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How Often is the World Cup Held?

The World Cup is generally held every four years with some exceptions.

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The FIFA World Cup is a popular international football competition contest involving men’s national teams from across the world who are members of the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). The championship was founded in 1930 and has since been held after every four years except for two occasions: 1942 and 1946, due to World War II. The current format of the World Cup involves a qualification phase to select the 32 countries that take part in the tournament phase. The host nation(s) automatically qualifies without going through the qualification phase. The championship is the world’s most widely viewed sporting event (followed by the Olympic Games).

Understanding The World Cup

Brief History of the World Cup

Before the founding of the World Cup, several international matches were played including the British Home Championship held in 1884. As the popularity of football grew, the sport was included in the 1900 and 1904 Summer Olympics as a demonstration sport. When FIFA was founded in 1904, it tried on several occasions to organize an international tournament but failed. In 1909, the Sir Thomas Lipton Trophy Tournament (considered the “First World Cup”) was held in Turin. Due to the success of the football tournament at the Olympic Games, FIFA started looking at ways of successfully staging an international football tournament. In 1928, it was decided that Uruguay would be the first country to host the inaugural World Cup tournament in 1930. Thus, Uruguay became the first nation to the official host and win the championship. Since then, the World Cup has consistently been held every four years except in 1942 and 1946 due to World War II.

Why is the World Cup Held Every Four Years?

Since the World Cup is the second most popular sporting event in the world, a majority including players, teams, and advertisers would love to participate in the tournament every year. However, the tournament has traditionally been held every four years for several reasons. The main reason why it is held once in every four years qualification phase which involves so many teams playing a lot of matches. Depending on the FIFA calendar, there are few international breaks as teams and individual players are involved in club duties. The players also need to rest and recover to avoid burning out or suffering injuries. The World Cup attracts 5 million or more fans in every tournament. Therefore, host countries require time and resources to plan and put proper infrastructure into place. In 2018, Russia spent over US$10 billion, an amount that can only be raised over time. When the World Cup began in 1930, traveling across the world was a major challenge for most teams. Spacing the tournament every four years allowed the teams to plan their travel as some traveled by sea or land, unlike most teams that travel by air today.

Successful Teams At The World Cup

Although the World Cup tournament has been held 21 times, only 8 national teams have won the trophy. Brazil is the most successful country, winning it five times. Italy and Germany have each won the tournament four times. Uruguay, France (the current holders), and Argentina each have two titles while England and Spain each have one. Of the past World Cup winners, only Brazil and Spain have never won the title at home. Uruguay (1930), Italy (1934), Germany (1974), Argentina (1978), England (1966), and France (1998) have all hosted and won the tournament.

How Often is the World Cup Held?

Rank´╗┐YearCountry
11930Uruguay
21934Italy
31938France
41950Brazil
51954Switzerland
61958Sweden
71962Chile
81966England
91970 Mexico
101974West Germany
111978Argentina
121982Spain
131986Mexico
141990Italy
151994United States
161998France
172002Japan, South Korea
182006Germany
192010South Africa
202014Brazil
212018Russia
222022Qatar
232026Canada, Mexico, United States

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