The FIFA ( Federation Internationale De Football Association ) World Cup has been played every four years since 1930, with the exception of the war years of 1942 and 1946.
FIFA was founded in 1904 and made football an official Olympic sport for amatuer players only, in the 1906 Olympic Games in london, England.
It was'nt until the end of the 1928 Olympic Games held in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, that FIFA decided to hold it's own football championship.
Uruguay had been the holder of the Olympic gold medal for the last two competitions, so Uruguay was nominated as the first country to host the World Football Championship.
The year 1930 was chosen to coincide with Uruguay's year of it's centenary of Independence.
In that first contest there were 13 teams, 7 from South America, 4 from Europe and 2 from North America.
The final was played between the host nation Uruguay and it's neighbour Argentina to an audience of 93,000 people.
Uruguay beat Argentina four - two.
THE ORIGINAL WORLD CUP TROPHY.
The cup for the winning team was then called Victory.
The cup was made of sterling silver and Lapis Lazuli and depicted the Greek Goddess, Nike.
The cup's name was changed to the Jules Rimet Cup in 1946 in honour of the founder and first president of FIFA.
This cup was stolen whilst on show in London, on the-20th-of-march 1966. - The cup was onshow in london that year as England was the host country, the country did not win the cup until 31 of July of that year - Despite a frantic countrywide search, it was to be found one week later, wrapped in newspaper under a garden hedge, by a mongrel dog called Pickles, who was being walked by his owner in South East london.
The dog's owner received a £5,000 reward and Pickles was hailed a national hero.
Four years later in 1970 the cup was awarded to Brazil for keeps after winning their third title, but was stolen in 1983 never to be recovered.
THE FIFA WORLD CUP TROPHY.
A new cup was made for the 1974 tournament.
Designed by Silvio Gazzaniga, it measures 36 cm high and is made from 18 carat gold with a semi - precious malachite base.
This cup depicts two human hands holding the world aloft and is simply called the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
Winners of the trophy keep it until the next tournament, when they are then presented with a gold plated replica.
The name of each winning team is inscribed on the base of the cup in English.
Since it's humble beginnings in 1930, the World Cup has had 18 tournaments with FIFA now having 208 members from the six
continental zones of Africa, Asia, North and Central America, South America, the Caribbean, Oceania and Europe.
The contest's expansion grew to 16 teams from 1934 to 1976, 24 teams from 1982 to 1998 and 32 teams from 1998 to 2010.
Two hundred and four countries attempted to qualify for the 2010 world cup tournament, with games being played over a two year period.
The World Cup was first televised in 1954.
Today the tournament is the most viewed sporting event in the world, with the 2006 tournament having amassed over 700 million viewers from around the world.
For every World Cup there is a special ball produced for use in the final. Pictured above is the 2010 ball.
URUGUAY'S ESTADIUM CENTENARIO,THE VENUE OF THE FIRST EVER WORLD CUP TOURNAMENT.
The tournament also hosts awards within the tournament, these are;
The Golden Ball awarded to the tournaments best player.
The Golden Boot awarded to the top goal scorer.
The Yashin Award for the tournament's best goalkeeper.
Best Young Player Award for the best player under 21.
The Fair Play Trophy for the team with the best fair play record.
Most Entertaining Team Award.
1930. - URUGUAY. - Uruguay 4 - Argentina 2.
1934. - ITALY. - Italy 2 - Czechoslovakia 1.
1938. - FRANCE. - Italy 4 - Hungary 2.
1950. - BRAZIL. - Uruguay 2 - Brazil 1.
1954. - SWITZERLAND. - West Germany 3 - Hungary 2.
1958. - SWEDEN. - Brazil 5 - Sweden 2.
1962. - CHILE. - Brazil 3 - Czechoslovakia 1.
1966. - ENGLAND. - England 4 - West Germany 2.
1970. - MEXICO. - Brazil 4 - Italy 1.
1974. - WEST GERMANY. - West Germany 2 - Netherlands 1.
