1. The first FIFAWorld Cup trophy was awarded to Uruguay at the inaugural 1930 tournament. It was a cup with the female figure of winged victory. In 1970 the trophy was permanently awarded to Brazil after that team’s then-record third victory in the FIFA World Cup. But it was later stolen, and never seen again.
2. In 1966 the trophy was stolen from an exhibition before the FIFA World Cup in England. Luckily, A small dog called Pickles found it buried under a bush and it was restored.
3. The current FIFA World Cup dates from 1974. The design by Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga, was selected from 53 design submissions from sculptors from 7 countries. It features two human figures holding up the globe of the world. It is made of 18-carat gold, is 36.8cm high and weighs 6.175kg. The base has space for 17 winner inscriptions, enough space to last until the 2038 FIFA World Cup. The solid-gold trophy remains in the permanent possession of FIFA, with the winning association receiving a gold-plated replica that it keeps until the next tournament.
4. Three stadiums hosted the inaugural 1930 FIFA World Cup, including the purpose-built Centenario in Montevideo, Uruguay. Seventeen stadiums in 14 cities hosted Spain’s 1982 tournament, the largest number of stadiums in any World Cup.. In 2002 co-hosts South Korea and Japan each provided 10 stadiums in 10 cities. In 2010 South Africa’s primary city of Johannesburg will host games in two stadiums.
5. A total of 23 cities have hosted the World Cup two times − eight in Germany, seven in Italy and four each in Mexico and France.
6. Today’s World Cup format has been in place since 1986. In 1974, 1978 and 1982 the tournament had 24 competing teams, and an additional group stage in the second phase. In 1998 the tournament was expanded to 32 competing teams.
7. The FIFA World Cup is the biggest TV sports event in the world. In 2006, a cumulated audience of more than 26-billion viewers was recorded for the 64 matches. There were fewer than 5-billion viewers for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
1930 Uruguay1934 Italy1938 Italy1942 Not held1946 Not held1950 Uruguay1954 Germany1958 Brazil1962 Brazil1966 England1970 Brazil1974 Germany1978 Argentina1982 Italy1986 Argentina1990 Germany1994 Brazil1998 France2002 Brazil2006 Italy2010
9. Most wins:
Brazil 5Italy 4Germany 3Uruguay 2Argentina 2England 1France 1
10. The FIFA Statutes recognise the four British associations England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland - - as separate members.
11. Two times champions Uruguay play with four stars on their shirts: two for the World Cup wins of 1930 and 1950 and the other two in commemoration of the two Olympic triumphs of the 1920s. This shows the importance attached to the 1924 and 1928 Olympic Games Football Tournaments both of which were great successes and encouraged FIFA to launch the FIFA World Cup in 1930.
12. Out of the 19 World Cups so far, six have been won by the host country.
13. No European team has won a World Cup played outside of Europe.
14. Shirt swapping was once officially prohibited in 1986 because FIFA did not want players to 'bare their chests' on the field.
15. The 1950 World Cup decider between Brazil and Uruguay was watched by 199,954 fans (with some estimates going as high as 210,000) at the Maracana in Rio de Janeiro - a record for any World Cup and football match ever.
16. The World Cup has been won by teams from only two continents, with European and South American teams currently neck and neck with nine wins each.
17. World Cup 2010 will be the first to feature no first-timers, although two of the qualifiers, Slovakia and Serbia, previously appeared only as parts of former competing countries.