FIFA World Cup: Through the years
1930: Uruguay | Winner: Uruguay
The FIFA Congress convened in Amsterdam in May 1929 to put together its own world championship and chose Uruguay as the first host country. The economic crisis, however, meant a paltry tournout rate for European football clubs. Nonetheless, the cup opened at Estadio Centenario in Montevideo on July 18, 1930.
1934: Italy | Winner: Italy
Four years later, Italy was chosen over Sweden to host the second World Cup, and the Italians topped Czechoslovakia in the final with a 2-1 victory in extra time. Technological developments allowed the final to be transmitted over the radio for eager listeners around the world.
1938: France | Winner: Italy
FIFA president Jules Rimet saw the World Cup brought to his home nation when France was chosen as the location. A withdrawal from Argentina and a decline to participate from Uruguay threw a few complications into the mix, but new competitors Cuba and the Dutch East Indies both went to Europe to take part. Italy took the title for the second consecutive tournament.
1950: Brazil | Winner: Uruguay
The outbreak of World War II prevented a 1942 Cup from taking place, and the Congress did not meet again until July 1946 to discuss the next event. Brazil was chosen unanimously as the next host, and a new tradition was born: the winning team would receive a trophy named in honor of FIFA president Jules Rimet from that point on. Uruguay, with the help of captain Obdulio Varela, shattered Brazil's hopes of winning on its own soil in the final match.
1954: Switzerland | Winner: West Germany
FIFA officials awarded both the 1950 and 1954 World Cups on the same day, the latter going to Switzerland. And while Hungary was commonly regarded as the world's best team at the time, the nation was stunned in a 3-2 upset by the Germans in the final, which became known as the Miracle of the Berne.
1958: Sweden | Winner: Brazil
Change and triumph marked the 1958 World Cup, the first with international television coverage, the only time any player scored 13 times in six matches (a record set by French forward Just Fontaine that still stands today) and, with a Brazilian victory, the first time a team had claimed the World Cup trophy playing on a different continent.
1962: Chile | Winner: Brazil
When Brazilian footballer Pele was sidelined with an injury early in the tournament, a new star was born: Manuel Francisco dos Santos, who became known as "Garrincha" and carried his team to its second straight World Cup. A French newspaper dubbed Garrincha "the most extraordinary right winger football has known."
1966: England | Winner: England
Football was brought back to its birthplace and the home nation's 4-2 victory was partly driven by its youngest player, midfielder Alan Ball, and the leadership of striker Geoff Hurst. Hurst's two goals in overtime lifted England to a thrilling win over West Germany.
1970: Mexico | Winner: Brazil
In celebrated Brazilian footballer Pele's last round on the world stage, his team beat Italy 4-1 to take its third world title. Television viewers around the world, for the first time, could watch the event in color.
1974: West Germany | Winner: West Germany
When the Congress chose hosts for the next three World Cups, Spain and West Germany compromised. West Germany relinquished its 1982 bid, giving the spot to Spain, while Spain withdrew from the 1974 bid, guaranteeing West Germany its spot as host. The West Germans, spearheaded by Franz Beckenbauer, rose to the occasion to claim the title.
1978: Argentina | Winner: Argentina
The home nation's triumph was another heartbreak for the Dutch, who were runners up for the second year in a row. The victory was a first for the Argentines, who'd missed the title after losing to Uruguay in the 1930 final.
1982: Spain | Winner: Italy
Emerging from a two-year ban from football, Italian striker Paolo Rossi's Golden Shoe contained within it a story of redemption as he helped guide the team to its third World Cup title.
1986: Mexico | Winner: Argentina
Though Mexico was struck with a devastating earthquake one year before the World Cup, its spirit was not broken, and the stadiums were still fit to host. Morocco became the first African team to make it through the first round, but the title ultimately went to the Argentines, led by fiery captain Diego Maradona.
1990: Italy | Winner: West Germany
West Germany's victory was especially sweet for Franz Beckenbauer, who celebrated the nation's World Cup victory as a coach after winning it as a player earlier in his career. Italy poured resources into ensuring the Cup had top-notch facilities, remodeling ten stadiums and building two more in Bari and Turin.
1994: United States | Winner: Brazil
The sport may have had a different name in America, but there was no shortage of football enthusiasm when the tournament came to the United States for the first time. A record number of fans packed the stadiums, Bulgaria won its first ever World Cup match to upset the Germans while the Brazilians, again, took home the Cup.
1998: France | Winner: France
The nation of the World Cup's founding father finally saw its day of glory when it defeated Brazil in the final match. Emotional fans poured into the Champs Elysees, proudly waving French flags, to celebrate.
2002: Japan & South Korea | Winner: Brazil
Two nations shared custody of the event, bringing it to the Asian continent for the first time. When Brazilian team captain Cafu hoisted the trophy above his head, the nation added another accomplishment to its resume: it had now won the Cup on every continent that had hosted.
2006: Germany | Winner: Italy
Under the leadership of coach Marcello Lippi, the Italian team tackled the Cup with camaraderie, while the Germans approached the event with the phrase "A time to make friends," welcoming visiting teams and fans with hospitality.
2010: South Africa | Winner: Spain
With a Cup-long show of pride, spirit and determination, the African continent hosted its first World Cup, while Spain claimed the trophy for the first time. Andres Iniesta's final goal to top the Netherlands was even witnessed by Nelson Mandela, who made an appearance before the final.
2014: Brazil | Winner: Germany
"The beautiful game," a phrase coined by legendary Brazilian footballer Pele, was brought back to the 1950 host. 2010 Champion Spain exited quickly, little Costa Rica put up a valiant performance to win their group, Brazil was slaughtered in the semifinals and the Germans defeated Argentina in the final. American fans became a bit more enthused about soccer, too: the final was the most-watched soccer game in U.S. history.
Russian president Vladimir Putin attended the World Cup in Brazil as a VIP and has big plans for when the Cup comes to his home country. He reportedly intends to spend $20 billion on the 2018 event, which would be the most expensive Cup in history.