Football rose to the heights of popularity as a sport that promotes athletics, team spirit, and cooperation, hence earning its rightful place. Being the national game of most countries as well as the oldest sport in consideration, from the Aztec nobles to the modern-day, there was a need for an organization to oversee all international and association football.
So the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) was formed. A race for the world cup is held every four years, between 32 qualifying nations, on the hosting land, and the event breaches staggering popularity with about 715.1 million people watching in 2006.
Brazil has the honor of being the showstopper to the tournament at a maximum of five times, closely followed by Italy and Germany at four and three clean sweeps respectively. Uruguay and Argentina have won twice each, England, France, and Spain once.
Germany has had the most second-place finishes, followed by the Netherlands and further Argentina, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Italy, and then France and Sweden owning up to the second-place once. Brazil once again shows its competence, having reached the finals seven times, along with the German football team.
Italy lags closely behind with 6 final battleships. Argentina reached four, Netherlands three, Uruguay along with three more countries, twice and Sweden, England and Spain being recent, once. Most third-place finishes have been credited to the teams of Germany at four, Brazil, France, Poland, and Sweden at three.
Austria, Chile and several others finished third, once. Germany was in the top three teams eleven times, Brazil nine times, and Italy seven times. Several counties including Netherlands and Argentina have also been in the top three.
Uruguay, Yugoslavia, and others have remained fourth-place finishers. Utmost fifth-eighth place finishes have been England’s at eight times, and Brazil and Argentina following closely. Brazil and Germany have both been in the top eight sixteen times, Italy and Argentina ten times.
Brazil has had the most world cup appearances at twenty, Italy and Germany at 18, Argentina at 16. England, Belgium, and Bulgaria follow with a lower number of appearances.
Acclaiming their place as the football champions, Brazil and Italy have won two consecutive championships. Netherlands and Germany have had the most consecutive second-place finishes. Germany also had had the most consecutive third-place finishes.
However, no team has had a consecutive finish in fourth place. Germany, Argentina, and Brazil are among those with the most consecutive top-four finishes. Switzerland has the most consecutive fifth-eighth place finishes.
As far as gaps go, the lengthiest gap between successive titles is for Italy at forty-four years (1938-1982). Argentina has the longest gap between successive appearances in the top two and three at forty-eight years (1930-1978). The United States has had the longest gap between successive appearances in the top eight at seventy-two years (1930-2002).
Egypt (1934-1990) and Norway (1938-1994) had an extended gap between consecutive appearances in the world cup finals. The best finish by a host team was by Uruguay, West Germany, Italy, France, England. There were worst finishes by host teams too as that by South Africa. For a team breaching the field for the first time, Uruguay, Portugal, Croatia, and Italy has had the best finishes. Football has not only surmounted countries, but it has also brought them together.