What is this world championship actually

Soccer world championship or soccer world cup

The largest soccer tournament in the world

At the international level and in relation to the national team, the greatest thing is to win the World Cup. But that actually only applies to the top nations such as Germany, Italy, Brazil or similar countries. Many other countries are happy if they are allowed to take part in the tournament at all and that is not so easy to achieve.

History of the World Cup: the beginnings

The Football World Cup experienced her Premiere in 1930 and at that time many nations did not even want to take part for reasons of cost. The hype that has arisen about the tournament first had to arise and so there were a lot less games until the winner was certain. At the premiere, for example, they started with the round of 16 because a group stage as we know it today has not yet taken place.

After the Second World War, however, interest began to grow, the television was invented and the broadcasts got better and better. By 1978 there were four groups elected as a group stage, that is, that 16 teams take part could. The best two from each group then went on to the knockout round and then played up to the final, where the new world champion was determined.

In 1982 it was expanded to six groups due to its increasing importance, so that 24 teams could play. There was a rather unfortunate intermediate round with three teams each and, from 1986, a round of 16 instead. This means that the top two in each group plus the top four third in each group could advance.

Football World Cup from 1998: 32 teams at the World Cup

Meanwhile, the soccer world championship, which is usually abbreviated as soccer world championship, is a tournament with 32 teams in eight groups looking for the 16 nations that will play the last sixteen. From then on it goes in the knockout phase to the final, where the new world champion is sought. This means that there is a preliminary round as a group stage that can be compared to a championship, because each of the four group participants plays against each other and the best two advance to the round of 16. Then there is the duel in a single game with - if necessary - extra time and penalty shoot-out.

In terms of tactics, you have to see the World Cup in two phases: the first phase is the group phase, in which many goals can still be scored, but not necessarily. At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, for example, there were a lot of defensive teams and hardly any high-scoring games. The second phase is the knockout phase, in which caution naturally has priority. Because if you're one goal behind, you have to chase it while the leading team can wait for a counterattack. There are almost always the better games in the group phase, in the knockout phase the tension about the outcome is high, but the quality does not always meet expectations.

XXL soccer World Cup from 2026

In January 2017, FIFA decided on the controversial expansion, which will allow 48 instead of 32 national teams to participate from the 2026 World Cup. The system expands to 80 games, with 16 groups of three at the beginning, from which the group winners and runners-up advance to the sixteenth-finals. From there there are the knockout games up to the final. So it is easier to qualify and there is more money with more games. There are controversial opinions about whether it will also benefit football.

As such, FIFA wanted to use this model at the 2022 World Cup, but there was a lot of resistance and the idea was discarded in May 2019. So the previous decision with 48 teams will only apply from 2026.

Football World Cup and qualification

But the World Cup begins long before the first game, because you have to survive the qualification. In Europe alone, up to nine different groups with up to six or seven teams are played, with only the group winners being qualified for the World Cup, the runners-up have to play a play-off. There is a championship system in South America where the top five qualify.

Once you have passed this qualification, the world championship adventure begins. Anyone who can point out there will retain the positive image for a long time. Players from weak teams who can perform well are quickly on the wish lists of many club managers, because the soccer world championship is not only a big tournament, but also a display in which the players can present themselves.

In terms of audience numbers, the World Cup is the world's largest sporting event after the Summer Olympics.

All results of all soccer world championships

Football World Cup 2018 in Russia

Russia's team was heavily criticized, but then surprised when they made it to the quarter-finals. Austria failed to qualify, which was probably also a result of the frustration caused by the disaster at EURO 2016. Switzerland made it to the round of 16, but failed there because of Sweden. Germany as defending champion was sensationally thrown out of the group bottom in the preliminary round - but the world champions experienced the same fate before the Germans. In the final phase of this world championship there was a European championship. With France, Belgium, Croatia and England there were only European teams, with France prevailing against Belgium in the semi-finals, Croatia defeated England after extra time. The Belgians then took third place and France won the second World Cup title after 1998 in the most scoring final since 1958 (5-2 at the time).

3rd place match: Belgium 2-0 England
Final: France 4-2 Croatia

Football World Cup 2014 in Brazil

Austria failed in the qualification to Germany and just to Sweden. Switzerland was back and reached the round of 16, where they lost to Argentina in extra time. Germany played sometimes top, sometimes flop, fought their way into the semi-finals and finished off hosts Brazil 7-1. In the final, they beat Argentina a little happily and won their fourth World Cup title, while Messi continued to have no big title with Argentina. Brazil themselves also lost smoothly against the Netherlands, who only had to admit defeat on penalties against Argentina.

