The World Cup is the most popular and prestigious sporting event in the world. It has been played, every four years, with almost no interruption (it was cancelled in the 1940s due to World War II) since 1930. The current World Cup qualification format takes place during the three intermediate years between tournaments. During this qualification period, 31 teams (plus the auto-qualified host team) compete for the venues and titles.
The 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar. Out of the 32 teams, 13 have qualified for the competition, including the host Qatar team, last Cup champions, France, and the most accomplished national football team, Brazil. In the soccer world, 2022 is an exciting year, not just among fans, but bettors as well, as the World Cup competition draws in the highest amount of fans and bettors out of any sporting event.
One of the highest honours a national football team can earn is winning the World Cup title, and in this article, we will take a look at the last few World Cups, and the teams that won them.
The 2018 Russia World Cup
The 2018 World Cup, held in Russia, sets itself apart from all previous World Cup tournaments, as it was the most expensive World Cup to date, costing an estimated $14 billion. Another thing that set it apart was that it was the first World Cup held in Eastern Europe (as well as the 11th held in Europe). The World Cup was played across 12 different stadiums, with the stand-out being the Luzhinki Stadium in Moscow.
The stadium was the venue where the French national team beat Croatia in the finals, winning their second World Cup title. The match ended 4 – 2 in France’s favor. Luka Modric, the Croatian player, was voted the best player in the 2018 World Cup, winning the Golden Ball. Other stand-out players include Harry Kane, who won the Golden Boot, and Belgium’s Thibaut Courtois, who won the Golden Glove.
The 2014 Brazil World Cup
In 2014, Brazil got their second gig as World Cup host. This was the fifth time that the World Cup had been held in South America, and it is considered, by numerous fans to be the greatest iteration of the World Cup that has ever been held. The best national teams came together, all qualifying for the tournament, which is most likely what made it so exciting. The biggest venue was the Estadio do Maracana, with a capacity of over 74,000 people, which can be found in Rio de Janeiro.
The finals of the 2014 World Cup saw Germany go up against Argentina in one of the most exciting matches of the World Cup. The game ended with a German victory, the first after the German unification, and the fourth overall German world title. With that, Germany became the first European country to win a World Cup staged in the Americas.
The 2010 South Africa World Cup
The last of the World Cups that we will be taking a look at is the 2010 World Cup, held in South Africa. This was the first World Cup ever held in Africa. Unlike the following two world cups, the 2010 competition was held across ten stadiums (rather than 12) with the standout venue being the First National Bank Stadium, commonly referred to as Soccer City by locals, which is the biggest stadium in the country, holding close to 85,000 people.
The winner of the 2010 World Cup, receiving their first ever world title, was the Spanish national team, who went up against third-time finalists, the Netherlands. The game ended with a score of 1 – 0. The 2010 World Cup was also the first time that the host nation (South Africa) had been eliminated in the group stage.