FIFA World Cup History: Winners, Hosts, Stats

by Anne B. Robinson

The World Cup is one of the great traditions in sports. It is an international event that has been played for nearly 100 years, an event that brings fans and players from around the world together in an unmatched global spectacle. We are nearing the 2022 World Cup, an event like no other. This thrilling occasion will be set in Qatar, the first World Cup to ever be played in the Middle East. It will also be played in the winter, yet another deviation. It will be a World Cup unlike any other in the history of this incredible game.

Fans will flock to the best sports betting sites to place wagers on their favorite teams as we see countries jockeying for their chance to hoist the most prestigious trophy in sports. Reading FIFA World Cup betting tips will prepare you for this event, but so will understanding the proud history of the World Cup. There’s so much to know and understand about this incredible event. Below, we’ll be looking at the history of the World Cup, exploring the previous winners, hosts, and stats that have defined this incredible international spectacle.


This year, there are many teams that appear as potential favorites to win it all. Winning the World Cup puts teams in the prestigious company amongst some of the greatest players to ever touch the pitch, including legends like Diego Maradona and Pelé. The first-ever World Cup was played in 1930 and featured only teams from Europe, South America, and North America. 13 teams played, and Uruguay ultimately triumphed. The field has since expanded to 32 teams.

Only a select few countries have ever won the World Cup. Three countries from South America have won it, and five countries from Europe have lifted the trophy. Spain and England have both won once, Uruguay, France, and Argentina have both won twice, and Germany and Italy have both won four times. The team that has dominated the World Cup the most is Brazil. They have won the World Cup a record five times. They are also the only team to qualify for every World Cup.

Europe has dominated the past several World Cups, including the 2018 iteration, which was dominated by a powerful French team. The last four World Cups have been won by European teams, with the last South American victory coming from Brazil in 2002. In a year where nothing is like it has previously been, could this be the first time a team from Africa, Asia, Oceania, or North America wins it all?


The World Cup’s location has been the subject of controversy in recent years, particularly with Qatar and Russia hosting the last two iterations of the event. In the long history of the tournament, many countries have hosted this spectacular occasion and enjoyed welcoming the world to their nation. The World Cup has been played in Europe, North America, South America, Africa, and Asia, with the only continent missing being Oceania. This year is the first time the World Cup has been played in the Middle East, with the intense summer heat pushing this tournament to winter.

The first World Cup was hosted by the team that would go on to win it, Uruguay. The most recent World Cup took place in Russia. For fans of soccer in North America, the next World Cup will be one to look forward to, as Canada, the United States, and Mexico are jointly hosting the event.

Overall, the World Cup has taken place in Asia twice, including Qatar, Africa once, North America three times, South America five times, and Europe 11 times. Countries must submit applications to be considered as hosts for the next World Cup.


Over the course of the many tournaments played, there have been some compelling stats. While these stats may not give us any real indication of what is to come in this year’s World Cup, they do highlight the incredible past of the sport and the many talented players and teams that have defined this global tournament.

The all-time leader in goals scored in the World Cup is the German striker Miroslav Klose. He scored a record 16 goals in the tournament across four different World Cup appearances, highlighting his longevity. In second place is legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo, who scored 15 goals in the tournament.

In the long history of the World Cup, only one player has won the tournament three times. That player is Brazilian legend Pelé, who had a legendary World Cup career. There are three different players that have appeared in five World Cup tournaments, with one of them, Germany’s Lothar Matthaus, holding the record for most matches played with 25. The record for the most goals in a single World Cup tournament is the incredible 13 goals that were scored by France’s Just Fontaine in the 1958 tournament. Who knows what records will be set or added to in this year’s tournament.

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