3rd place match: Netherlands 3-0 Brazil
Final: Germany 1-0 Argentina after extra time

Soccer World Cup 2010 in South Africa

It was the first soccer World Cup on African soil and the opposite of a treat. In hardly any other World Cup was football played so destructively, even well-known teams who love to play were extremely cautious. Goals were in short supply. Austria failed to qualify against Serbia and France, Switzerland made it to the finals, defeated European champions Spain, but dropped out in third place in the preliminary round. Germany played great at times, but froze in awe of Spain when they met the southern Europeans in the semi-finals. The Netherlands defeated Uruguay and was once again in a World Cup final and again the other was the winner - this time Spain after extra time. The Spain won the second big title in a row after the European Championship success in 2008.

Game for 3rd place: Germany 3-2 Uruguay
Final: Spain 1-0 Netherlands

Football World Cup 2006 in Germany

The expectations were huge, but after the fiasco at the EURO 2004 the German team was not yet in the form to take the home title. But she turned it up a lot at the home tournament. Austria had already failed in qualifying to England and Poland. Switzerland made it to the finals, were group winners in the preliminary round, but in the round of 16 they lost 0-0 to Ukraine, losing 3-0 on penalties. Germany started well and got better and better. Sweden played against the wall in the round of 16, but Argentina could only be defeated on penalties. In the semifinals, however, they failed in extra time due to strong Italians who were able to defeat France in the final. That was track number four after 1934, 1938 and 1982.

3rd place match: Germany 3-1 Portugal
Final: Italy 1-1 France after extra time, 6-4 after penalties

Football World Cup 2002 in South Korea and Japan

Switzerland failed in qualifying to Russia and Slovenia, Austria was in second place after Spain in the qualification, but lost straight to Turkey in the play-off games and had to watch again. Germany started strong with an 8-0 win against Saudi Arabia, but after that only Oliver Kahn played in overform. Rudi Völler's squad struggled to build up the game. They laboriously defeated Paraguay in the second round and the clearly better US boys in the quarter-finals. With the 1-0 win against South Korea in the semifinals, there were three 1-0 wins in a row and that says everything about the quality of the game. The final opponent was Brazil, which was able to win quite safely - although the Germans showed an improvement. The irony was that because of a mistake by Oliver Kahn, Brazil took the lead - the Oliver Kahn who brought Germany to the final.

Match for 3rd place: Turkey 3-2 South Korea
Final: Brazil 2-0 Germany

Football World Cup 1998 in France

At this World Cup, 32 nations were played for the first time. That resulted in eight preliminary round groups of four teams, the best two in each group made it to the round of 16. Switzerland failed in the qualification to Norway and Hungary, Austria was group winner, but was eliminated in the preliminary round in third place. Germany made it to the quarter-finals, where they clearly lost 3-0 to Croatia. The other semi-finalists were the Netherlands, Brazil and France. France beat Croatia and Brazil beat the Netherlands on penalties. In the final, France was a force and won its first world title, Croatia reached third place.

3rd place match: Croatia 2-1 Netherlands
Final: France 3-0 Brazil

Football World Cup 1994 in the USA

Austria failed in the qualification to Sweden and Bulgaria, Switzerland was able to qualify and also made it to the round of 16, where they lost 3-0 to Spain. Germany also made it to the round of 16, narrowly defeating Belgium and then surprisingly lost to Bulgaria in the quarter-finals. The other semi-final teams were Italy, Brazil and Sweden. Italy and Brazil prevailed in the semifinals, with boredom in the final and after a 0-0 after extra time Brazil prevailed on penalties. That was world title number four.

Match for 3rd place: Sweden - Bulgaria 4-0
Final: Brazil 0-0 Italy after extra time, 3-2 on penalties

Football World Cup 1990 in Italy

Switzerland failed in the qualification against Belgium and the Czech Republic (then CSFR), Austria could qualify, but remained colorless in the preliminary round and was eliminated. Germany made it to the round of 16 and defeated the Netherlands, later the Czechs and England in the semi-finals - again thanks to penalties. Argentina also reached the final thanks to a success over Italy and here too the semifinals were decided by a penalty shoot-out. And the only goal in the Germans' success in the final came from a penalty hit by Andi Brehme. With this, Germany won its third World Cup title. Third place went to hosts Italy.

