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October 19th, 2022

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Football World Cup: some facts and anecdotes on the most popular sports event on the planet

This is it, it’s coming. The football World Cup in Qatar is the event that will mark the end of 2022. A competition of such magnitude that everyone will always be talking about it. Here’s a look back at some of the highlights that are now part of World Cup history. 

For the first time in its history, the football World Cup will take place in a Middle Eastern country and at the end of the year (20 November - 18 December). A choice that has inevitably got people talking... But this is by no means a first. Since 1930, the World Cup organization has never been an easy task. The proof! 

First World Cup in 1930, a boat journey that was too expensive 

The first FIFA World Cup was organized in Uruguay and only managed to bring 13 nations together, including only 4 European nations took part: Belgium, France, Yugoslavia and Romania. The reason? A boat journey that was considered too long, but above all too expensive considering the ongoing financial crisis. 

Several Romanian players were even threatened with dismissal by the British oil company that employed them who refused to grant them 3-months leave to participate in the competition. To resolve the situation, the king of Romania at the time, Carol II, intervened personally to resolve the situation. 

India withdrew from the 1950 World Cup because they couldn’t play barefoot

After qualifying to take part in the 4th World Cup organized in Brazil in 1950, India was forced to withdraw because FIFA refused to let them play barefoot. A practice which had been authorized two years earlier for the Olympic Games in London, but was reviewed since by the federation. 

The decision wasn’t well received by the Indian team who decided to withdraw from the competition. However, there are rumors that this wasn’t the only reason for this decision. The cost of transport, the costs incurred on site and the team’s lack of preparation were also factors. 

The first World Cup trophy was stolen

Since the creation of the tournament, two cups have succeeded each other: the Jules Rimet trophy awarded until the 1970 World Cup and the FIFA World Cup trophy that we know today. 

The Jules Rimet trophy was stolen for the first time in 1966 during an exhibition in England. It was found by Scotland Yard with the help of a dog named “Pickles” in a suburban garden. In 1983, while it was the property of Brazil who won the tournament on 3 occasions, it was stolen again, this time in Rio. And it has never been found... 

1930-2022: chasing records 

Most successful nations

Experts will know that it’s only Brazil who can proudly wear 5 stars on their shirts. The Seleção came out on top in the tournaments in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. For more than 20 years, the Brazilians have been hoping to lift the trophy a sixth time. Brazil is also the only nation to have taken part in all 21 editions of the football World Cup.

Italy and Germany are the second most successful nations with 4 victories each. The other nations that have won the World Cup are France, Argentina and Uruguay, with two wins each, as well as England in 1966 and Spain in 2010. 

So far, the trophy has only been shared between 8 nations, all from Europe or South America.

Best goalscorers 

The best goalscorer in the history of the World Cup is German. With 16 goals in all the tournaments he has participated in, Miroslav Klose just tops the world's greatest goalscorers. 

The record for the most individual goals in a single World Cup match is held by the Russian Oleg Salenko, who scored 5 goals against Cameroon in 1994. 

However, it is the Frenchman Just Fontaine who holds the record for goals scored in a single tournament with 13 during the World Cup in 1958. 

Make the best bets on the World Cup at Circus

The football World Cup is the perfect time to place a bet with friends or add a touch of thrill to your favorite teams’ matches. Find the best odds for betting on the World Cup at Circus.