100 things you should know about the World Cup


By Clemente Lisi – NEW YORK, NY (Mar 3, 2014) US Soccer Players – The start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup is 100 days away. Just 100 days before 32 teams featuring some of the world’s best players assemble in Brazil for the chance to be crowned world champion. To commemorate the countdown, here are 100 World Cup facts, figures and trivia to ponder before the June 12 opener between Brazil and Croatia in Sao Paulo.

100 – The USA’s best finish at a World Cup was third in 1930.

99 – Pele is fifth overall on the all-time list of World Cup scorers with 12.

98 – In 1998, France hosted the tournament for a second time. The first took place in 1938.

97 – The 2014 World Cup will be held in 12 different cities.

96 – The mascot for the upcoming tournament is an armadillo named Fuleco.

95 – The 2014 World Cup is the fifth time the tournament has been held in a South American nation. The last time was Argentina in 1978.

94 – The United States made history in 1994 when it hosted the World Cup, becoming the second CONCACAF nation, after Mexico, to host.

93 – Russia (in 2018) and Qatar (2022) will host the next two World Cups.

92 – The 2002 World Cup was the first – and to date only – tournament to feature two host nations: South Korea and Japan.

91 – The United States has qualified for every World Cup finals since 1990.

90 – Italy hosted its second World Cup in 1990, finishing third. West Germany won the tournament, its last one at a World Cup before fielding a unified German team four years later.

89 – As in 1989, the year the USA qualified for the 1990 finals, its first in 40 years.

88 – US coach Jurgen Klinsmann coached his native Germany to a third-place finish at the 2006 tournament.

87 – Rio de Janeiro, site of the 2014 final, has a population of 6.3 million people.

86 – Argentina won its second World Cup in 1986 in Mexico.

85 – Estadio do Maracana, where the ’14 final will be held, is home to two Brazilian clubs: Flamengo and Fluminese.

84 – 1994 was the first time a World Cup featured surnames on the backs of players’ jerseys and numbers on the front.

83 – 1998 marked the first time the field of teams competing was expanded from 24 to the current 32.

82 – Italy won the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

81 – In 2010, Nigeria’s roster did not feature one player who played in the country’s domestic league.

80 – In 2006, English referee Graham Poll miscounted and handed out three yellow cards to Croatia’s Josep Simunic against Australia.

79 – Colombia was originally chosen to host the 1986 World Cup, but FIFA later awarded the tournament to Mexico after the South American nation backed out.

78 – Argentina hosted and won the 1978 tournament.

77 – The 1990 World Cup produced the lowest average for goals-per-game with just 2.21.

76 – World Cup Willie in 1966 was the first time a mascot was used.

75 – In 1982, the field of nations increased from 16 to 24. For the first time, a country from every continent was represented.

74 – West Germany was the first country to lift the new World Cup trophy in 1974 after the Jules Rimet trophy was retired four years earlier.

73 – Nearly 60% of Americans say they are looking forward to the 2014 World Cup, according to a Pew Research Center poll conducted in January.

72 – Both Germany and Japan were not allowed to participate in the qualifying process for the 1950 World Cup.

71 – Top scorer at the 1950 tournament was Brazil’s Ademir with 8 goals.

70 – Brazil won its third World Cup in 1970.

69 – Germany’s Miroslav Klose was the tournament’s top scorer with 5 goals at the 2006 World Cup.

68 – 203 of FIFA’s 208 members participated in the qualifying process for the 2014 World Cup.

67 – England’s Geoff Hurst is the only player to score a hat trick in a World Cup final (in 1966) against West Germany.

66 – England hosted and won the 1966 World Cup.

65 – Landon Donovan is the USA’s leading scorer at World Cups with 5 goals in 12 games over three tournaments.

64 – The only American to ever record a hat trick at the World Cup was Bert Patenaude, who scored three goals against Paraguay in 1930.

63 – The USA’s best goals-scored-average was in 1950 and 1990 — both 2.7.

62 – The biggest loss for the USA came in 1934 when it lost to Italy 7-1.

61 – Eddie Pope is the US defender who has played the most World Cup games — 9.

60 – The USA opens the 2014 World Cup against Ghana, the same nation that eliminated them in the Round of 16 at the last tournament.

59 – Canada qualified for the World Cup just once (1986).

58 – Sweden hosted the World Cup in 1958, losing to Brazil in the final.

57 – Luis Monti is the only player to appear in two World Cup championship games for two different nations: Argentina (1930) and Italy (1934).

56 – Only four European nations (Yugoslavia, Romania, France and Belgium) participated in the first World Cup.

55 – France’s Zinedine Zidane was red-carded in the 2006 final against Italy after he head-butted Italy’s Marco Matterazzi.

54 – Holland is one of the best teams to never win a World Cup. The team has lost three times (1974, 1978, 2010) in the final.

53 – 3.2 billion people around the world watched the last World Cup final, nearly half the planet’s population.

52 – South Africa in 2010 became the first African nation to host a World Cup.

51 – The 500th World Cup goal occurred in 1950 when Scotland’s Robert Collins scored in a 3-2 loss to Paraguay.

