Brazil leads FIFA World Cup winners by year list


The 2022 FIFA World Cup is down to the wire and four teams are set to battle it out for the prestigious trophy.

After four remarkable quarterfinal games, Croatia, Argentina, Morocco and France all advanced into the semifinals.

The World Cup always delivers some emotional nuggets or historic firsts as 32 teams from around the globe try to piece the perfect run through the bracket. 

Before looking ahead too far though, let’s take a look at the century-long tradition that is the World Cup. 

Who won the first World Cup?

Uruguay took home the first World Cup trophy in 1930, with a 4-2 over Argentina. 

Which countries have won the FIFA World Cup?

Here’s a review of the results of every World Cup finals and some of the most memorable highlights:

1930: Uruguay def. Argentina 4-2

1934: Italy def. Czechoslovakia 2-1 (after extra time)

1938: Italy def. Hungary 4-2

1950: Uruguay def. Brazil 2-1

1954: West Germany def. Hungary 3-2

Hungary came out of the gates firing, taking a 2-0 lead by the eighth minute of play. The West German team, however, was not to be deterred. They connected on two more goals of their own to even the score by the 18th minute. 

Despite that blistering start, both teams settled back and were unable to break through until the 84th minute when German forward Helmut Rahn found the back of the net. This was Germany’s first of eight World Cup finals appearances, the most of any country.

1958: Brazil def. Sweden 5-2

1962: Brazil def. Czechoslovakia 3-1

1966: England def. West Germany 4-2 (after extra time)

1970: Brazil def. Italy 4-1

What on paper seems like a throw-away goal was anything but. 

Brazil’s 1970 dream team, widely considered the greatest team in World Cup history, led Italy 3-1 with the clock winding down. What unfolded next at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City would go on to become one of the most iconic World Cup goals and a defining image in the long legacy of Brazilian soccer.

The nine-pass play started deep in Brazil’s backfield, with the ball eventually finding itself at the feet of Pele. The Brazilian legend placed the ball perfectly at the top of the box for Carlos Alberto, who hit a clean strike into the back of the net. 

1974: West Germany def. the Netherlands 2-1

1978: Argentina def. the Netherlands 3-1 (in extra time)

1982: Italy def. West Germany 3-1

No one celebrates quite like the Italians!

Before there was Brandi Chastain’s sports bra or Bebeto rocking the baby, Marco Tardelli revolutionized the soccer celebration with a simple scream.

Italy led West Germany 1-0 midway through the second half when Tardelli got the ball at the top of the box. His first touch was a bit strong, but he recovered quickly, striking the ball decisively into the back of the net. While the goal was impressive, it pales in comparison to the celebration.

Tardelli broke off into a sprint toward his Italian fans, yelling the whole way. He might look like a regular impassioned athlete by today’s standards, but the celebration went on to inspire generations of footballers.

1986: Argentina def. West Germany 3-2

1990: West Germany def. Argentina 1-0

1994: Brazil def. Italy 0-0, 3-2 (penalty kicks)

1998: France def. Brazil 3-0

2002: Brazil def. Germany 2-0

2006: Italy def. France 1-1, 5-3 (penalty kicks)

2010: Spain def. the Netherlands 1-0 (in extra time)

Spain’s one and only World Cup victory came in epic style behind the heroics of Andrés Iniesta. 

With Spain and Netherlands caught in gridlock and all signs pointing toward a penalty kick shootout, Iniesta found himself in the right place at the right time and snuck a shot past Dutch goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg. 

As if the moment couldn’t get more emotional, Iniesta broke off toward the corner in celebration, ripping off his jersey to reveal an undershirt that read “Dani Jarque always with us.” Jarque was a Spanish defender who died less than a year earlier from a heart attack at age 26. 

2014: Germany def. Argentina 1-0 (in extra time)

2018: France def. Croatia 4-2

The lopsided scorecard did little to take away from the highest scoring final since 1966. All six goals between these two teams delivered with its own dose of drama and intrigue. 

France got things started in the 18th minute with some help from Croatian defender Mario Mandzukic. Mandzukic’s head grazed a free kick right past the outstretched arms of the Croatian goalkeeper for an own goal. The Croatians leveled things ten minutes later behind a beautiful strike from Ivan Perisic. 

A major turning point came in the 38th minute when Croatia was called for a controversial handball resulting in a 2-1 lead, advantage France. They carried that momentum into the second half with two similar goals from Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe. Mbappe, then 19, became only the second teenager to score in a World Cup final, joining Pele in 1958. 

While the outcome was all but solidified, Mandzukic had a moment of personal redemption when he capitalized on an error from French goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to give Croatia a second goal.

The 2018 tournament marked the introduction of VAR to the World Cup stage, putting the decision to call a handball under further scrutiny.

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