Every four years, the World Cup comes around, providing football (soccer) fans with the ultimate competition for national bragging rights. Football is by far the world’s most popular sport, and this passion is evident in each World Cup match. It is so beloved, in fact, that it has come to be known as “the beautiful game.” Throughout the history of the World Cup, there have been epic wins, and crushing defeats. Records have been set, and some crazy events have transpired along the way. Want to learn more about the World Cup? Here are 18 of the most interesting and random facts about the World Cup that we could dig up.
Random Facts About the World Cup
2. Including 2018, the World Cup has taken place 21 times in 17 different countries.
3. Brazil holds the most World Cup titles with a total of 5. Italy and Germany come closely behind, both with a total of 4.
4. Roger Milla was the oldest goal scorer in World Cup history. He was 42 back in 1994 when he scored for Cameroon against Russia.
5. The World Cup was first played in 1930, with Uruguay being both the host country, and eventual champion.
6. In 1966, the Jules Rimet Trophy, awarded to the World Cup champion, actually went missing for an entire week. It was stolen just before the tournament started, but eventually recovered.
7. Mexico holds the record for most World Cup losses with 25. They do have 14 wins and 14 draws, so it’s not all bad.
9. Thomas Müller of Germany has the most World Cup goals out of currently active players. He has 10, split between the last two tournaments. He only needs 6 more goals to tie the all-time record of 16 held by fellow German Miroslav Klose.
10. With 7 appearances, Cameroon has qualified for the World Cup more than other African nation.
11. A popular rumor holds that India withdrew from the tournament in 1950 as they were not allowed to play barefoot, though this has largely been debunked.
12. The smallest country (in terms of population) to ever compete in the World Cup will be Iceland this year. They have only 334,000 residents!
13. Since the beginning, every World Cup has been won by a coach who holds the same nationality as the team they are coaching.
14. Frenchman Just Fontaine has the current record for the most goals scored during a single World Cup (1958 with 13).
15. Oleg Salenko of Russia has scored the most goals during a single World Cup match, when he scored 5 against Cameroon back in 1994.
16. 32 teams have qualified for the 2018 tournament, but that number will jump to 48 in the 2026 World Cup, where the host country is likely to be Morocco or North America (joint bid by Canada, United States, and Mexico).
17. Fisht Stadium in Sochi, which will host matches in the 2018 World Cup, is the same place the 2014 Winter Olympic Games were held.
18. The average attendance at each game in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was over 53,000 fans!