Tuesday, June 19, 2018

World Cup Trivia and Facts

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I received an email from Steve M yesterday: 
You are busy I know, Otto, but the World Cup football finals are on in Russia. If you can find time, can you please do a bytes sometime in the next week or so? 
Now personally the World Cup is of only passing interest to me, unlike for instance the Tour de France which starts on 7 July and keeps me up for the next 3 weeks, although I admit that part of that fascination is looking at the gorgeous countryside and the behaviour of the spectators. 

Nonetheless I appreciate that for many, the World Cup is a high point every 4 years so here are some facts and trivia . . . 
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The World Cup in 2018 marks the first time Russia has ever hosted this event. 
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The 2018 World Cup will be Russia’s 11th World Cup appearance. Their highest ever finish was 4th place in 1966. 
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3.2 billion people (almost half of the world’s population) tuned in to watch the 2014 World Cup. 
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The World Cup has been played 20 times, Brazil holds the most titles with five. 


Italy and Germany are close behind with four each. 
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For the first time in the history of soccer, the 2002 World Cup was held in two different countries: South Korea and Japan. 
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The oldest goal scorer in the World Cup was Roger Milla, who was 42 in 1994 when he scored a goal for Cameroon against Russia. 
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It is rumoured that India withdrew from the 1950 tournament as they were not allowed to play barefoot. The Indian national team did play barefoot and FIFA did ask that shoes be worn to maintain the dignity of the World Cup but there may be an additional reason. According to India’s ‘Sports Illustrated’ magazine, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) announced that the team would not attend the World Cup, citing “disagreements over team selection, and insufficient practice time.” 
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One of the venues for the 2018 World Cup, Fisht Stadium in Sochi, is the same stadium that hosted the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2014 Winter Games. 
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The first World Cup was played in 1930. Uruguay was both the tournament host and winner that year. 

I have to admit that I can't read or hear this country's name without thinking of Homer Simpson's misidentification:

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The World Cup trophy went missing for 7 days in 1966, when it was stolen just prior to the tournament. 

Dave Corbett at the National Football Museum with the Jules Rimet Trophy, which his dog Pickles found behind a bush whilst out on a walk. 

Dave Corbett with his family and Pickles in the 1960s 
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The distance between the easternmost host city (Ekaterinburg) and the westernmost host city (Kaliningrad) at the 2018 World Cup is over 1500 miles. For comparison, that’s about the same distance as Moscow to London. 
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The average attendance per game at the 2014 World Cup was over 53,000 fans. 

Belgium vs Korea Republic - Group H - 2014 FIFA World Cup, Brazil. 
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The highest scoring game in World Cup history was in 1954, when Austria defeated Switzerland 7-5. 

24 June 1954 Austria Switzerland 
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The Italians have had the most number of draws in World Cup history with 21. 
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Of all countries that have appeared in the World Cup, Indonesia has played the least number of matches – just one in 1938. 

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Mexico has the most World Cup losses (25), though they do also have 14 wins and 14 draws. 
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While 32 teams will qualify for the 2018 tournament, the number will jump to 48 in 2026. 
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The most goals ever scored by one player in a World Cup match is an impressive five, by Oleg Salenko of Russia. 
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The World Cup winning country is rumoured to see a baby boom 9 months after the World Cup. In fact, Hyundai even created a commercial based on this fact. 
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The winner of the World Cup takes home a $35 million dollars. FIFA awards the runner-up $25 million. Every team that participates takes home a multi-million dollar check. Just competing in group play secures your team $8 million dollars. 

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In the 2002 World Cup, Turkey’s Hakan Sukur scored a goal in just 11 seconds. The goal helped the Turks defeat South Korea 3:2 and finish the tournament in 3rd place. At an unbelievable 11 seconds, Sukur holds the record for fastest goal scored in a World Cup match. 

Hakan Sukur of Galatasaray celebrates with the trophy after beating Arsenal in the UEFA Cup Final 
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Uruguayan defender Jose Batista holds the record of the fastest red card in World Cup History. He was sent off just 56 seconds into the 1986 match after he committed a high studded slide tackle to the back of the legs of Scottish midfielder Gordon Strachan. Even with over 89 minutes of playing a man down, Uruguay was able to hold on and tie the match at 0:0. 

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So there you are, Steve. 

Now for the Tour de France.


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