For soccer fans, the FIFA World Cup is the ultimate experience for living and enjoying their passion for the sport.
Still, even the most devoted supporters of the sport could learn a thing or two from our list of tantalising titbits about the biggest World Cup event in the world.
Here’s just some of what we bet you never knew about the World Cup.
Brazil Leads The Way
The only team to have played in every soccer World Cup ever hosted is Brazil. What’s more, they’re the current forerunners with 5 World Cup titles in the bag.
So prominent has Brazil’s role been in the World Cup over the years, that in the final match of 1950, when Uruguay stunned the world by beating Brazil 2-1, FIFA president Jules Rimet had no speech to deliver because he had only prepared one in Portuguese.
Sadly, Brazil health authorities reported a significant rise in suicides immediately after that disastrous final.
The Original Trophy Is No More
The very first FIFA World Cup trophy ever was a statue of the Greek goddess of victory, Nike, and was fashioned out of pure gold.
Originally named “Victory” it was renamed the “Jules Rimet Trophy” in 1946.
However, while initially a floating trophy, a change to the rules allowed Brazil to hold on to their third World Cup trophy following their victory in 1970.
So careful had Brazil been to protect the trophy that it was kept in a case surrounded by bullet-proof glass. But in 1983, cunning thieves managed to pry open the glass casing with the help of a crowbar.
The original trophy was never recovered.
The Trophy Made “Pickles” Famous
Brazil wasn’t the first country to lose control over the initial World Cup trophy.
Following England’s 1966 World Cup win, they took it on tour for showing it off all over the country. During one such tour-stop, at Westminster’s Central Hall, the cup was stolen during a religious service.
Lucky for England, a man named David Corbett was walking his dog in Upper Norwood days after the trophy was nicked.
Not far into their walk, Pickles the black-and-white pup sniffed out an object wrapped in newspapers and wedged under a hedge of shrubbery.
Not only did Pickles achieve global fame for discovering the missing WC trophy, but he also got a year’s supply of delicious puppy grub for a job well done. He would also later go on to star in several films.
The Curse Of Playing Away
Soccer World Cup history dictates that playing at home is more likely to land a trophy than playing away.
Host nations have won an incredible six World Cups:
- Uruguay – 1930
- Italy – 1934
- England – 1966
- (West) Germany – 1974
- Argentina – 1978
- France – 1998
Germany Champs Of Shootouts
It’s true: Germany have never lost in a shootout. Not once.
Shootouts are used for deciding tied elimination matches and the Germans are the undisputed masters of making it count. From their four shootouts so far, Germany have won every single one.