Find all the latest live TV fixtures for World Cup Qualifiers and the World Cup Finals right here.
The FIFA World Cup Tournament
The FIFA World Cup is the ultimate competition for international football teams. Founded in 1930, the competition runs every four years and the destination of each tournament is predetermined by a bidding campaign where countries vie for the honour and privilege to hold it.
Qualification for the final tournament is through each of the six FIFA continental zones Africa, Asia, North and Central America and Caribbean, South America, Oceania, and Europe and see’s the teams from these areas compete in groups to make the cut.
The World Cup Finals, as the tournament itself is known, features the 32 nations that qualified from their respective continental zones. Teams are split into 8 groups of 4 where each team plays each other once. On completion of the group stages the top two from each group then go on to the last 16 knockout phase. From there we progress to the quarter finals, the semi finals and then the final itself.
It has been announced that the 2026 World Cup will have 48 teams playing in 16 groups of three before progressing to a knockout stage featuring 32 teams.
With a total audience of 26.29 billion worldwide viewers for the 2006 finals, The World Cup is one of the biggest sporting events in the world and broadcasting distribution is shared by many companies who try to ensure their unique take on events pleases their viewers.
Because of this reach it is a huge opportunity for sponsorship deals with giants like Adidas, McDonalds and Coca Cola tending to feature.
For the first 40 years of the tournament the winners got the Jules Rimet trophy but after Brazil won their third tournament in 1970 they were awarded the trophy with a new World Cup being designed. Weighing 13.6lb, the trophy is 75% 18 carat gold.
In the 20 World Cups to date only eight different nations have won the trophy with Brazil winning the most amount of times at five. Both Italy and Germany have won the title 4 times and Uruguay, Argentina, Spain, England and France have also won the World Cup.
The following shows the years that the trophy was held and who won;
As you can imagine there are a number of important player records held during the history of the FIFA World Cup.
The most World Cup games played by any one player is held by Lothar Matthaus who has competed in 25 matches for Germany (and West Germany) from 1982 through to 1998. The player to have won the most World Cups is arguably the greatest footballer of all time, Pele. Pele won the World Cup with Brazil in 1958, 1962 and 1970.
Pele also holds the record for the youngest player to play in the final when he was just 17years and 249 days when Brazil beat Sweden in 1958 (he also holds the records for the youngest goal scorer, youngest hat-trick scorer and youngest final scorer) . The Youngest player to have played in the tournament was Norman Whiteside who played for Northern Ireland at the age of 17 years and 41 days. The oldest player to have played at the World Cup was Colombia’s Faryd Mondragon who played in goal against Japan at the age of 43years and 3 days. Dino Zoff, the Italian goal keeper, holds the record for the oldest player in a final at 40 years and 133 days.
The overall leading goal scorer for the World Cup is the German leading scorer, Miroslav Klose. Klose scored 16 goals in 4 tournaments from 2002 to 2014. The most scored in any one tournament is held by the French striker Just Fontaine who scored 13 in 1958.
The most goals scored in any one match is held by former Rangers striker Oleg Salenko who netted five times against Cameroon in 1994. Honourable mention must go out to Australia’s Archie Thompson who scored an incredible 13 goals in the 2002 Oceanic qualifier against American Samoa.