The 2014 World Cup in Brazil will conclude this Sunday, July 13 with the final between Argentina and Germany at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. 78,000 fans will be able cheer on their teams in the famous stadium while most of us will be glued to our TV (or other) screens. We thought this would be a perfect opportunity to take a quick tour through 80 years of World Cup poster history. Enjoy!
13 teams participated “by invitation” in this first World Cup. For the Europeans, the trip to Uruguay was especially costly. In the end, only 4 European teams were persuaded to make the trip. They joined 7 South and 2 North American teams. Uruguay defeated Argentina 4-2 in the final and became the first nation to win the World Cup. Total attendance was 590,000.
The second World Cup included a qualification stage and had 16 countries participating (this number would not change until the 1982). Uruguay boycotted the Cup because of the poor European attendance four years prior. Italy became the first European team to win a World Cup beating Czechoslovakia 2-1 in the final.
Italy won its second title with a 4-2 win over Hungary. Argentina and Uruguay boycotted the competition as a European country was again chosen to host the World Cup. Polish striker Ernest Willimowski became the first player to score four goals in a World Cup game (during Poland’s 6–5 loss against Brazil). His record (while equalized) held until the the 1994 World Cup).
The 1942 and 1946 tournaments were canceled due to World War II.
The tournament resumed in 1950 in Brazil. England participated for the first time but failed to advance by a surprise 1-0 loss to the United States. Uruguay returned to play and became champions for the second time in a surprise 2-1 win over Brazil. The game would later be known as “Maracanazo”, roughly translated as “The Maracana Blow” — a term that was repetitively used by the media after the German 7-1 blowout against Brazil in the 2014 semi-finals. Overall attendance set a record of 1.2 million. The final alone set a record for the highest attendance at any sporting match at approximately 200,000.
The 1954 Cup in Switzerland was the first one to be broadcast on television. Hungary was the clear favorite (they had won the Olympic soccer competition in 1952). In the “Miracle of Bern,” however, the Hungarians were defeated by the German underdogs in a dramatic 3-2 final (Germany coming back from being down 0-2). In the group stages, Hungary had defeated the Germans 8-3. Germany became the third nation to win a World Cup.
Brazil won its first World Cup in 1958, defeating the host country Sweden with 5-2. The tournament saw the rise of young soccer legend Pele who scored 2 goals in the final. French striker Just Fontaine became top scorer with 13 goals in one tournament – a record still standing today.
Brazil won consecutive championships and its second title in Chile beating Czechoslovakia in the final with 3-1. Another historic World Cup moment was Colombia’s Marcos Coll’s goal scored directly from a corner kick. Until today, it was the only one ever made in a World Cup
Host England won its first title with the still controversial “Wembley goal” in a 4-2 win against Germany (in overtime). Geoff Hurst scored the only hat-rick (3 goals) in a World Cup final. The 1966 Cup was the first to embrace marketing with an official logo and mascot. Total attendance reached a new high of 1,6 million.
In 1970, Brazil became the first nation to win a World Cup three times and was thus allowed to keep the Jules Rimet trophy. In the final, the Brazilian team defeated Italy, another contender for three titles, with 4-1. The tournament was also remembered for its dramatic semi-final between Italy and Germany when 5 goals were scored in overtime (Italy won 4-3). Attendance was again at an all time high.
In its first “home” World Cup, Germany took home the new World Cup trophy (and its second overall title) with a 2-1 win over the Netherlands. It was the Dutch, however, who captured the soccer world’s attention in 1974 with its “Total Football” system of play. Attendance reached a new high of 1,8 million.
In Argentina, yet another host country won the trophy, defeating the Netherlands with 3-1. The Dutch were runners-up for the second time in a row.
The 1982 tournament saw an expansion from 16 to 24 teams and a change in group play and regulations. Italy took home its third title by defeating Germany with 3-1. Memorable: Hungary’s 10-1 victory over El Salvador was the only game ever seeing a team scoring 10 goals. Controversial: Germany’s 1-0 win over Austria saw 2 teams aiming to maintain a score over 80 minutes to secure them both a spot in the next round.
Mexico became host for the second time. The format was changed again and added a knock-out competition for the last 16 teams. Argentina wins its second title with a 3-2 win over Germany (which lost its second consecutive final). Memorable: Diego Maradona’s “hand of God” scored against England with his hand; in the same match, Maradona also made history with a phenomenal goal by dribbling half the length of a field around 5 English players before scoring.
Four years later, Germany got its revenge, dethroning Argentina’s Maradona in the final with 1-0 and winning its third title. Attendance reached 2.5 million.
The 1994 tournament in the United States saw the first World Cup final decided by penalty kicks: Brazil beat Italy 3-2 (after 120 scoreless minutes), taking home its 4th title. So far, this was the tournament with the highest attendance: 3.5 million fans flooded the stadiums.
The 1998 tournament saw an increase in the number of teams (32) as well as its first “golden goal” in World Cup history with France beating Paraguay 1-0 in the prelims. The host country once again became the champion: France won its first title beating Brazil 3-0.
South Korea / Japan 2002:
2002 saw the first World Cup played in Asia with two hosting nations. Brazil beat Germany in the final with 2-0, clenching its 5th World Cup title.
Germany hosted its second World Cup. The final witnessed Italy beating France in a 5-3 penalty shootout (after a 1-1 tie) and taking home its 4th trophy.
South Africa 2010:
The first World Cup on the African continent was won by Spain. The Spaniards defeated the Dutch with 1-0 in overtime. Spain won the trophy despite scoring only 8 goals in their 7 matches and losing its opening match to Switzerland.
The current tournament has seen plenty of upsets in its opening stages. Spain, the 2 time reigning European champion and 2010 World Cup champion put on a disappointing performance and went home after the group stages. Italy, always a contender for the title, did not fare any better. Host Brazil was ridiculed during a sensational 1-7 loss to Germany in the semis. Sunday’s final will be the third meeting in a World Cup final between Argentina and Germany. For the Germans, it is their 8th final and their fourth consecutive top 4 placement. Good luck!