22 World Cup Trivia Facts to Own Goal With

(Last Updated On: December 1, 2022)

When the World Cup is in swing you’re probably spending a decent amount of time watching the games either in the comfort of your own home or with a bunch of belligerent bargoers. But what about all the bar trivia you probably also get up to when you go for a night out? Why not merge the trivia and the goals with some World Cup trivia facts?

Further Reading: How Are World Cup Groups Determined?

1. The fastest World Cup goal ever scored came at the 2002 cup, and was scored by Hakan Suker from Turkey against South Korea. It came 11 seconds in

2. The very first World Cup in 1930 was host to 13 teams. All countries affiliated with FIFA were invited; so we had Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, France, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Romania, the US, and Yugoslavia—along with Uruguay hosting. 

3. With all FIFA-affiliated countries invited to compete, the 1930 World Cup was also the first one without any qualifying rounds. 

4. The 1934 World Cup was wrapped in some geopolitical drama. The roster originally featured 16 teams, chiefly Germany and Austria. The roster was reduced to just 15 when Germany annexed Austria. Oops. 

5. Italy held a World Cup title for 16 years, between 1932 and 1950. This is because there was no World Cup between 1938 and 1950. You know. Because of that whole World War II thing. 

6. Héctor Castro was one of Uruguay’s scorers against Argentina in the 1930 World Cup final. He also scored Uruguay’s first ever goal in a World Cup, against Peru. Extra also, he was nicknamed El manco, or “the maimed” as his right forearm was amputated after a run-in with an electric saw.

7. The highest-scoring World Cup match took place in 1954 between Austria and Switzerland. The score was 7-5 (7 Austria, 5 Switzerland).

8. Shirt swapping was banned in the 1986 World Cup because FIFA didn’t want people “baring their chests” on the field. 

9. Jimmy Greaves, one of England’s strikers, is also known as the “Garrincha Dog Catcher” in Brazil. Why? Well he picked up a stray dog and then the dog peed on him. He didn’t have a spare uniform so he had to play in the 1962 World Cup with a peed-on shirt. 

10. Pelé is the only person who has won three World Cups (1958, 1962, and 1970). He competed for Brazil’s national team between 1957 and 1971. He’s played 1,363 games in his football career and scored 1,279 goals.

11. The 2018 World Cup had the most own goals, coming in at 12. This was double the previous record of six own goals, set in 1998.

12. The largest victory margin for the World Cup finals is nine goals.

13. Inaki and Nico Williams are the first siblings to play for different countries at the World Cup. They played for Ghana and Spain respectively in 2022. 

14. The 2022 World Cup is projected (by FIFA)  to have 5 billion viewers. 

15. Qatar is the first World Cup host to lose… all three matches.

16. Qatar is also one of the only World Cup hosts to get eliminated in the first round, preceded by South Africa in 2010

17. The World Cup is very expensive, the 2018 World Cup hosted by Russia cost an estimated $14.2 billion; the most expensive at the time. World Cups had been getting progressively more expensive since the US hosted in 1994

18. If you thought $14.2 billion was excessive (it is), just wait until you see how much Qatar spent on the 2022 World Cup. $229 billion. That’s a lot of yachts. Or like 3% of America’s War on Terror. 

19. The most common score in a World Cup finals match is 1-0.

20. 17 deaths were reported at Russia’s World Cup stadiums, among many other labor abuses by the Human Rights Watch. Any amount of deaths is pretty infuriating when you think about it for five seconds and remember the World Cup is just a big sports thing.

21. If you thought 17 deaths was bad, Qatar’s World Cup chief estimates between 400 and 500 migrant workers have died setting up the 2022 World Cup. Apparently Qatar can’t even get an estimate accurate with the hundreds. 

22. Don’t worry, because the figure may actually be as high as 6,500 deaths

See if you know your World Cup final fours here. Also, more World Cup facts here.



About Kyler 727 Articles
Kyler is a content writer at Sporcle living in Seattle, and is currently studying at the University of Washington School of Law. He's been writing for Sporcle since 2019; sometimes the blog is an excellent platform to answer random personal questions he has about the world. Most of his free time is spent drinking black coffee like water.