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A Look at Previous World Cup Winners

Who Has Won the World Cup?

There are many great football teams around the world all featuring exceptional players who produce beautiful football that is appreciated by a global fanbase. When asked which teams have won the tournament, most fans will be able to list Brazil, France, Italy, Germany and England, but how many more nations have won the World Cup, and how many times has each nation lifted the prestigious trophy?


Brazil has been crowned World Cup champions a total of 5 times. They are currently the leading nation with the most World Cup wins, and not without good reason. Despite this, Brazil had a 24 year trophy drought, and they have had a few major upsets in the competition. Brazil won their first World Cup championship in 1958. Brazil won their first World Cup in 1958 when they beat host nation Sweden in a final that finished 5-2. They then went on to win the following competition in 1962 in 1970.  After losing the 1998 World Cup to host nation France, in a final that ended 3-0, Brazil bounced back to win the trophy in 2002. 


Italy has won the World Cup 4 times. Italy won their first two titles in 1934 and 1938. The 1934 competition was the second edition of the World Cup and was held in Italy. France hosted the 1938 competition and Italy won again, becoming the first team to win back to back World Cup competitions. Italy had a title drought of 42 years, winning the competition again in 1982. They met Germany in the finals, beating the Germans 3-1 in a dramatic final where the Italians opened the scoring in the 57th minute and then scored two more goals before the Germans scored in the 83rd minute, and then held on for the win. The Italians won their 4th title in 2006, after a hugely impressive display in the competition. They met France in the finals and drew 1-1 after full time and the game went to extra time, where the Italians won.


Germany has also won the competition 4 times. They won for the first time in 1954, when they beat Hungary in the finals 3-2. Germany were the heavy underdogs, as they had already faced the Hungarian team in the group stage and lost by a whopping 8-3. In a highly controversial game, where a Hungarian goal was ruled offside and the referee allowed a German goal that may have had a foul in the build-up, the Germans beat the favourite to win their first title. They won their second World Cup in 1974, when they beat the Netherlands 2-1 in the finals. Sadly, this team only won one World Cup, as the next time that Germany reached the finals in 1982, all of these players had retired and Germany lost to Italy. Germany reached the finals again in 1986, but lost 3-2 in a close match against an Argentinian side. In 1990, the Germans reached their third successive final, and faced Argentina again, who they beat 1-0. Germany reached the finals in 2002 but were beaten by Brazil in a match that finished 2-0 to Brazil. In 2014, Germany faced Argentina for a third time in the finals. The match ended 0-0 after normal time, and in extra time the Germans scored and then won the game.


Uruguay were crowned champions twice. They were the hosts of the very first World Cup in 1930, which they won. Facing Argentina in the finals, Uruguay went to win the match 4-2 in front of an impressive crowd of over 68,000 people. After the outbreak of the Second World War, the World Cup was not held until 1950, when it was hosted in Brazil. Uruguay met the hosts in the final, and beat them 2-1. This final was attended by at least 172,850 people and some estimates put the crowd at over 200,000, making it the most highly attended football match in history.


France won the World Cup twice, once in 1998 and once in 2018. They placed third in the 1958 competition and in the 1986 competition, but they won their first competition in 1998, beating favourites Brazil 3-0. The French team reached the finals in 2006, but lost the final to Italy. In 2018, twenty years after France won their first title, the French team beat Croatia in the finals 4-2, to add a second World Cup title to their trophy cabinet. 


Argentina has won the World Cup twice. They reached the finals in the inaugural competition in 1930 but lost to Uruguay. They hosted the competition in 1978, and reached the finals where they beat the Netherlands 3-1. Eight years later, Argentina reached the finals again, in the World Cup that was held in Mexico. They beat the Germans 3-2 in a close final. As mentioned before, the two sides would meet in two more finals in 1990 and 2014, though in those finals the Germans narrowly beat the Argentinian side.


Spain have won the World Cup only once. Spain reached fourth place in the 1950 World Cup, when they first established themselves on the international scene. The team struggled in the subsequent tournaments, getting knocked out either in the group stage, round of 16 or quarterfinals. It was not until 2010, in the World Cup that was hosted in South Africa, where Spain won their first and only title. They played against a strong Netherlands team, and though the Spanish were the European Champions at the time, it was difficult to predict which team would win. After the regular time ended without either team scoring, the game went into extra time.


England have only won the World Cup once. They have featured in the competition from 1950 onwards, but only managed to progress as far as the group stage. In 1966, the World Cup was hosted in England. The English team reached the finals, coming first in their group against Uruguay, Mexico and France, and then beating Argentina in the quarter finals, Portugal in the semi-finals, and faced Germany in the finals. England have not since reached the final, despite fielding some of the best players in the game. They came fourth in both 1990 and 2018, despite having been touted to win the competition with an impressive line-up of players.

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