20 Surprising Facts About the World Cup


Millions of people around the world follow both national and international football competitions with great interest. However, when it comes to football, there is only one organization that lies in the heart of every football fan: The World Cup. Held once every four years, it is the most anticipated and followed sporting event by football fans. Each time, the tournament is characterized by unparalleled rivalries between players and fans alike, glorious victories and devastating defeats. And also incredible situations and moments! Here are 20 surprising facts about the pinnacle of professional football, the most popular sporting event in history…

World Cup facts1
World Cup facts1
  1. The World Cup is held every four years

This unique sporting event was first organized in 1930. So this grand tournament has taken place 21 times so far. The 22nd edition will be hosted by Qatar next November and December.

  1. It was originally called the “Jules Rimet Cup”

The name came from FIFA President Jules Rimet, who came up with the idea for the World Cup in 1929.

  1. The first tournament in 1930 was won by hosts Uruguay

Uruguay won its first trophy after beating Argentina 4-2 in the final.

  1. Almost half of the world’s population follows the tournament
World Cup facts2
World Cup facts2

In 2014, 3.2 billion people watched the tournament in Brazil. Over 3.5 billion people watched the 2018 tournament.

  1. The 2002 World Cup was the first to be held in two different countries

The tournament was held in South Korea and Japan.

  1. Brazil is the country with the most World Cup wins
  2. Germany and Italy are the other teams with the most trophies

The number of tournaments won by both countries is 4.

  1. Essam El Hadary is the oldest player to play in the World Cup
World Cup facts3
World Cup facts3

The Egyptian goalkeeper took the field at the 2018 tournament in Russia at the age of 45. Hadary also became the oldest goalkeeper to save a penalty in the tournament’s history when he saved a penalty kick from Saudi Arabia’s Fahad Al Muwallad in his final match.

  1. The oldest player to score a goal at the World Cup is Cameroon’s Roger Milla

Milla won the title in the 1994 tournament in the United States, scoring against Russia.

  1. Turkey scored the earliest goal in the history of the tournament

In the 2002 World Cup against South Korea, Turkey scored only 10.89 seconds after the kick-off.

  1. The highest scoring match was between Austria and Switzerland

In 1954, the two countries met at the World Cup in Switzerland and the match ended with a 7-5 Austrian victory.

  1. The trophy for the 1966 edition was stolen before the start of the tournament
World Cup facts4
World Cup facts4

The trophy was not found for 7 days. At the end of the 7th day, the World Cup was found by a dog named Pickles.

  1. Mexico, the biggest loser in World Cup history

The North American country has lost 25 matches since the start of the event. The team with the most draws in World Cup history is Italy with 21 draws.

  1. Brazil have won the most matches at the World Cup with 70 victories

The Brazilian national team is also the team that has won the most matches in a World Cup. In the 2002 tournament, the Sambacos managed to beat all their opponents and reached the trophy after 7 matches.

  1. Only two teams have won the Cup twice in a row: Brazil and Italy.
  2. Indonesia has played the fewest matches in the World Cup

Indonesia only managed to qualify for the tournament in 1938.

  1. In 2026, the number of participating teams will increase from 32 to 48
  1. Oleg Salenko scored the most goals in a World Cup match

The Russian footballer scored 5 goals for Cameroon in the 1994 World Cup.

World Cup facts5
World Cup facts5
  1. Argentina, the team with the most red and yellow cards in World Cup history
  2. German footballer Miroslav Klose, top scorer in the history of the tournament with 16 goals

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