Here’s a look at the World Cup football (soccer) tournaments. The World Cup is organized by FIFA, the Federation Internationale de Football Association. Men’s and women’s tournaments are held every four years.
June 14-July 15, 2018 – The World Cup (men’s) is scheduled to take place in Russia.
June 12-July 13, 2014 – The World Cup takes place in Brazil. Germany wins its fourth World Cup championship by defeating Argentina in extra time, 1-0.
June 7-July 7, 2019 – The Women’s World Cup is scheduled to take place in France.
June 6-July 5, 2015 – The Women’s World Cup takes place in Canada. USA defeats Japan 5-2 to become the only country to win three Women’s World Cup championships.
The Golden Ball award is presented to the most outstanding player at each World Cup finals, as decided by the FIFA Technical Study.
Men’s 2014 Winner: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Women’s 2015 Winner: Carli Lloyd (USA)
The Golden Boot award is presented to the top goal scorer at every World Cup finals:
Men’s 2014 Winner: James Rodriguez (Colombia)
Women’s 2015 Winner: Célia Šašić (Germany)
The Golden Glove award is presented to the tournament’s most outstanding goalkeeper:
Men’s 2014 Winner: Manuel Neuer (Germany)
Women’s 2015 Winner: Hope Solo (USA)
Teams with the most World Cup titles:
Men’s: Brazil has won five times – 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002
Women’s: USA has won three times – 1991, 1999 and 2015
Football kits (uniforms) are often designed using the the country’s national colors. While some countries use the colors from their flags, others use colors that have historical, political or geographical meaning.
Thirty-two teams currently participate in the World Cup.
A phase called the “Preliminary Competition” takes place in the three years preceding each World Cup, where national teams must compete in qualifying matches in order to be eligible for 31 slots. The host nation automatically qualifies to enter.
In the group stage, the teams are drawn into eight groups of four teams each at the beginning of the tournament. After playing in round-robin matches, the top two teams in each group advance to the second round group of 16 teams, which play in successive knock-out rounds to reach the final tournament.
In 2011, FIFA began recognizing the tournament’s best female goalkeeper with the Golden Glove award. USA’s Hope Solo was the recipient of the award in back-to-back World Cups (2011 and 2015).
In the preliminary round, national teams compete in qualifying matches prior to the World Cup in order to be eligible for 23 slots. The host nation automatically qualifies to enter.
In the group stage, the teams are drawn into six groups of four teams each at the beginning of the tournament. After playing in round-robin matches, the top two teams in each group plus the four best third-place teams advance to the second round group of 16 teams, which play in successive knock-out rounds to reach the final tournament.
The 2015 World Cup final match was the most-watched soccer event in US television history (men’s or women’s) with approximately 26.7 million viewers.
July 13-30, 1930 – Uruguay hosts the first World Cup (men’s). Thirteen teams compete and Uruguay wins the tournament, defeating Argentina. Team USA places third.
1942 and 1946 – The men’s tournament is not held because of World War II. Play resumes in 1950.
November 16-30, 1991 – China hosts the first Women’s World Cup, initially known as the FIFA World Championship for Women’s Football for the M&M’s Cup. Team USA defeats Norway in the final match.
May 26, 2003 – Due to an outbreak of SARS, FIFA announces it will move the women’s tournament from China to the United States.
December 2, 2010 – The winning bids for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup finals (men’s) are announced. Russia is named host of the 2018 tournament, and Qatar is selected for 2022, winning out over the United States, Japan and Australia.
2013 – As Brazil preps for the 2014 World Cup, at least five workers are killed in construction accidents in 2013. Thousands of protesters clash with police during the early summer, and the unrest continues throughout the year leading up to the tournament.
June 13, 2018 – The joint bid between Canada, Mexico and the United States wins the right to host the 2026 World Cup. It will be the first time the World Cup will be shared by three host nations.