FIFA World Cup had the last laugh over Olympics | Sunday Observer

FIFA World Cup had the last laugh over Olympics

1 November, 2020

Football is the most popular sport in the world, with an estimated following of four billion fans or more. Like some of the other sports on this list, the origins of football as we know it are in England in the 19th century, though history points to people playing similar games as far back as two thousand years, beginning in China. One reason for football’s popularity is that unlike other sports that require expensive equipment, all you need to play football is a ball and your foot. Hence, anyone, rich or poor, can enjoy the sport. It is played all over the world.

The first World Cup began on July 13, 1930, France defeats Mexico 4-1 and the United States defeats Belgium 3-0 in the host city Montevideo, Uruguay. The World Cup has since become the world’s most watched sporting event.

After football (soccer, to Americans) was dropped from the program for the 1932 Olympics in Los Angeles, FIFA President Jules Rimet helped to organize an international tournament in 1930. Much to the dismay of European footballers, Uruguay, winner of back-to-back gold medals at the 1924 Paris Olympics and 1928 Amsterdam Olympics, was chosen to host the inaugural World Cup.

Due to the Depression in Europe, many European players, afraid their day jobs would not exist when they returned, were either unable or unwilling to attend the tournament. As a result, some of the most accomplished European teams, including three-time Olympic gold medalist England and football enthusiasts Italy, Spain, Germany and Holland did not make an appearance at the first World Cup. However, when Uruguay agreed to help pay travelling expenses, Rimet was able to convince Belgium, France, Romania and Yugoslavia to make the trip. In Romania, King Carol selected the team members himself, gave them a three-month vacation from their jobs and guaranteed the players would be employed when they returned.

Going into the tournament, Uruguay and Argentina were the overwhelming favorites, while France and the United States also fielded competitive sides. In the first round, France’s Lucien Laurent scored the first-ever World Cup goal. In its second game, France lost to Argentina 1-0 amid controversy over the referees ending the game six minutes early.

Once the problem was discovered, the referees had to bring the Argentine players back onto the field to play the final minutes. After beating Belgium, the United States beat Paraguay to set up a semi-final match with Argentina, which they lost 6-1. Still, the semi-final placement was the best U.S. World Cup finish to date. In the first World Cup final, held on July 30, 1930, 93,000 spectators looked on as Uruguay defeated Argentina 4–2 in a rematch of the 1928 Olympic gold medal game. Uruguay went on to win its second World Cup in 1950 with a 2-1 win over Brazil in Rio de Janeiro.

Taking its history and the FIFA World Cup, there is nothing in football that can compare with it. No other sport event can compete in significance: the latest FIFA World Cup reached over three billion television viewers worldwide and one billion watched the final. Before the World Cup was inaugurated, the football tournament arranged as part of the Summer Olympics was given the most prestige. But in the 1920s, the game was facing a transition to professionalism that wasn’t consistent with the Olympic spirit. Therefore, the governing body, FIFA, made plans to organize a World Cup. The decision of arranging the first edition was officially declared on May 26, 1928.

All World Cup tournaments have been held every fourth years (with exceptions for interruption due to the Second World War). There were, however, unofficial pre-FIFA World Cups already in the late 1800s, in a time when only few national teams existed. Another unofficial “world cup” arranged before 1930 was the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy held in 1909 and 1911. Besides that, the Summer Olympic football competitions would be a mark of which the best national teams were before 1930. The Olympic tournaments consisted, however, only of amateur teams – the World Cup became the “real deal”.

The first FIFA World Cup 1930 was played in Uruguay with 13 nations. The 1934 event was played in Italy with 16 nations. The 1938 was played in France 4-19 June, with 16 nations. The next was in 1950 played in Brazil 24 June-16 July, with 15 nations. 1954 was played in Switzerland 16 June-4 July, with 16 nations. 1958 was played in Sweden 8-29 June, with 16 nations. 1962 was played in Chile 30 May-17 June, with 16 nations. 1966 was played in England 11-30 July, with 16 nations. 1970 was played in Mexico 31 May-21 June, with 16 nations. 1974 was played in West Germany 13 June-7 July, with 16 nations. 1978 was played in Argentina 1-25 June, with 16 nations. 1982 was played in Spain 13 June-11 July, with 24 nations. 1986 was played in Mexico 31 May-29 June, with 24 nations.

1990 was played in Italy 8 June-8 July, with 24 nations. 1994 was played in the United States 17 June-17 July, with 24 nations. 1998 was played in France 10 June-12 July, with 32 nations. 2002 was played in Korea/Japan 31 May-30 June, with 32 nations. 2006 was played in Germany 9 June-9 July, with 32 nations. 2010 was played in South Africa 11 June-11 July, with 32 nations. 2014 was played in Brazil 12 June-13 July, with 32 nations. 2018 was played in Russia 14 June-15 July, with 32 nations.

The World Cup winners are – 1930 Uruguay, 1934 Italy, 1938 Hungary, 1950 Uruguay, 1954 West Germany, 1958 Brazil, 1962 Brazil, 1966 England, 1970 Brazil, 1974 Netherlands, 1978 Netherlands, 1982 Italy, 1986 Argentina, 1990 West Germany, 1994 Brazil, 1998 Brazil, 2002 Germany, 2006 Italy, 2010 Netherlands, 2014 Germany, 2018 France.