1978. - ARGENTINA. - Argentina 3 - Netherlands 1.
1982. - SPAIN. - Italy 3 - West Germany 1.
1986. - MEXICO. - Argentina 3 - West Germany 2.
1990. - ITALY. - West Germany 1 - Argentina 0.
1994. - U.S.A. - Brazil 3 - Italy 2.
1998. - FRANCE. - France 3 - Brazil 0.
2002. - SOUTH KOREA. / JAPAN. - Brazil 2 - Germany 0.
2006. - GERMANY. - Italy 5 - France 3.
2010. - SOUTH AFRICA. - Spain 1 - The Netherlands 0.
BRAZIL. 5 times.
GERMANY. 3 times.
HOME TURF WINNERS.
England was the first country to instigate the use of a World Cup Mascot, with their World Cup Willy logo, when they hosted and won the World Cup in 1966.
This heralded a trend that is still in use today.
WORLD CUP MASCOTS.
1966 - ENGLAND. - World Cup Willy.
1970 - MEXICO - Juanita.
1974. - GERMANY. - Tip and Tap.
1978. - ARGENTINA. - Gauchito.
1982. - SPAIN. - Naranjito.
1986. - MEXICO. - Pique.
1990. - ITALY. - Ciao.
1994. - U.S.A. - Striker, the world cup pup.
1998. - FRANCE. - Footix.
2002. - JAPAN and SOUTH KOREA. - Ato, Kaz and Nik.
2006. - GERMANY. - Goleo.
2010. - SOUTH AFRICA. - Zakumi.
WORLD CUP RECORDS.
Mexico's Antonio Carbajal and Germany's Lother Matthaus have both played in a record five World Cup tournaments.
Brazil and Germany have both played 92 matches each in World Cup tournaments, but have only played each other the once, in 2002.
Brazil is the only nation to have played in every World Cup tournament.
Brazil has scored the most goals of any country, with an amazing 201 goals.
Brazil has been in the most World Cup finals with a total of 7 finals to their credit.
Brazil has won the tournament the most times, with an astounding five wins.
France's Just Fontaine has scored the most goals in any single World Cup, when he scored 13 in the 1958 tournament.
Brazil's Ronaldo has scored the most goals in more than one tournament with 15 goals, with Germany's Gerd Muller having scored 14 goals in more than one tournament.
WORLD CUP SHORTEST AND TALLEST PLAYERS.
The tallest ever world cup footballer to date is Nikola Zigic who played for Serbia, at 6ft 81/2 ins.
The shortest ever world cup footballer to date is Diego Maradonna, who played for Argentina, at 5ft 5ins.
WORLD CUP OLDEST AND YOUNGEST PLAYERS.
The oldest player in a world cup game was Rojer Milla of Cameroon, who played in the 1994 tournament at the age of 42 years, 1 month and 8 days.
The youngest player in a world cup game was Mario Mendez of Uruguay, who played at the 1954 tournament at the age of 16 years, 1 month and 5 days.
DIEGO MARADONNA - Holds aloft the World Cup Trophy for Argentina in 1986.
MARADONNA IS HAILED BY FOOTBALL FANS AS THE WORLD'S GREATEST EVER FOOTBALLER.
WORLD CUP ALL TIME TOP THREE PLAYERS.
1 ) Diego Maradonna for Argentina.
2 ) Pele for Brazil.
3 ) Zinedine Zidane for France.
WORLD CUP SIGNIFICANT EVENTS.
The 2002 tournament hosted by south-korea and Japan was the first tournament to be hald in Asia, and the first tournament to have more than one host country.
The 2010 tournament hosted by South Africa is the first African nation to do so.
England did not join the ranks of World Cup football until 1950, after pulling out of their FIFA membership in 1920, because of an unwillingness to play against nations that they had previously been at war with.
THE 2010 WORLD CUP ANTHEM
A WRITE UP ABOUT THE 2010 FINAL.
THE FIFA WOMEN'S WORLD CUP.
© D.B.Bellamy. June 2010.
Images courtesy of wikimedia commons.