50 – In 1950, Uruguay won the World Cup. It was the only World Cup that did not feature a championship game, but rather a final four-team round-robin format.

49 – The official ball of the 2014 World Cup made by Adidas is called Brazuca.

48 – Maracana Stadium in Rio can seat 79,000. The original venue, built for the 1950 World Cup, had a capacity of 200,000.

47 – The Brazilian domestic season will take a month off during the World Cup.

46 – The 2010 tournament saw a total of 145 goals in 64 games for an average of 2.3 per game.

45 – “All in One Rhythm” is the official slogan of the 2014 World Cup.

44 – The gap in years between titles for Italy (1938 and 1982).

43 – The number of nations represented by referees and their assistants at the 2014 finals.

42 – The age of Cameroon’s Roger Milla at the 1994 finals when he became the oldest player to score at the tournament in a 6-1 loss to Russia.

41 – The World Cup trophy is currently on a global tour – visiting 88 countries over the past 300 days. The trophy is currently in Romania.

40 – The age of Italy’s Dino Zoff when he captained his side to the 1982 title.

39 – Most oddsmakers currently have hosts Brazil to win the ’14 tournament, followed by Germany, Argentina and Spain.

38 – As in 1938, the year Italy successfully defended its title.

37 – The World Cup will be broadcast in over 200 countries.

36 – Although India qualified for the 1950 World Cup, they had to withdraw for financial reasons and because most of the players liked to play without shoes.

35 – The age of Sweden’s Nils Liedholm, who became the oldest player to score in a World Cup final against Brazil in 1958.

34 – As in 1934, the year Italy hosted and won the World Cup.

33 – The age of Sweden’s Tore Keller, the oldest player to record a hat trick during a World Cup against Cuba in 1938.

32 – Croatia, after going on a Cinderella run, finished third at the 1998 tournament.

31- Brazil was allowed to retire the Jules Rimet trophy in 1970 after winning the World Cup a third time.

30 – As in 1930, the year the first World Cup was hosted and won by Uruguay.

29 – As in 1929, the year FIFA awarded the 1930 tournament to Uruguay, the then-defending Olympic gold medalist.

28 – Diego Maradona punched the ball into the net for a goal against England at the 1986 World Cup. He later dubbed it the “Hand of God.”

27 – Cameroon was the first African country to reach the quarterfinals in 1990.

26 – Eusebio’s three goals in the quarterfinals against North Korea helped Portugal win 4-3 after going down 3-0.

25 – As in tournament games played by Germany’s Lothar Matthaus, a record, over a span of five World Cups.

24 – The number of consecutive passes made by Argentina before Esteban Cambiasso scored against Serbia & Montenegro in 2006.

23 – Brazil will host the World Cup for a second time this year. The first was in 1950.

22 – Bora Milutinovic is the only man to coach five nations at World Cup finals – Mexico, Costa Rica, USA, China and Nigeria.

21 – Tony Meola’s age when he captained the USA at the 1990 World Cup against Czechoslovakia.

20 – The upcoming World Cup will be the 20th time the tournament will be staged.

19 – France’s Lucien Laurent scored in the 19th minute against Mexico to score the first-ever goal in tournament history.

18 – The overall number of games at the 1930 World Cup, all of which were played in the capitol Montevideo.

17 – Pele’s age in 1958 when he became the youngest player to score at a World Cup.

16 – Denmark’s Ebbe Sand scored the fastest goal in tournament history for a substitute in 1998, tallying 16 seconds after coming on against Nigeria.

15 – The number of goals scored by Brazil’s Ronaldo, making him the overall scoring leader in tournament history.

14 – Goals scored by Miroslav Klose and Gerd Muller, both Germans, in tournament history.

13 – The USA’s FIFA ranking in October 2013, data used in determining seeds for the World Cup draw held two months later.

12 – The total number of goals scored in a single game – a record – after Austria defeated Switzerland 7-5 in 1954.

11 – Turkey’s Hakan Suker scored just 11 seconds into the game against South Korea during the third-place match in 2002 for the quickest goal in history.

10 – The number of goals scored by Gabriel Batistuta, Gary Lineker, Helmut Rahn, Teofilo Cubillas and Grezegorz Lato in tournament history, putting them sixth overall on the all-time list.

9 – As in consecutive losses – a record – by Mexico (1930-1958).

8 – The number of appearances made by Scotland in a World Cup finals – all of which ended with a first-round exit.

7 – The number of days the World Cup trophy went missing on the eve of the 1966 tournament.

6 – The representatives from South America that will participate at the 2014 finals.

5 – The number of goals scored in one game by Russia’s Oleg Salenko, a record, in a 6-1 win over Cameroon in 1994.

4 – Italy has won four World Cups, the last one in 2006.

3 – The number of World Cup titles won by Pele, the most ever by a player.

2 – The number of times the World Cup (1942 and 1946) was not hosted due to World War II.

1 – The World Cup is only 100 days away!

Clemente Lisi is a New York-based writer. Contact him at: CAL4477@yahoo.com. Follow him on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/ClementeLisi.

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