3rd place match: Italy 2-1 England
Final: Germany 1-0 Argentina

Soccer World Cup 1986 in Mexico

The 1986 World Cup brought a new mode because you weren't happy with the second round, as it was played in 1982. 24 teams were still eligible to play, but the best two of the six groups of four and the four best thirds rose to a round of 16 and from there it went on in knockout mode. Austria failed in the qualification to Hungary, Switzerland to Denmark and the USSR. In the second round, the FRG struggled to prevail against Morocco and needed the penalty shoot-out after a lame 0-0 in the quarter-finals against Mexico. In the semifinals, the Germans won 2-0 against France to meet Argentina in the final. Those had an outstanding Diego Maradona with his legendary goals against England and Belgium and these South Americans deservedly won a great final against Germany 3-2. Third place went to France.

3rd place match: France 4-2 Belgium after extra time
Final: Argentina - Germany 3-2

Football World Cup 1982 in Spain

The 1982 World Cup brought a field of 24 nations for the first time, with 6 groups of four nations being played. The best two in each group advanced to an intermediate round, which consisted of four groups of three teams. The group winners were thus qualified for the semi-finals. That solution proved to be an own goal and was replaced by the 1986 round of 16. Switzerland could not qualify, the FRG and Austria were both successful in the qualification in the same group and met again in the preliminary round. There was the scandal game of Gijon, when Germany's 1-0 victory meant that both were promoted to the detriment of Algeria. In the second round, the FRG prevailed against Spain and England with difficulty, Austria failed to France. The French played world football against the Germans in the semifinals, they were already 3-1 in extra time, but it was 3: 3 and the Germans won more than happily on penalties. In the final, Italy was too strong.

3rd place match: Poland 3-2 France
Final: Italy 3-1 Germany

Football World Cup 1978 in Argentina

Switzerland could not qualify and Austria was back after a long time, prevailing against the GDR. With Brazil and Spain you got extremely strong opponents, but to everyone's surprise you could even win the group. In the main round, however, there was nothing to be gained - 1: 5 against the Netherlands and 0: 1 against Italy, but in the legendary Cordoba game they defeated Germany 3: 2, which meant they could not defend their title. Argentina and the Netherlands were in the final, although the manipulation was bad - to know how Brazil had played, the game plan was shot in the country run by the military. Brazil played 3: 1 against Poland and Argentina was able to get the ticket with a 6: 0. In the final you see the Netherlands in extra time and won the first world title.

3rd place match: Brazil 2-1 Italy
Final: Argentina 3-1 Netherlands after extra time

Football World Cup 1974 in Germany

Austria and Switzerland just failed to qualify. The FRG experienced a shock in the preliminary round because they had lost to the GDR, of all places. In the main round, however, you could confidently win the group and the same was true for the Dutch in the other group. In the final, the FRG was just able to prevail, third place went to Poland.

3rd place match: Poland 1-0 Brazil
Final: FRG - Netherlands 2-1

Football World Cup 1970 in Mexico

The 1970 World Cup was the last without a main round, which was played from 1974. After the preliminary round with four groups of four national teams, the best two in each group went straight to the quarter-finals. From there it went on to the final in a knockout format. Switzerland and Austria could not qualify, the FRG came as group winners in the quarter-finals and defeated England after extra time. Brazil, Italy and Uruguay also made it to the semi-finals, where Brazil defeated Uruguay for sure and there was a crazy game between Italy and Germany, which Italy won 4-3 after extra time. The Germans took third place, Brazil won against tired Italy safely and with it their third World Cup title.

3rd place match: BRD - Uruguay 1-0
Final: Brazil 4-1 Italy

Football World Cup 1966 in England

Austria could not qualify, Switzerland took part in the World Cup finals, but was bottom of the group in the FRG group and was eliminated after the preliminary round. In the quarter-finals, England, Germany, Portugal and the USSR prevailed, so there was a European semi-final. The FRG beat the USSR 2-1 and England beat Portugal with the same result. Portugal then took third place and England, as the motherland of football, was finally able to celebrate a big title with a 4-2 after extra time against Germany - but the 3-2 in extra time was controversial and went down in history as the "Wembley goal" a. It was never possible to determine whether the ball was completely behind the line or not.

