|Preparations for the biggest football event, the World Cup, are in their final stages. France is getting ready to welcome in the summer of 98 the best thirty-two national teams from around the world and millions of fans are planning their summer vacations with the World Cup in mind. After all this is the most important sports events, except perhaps from the Olympic Games.|
The idea for a World Football Cup was first conceived by the Frenchman Jule Rimet in December 1926 and FIFA lost no time in appointing a committee to consider the matter. A proposal was soon made and in May 0928 FIFA's general meeting assigned Uruguay the task of holding the first World Cup. This South American country was celebrating the centenary of its independence and made the event part of their respective celebrations.
Participation in the first World Cup was like an adventure, particularly for European countries whose teams and fans had to travel by boat spending several days on the journey. Thirteen countries took part in the first Cup and the host country won the Cup by defeating Argentina in the final game by four goals to two. The first World Cup was names "Jule Rimet" in honour of the man who had conceived the idea of its holding.
The World Cup in held every four years and this year's event is the sixteenth, given that there were no games in 1942 and 1946 on account of the Second World War. The trophy has been won by only six countries and Brazil is the only country that has won it four times, the last time in 1994 in the USA where the latest games were held. Italy and Germany have won the trophy three times each, Argentina and Uruguay twice and England once.
The World Cup has never been held on another Continent except Europe and America and it is characteristic that every time it was held in Europe it was won by a European team and every time it was held in America (South or North) it was won by a South American team. The only exception was in 1958 when the Cup was held in Sweden but was won by the Brazilian national team, featuring Pele, the greatest football player in the world.
Text: Cyprus Football Federation.
Source: Department of Postal Services, Republic of Cyprus.