Greatest World Cups in Football: The football world cup is nothing short of a global phenomenon that is awaited by its fans all around the world with bated breaths. It’s no unknown fact that it is the most followed, most viewed sporting event that has even surpassed the Olympic games. The world cup has been hosted by seventeen countries until now. The countries that have hosted The World Cup twice are –
Brazil, France, Italy, Germany and Mexico.
The countries that have hosted it just once are –
Uruguay, Switzerland, Sweden, Chile, England, Argentina, Spain, the United States, Japan and South Korea (jointly), South Africa and Russia.
The hosts of the 2022 World Cup are decided to be Qatar, while the 2026 one will be jointly hosted by the United States, Canada and also Mexico.
Now here’s the list of top 10 Greatest World Cups in Football –
#10 The World Cup of Russia (2018) | Greatest World Cups in Football
This is one of the most disrespectful videos on Twitter. So many careers ended. ? pic.twitter.com/6M15nLukBH
— World Cup (@FlFAWC2018) February 13, 2020
The very recent World Cup took place in Russia. It took place from the 14th of June to the 15th of July. It was not only the most expensive world cup up until now but also the first world cup to use Video Assistant Referee system. BBC’s Steve Rosenberg went on record to say he was very impressed by the host country, Russia. He said that he was pleasantly surprised with absolutely stunning stadiums, easy and free travel availability to reach venues and also the lack of crowd violence and that Russia was the most hospitable and gracious and friendly host, in complete contrast with its political stern streak. Gianni Infantino, who’s the president of FIFA.
talked about what a beautiful and welcoming country Russia is and he has even declared this to be ‘the best World Cup ever.” And truly so, because this particular year proved to be a huge success, with 3 billion people watching it on television and 7 million fans attending fests. What started as the showcasing of Messi, Ronaldo and Salah, quickly switched over to it being about Luka Modric, Eden Hazard and Kylian Mbappe.
Teenager Mbappe scoring in a World Cup final didn’t go unnoticed by 77-year-old Pele who tweeted: “If Kylian keeps equaling my records like this, I may have to dust my boots off again.” Wholesome. Croatia going to the finals was definitely an inspiring moment for all the small countries. And who could forget Panama’s tearful singing of the national anthem in celebration of them scoring their very first World Can goal? It may have not won the game, but it definitely won everybody’s hearts
#9 The World Cup of France (1998)
This 1998 World Cup match between the Argentinian and English team, according to The New York Post, ‘had everything.’ Which if having watched the match, we can all agree on.
The obvious talent of Michael Owen shined through in this match. There was also that bittersweet David Beckham send off, some major counterattack moves and then finally another England fall. Even with the game going to penalty, the inevitability of how the match would end was almost hanging in the air.
#8 The World Cup Brazil (2014)
Spain had their rematch of 2010 with the Netherlands in the 2014 World Cup. Spain was always known to be a champion in defending and the ‘Dutch onslaught’ that was followed wasn’t what anybody was ready for. Arjen Robben, Stefan de Vrij, Robin Van Persie followed by Robben’s scores led up to the final score being 5-1.
The game between Germany and Brazil definitely belonged to Germany. This semifinal witnessed the utter destruction of the opposite team by Germany that would only go on to be talked about for years to come in the football community, making it one of the greatest performances ever. This win could be said to be because of the faults in Brazil’s defence but you cannot overlook the sheer brilliance of Germany in this match. It all began with Thomas Muller scoring after 11 minutes, following Germany scoring four more goals and finally Andre Schurrle was responsible for the total to go up to seven in the second half.
#7 The World Cup of South Africa (2010) | Greatest World Cups in Football
The match between Uruguay and Ghana of 2010 World Cup ended with the score 1-1. Everybody who watched the match knows the real drama of the game started after this draw, during the penalty shot.
The team on the offensive for this penalty shot was Ghana. Asamoah Gyan kicked his shot and the Uruguayan crowd went wild as if this already decided who’s going to come out as winners. Meanwhile, Ghana’s chances looked more and bleaker as their lineup missed their shots. Then it was up to Sebastian Abreu to make the winning score – and win they did.
#6 The World Cup of Germany (2006)
Zinedine Zidane did THIS 13 years ago today during the 2006 World Cup final ?
— GiveMeSport Football (@GMS__Football) July 9, 2019
The final score of this match between Italy and Germany was 2-0, but the lack of goals didn’t stop this match from becoming one of the most memorable matches in football.
For 118 minutes straight, neither of them lets the other one score until Fabio Grosso swooped in a goal for Italy in the 119th minute. Gianluigi Buffon gave two really good saves from Podolski and Schneider. Also, this was the year Italy won its first world title in 24 years and first ever penalty shoot victory on top of that too.
#5 The World Cup of Spain (1982)
Algeria-West Germany, Italy-Brazil and West Germany-France, these three matches were the highlights of the 1982 World Cup. The match between Algeria and West Germany was truly a match for the underdogs to shine. Though the lineup of West Germany was an intimidating one with Karl-Heinz Rumminigge, Pierre Littbarski and the likes, Rabaj Madjer making the opening goal was all the push Algeria needed to aim big. This momentum was nicely finished off by Lakhdar Belloumi latching on to a cross.
