Betting the FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup is the men’s soccer tournament of national teams worldwide. Also known as the World Cup, the tournament was created in 1930 and is held every 4 years, except in 1942 and 1946, due to World War II. In total, there have been 20 tournaments since its inception.

Why Was the FIFA World Cup Created?

In 1928, FIFA decides to create their own international tournament, due to the upcoming 1932 Summer Olympics. Because of it’s low popularity as a sport, it was not included in the program for those Olympics, hence the birth of the World Cup. Jules Rimet, FIFA president at that time, was who made the decision to create the tournament.

Uruguay was selected as the first host, as it’s centenary of independence was that year and they we’re already two time world champions via the Olympics in 1924 and 1928. Although the travel was one of the main issues of playing the tournament in Uruguay, Rimet was able to bring 13 nations (two from North America, four from Europe and seven from South America).

The first FIFA World Cup inaugurated on 18 July, 1930 at the Estadio Centenario in Montevideo.

How Has the Tournament Evolved Throughout History?

When the tournament started 1930, it had 13 teams, meaning that it was divided into 4 groups of 3 or 4 teams, making it uneven. The group winners would head to a single elimination knockout round to crown the champions. From 1934 to 1938, it became 16 teams and it was straight into the knockout phase, with no need for a group phase.

By 1950, it was still 16 teams and it had a 4 groups of 4, but instead of a knockout round, it went into a round-robin group to determine the champions, but that was the only time the tournament was left without its final match. From 1954 to 1970, FIFA decided to use a format, similar to what we know today. It was 4 groups of 4 with a knockout stage of 8 teams, with a group winner and runner-up advancing to a single elimination stage. From 1974 to 1978, still it remained as 16 teams, but instead of a knockout round, it became another group phase. It would be 8 teams split into 2 groups of 4. The group winners would face each other in the final match and the runner-ups played for the third place.

In 1982, it expanded to 24 teams. It became 6 groups of 4 teams, with two teams of each advancing to the next round, making it 12 teams split into 4 groups of 3. Another group phase was played with the winner of each group would head into the knockout phase. But by the following World Cup in 1986, there was another change. It still remained with 24 teams divided into 6 groups of 4. The best two teams and four best third place teams with head to the knockout stage. The way the best third places were determined were by points accrued, with goal difference used as the tiebreaker. This lasted until the 1994 World Cup

The tournament expanded into 32 teams in 1998, which is the format we all know today. It became 8 groups of 4, with the best two of each qualifying to the knockout round of 16 teams. This format will remain until Qatar 2022.

By 2026, the World Cup will have 48 teams instead of 36, which is the current number.

Latest Changes For the Upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup

Currently, with the latest change of FIFA’s president, Gianni Infantino, changes have appeared for tournament. For Russia 2018, the use of VAR (Video Assistant Referree) is implemented, which is a video arbitration used in matches. Also, an “additional” substitution change in overtime will be allowed, as well as the use of electronic communication equipment for the technical area, for tactical proposals and player safety.

How Are the Teams Chosen?

For a team to be eligible for the tournament, it has to go through two initial stages:

  • The first is a qualifying process, involving around 200 national teams.
  • The second phase is the final round or the World Cup, where 32 teams participate for a period of one month.

The country which hosts the World Cup that year, automatically qualifies for the tournament.

How Many Teams Are Classified in Each Confederation?

  • UEFA (Union of European Football Associations): 13 places
  • AFC (Asian Football Confederation): 4 seats, one shared with Conmebol
  • CAF (Confederation of African Football): 5 places
  • Conmebol (South American Football Confederation): 4 places, one shared with AFC
  • Concacaf (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football): 3 places, one shared with OFC
  • OFC (Oceania Football Confederation): a shared quota with Concacaf

