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THE FIFA WORLD CUP: FUN & INTERESTING FACTS

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2014FIFAWorld

The FIFA World Cup is the biggest single-event sporting competition in the world, which is contested by the senior men's national teams from the 208 Member Associations of FIFA. Played every four years since its inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 because of the Second World War, 19 FIFA World Cup tournaments have been won by eight different national teams. FIFA WC Here are some cool, fun, interesting and crazy facts about the event and its participants:
  1.       3.2 billion people worldwide watched the 2010 World Cup, that’s 46.4 percent of the world.
  2.       Bosnia-Herzegovina will be the only nation making a debut in this year’s Worl Cup tournament in Brazil.
  3.       No nation from outside South America has ever won the World Cup hosted by a South American nation.
  4.       Extend that into North and Central America and the same pattern emerges, with only Brazil and Argentina winning tournaments hosted in Mexico (twice) and the United States.
  5.      A host team has never lost an opening match.
  6.      Brazil is the only team to qualify for every single World Cup tournament.
  7.       The average age of players at the 2010 World Cup at South Africa was 26 years 9 months.
  8.       Pele of Brazil is the youngest ever goal scorer at the Fifa World Cup. He scored his first World Cup goal against Wales during the 1958 World Cup at 17 years 239 days.
  9.       There are more countries that compete to play in the world Cup than are members of the United Nations.
  10.   A few months before the 1966 World Cup, the Jules Rimet trophy was stolen after it went on display at a London stamp exhibition, despite 24-hour surveillance. Six days after it disappeared, a man named David Corbett and his dog, Pickles, were taking a stroll in London’s Beulah Hill district when Pickles began sniffing a newspaper-wrapped parcel – which contained the trophy.
  11.    Due to financial concerns and FIFA’s requirement that all players wear shoes during matches, the Indian team, who qualified for the 1950 World Cup in Brazil, chose to withdraw from the competition. The Indian footballers were only accustomed to playing barefoot at the time.
  12.   One of the greatest Italian footballers of all time, Guseppe “Peppino” Meazza, who played a crucial role in his country’s 1934 World Cup victory; was known to routinely sleep in brothels on nights before matches and would stumble onto the field for practice several hours after the rest of his teammates.
  13.   Lev Yashin, the great Soviet goalkeeper, played in three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1966). Known as the “Black Spider” for his signature all-black outfit and ability to block balls as if he had more than two arms, he was voted best goalie of the century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics. When asked about his pre-match routine, he said that the trick was to “have a smoke to calm your nerves, then toss back a strong drink to tone your muscles.Lev Yashin
  14.   No country has won the World Cup three times consecutively; Italy (1934, 1938) and Brazil (1958, 1962) have both won back-to back championships.
  15.   Lucien Laurent of France scored the first goal in World Cup history on July 13, 1930.
  16.   The record for most individual goals in a tournament is held by France’s Just Fonatine, with 13. He played in just one World Cup (1958).
  17.   Italian goalkeeper, Dino Zoff, became the oldest player to lift the trophy at 40 years and 133 days in 1982.
  18.   Italian forward, Gianfranco Zola is the only player to be sent off at the World Cup on his birthday. He received a red in a second round victory against Nigeria on his 28th birthday.
  19.   Brazil leads all countries with 40 sparkling clean sheets.
  20.   Indonesia has played the least world cup games with only 1 (they lost 6-0). If you’re wondering why they only played one match, it’s because they refused to play Israel in their next game (presumably because they’re Jewish).
  21.   The biggest ever attendance for a World Cup match is 200,000 people. They all squeezed into the Maracana Stadium for a match between Brazil and Uruguay during the 1950 World Cup.
  22.   The fastest goal ever scored at a World Cup was knocked in by Turkish forward, Hakan Sukur, against South Korea in the 2002 World Cup. It took him just 11 seconds.
  23.   Norman Whiteside is the youngest player to ever take the field at a World Cup. He was just 17 years, one month and 10 days when he played for Northern Ireland against Yugoslavia at the 1982 World Cup in Spain. When he got back home, his mother grounded him for a week for not calling her to let him know he’d arrived safely in Madrid.
  24.   Mario Zagallo is the only person to have won the World Cup 4 times, as a player for Brazil (Sweden 1958 and Chile 1962), as the Manager of the Brazilian team (Mexico 1970) and Assistant Manager of the Brazilian team (USA 1994).Mario-Zagallo
The next three World Cups will be hosted by Brazil in 2014, Russia in 2018, and Qatar in 2022.   Written By: Olusola Agbaje

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