The World Cup of World Cups | Page 2 | Sunday Observer

The World Cup of World Cups

All football lovers in the world are sure to enjoy the biggest football party on the planet, that is the 21st FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial international football tournament contested by the men’s national teams of the member associations of FIFA which will kick off from June 14 and end on July 15 in Russia. There will be 12 venues in 11 cities. The current champions of the 2014 FIFA World Cup are Germany.

This will be the first World Cup to be held in Europe since the 2006 tournament in Germany, and the first ever to be held in Eastern Europe. All of the stadium venues are in European Russia.

Hosts Russia will kick off the 2018 World Cup against Saudi Arabia in Moscow, while defending champions Germany will start against Mexico.

Five-time winners Brazil will face Switzerland in their first match. European champions Portugal will play neighbours Spain in their first match, while Argentina are placed in Group D with newcomers Iceland, Croatia and Nigeria.

England will face the other debut nation Panama in Group G, but open against Tunisia before facing the group’s top seeds Belgium.

The FIFA World Cup has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War.

The current format of the competition involves a qualification phase, which currently takes place over the preceding three years, to determine which teams qualify for the tournament phase, which is often called the World Cup Finals.

Thirty-two teams, including the automatically qualifying host nation, compete in the tournament phase for the title at venues within the host nation over a period of about a month. So far the 20 World Cup tournaments have been won by eight national teams. Brazil have won it five times and they are the only team to have played in every tournament. The other World Cup winners are Germany and Italy, with four titles each, Argentina and inaugural winner Uruguay, with two titles each and England, France and Spain with one title each.

The history from 1930 to 1970, the Jules Rimet Trophy was awarded to the World Cup winning team. It was originally simply known as the World Cup or Coupe du Monde, but in 1946 it was renamed after the FIFA president Jules Rimet who set up the first tournament.

In 1970, Brazil’s third victory in the tournament entitled them to keep the trophy permanently. However, the trophy was stolen in 1983 and has never been recovered, apparently melted down by the thieves. After 1970, a new trophy, known as the FIFA World Cup Trophy, was designed. The experts of FIFA, coming from seven countries, evaluated the 53 presented models, finally opting for the work of the Italian designer Silvio Gazzaniga. The new trophy is 36 cm (14.2 in) high, made of solid 18 carat (75%) gold and weighs 6.175 kg (13.6 lb). The base contains two layers of semi-precious malachite while the bottom side of the trophy bears the engraved year and name of each FIFA World Cup winner since 1974.

This new trophy is not awarded to the winning nation permanently. World Cup winners retain the trophy only until the post-match celebration is finished. They are awarded a gold-plated replica rather than the solid gold original immediately afterwards. Currently, all members (players, coaches, and managers) of the top three teams receive medals with an insignia of the World Cup Trophy; winners’ (gold), runners-up’ (silver), and third-place (bronze).

This World Cup:

Group (A) Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay (B ) Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran (C) France, Australia, Peru, Denmark (D ) Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria (E) Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia (F ) Germany, Mexico, Sweden, Korea Republic (G) Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England (H ) Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japa.