The world’s most widely viewed sporting event, the quadrennial FIFA World Cup Football Tournament, is to be held this year in Brazil from 12 June to 13 July to determine the world champion who gets to keep the FIFA World Cup trophy for the next four years.
The 2014 ‘Copa do mundo de futebol’, as the tournament is known in Brazil, will be the 20th edition of the World Cup football, since FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association) began organizing the international men’s association football event in 1930.
In 2007, FIFA decreed that the 20th iteration of the event would be held in South America, and, when the South American Football Confederation announced that there would be no other challengers, Brazil was selected unopposed to host the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
A total of 64 matches will be played in newly constructed or renovated stadiums across Brazil during the month-long football fiesta. Matches will be held in the twelve Brazilian cities of Belo Horizonte, Brasilia, Cuiaba, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador and Sao Paulo.
In the phase called the ‘Preliminary Competition’, which began in June 2011, teams from different geographic regions competed to qualify for 31 eligible slots to the final round of matches. Brazil, as host nation, automatically qualified to enter the tournament’s final round.
The 32 qualifying teams have now been drawn into eight groups of four teams each to compete in the Group Stage. The top two teams from each group will then advance to the Second Round of 16 teams, where they will play in successive rounds to reach the semi-finals and finals to determine the winner and runner-up. The two teams that lose in the semifinals play each other to determine the third place.
Background information about 2014 World Cup: For the first time at a World Cup Finals, the matches in Brazil will use goal-line technology. The technology, which will be used to determine when the ball has completely crossed the goal line with the help of electronic devices, will assist the referee in deciding whether to award a goal or not.
Along with the host country, all world champion teams since the first World Cup in 1930 (Uruguay, Italy, Germany, England, Argentina, France and Spain) have qualified for this year’s competition.
This is the fifth time that the World Cup is being held in South America, and the first time since the tournament was staged in Argentina in 1978.
The 2014 tournament will be the second time that Brazil is hosting the event, the first was in 1950. It is noteworthy that all previous tournaments held in South America were won by teams from that continent.
FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour: This is the third time that the Original FIFA World Cup Trophy is going on tour around the world. The 2013/2014 Trophy Tour will visit 88 countries during its 267-day duration.
The Trophy Tour which began its journey in Rio de Janeiro, departing from the famous Christ the Redeemer statue, on 12 September, 2013, will travel around the world for nine months before returning to Brazil in June.
During its trip around the world the Trophy will cover a total distance of 149,576.78km; in other words, more than three times the circumference of earth.
Fuleco, the Official Mascot of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, is also accompanying the Tour at several stops on its journey.
World Cup Trophy: From 1930 to 1970, the Jules Rimet Trophy was awarded to the World Cup winning team. It was originally simply known as the World Cup or Coupe du Monde, but in 1946 it was renamed after the FIFA president Jules Rimet who set up the first tournament.
In 1970, Brazil’s third victory in the tournament entitled them to keep the trophy permanently. However, the trophy was stolen in 1983, and has never been recovered, apparently melted down by the thieves.
After 1970, a new trophy, known as the FIFA World Cup Trophy, was designed. The experts of FIFA, coming from seven different countries, evaluated the 53 presented models, finally opting for the work of the Italian designer Silvio Gazzaniga. The designer described his creation as: “The lines spring out from the base, rising in spirals, stretching out to receive the world. From the remarkable dynamic tensions of the compact body of the sculpture rise the figures of two athletes at the stirring moment of victory.”
The new trophy is 36cm high, made of solid 18 carat (75%) gold and weighs 6.175kg. The base contains two layers of semi-precious malachite while the bottom side of the trophy bears the engraved year and name of each FIFA World Cup winner since 1974. This new trophy is not awarded to the winning nation permanently. World Cup winners retain the trophy until the next tournament and are awarded a gold-plated replica rather than the solid gold original.
The country with the most World Cup wins is Brazil, which won the World Cup five times, in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002.
Statistics from 2010 World Cup: The 2010 World Cup, which was held in South Africa, was watched worldwide by an estimated 3.2 billion people, roughly 46.4 percent of the world.
The Adidas Golden Ball award is presented to the most outstanding player at each World Cup finals, with a list generated by the FIFA technical committee and the winner voted on by members of the media. The 2010 Winner was Diego Forlan of Uruguay.
The Adidas Golden Shoe award is presented to the top goal scorer at every World Cup finals. The winner in 2010 was Thomas Müller of Germany.
Spain won its first World Cup championship in 2010, defeating the Netherlands 1-0 in the final.
World Cup 2014 draw in full
Group A: Brazil, Cameroon, Mexico, Croatia
Group B: Spain, Chile, Australia, Netherlands
Group C: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan
Group D: Uruguay, Italy, Costa Rica, England
Group E: Switzerland, Ecuador, Honduras, France
Group F: Argentina, Nigeria, Iran, Bosnia
Group G: Germany, Ghana, USA, Portugal
Group H: Belgium, Algeria, South Korea, Russia
Timeline of World Cup dates
13 July, 1930 - The first World Cup begins in Montevideo, Uruguay.
1942 and 1946 - The tournament is not held because of World War II. Play resumes in 1950.
11 June – 11 July, 2010 - The World Cup takes place in South Africa.
12 June – 13 July, 2014 - The World Cup is scheduled to take place in Brazil.
2018 - The World Cup is scheduled to take place in Russia.
2022 - The World Cup is scheduled to take place in Qatar.