The FIFA World Cup is the most widely viewed and followed sporting event in the world, surpassing even the Olympic Games. The tournament has been held every four years since the inaugural event in 1930, with the exception of 1942 and 1946 due to World War II. A total of 21 tournaments have been held, with the 22nd scheduled to take place in 2022.
The first World Cup was held in Uruguay in 1930 and featured a field of 13 teams. The host nation went on to win the tournament, defeating Argentina 4-2 in the final. Since then, the World Cup has seen a steady increase in the number of participating teams, with the current format featuring 32 teams.
The early years of the World Cup saw domination by a few select teams. Uruguay, Italy, and Brazil all won multiple titles in the first few decades of the tournament. In 1958, Brazil won its first World Cup, led by the legendary Pelé, who is widely considered one of the greatest soccer players of all time. Brazil went on to win the tournament again in 1962 and 1970.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the World Cup saw the emergence of new soccer powers. Argentina won the tournament in 1978, led by the iconic Diego Maradona, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players in history. Germany also emerged as a dominant force in the sport, winning the World Cup in 1990 and 2014.
The most recent World Cup, held in 2018, was won by France. The French team, led by superstar forward Kylian Mbappé, defeated Croatia 4-2 in the final to capture the country's second World Cup title.
The World Cup has also played host to some of the most memorable moments in soccer history. In 1950, the United States pulled off one of the biggest upsets in World Cup history, defeating England 1-0. In 1966, England won its only World Cup title, defeating West Germany 4-2 in the final. In 1986, Maradona's "Hand of God" goal helped Argentina defeat England in the quarterfinals. And in 2002, Brazil won its fifth World Cup title, led by the brilliant play of forward Ronaldo.
As the World Cup continues to grow in popularity, it remains a celebration of the world's most popular sport and a showcase for the best soccer players on the planet.