World Cup

Since it's inception in 1930, the World Cup has flowered into one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world, a tournament that rivals the Olympic Games in terms of global media coverage and public interest. To be a true football star, you'll have to shine at a FIFA World Cup.

West Germany
West Germany

2014: Italy (Brazil)

2014 FIFA World Cup
With Ronaldo and to a lesser extent Messi (laughably awarded best player by FIFA) once again failing to live to their hype, it was Germany that set the tournament alight with a stunning 7-1 semi-final demolition of Brazil. The final was inevitably a less spectacular affair, with Germany needing extra time to see off Argentina 1-0.
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2010: Italy (South Africa)

2010 FIFA World Cup
A tournament in which the reigning superstars of football, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, conspiciously failed to shine, saw Holland reach it's third World Cup final. After winning every game on the way to Johannesburg (including qualifiers) they came undone against Spain's tiki-taka football.
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2006: Italy (Germany)

2006 FIFA World Cup
A surprisingly strong showing by the host country added some colour to a disappointing World Cup. In the semi-finals however, the Germans were sent crashing out of the tournament by an Italian national side that would go on to claim a fourth World Cup in a final that ended up being decided on penalties.
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2002: Brazil (Japan and South Korea)
2002 FIFA World Cup
A star-studded Brazilian team were favourites to win the tournament, and duly obliged. Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and their team-mates won all their matches on their way to the final. There was no repeat of Ronaldo's final-night jitters as Brazil beat Germany 2-0 with him scoring both of the Brazilian goals.
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1998: France (France)

1998 FIFA World Cup
Brazil seemed to be on their way to their fifth World Cup after surviving a heavily contested semi-final encounter with Holland. But it all went wrong as star-player Ronaldo buckled under the pressure and suffered an epileptic fit before the final. A Zidane led France won the match and clinched the title.
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1994: Brazil (USA)
1994 FIFA World Cup
Brazil won their fourth World Cup in a style more reminiscent of past German and Italian teams than the beautiful football of earlier Brazilian teams. In the final Italy and Brazil succeeded in producing a match even less interesting than the 1990 edition. Penalties were needed to decide the game.
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1990: West Germany (Italy)
1990 FIFA World Cup
The 1990 World Cup final was a repeat of the 1986 edition, with West Germany and Argentina squaring off once more. But with Maradona only a shell of his former self and the Germans no crowd pleasers either, the game was a severe disappointment. An 85th minute penalty provided the only goal.
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1986: Argentina (Mexico)
1986 FIFA World Cup
Maradona removed all doubt as to whether he was really the best player of his generation, and scored one of the best ever World Cup goals in the process. The final was a classic, with West-Germany staging an impressive fightback after going two goals down, only to succumb to a third Argentine goal.
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1982: Italy (Spain)
1982 FIFA World Cup
A Brazil featuring Zico, Socrates, Falcao and Junior delighted the world with an exhibition of samba-style attacking football. Sadly a Paolo Rossi hattrick in a decisive encounter with Italy meant an unexpectedly early end to their bid for the title, with the Italians going on to win the cup instead.
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1978: Argentina (Argentina)
1978 FIFA World Cup
Holland made it to the final of the World Cup for the second time in a row, although the team lacked the magic of the '74 side, with Cruyff and Van Hanegem declining to take part in the tournament. Once again they lost out to the home side, with Argentina clinching an extra-time victory.
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1974: West Germany (West Germany)
1974 FIFA World Cup
A Holland team featuring players like Cruyff, Van Hanegem, and Neeskens took the tournament by storm with their 'total football' style of play. In the final against Germany things went disastrously wrong, with the Germans staging a fightback after going down a goal, and ending up lifting the cup.
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1970: Brazil (Mexico)
1970 FIFA World Cup
For the third time in four World Cups, Brazil clinched the title. They did so with a team that many consider to be the best the world has ever seen, featuring players like Pelé, Carlos Alberto, Jairzinho, Tostao and Rivelino. A 4-1 win in the final, beating Italy, capped a fine display of attacking football.
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1966: England (England)
1966 FIFA World Cup
Eusebio stole the show, but the nine goals he produced were not enough for Portugal to win the tournament. Instead Alf Ramsey's England would end up lifting the cup, after beating Germany in a final that needed extra time and featured the most controversial goal in World Cup history. Brazil failed to impress.
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1962: Brazil (Chile)
1962 FIFA World Cup
The 1962 World Cup was marred by overly defensive tactics and violent play. Chief victim was Pelé, who was injured out of the tournament early on. In his absence Garrincha, Didi, and Vava took centre stage as Brazil won their second title in succession, beating surprising co-finalists Czechoslovakia 3-1.
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1958: Brazil (Sweden)
1958 FIFA World Cup
The 13 goals in a single tournament scored by Just Fontaine are a record that will likely never be broken. It was not enough for the French to win the title, as they were eliminated by Brazil in the semi-final, with a young Pelé scoring 3 goals. In the final Pelé scored two more as Brazil beat Sweden 5-2.
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1954: West Germany (Switzerland)
1954 FIFA World Cup
Hungary were clear favourites to win the title, and seemed on their way to doing just that despite star-player Puskas picking up an injury early on in the tournament. But in a final remembered by Germans as 'the Miracle of Bern', they lost to a German side they had defeated 8-3 earlier in the tournament.
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1950: Uruguay (Brazil)
1950 FIFA World Cup
England were considered favourites to win the tournament, but the English professionals failed to progress beyond the first round and even famously lost to the USA. An even bigger upset, in the eyes of the home crowd anyway, came when Uruguay defeated Brazil 2-1 in a decisive encounter to win the title.
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1938: Italy (France)
1938 FIFA World Cup
In 1938 Italy redeemed themselves by winning a second World Cup in a row, this time without needing to resort to the help of dubious refereeing. After struggling against Norway in the opening round, Vittorio Pozzo's men went on to defeat France, Brazil and finally Hungary to win the tournament.
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1934: Italy (Italy)
1934 FIFA World Cup
An odious victory for hosts Italy came in for heavy criticism. In the quarter-final encounter with Spain and the semi-final against Austria especially, the Italians were the beneficiaries of some very questionable refereeing. If that wasn't enough, they fielded a number of South-Americans ineligible to play.
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1930: Uruguay (Uruguay)
1930 FIFA World Cup
Thirteen countries took part in the inaugural World Cup, held in Uruguay, with only four European teams willing to undertake the long boat-journey to South-America. The hosts would end up winning the title, after beating Argentina in a final that saw them recovering from a 1-2 half-time score to win 4-2.
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