All-Time World Cup Facts

Whether you’re a die hard fan whose heart breaks a little when one of your friends chooses Manchester United over Liverpool to support (it happened to me the other day. A little part of my love for that friend literally died on the spot), or a casual fan who thinks that they’re talking about (fat) Ronaldo when they’re really talking about (gay) Ronaldo, there’s this little thing called the World Cup of football that you will be unable to avoid wherever you are on this planet in the upcoming month.

As it looms, I thought it would be nice to do what I do and take a look back at the previous World Cups and have a little preview of this one. Some all-time statistics you should keep in mind for this upcoming month’s spectacle (some of which you’ve probably already read somewhere, and some of which you probably haven’t):

  • The World Cup of football has been played 18 times overall. It has been won 5 times by Brazil, 4 times by Italy, thrice by West Germany, twice by Argentina and Uruguay, and once by England and France.
  • Hungary holds the record for highest margin of victory after they beat El Salvador 10-1 in 1982.
  • Switzerland and Austria (is it wrong that every time I hear Austria all I think about now is Bruno?) had the most goals between them in a match at 12, when the Austrians prevailed 7-5 at this 1954 world cup match.
  • Brazil and Germany are tied for the lead in games played at the World Cup with 92 a piece.
  • Brazil leads all countries with 64 world cup wins, 201 goals forward, and a +117 goal differential.
  • Mexico is the biggest loser at the tournament, having had 22 losses. They also have the worst goal differential, allowing 36 more than they have scored overall.
  • Germans and Italians are the most sharing, drawing 19 matches each.
  • Germany has allowed the most goals at 112.
  • Brazil leads all countries with 40 sparkling clean sheets.
  • 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).
  • Germany and Brazil have made the most appearances in the world cup finals at 7 each.
  • Ze Germans have also made the semi-finals the most out of any country, standing their ground until the final four a total of 11 times.
  • Scotland is the most heartbreaking of all nations, failing to make it out of the first round 8 times (they’ve made the world cup 8 times, ouch).

It’s pretty clear that Germany and Brazil are the standouts in the all-time record holding departments, with Italy just a little way off. It should be intriguing to see if they can add to their legacy this June or whether we’ll see Brazillian fans lying in the middle of the street waiting for a car to run them over in mid June. Only time will tell.

Also see: World Cup Statistics | World Cup Facts: Longest Streaks | World Cup Facts: Individual Achievements.

Zan Rathore, the author of this post, also writes the Zan Rathore’s Sports Blog.
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  1. Mike 7 June, 2010
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