PHOTOS & VIDEOS
World Cup 1930
The first ever World Cup was held in Uruguay in 1930. Uruguay defeated Argentina 4-2. Before the final, neither side could agree on whose ball to use. The solution? The teams played with Argentina’s ball during the first half and Uruguay’s in the second. That was just the first of many soccer disputes to come!
World Cup 1950
The scheduled World Cups of 1942 and 1946 were canceled due to the outbreak of World War II. Brazil hosted the 1950 competition and was widely expected to beat Uruguay in the final. They were so confident that they prepared gold medals and a victory anthem. But Brazil lost 2-1 and the 210,000-person crowd went silent.
World Cup 1958
Soccer star Pelé broke out on the World Cup stage in 1958. He scored two goals in the final against the host country, Sweden. It was overwhelming for the 17-year-old, who shed tears at the final whistle. Pelé is still regarded by many experts as the best soccer player of all time.
World Cup 1966
The 1966 World Cup was memorable. It was the first to feature a mascot. It also had one of the most controversial goals in a World Cup final. England's Geoff Hurst took a shot in extra time against West Germany. It hit the crossbar and crossed the goal line—according to one official, at least. England, the host, took a 3-2 lead and won 4-2. Hurst scored the only hat trick to date in a final.
World Cup 1982
When you picture an exciting game, you may picture one like the 1982 World Cup. Italy’s Marco Tardelli scored the second goal to put his team up 2-0 against West Germany. After he scored, he ran excitedly to the crowd. Tardelli’s team won 3-1 and Italy took home its third World Cup.
World Cup 2002
The 2002 World Cup was the first to have joint hosts, in this case Japan and South Korea. At age 13, Souleymane Mamam of Togo became the youngest player ever to participate in a World Cup preliminary game. Brazil won the tournament for a record fifth time, beating Germany 2-0 in the final.
World Cup 2006
The 2006 World Cup was held in Germany. The final, which pitted France against Italy, attracted an estimated audience of 715 million people. Zinedine Zidane of France headbutted the chest of a player on the Italian team. Zidane’s foul play got him removed from the game. Italy went on to win 5–3 in a penalty shootout. The 2006 series stands as one of the most-watched events in television history, with about 26.29 billion viewers worldwide.