finals, they generally play some sort of group stage, with winners progressing into the next stage and subsequently a knockout format to the finals, finishing with a final match to determine the world champions.

1938 World Cup match in France1938 World Cup match in France

Here are the various formats used in previous World Cup tournaments:

Related Pages

send us a comment Any comments, suggestions, or corrections? Please let us know.

FIFA World Cup Extra

The current men's World Cup is being held in Qatar 2022, the next women's world cup will be in Australia/New Zealand 2023. See more firsts and other trivia, a quiz, and also information about each country at the World Cup. Most importantly, who are the winners?

More Football

Football (some call it soccer) is the world's most popular sport. There are many major football tournaments, the pinnacle is the FIFA World Cup. See a calendar of what is coming up. There have been many legends of the game, particularly winners of the Ballon d'Or. For players, there are articles about Football Fitness and Fitness Testing.

Major Events Extra

The largest sporting event in the world is the Olympic Games, but there are many other multi-sport games. In terms of single sport events, nothing beats the FIFA World Cup. To see what's coming up, check out the calendar of major sporting events.

 → How to Cite