12 World Cups Facts That Explain Why Football Is Loved by Millions
For most people, the World Cup is the only sporting event they’d wait for 4 long years. So, the whole world seems to stop when it’s finally time to turn on the TV and enjoy a few matches. Since 1930, the World Cup has been a celebration that has given us unusual and incredible anecdotes. Here are some that we cannot forget.
1. The youngest player to score a goal in the World Cup
It was 1958, and the World Cup was held in Sweden when a young player from the Brazilian national team appeared and changed the history of soccer forever: Pelé. At only 17 years of age, he scored his first World Cup goal, taking his team past the quarterfinals. Unbeknownst to him, the youngster would soon become the youngest two-time champion and the only player to have won three world titles. In addition, of course, to being the legend he was meant to become.
2. Come back, it’s not over yet!
In the inaugural World Cup of 1930, in Uruguay, Brazilian referee Almeida Rego lost track of time and blew the whistle to mark the end of the Argentina-France match 6 minutes before it was scheduled to end. The Argentines were leading 1-0, and the French planned a comeback when the referee blew the final whistle.
The Argentinian team rejoiced while the French protested. The referee then rectified the mistake and ordered the remaining six minutes to be played. The police on horseback had to be called in to force the fans off the pitch and bring the Argentine team back. The six minutes were played, but the score didn’t change.
3. The first World Cup broadcasted in color
The 1970 World Cup in Mexico was one of the most memorable events in the sport’s history because it was the first to have color broadcasting. It was also the first World Cup broadcast worldwide, the first to be played outside Europe and South America, and the first to feature now-classic elements such as penalty cards and substitutions.
4. The game with the most goals in history
The quarterfinals of the 1954 World Cup included a match between Switzerland and Austria. And while it may seem like the most normal match ever, it soon became apparent that this was not the case. In total, 12 goals were scored: 7 by Austria and 5 by the hosts. This is the highest number of goals scored (so far) in a single World Cup match.
5. The fastest goal of the World Cup
Epic Soccer anecdotes are not only a thing of the past. In the 2002 Korea-Japan Cup, Hakan Şükür scored the fastest goal of all World Cups during the match between South Korea and Turkey. Turkey’s goal arrived only 11 seconds after the match started.
6. Siblings in opposing teams
At the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, a situation never seen before in the history of the World Cup took place. The Boateng brothers faced each other in the same match with different teams. The match was Ghana vs. Germany in the group stage. Jérôme Boateng played for the German team, while Kevin-Prince Boateng played for Ghana.
7. Top scorer in a World Cup
When speaking of top scorers, people probably think of well-known characters like Maradona, Pelé, Ronaldo, or even Messi. But the honor of top scorer goes to Frenchman Just Fontaine, who still holds the record today, with 13 goals in 6 games in Sweden’s 1958 World Cup.
8. Origin of the Mexican wave
What’s now known as the Mexican wave was born in a baseball stadium. What’s undoubtedly true is that before 1986 it had never been seen in a soccer stadium. Then, in the match between Bulgaria and Italy, cameras quickly captured the movement in the stands. That was the first wave in the world of soccer, and it took place in Mexico City’s Aztec Stadium, hence the name.
9. The World Cup travels in its private plane.
When a national team wins the World Cup, it lifts the authentic original trophy in the stadium, but they take a copy home. The replica is made of bronze and is gold-plated. The original, made of 18-karat gold, remains at its headquarters in Switzerland and is flown away in its private plane when the event is over.
10. El llamado “maracanazo”
Maracanaço (in Portuguese), roughly translated as “The Maracanã Smash,” started as a strike of luck. In the 1950’s match between Brazil and Uruguay, something unusual happened. The World Cup final was held at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, and Uruguay was expected to lose. Except that against all odds, they beat Brazil 2-1.
Brazil was expected to win, so much so that fans and some media proclaimed their team world champion days before the match. Even media, such as Sao Paulo’s Gazeta Esportiva and Rio de Janeiro’s O Mundo announced the victory the day before the game.
11. Messi following in the footsteps of Maradona
In Argentina’s match against Mexico in Qatar, Messi equaled Diego Armando Maradona as the Argentine player with the most games in World Cups, with 21 matches total.
12. The shortest World Cup in history
In 2010, it was decided that the 2022 World Cup would be held between November 21 and December 18 in Qatar. This date was chosen because it is the time of the year when the temperature reaches a balmy 77 ºF (25 °C). Of course, this change impacted other leagues, cups, and soccer events, so the decision had to be made to make it a short tournament.
But this was not the first time something like this happened. The shortest World Cup in history so far was held In 1934 in Italy. It lasted only 14 days. Incidentally, the champion was the host country.
What do you remember the most about a World Cup? Which official mascot did you like the most?