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FIFA World Cup

FIFA World Cup Finals
sokapro-FIFA World Cup Finals

As we approach the 2022 FIFA Qatar World Cup, we take a look at the history and evolution of this global showpiece and the nations that have had the honours of lifting the World Cup trophy.

The FIFA World Cup is an international association football competition that was established in the year 1930 by FIFA, the world football governing body. The tournament takes place after every four years except in the years 1942 and 1946 when the competition was canceled as a result of World War 2. Unlike Olympic football which has age limits on the participants, the FIFA World Cup teams are not limited to players of a certain age or armature status which makes the competition serve as a contest between the world's best players. The match officials are selected from lists that are submitted by all individual nation football associations. 

The World Cup constitutes of 32 qualified teams that are divided into 8 groups of 4 countries each. Each nation then plays 3 matches against members of their group and in the final end the top two from each group qualify for the round of 16 knockout stages. The knock-out stages then proceed to the quarter-finals, then the semi-finals and the home stretch of the tournament is when two nations battle it out for global glory in the final match. The group stage matches only last for the regular 90 minutes and after the referee blows the whistle, the acquired result after the 90 minutes remains to be the final result. The elimination stages which run all the way from the round of 16 to the final match have different regulations. In this knockout stage, if after 90 minutes of regular time the game ends in a draw, then it proceeds to an additional extra time of 30 minutes divided into 15 minutes halves each with a 5 minutes break in between to try and find a winner. If such a game is still tied after extra time, it is then decided in a penalty shoot-out. The team winning the penalty shoot-out is then declared the winner of the game and in the event of the final game, they are declared the world champions. 

There have been 21 World Cup tournaments held so far with 79 nations appearing throughout the years. Of these 79, 13 teams have made it to the final match while 8 have been declared champions. Brazil is the most successful world cup team with 5 titles to their flag and they are the only nation to have participated in all the successive world cup finals tournaments but last won it in the Japan/South Korea 2002 edition. European giants Italy, who last won the tournament in the 2006 Germany edition, and Germany whose last winning was the 2014 Brazil edition, have got 4 titles each. It is worth noting that Italy has now failed to qualify for two successive world cup finals missing in the 2018 Russia edition and will not also participate in the 2022 Qatar edition. Current champions, France who won the 2018 edition, and South American powerhouses Argentina and Uruguay have won two titles each. England and Spain have got one title each. The nation that wins the World Cup are given the World Cup trophy and their name is engraved on the bottom side of the cup. The World Cup is arguably the most loved sporting event in the World and all eyes are now on Qatar as it becomes the first Middle East nation to host the magnificent tournament in November and December of this year.