3rd place match: Portugal 2-1 USSR
Final: England - FRG 4-2 after extra time

Football World Cup in Chile in 1962

Austria did not even take part in qualifying, Switzerland prevailed through a play-off against Sweden, but were eliminated as bottom group in the preliminary round. In the quarter-finals, Chile, CSSR, Yugoslavia prevailed against the FRG and Brazil against England. Brazil beat hosts Chile safely in the semi-finals, and the CSSR had no problems with Yugoslavia either. In the final, Brazil was stronger and repeated the title from 1958. Third place went to hosts Chile.

Match for 3rd place: Chile 1-0 Yugoslavia
Final: Brazil - CSSR 3-1

Football World Cup 1958 in Sweden

Switzerland could not qualify, Austria was there, but was group last in the preliminary round and then eliminated.In the quarter-finals, the FRG, France, Sweden and Brazil prevailed, with hosts Sweden beating the FRG 3-1 in the semifinals, Brazil won even more clearly against France. But France took third place, Brazil won their first World Cup title. Just Fontaine was interesting, because the Frenchman scored 13 goals in this tournament and thus set a record that will last forever - in modern times you are already good if you can score 6 goals.

Match for 3rd place: France - FRG 6: 3
Final: Brazil 5-2 Sweden

Football World Cup 1954 in Switzerland

Austria, Switzerland as hosts and the FRG were eligible to play and all three even advanced to the quarter-finals, Austria even as group winners. And in the quarter-finals there was the legendary match between Austria and Switzerland. The Austrian goalkeeper had a sunstroke, they were 3-0 down and still won 7-5. Uruguay, FRG and Hungary were the other semi-finalists. In the semifinals, the FRG Austria shot 6-1 from the field, Hungary prevailed against Uruguay in extra time. In the final, the Hungarians were the favorites, but the Germans, who won a World Cup title for the first time, won. Third place went to Austria, the greatest success after the Second World War.

3rd place match: Austria 3-1 Uruguay
Final: FRG - Hungary 3-2

Football World Cup in Brazil in 1950

The first World Cup after the Second World War was still shaped by the events. Germany was not yet a member of FIFA and not eligible to play, Austria canceled and 16 teams were needed, but three - India, Scotland and Turkey - canceled, others like France refused. The game was played in four groups of four teams and the group winners played a final tournament. Switzerland took part, but came third in their group with Brazil. In the final group everyone played against everyone and in the last game Brazil only had to play a draw against Uruguay, but lost 2-1 and with that the title went to Uruguay and there was great sadness all over Brazil. There was a final only from the 1954 World Cup.

Soccer World Cup 1938 in France

The last World Cup before the Second World War was already marked by the events. Austria was already part of the Greater German Empire and they were a favorite, as Germany finished third in 1934 and Austria fourth. The game was played from the round of 16, there were no preliminary rounds yet. But it came completely different. The German Reich only played 1: 1 against Switzerland in the round of 16 and in the replay they even lost 2: 4, so the favorites were gone. Sweden, Hungary, Italy and, with a replay, Brazil won the quarter-finals. Italy beat Brazil in the semi-finals and Hungary shot Sweden down. The Italians won the final, repeating the 1934 title.

3rd place match: Brazil 4-2 Sweden
Final: Italy 4-2 Hungary

Football World Cup 1934 in Italy

The 1934 World Cup was the great success of the Austrian miracle team with fourth place, but in the semi-final against Italy the referee was anything but neutral. The day before he was invited to Mussolini's. Everything had started well, because Austria beat France after extra time in the round of 16, in the quarter-finals Hungary was defeated, the German Reich prevailed against Sweden. In the semifinals, Austria then lost 1-0 to Italy, the CSSR defeated the German Reich 3-1. In the final, Italy won as hosts after extra time against the CSSR and won their first World Cup title. Third place went to the German Reich.

Game for 3rd place: German Reich - Austria 3-2
Final: Italy - Czechoslovakia 2-1 after extra time

Football World Cup 1930 in Uruguay

The first football World Cup in history was supposed to have four groups of four teams, i.e. 16 national teams, but only 13 were found. A qualification therefore did not take place. Despite only 13 nations, there were four groups and the group winners advanced to the semi-finals, in which Argentina shot the USA 6-1 off and Uruguay did the same with Yugoslavia. Uruguay then prevailed in the final, there was no game for third place.

Final: Uruguay 4-2 Argentina