The World Cup
by Jayme Lamm
It’s no secret I love sports of all kinds, but there are probably some of you reading this FIFA World Cup Stats & Facts piece that likely know more about soccer and the history of the World Cup than I do. I love being a sportswriter, but truth be told, I didn’t grow up around soccer (we didn’t even have a team at my high school) or people who were passionate about it, so it’s still something I’m learning as I go!
The World Cup in Russia is in full swing– more than half of the 64-games have been played and certainly haven’t disappointed in terms of exciting matches. The final game is on July 15th – and we’re giving you lots of reasons to tune in. The tournament has now entered the knockout stage, which makes it even more exciting. Even if you’re team is out or an underdog pulls off a huge victory, the excitement never waivers for big fans and the storylines keep on coming (like Neymar’s ridiculous antics on the field or Russian stunning the football world by beating Spain in penalty kicks).
No Team USA
Even as a sport’s fan myself, it’s hard to get into the spirit of the game with Team USA not playing. In fact, this is the first time the men’s team didn’t qualify since 1986, so I’ve had to do some research and pay a little more attention to get in the spirit.
Why Tune In?
As promised, we have lots of reasons to tune in – mostly because the rest of the world is and we want to keep you in the loop!
“The World Cup is the globe’s biggest sporting event, with 3.4 billion people expected to watch the month-long, quadrennial tournament. One billion people watched the 2014 World Cup Final between Argentina and eventual champion Germany, according to FIFA. By comparison, the global audience for the Super Bowl is roughly 150 million people each year,” via Forbes.
The thing about the World Cup is that even if you’re not really into the sport or a particular team, you can’t help but notice the intensity and passion by the fans. Ever wonder why Mexico fans are so passionate and literally take off work to watch the games (even the super early games where fans are looking for open bars to watch with like-minded sports fans dressed in sports attire from head to toe)? It’s because no country has felt the sting of defeat at the World Cup, quite like Mexico (although they took out the defending champs, Germany – but then lost to Brazil). Proof that being a sport’s fan, especially a soccer/football fan is a tumultuous love affair!
If you find yourself watching a game or trying to make small talk about the World Cup, here are some stats and facts:
-The 2018 FIFA Word Cup is the 21st FIFA World Cup and happens every four years. The 2022 World Cup will take place in Qatar.
-As of 2018, only 32 teams will qualify for the World Cup (in 2022 that will jump to 48 teams), but that means more than 140 nations did not qualify – including Team USA.
-In the final qualifying round for the 2018 World Cup, which was in October, the U.S. men’s national team lost 2-1 against Trinidad and Tobago in a major upset.
-In 2014, the U.S. made it to the Round of 16, with a win against Ghana, and later lost to Belgium (so if you’re a USA fan and you’re looking for a team to cheer for, perhaps steer clear of Belgium who just had a last-second win against Japan).
-Brazil has won the World Cup more times than any other country with five wins (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002). In addition, Brazil leads in games won (70) and appeared at more World Cups than any other country (20). 2018 will be appearance #21. (stat via Forbes)
-Italy and Germany are both tied with four World Cup victories.
-The match with the most goals ever scored was back in 1954 with 12 total goals (Austria beat Switzerland 7-5).
-2018 is the first time the World Cup has been played in Eastern Europe, as Russia becomes the eighth European nation to host the tournament.
-Did you know the World Cup 2026 will be hosted in the U.S. (a joint bid with U.S., Mexico and Canada) and is known as the “United 2026 bid”? This will make the United States the sixth country to host it twice. And our hometown of Houston is on the list of cities that may host the games.
-The average attendance for 2014 World Cup FIFA Brazil was 52,918.
-This upcoming round of 16 matches is win or go home, so you know the intensity is about to rise. Whether you’ve already got a favorite team or you just want to jump on a nation’s coattails, we promise the games become so much more fun to watch when you have a dog in the fight, so pick a team and get your cheering on!
One final tip about watching the World Cup (or any other sporting event for that matter)
Don’t be afraid to ask questions – hardcore sport’s fans LOVE sharing info about the history of the game or their team. I know more than most about sports and various teams, but I’ve learned throughout the years, that if you ask, you’ll get so much more useful knowledge that will really help you learn to love the game!
And of course, we’d be remiss not to share Louis Vuitton’s World Cup gear – if you’re looking for a reason to add to your handbag collection!
One more thing
Who are you rooting for in the World Cup? Have you been following along? Let us know in the comments below!
Have a great day!
Photos by Maritere Rice