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.