Germany's bid to win their chance to welcome the world to their own Weltmeisterschaft was
fraught with pragmatic intrigue. Before a remarkable U-turn from FIFA delegates that is
still wrapped in bribery allegations...
In a tournament characterised by an overwhelming capacity to surprise, with virtually
every underdog having their day, it seemed somehow inappropriate that the final of the
2002 World Cup was contested by two teams...
After a 60-year gap, the World Cup returned to its country of birth. Though the
competition had been expanded to a rather bloated 32 teams, the return to France was to
prove a great success...
In an attempt to convert the 'New World' to a different form of football, FIFA chose
the USA to host the tournament, a decision greeted with massive scepticism. But
despite 'soccer' being way down the American sporting popularity list...
This was, in truth, a poor World Cup. It's a saying among Dutch football fans that poor
quality tournaments are always won by the Germans and, while Dutch-German enmity ought
to be borne in mind, this tournament...
A return to Mexico after just 16 years looks a romantic choice at first glance. In fact,
the return to Central America came as a result of original hosts Colombia's inability to
meet the economic demands of staging "the greatest show on earth"...
Espana 82 was an expanded, and rather unwieldy, tournament with 24 places now up for
grabs for the qualifiers and a changed structure. There was to be a second group stage
once again but with the re-introduction of a semi-final stage...
For the first time in 16 years, the tournament returned to South America, and not without
a little controversy. Argentina was governed by a military junta that had come to power
in bloody fashion and was known to deal with its critics...
Although it was the team's defining moment, Mexico 70 was the end of the era of Brazilian World
Cup dominance. By the time the Mondial returned in 1974, the map of world football had changed...
As with 1966, images of this tournament remain at the forefront of the football fan's memory.
This was the first tournament to be televised in colour and the football played was similarly
vivid. It is remembered as Brazil's finest and defining hour...
No prizes for knowing the outcome of this World Cup. Even Alf Ramsey knew the final result when
in 1963 he proclaimed that England would win the tournament they were set to host. But the
outcome was anything but a forgone conclusion...
After two World Cup championships in Europe, FIFA decided that South America would be the
host continent, and it was a straight shoot-out between Chile and Argentina...
If 1954 saw the final hurrah of Hungary, one of football's greatest ever teams, 1958 was
the beginning of another team's dominance of the World Cup. Brazil and the World Cup are
With the championship returning to Europe and World War II still at the forefront of memories,
FIFA chose to base the World Cup in that most neutral of countries - Switzerland...
With much of Europe still recovering from the turmoil of World War II, FIFA took the decision
to return the championships to South America for the 1950 tournament...
Just as Mussolini had in Italy in 1934, Hitler used the 1936 Olympics as a weapon of propaganda.
So, to avoid any further political chicanery, FIFA chose a 'neutral' venue...
The 1930s was the era of Fascist government. In Benito Mussolini, Italy had a leader who was
eager to use any means necessary to further the message of his Italian empire...
Though it was the English who gave the world organised football, it was the French who
bequeathed football its biggest tournament...