FIFA World Cup Champions

YearHostsWinnersScore and VenueRunners-upThird PlaceScore and VenueFourth PlaceNumber of Teams
1930UruguayUruguay4–2
Estadio Centenario, Montevideo
ArgentinaUnited StatesYugoslavia13
1934ItalyItaly2–1
Stadio Nazionale PNF, Rome
CzechoslovakiaGermany3–2
Stadio Giorgio Ascarelli, Naples
Austria16
1938FranceItaly4–2
Stade de Colombes, Paris
HungaryBrazil4–2
Parc Lescure, Bordeaux
Sweden16/15
1950BrazilUruguay2–1
Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro
BrazilSwedenSpain16/13
1954SwitzerlandWest Germany3–2
Wankdorfstadion, Bern
HungaryAustria3–1
Hardturm, Zürich
Uruguay16
1958SwedenBrazil5–2
Råsundastadion, Solna
SwedenFrance6–3
Ullevi, Gothenburg
West Germany16
1962ChileBrazil3–1
Estadio Nacional, Santiago
CzechoslovakiaChile1–0
Estadio Nacional, Santiago
Yugoslavia16
1966EnglandEngland4–2
Wembley Stadium, London
West GermanyPortugal2–1
Wembley Stadium, London
Soviet Union16
1970MexicoBrazil4–1
Estadio Azteca, Mexico City
ItalyWest Germany1–0
Estadio Azteca, Mexico City
Uruguay16
1974West GermanyWest Germany2–1
Olympiastadion, Munich
NetherlandsPoland1–0
Olympiastadion, Munich
Brazil16
1978ArgentinaArgentina3–1
Monumental de Nuñez, Buenos Aires
NetherlandsBrazil2–1
Monumental de Nuñez, Buenos Aires
Italy16
1982SpainItaly3–1
Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid
West GermanyPoland3–2
Estadio José Rico Pérez, Alicante
France24
1986MexicoArgentina3–2
Estadio Azteca, Mexico City
West GermanyFrance4–2
Estadio Cuauhtémoc, Puebla
Belgium24
1990ItalyWest Germany1–0
Stadio Olimpico, Rome
ArgentinaItaly2–1
Stadio San Nicola, Bari
England24
1994United StatesBrazil0–0
Rose Bowl, Pasadena
ItalySweden4–0
Rose Bowl, Pasadena
Bulgaria24
1998FranceFrance3–0
Stade de France, Saint-Denis
BrazilCroatia2–1
Parc des Princes, Paris
Netherlands32
2002South Korea & JapanBrazil2–0
International Stadium, Yokohama
GermanyTurkey3–2
Daegu Stadium, Daegu
South Korea32
2006GermanyItaly1–1
Olympiastadion, Berlin
FranceGermany3–1
Gottlieb-Daimler-Stadion, Stuttgart
Portugal32
2010South AfricaSpain1–0
Soccer City, Johannesburg
NetherlandsGermany3–2
Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium, Port Elizabeth
Uruguay32
2014BrazilGermany1–0
Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro
ArgentinaNetherlands3–0
Estádio Nacional, Brasília
Brazil32
2018RussiaLuzhniki Stadium, MoscowSaint Petersburg Stadium, Saint Petersburg32
2022Qatar32

Teams That Have Reached the Top Four

TeamTitlesRunners-upThird PlaceFourth PlaceTop 4
Finishes
Top 3
Finishes
Top 2
Finishes
Brazil5 (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)2 (1950*, 1998)2 (1938, 1978)2 (1974, 2014*)1197
Germany^4 (1954, 1974*, 1990, 2014)4 (1966, 1982, 1986, 2002)4 (1934, 1970, 2006*, 2010)1 (1958)13128
Italy4 (1934*, 1938, 1982, 2006)2 (1970, 1994)1 (1990*)1 (1978)876
Argentina2 (1978*, 1986)3 (1930, 1990, 2014)& —& —555
Uruguay2 (1930*, 1950)& —& —3 (1954, 1970, 2010)522
France1 (1998*)1 (2006)2 (1958, 1986)1 (1982)542
England1 (1966*)& —& —1 (1990)211
Spain1 (2010)& —& —1 (1950)211
Netherlands3 (1974, 1978, 2010)1 (2014)1 (1998)543