World Cup History
A worldwide International football tournament was the brainchild of two French football administrators, Jules Rimet - after whom the original trophy was named - and Henri Delauney. The 2002 renewal, held in Asia for the first time by co-hosts Japan and Korea has attracted 196 entries, a far cry from the 13 nations that contested the first World Cup in Uruguay 1930, where the hosts prevailed in a thrilling final against neighbours Argentina.
The next two tournaments were held in Europe, with Italy winning as hosts in 1934, then retaining the trophy on foreign soil in 1938 by beating Hungary in Rimet's home city of Paris, France. The Second World War and its aftermath meant that the next tournament was not held until 1950, where hosts Brazil suffered a shock defeat by Uruguay.
The following two tournaments were held in Europe. West Germany emerged in 1954 to inflict the only defeat Hungary suffered in six years, while Brazil finally fulfilled their promise in 1958 with a 5-2 defeat of hosts Sweden.
Brazil retained the trophy in Chile in 1962, and their third victory in Mexico in 1970 saw them win the Jules Rimet trophy for keeps. In between, England had beaten arch-rivals West Germany at Wembley in 1966. Holland emerged as a European rival to the sublime skills of the Brazilians in the 1970s, but were defeated in successive finals by hosts West Germany in 1974 and Argentina in 1978.
Spain failed to make it a "hosts hat-trick" in 1982, with Italy beating West Germany. The Germans again fell at the final hurdle to Argentina in Mexico in 1986, but it was third time lucky when they beat Argentina in Italy in 1990.
The USA, World Cup minnows since making the semi-finals back in 1930, put on the biggest of shows in 1994, where the final between Brazil and Italy went all the way to penalties and victory for the South Americans. Despite the great Ronaldo, Brazil could not retain their title against the hosts France in 1998.