Getting Ready For The World Cup

The World Cup, or officially the FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) World Cup, is the International soccer tournament that has been held every 4 years since 1930. It will be held this year between June 11th and July 11th in South Africa. 13 teams participated in the 1930 tournament and has since grown to a 32 team tournament. The tournament is watched by more people than any other sporting event in the world, even generating more viewers than the olympics! Teams are chosen based on a 3 year span preceding the tournament. For 2010, the teams playing that will be playing in the South African tournament are:

  1. Group A: South Africa (Host Country)
  2. Group A: Mexico
  3. Group A: Uruguay
  4. Group A: France
  5. Group B: Argentina
  6. Group B: Nigeria
  7. Group B: Korea Republic
  8. Group B: Greece
  9. Group C: England
  10. Group C: USA
  11. Group C: Algeria
  12. Group C: Slovenia
  13. Group D: Germany
  14. Group D: Australia
  15. Group D: Serbia
  16. Group D: Ghana
  17. Group E: Netherlands
  18. Group E: Denmark
  19. Group E: Japan
  20. Group E: Cameroon
  21. Group F: Italy
  22. Group F: Paraguay
  23. Group F: New Zealand
  24. Group F: Slovakia
  25. Group G: Brazil
  26. Group G: Korea DPR
  27. Group G: Côte d’Ivoire
  28. Group G: Portugal
  29. Group H: Spain
  30. Group H: Switzerland
  31. Group H: Honduras
  32. Group H: Chile

These teams play in the month long tournament which has become known as the World Cup Finals with the winner being titled as the Fifa World Cup Champion. The 2006 championship match between Italy and France ended in a penalty shootout with Italy taking home the championship. The final match was watched by over 715 million people, or nearly 7 times the amount who watched this year’s Super Bowl!

In the tournament, there are 8 groups of four teams. These teams play a “round-robin” style of play, guaranteeing at least 3 games for each team. Each win for the team rewards 3 points, a tie rewards 1, and a lost rewards 0. Following the round-robin, the top teams in each group advance to the “knockout state” of the tournament which is essentially a single-elimination tournament for the remaining 16 teams. These teams play until there is only one team remaining…the FIFA World Cup Champion!

The original winning teams of the tournament received the Jules Rimet trophy, named for the man who originally created the World Cup concept…Jules Rimet. It featured Nike, the Greek goddess of victory and was constructed of solid gold on a “lapis lazuli” base. It was eventually stolen before the 1966 World Cup but found a few day later under some bushes in London by a dog named Pickles. Pickles quickly became a hero to the World Cup fans. The Jules Rimet trophy was again stolen in 1983 and has not been found since. Many speculations surround what could have happened to the trophy, but no one is totally sure.

The Jules Rimet trophy replacement, the FIFA World Cup trophy, was first given out in 1974 and has been used ever since. It is made from solid 18 carat gold and two layers of malachite. “FIFA World Cup” is engraved on the bottom and will be used until at least 2038 when all of the name plaques on the bottom of the trophy could possibly be filled.

Some of the best performing teams in the World Cup have been:

  • Brazil – 5 Championships
  • Italy – 4 Championships
  • Germany – 3 Championships
  • Argentina – 2 Championships
  • Uruguay – 2 Championships
  • France – 1 Championship
  • England – 1 Championship
  • I am excited about watching the tournament and hope you are as well. If you have never watched before, I encourage you to at least watch the championship game. The excitement surrounding the tournament is unbelievable to say the least and this year, America has a great chance for advancing far into the tournament for one of the first times in recent years. So go ahead and grab your World Cup Flag  and American Flags and get ready for the largest sporting tournament in the world! Go USA!

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