World Cup History
The 2018 World Cup in Russia will be the 21st World Cup finals and the first time the finals have been played in the country. We've highlighted below some of the more historic moments of the World Cup, with links to the latest betting for the 2018 finals in Russia.
World Cup Beginnings 1930 - 1938
The first World Cup was held in 1930 after FIFA President Jules Rimet saw the opportunity for a global tournament following the success of the football tournaments with the Olympic Games. Uruguay was chosen to host the first World Cup but its far flung destination meant that most European Nations declined to send a team with just France, Belgium, Romania and Yugoslavia turning up for the event.
The first ever World Cup goal was scored by Lucien Laurent of France during their 4-1 win over Mexico. The tournament was eventually won by the hosts Uruguay who defeated Argentina 4-2 in the first ever World Cup final in Montevideo.
Over the next few years the tournament struggled to get off the ground due to teams unwillingness to takes part and of course World War II lead to an interruption of the competition.
The World Cup in the Fifties 1950 - 1958
After the war, the World Cup got back into full swing in 1950, with Brazil hosting a competition comprising of twelve nations. This was England's first taste of the World Cup Finals and is famous for their 1-0 defeat at the hands of the United States, a team they will meet in the first match of their 2010 campaign in South Africa.
Uruguay won their second World Cup and although there was no World Cup final, due to the competition being decided via a round robin format, it was the Uruguayan's 2-1 defeat of hosts Brazil that proved crucial for their victory.
West Germany won their first World Cup in Swizerland in 1954 beating Hungary in the final, but one of the most famous World Cups in history was the 1958 tournament which was held in Sweden and saw the debut of a 17 year old boy named Pele.
Brazil dominated the event with Pele bursting onto the world scene with some great displays. He would score the winner in the quarter-final, a hat-trick in the semi-final and another two goals in the final against Sweden, to propel himself into stardom. Pele would go onto become a World Cup legend and play for Brazil in four World Cups and winning the trophy three more times.
England's World Cup Win 1962 - 1966
Brazil followed up on their first World Cup win four years later by winning the 1962 finals in Chile. Brazil beat Czechoslovakia 3-1 in the final, but the World had come to grips with a young Pele, who only managed to score one goal throughout the tournament. Brazil knocked England out at the quarter-finals stage, but the English would have their day four years later.
England were World Champions in 1966, winning the World Cup on home soil beating West Germany 4-2 after extra time at Wembley. The win made household names of the likes of manager Alf Ramsay and captian Bobby Moore, whilst players such as Bobby Charlton, Alan Ball and Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick in the final, gained world wide recognition.
The World Cup in Colour 1970 - 1978
There were three World Cup finals in the seventies, Brazil kicking it off in Mexico 1970 winning their third World Championship beating Italy 4-1 in what is known by many as the best final. West Germany got revenge for their final defeat at the hands of England four years earlier by knocking Alf Ramsay's men out at the quarter-final stage.
Four years later in 1974, West Germany hosted the World Cup for the first time and won the title beating a Netherlands side featuring Johann Cruyff 2-1 in the final. The Netherlands side jumped to prominence in the seventies with Ajax dominating European club competition during the middle of the century and the National side reaching their second successive final in 1978. Unfortunately for them, Argentina became the fifth side to win the World Cup as hosts, beating the Netherlands 3-1 after extra time in the final.
Maradona's World Cup 1982 - 1986
The 1982 World Cup was hosted by Spain and Italy won the competition for the third time beating West Germany in the final. A young precocious talent by the name of Diego Maradona entered the International stage for the first time but saw red in a second group round clash with Brazil. Maradona would have to wait four years to stamp his authority on the competition.
The 1986 Tournament in Mexico would become famous for one man and one man only and that was the mercurial Diego Armando Maradona who would lead Argentina to World Cup glory. Maradona became infamous during the 1986 quarter-final against England when he scored the 'hand of god' goal where he literally punched the ball into the net and to the worlds amazement the referee allowed the goal to stand. Just moments later Maradona then weaved his way from inside his own half to score one of the greatest goals ever scored.
These two events summed up Maradona perfectly and they would go onto to lift the trophy, defeating West Germany in the final.
World Cup Penalties 1990 - 1998
Penalties game to the fore in the 1990 World Cup in Italy with England and hosts Italy both losing out in the semi-finals to shoot-outs. The final, contested by West Germany and Argentina was decided by a single penalty strike in normal time which meant West Germany won their second World Cup in their third consecutive final attempt.
1994 saw the World Cup move to the United States, which is nearly as famous for Diana Ross's missed penalty in the opening ceremony as it was for Roberto Baggio's shoot-out miss in the final which gifted Brazil their fourth win in the competition.
France became the sixth host nation to lift the World Cup in 1998, beating an off colour Brazil 3-0 in the final in Paris. David Beckham leapt to prominence in this tournament after being sent off for a kick-out at Diego Simeone of Argentina in the second round, a match England eventually went out on penalties once again.
The World Cup travels East 2002 - 2006
The 2002 World Cup goes down in history as being the first time the tournament was hosted in Asia and the first time the World Cup had two hosts as Japan and South Korea split the duties. South Korea faired the better of the hosts, making it all the way to the semi-finals but Brazil won their record fifth title.
More recently in 2006 it was Italy who once again took the trophy after defeating France on penalties in the Final. The game is famous for Zinedine Zidane getting sent off for an outrageous head butt on Italian centre-half Marco Materazzi. Zidane, who was perhaps the best player of his generation was playing his last ever game of football before retiring to add to the drama in what was a relatively poor match.