Brazil is the only country of all FIFA World Cup winners to have won the tournament five times. Only eight countries have secured the World Cup, with Brazil, Germany, and Italy accounting for 13 of the 20 all-time winners. Let’s take a look at all the winners from 1930-1978.
The inaugural 1930 FIFA World Cup champions were decided in the football tournament’s championship game. It was a “rematch” of the 1928 Olympic gold medal game between Uruguay and Argentina, in which Uruguay ultimately prevailed after a replay.
Italy overcame a one-goal deficit to defeat the United States 2-1 in the second iteration of the football quadrennial tournament in the 1934 FIFA World Cup Final.
Italy became the first of two nations to win back-to-back World Cups with a 4-2 victory over Hungary. The only manager to have won more than one World Cup is Vittorio Pozzo, the manager of Italy at the time.
The 1950 FIFA World Cup final between Uruguay and Brazil was decided by that game, with Uruguay winning their second World Cup.
1954: West Germany
West Germany was one of all the FIFA World Cup winners that defeated the strongly favored Golden Team of Hungary 3-2 in the 1954 FIFA World Cup Final, which served as the curtain-raiser for the fifth FIFA World Cup.
Pele, long regarded as the best player ever, made his World Cup debut at age 17 in the 1958 competition. He recorded an assist in his debut, a hat trick in Brazil’s semifinal victory, and two goals in the championship match.
The 1962 FIFA World Cup Final served as the championship game, as Brazil prevailed 3-1 to win the tournament for the second time in a row.
In the championship game, Geoff Hurst scored three goals, helping England defeat West Germany 4-2. Additionally, it was the first time since 1934 that the host nation successfully defended its own field and claimed the World Cup.
Brazil won its third World Cup in four tournaments, making the 1970 FIFA World Cup Final the first time two past world champions faced off in a championship game.
1974: West Germany
West Germany defeated the Netherlands 2-1 in the 1974 FIFA World Cup Final, which featured the Netherlands and West Germany. Johan Neeskens’ penalty in the second minute gave the Netherlands the lead. However, Paul Breitner tied the score with another penalty in the 25th, and Gerd Müller scored the game-winning goal in the 43rd to give West Germany its second FIFA World Cup.
Argentina‘s team prevailed 3-1 after extra time to win the 1978 FIFA World Cup. The player of the match was Mario Kempes, who recorded the highest scoring total for the competition. The Netherlands suffered a second straight World Cup final defeat.
1982 saw the addition of 24 nations—previously there were between 13 and 16 teams—and the introduction of the penalty shootout to the World Cup. A semifinal game that featured the game-ending format saw West Germany defeat France 5-4 to progress.
During the 1986 competition, Diego Maradona scored two goals that will go down in history, both of which came in the same match. Maradona not only scored the Hand of God but also the Goal of the Century against England in Argentina’s quarterfinal game. Argentina won 2-0 over Belgium in the semifinals thanks to two goals from the captain, and West Germany was edged 3-2 by Argentina to complete its second World Cup victory.
1990: West Germany
West Germany dominated the knockout stage after winning Group D with two victories and a draw. The team beat the Netherlands and Czechoslovakia 2-1 and 1-0, respectively, to start the tournament’s elimination phase. West Germany defeated England in a shootout to get to the final, and then defeated Argentina thanks to a penalty from Andreas Brehme in the 85th minute. West and East Germany would now compete as a single unit moving forward.
Brazil, a proud soccer nation, hadn’t advanced to a World Cup final in the 24 years before the 1994 competition. In the US, Romario and Bebeto contributed to ending that run. Eight goals were scored by the pair, four of which came in the knockout rounds. In a 0-0 final, Brazil needed penalties to defeat Italy, although Romario was one of the shootout’s three goal scorers.
In the first-ever 32-team World Cup, Brazil made it back to the final in 1998, but a strong France team stopped back-to-back victories. Before a few close games, the host country easily advanced through the group stage with a plus-eight goal difference. There was the 1-0 victory against Paraguay in extra time, the penalty shootout success over Italy in the quarters, and the 2-1 victory over Croatia in the semifinals. The final was less tense because Brazil lost 3-0 to France thanks to two goals from Zinedine Zidane.
Brazil, though, would not give up four years later. Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and Rivaldo, a three-headed monster, led the nation to its fifth World Cup. Ronaldo scored eight goals overall, including all three goals in the semifinal and championship game. Of those eight goals, four came in the knockout stages. Rivaldo scored five goals, while Ronaldinho scored twice, including the game-winning goal against England in the quarterfinal.
In the 2006 World Cup final, which is infamous for Zinedine Zidane’s headbutting incident, there was a second shootout. Italy defeated France and won the trophy thanks to a 5-3 advantage in the penalty shootout.
Yellow was the most frequently used color in the 2010 championship; referee Howard Webb displayed it 14 times. Seven minutes later, Spain became one of all the FIFA World Cup winners that won the competition after the Netherlands lost Johnny Heitinga to a defensive blunder on a clearance in extra time.
It seems like 24 years is the magic number for ending a drought. After so much time, Brazil (1994) and Italy (2006) both ended their championship droughts, and Germany, which had been absent from the top spot for 24 years, recaptured it in 2014. The semifinal game between Germany and host Brazil, which Germany beat 7-1, was the most spectacular moment of the competition. In the 113th minute of extra time, Mario Gotze scored the game’s lone goal against Lionel Messi and Argentina. Germany saw six players score multiple goals throughout the competition.
France won the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final, claiming a second World Cup trophy after their triumph in 1998. While Luka Modric of Croatia received the Golden Ball as FIFA’s best player of the tournament, Griezmann was voted the man of the match.
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