Though the match between Italy and Brazil left little opportunities for Brazil to shoot their shots, players like Paolo Rossi did a damn good job using the opportunities when it did come their way. Italy won the match but it was Brazil’s game everyone talked about.
And another particular match between West Germany and France was a wild one, with German keeper Harald Schumacher coming at Battiston, knocking him unconscious. Battiston ended up with cracked ribs and damaged vertebrae, yet Schumacher received neither a foul nor a card.
#4 The World Cup of England (1966) | Greatest World Cups in Football
The highlight of the 1966 World Cup was the matches between Portugal and North Korea and England and West Germany. That year, North Korea had already taken the world by surprise by beating Italy. The first 25 minutes of its match between Portugal was completed owned by North Korea with a lead of 3-0 in the opening.
But Eusebio of Portugal wouldn’t let their team go down without an equally good fight, as he took it upon himself to bring about the balance and take away their lead in the 27th minute and did a good job too as he brought Portugal back to 3-2 And who wouldn’t reminisce about the drama surrounding the match between England and West Germany? It might as well be one of the most controversial matches that even involves a stolen trophy to add to it. Wolstenholme’s commentary as Geoff Hust made a shot into the crossbar, backed up by the referee, ‘They think it’s all over – It is now!’ is timeless.
#3 The World Cup of Mexico (1986)
The matches between Belgium-Soviet Union and that of Argentina-England were the showstoppers of the 1986 World Cup. The Soviet Union had already scored nine goals in their three previous matches and it looked like this match would also end with the same fate as Igor Belanov, the Soviet Striker, opened the score.
But this only lead to the match heating up as Belgium came up strong in the last 20 minutes, led by none other than Enzo Scifo. The star of the match between Argentina and England was truly Diego Maradona. This match had one of the most crucial four minutes with Maradona pulling a fast one the English Keeper Shelton, then storming with the ball past five defenders and then the keeper, finally making a goal that went on to make the pages of standout performances.
#2 The World Cup of Brazil (1950) | Greatest World Cups in Football
This year’s match also happened to be the first world cup after the end of the second world war, with the countries and international connections throughout the world still recovering. During the war, the trophy of the World Cup was hidden by placing it in a shoebox under the bed of Dr. Ottorino Barassi, the Italian FIFA Vice President.
It is noteworthy that after the war ended and everyone sought for peace, the trophy was renamed as Jules Rimet Cup to celebrate the survival of the past devastating years. Decades ago in the 1950s, the rules of the game were different than it is now. The ultimate winner was decided with the group stage being entered by the winners of the four groups.
The match was between Uruguay and Brazil and Brazil at this point had already won against Sweden and also Spain. So all they had to do to win the world cup was just get a draw. And it even looked like that’s exactly what was going to happen until Uruguay surprised everyone in the last 25 minutes as they made two goals. Needless to say, Brazil was devastated and legendary Pelé’s emotional breakdown after the game was a testimony to Brazil’s heartbreak.
#1 The World Cup of Mexico (1970)
This world cup agreeably takes the cake for the best world cup of football we’ve witnessed so far, for a number of reasons. Be it the nail-bitingly intense 22 minutes of the quarter-final left of the England team with West Germany, their then format final opponents or Brazil’s glorious win with a beautiful near perfect play against Italy, it was all a whole lot of flawless goals and just a riveting watch through and through. It went on to become the World Cup.
final with the highest goals-per-game ratio, creating football history. Brazil and England were undoubtedly at the top of the game that year. England was known to be the reigning champions yet, for several reasons. With players like Alan Mullery, center back Bobby Moore, goalkeeper Gordon Banks who were all known to be the best in their positions, it was not hard for England to deliver. Prior to already winning the 1958 and 1962 editions.
Brazil also came on strong with geniuses in its team like Pele, Tostao, Jairzinho and Rivelino. England won over Czechoslovakia with a score of 1-0, advancing forward. But they then experienced a setback prior to the quarter-final they had with West Germany as Banks had to sit that one out because of food poisoning. However, they still managed to dominate the first hour despite this, leading 2-0 and then after extra time, a victory of 3-2.
Brazil won over Romania, edging 3-2 in their final group game. Then they went on to beat Peru in the last eight with 4-2. They overcame Uruguay with 3-1, entering into the decider, won over Italy with 4-1, proving it to be the most breathtaking and rewarding World Cup final performance of all time.
Zagallo later said that the match with England was their toughest test. If Brazil hadn’t had the edge, they may never have made it to being deemed as ‘The Beautiful Team’ in the history of football.
And to top it all off, this tournament was aired in color, as to match the colorful host Mexico proved to be that year.
And the honorable mention goes to the first two matches that simultaneously took place on 13th of July in 1930. The matches were between France and Mexico and the USA and Belgium. France won over Mexico with the score being 4-1 and the USA won over Belgium with the score 3-0. The first person to ever score a goal in the World Cup history was Lucien Laurent. The final of the World Cup took place between Uruguay and Argentina. Uruguay went on to defeat Argentina in Montevideo, in front of a huge crowd of 93000 people.