As Kenyans and the rest of the world plan to enjoy one of the world’s most exciting event, the World Cup, there are very interesting facts behind the tournament that many people aren’t aware of.
In the year 1966, a few months before the World Cup, the Jules Rimet trophy, which is awarded the winner went on display at a London stamp exhibition. The trophy was under a state of the art security but do you know what happened? Thieves stole it. Arrests were made, ransom notes issued but the police never found the trophy. Six days after the disappearance, a man named David Corbett and his dog found the trophy in a wrapped parcel.
Did you know that India qualified for the World Cup in Brazil in 1950 but did not turn up? The reason was funny. Indian players, during that time, were accustomed to playing barefoot but FIFA required that all players put on shoes. Indian players had no otherwise but to withdraw. This was hilarious. Right?
Do you remember the incident that happened during the 2006 World Cup finals between France and Italy? The incident was between Zinadene Zidane and Marco Materazzi. Zidane charged and Marco and hit him on the chest with the head. The man had to be admitted to hospital and of course Zidane, who was due to retire then, given a red card. It then emerged that Materazzi had insulted Zidane’s sister. The man might have loved his sister so much.
Lev Yashin, the great Soviet goalkeeper, played in three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1966). Known as the “Black Spider” for his signature all-black outfit and ability to block balls as if he had more than two arms, he was voted best goalie of the century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics. When asked about his pre-match routine, he said that the trick was to “have a smoke to calm your nerves, then toss back a strong drink to tone your muscles.”
Brazil has made the most consecutive World Cups, appearing in all 21 tournaments.
Only eight nations have won the World Cup; Brazil, Italy, Germany (also as West Germany), Argentina, Uruguay, England, Spain, and France.
Brazil holds the record for most World Cup titles, with five. Runners-up Italy and Germany have won four.
No country has won the World Cup three times consecutively; Italy (1934, 1938) and Brazil (1958, 1962) have both won back-to-back championships.
The highest scoring game in World Cup history was in 1954 when Austria defeated Switzerland 7-5.
Russia’s Oleg Slanko holds the record for most individual goals in a single match, netting five goals against Cameroon in 1994.
Out of the 208 FIFA member nations, 204 attempted to qualify for the 2010 World Cup.
The first World Cup in 1930 consisted of 18 matches.
Lucien Laurent of France scored the first goal in World Cup history on July 13, 1930.
The all-time leading scorer in the World Cup is Germany’s Miroslav Klose, with 16 goals
The record for most individual goals in a tournament is held by France’s Just Fonatine, with 13. He played in just one World Cup (1958), but that single outing is good enough to place him fourth on the all-time career goals list.
Brazilian superstar Pelé is the only player to have won three World Cup championships. His 1958 World Cup debut resulted in a number of long-standing records; youngest goal scorer, youngest player to score a hat trick and the youngest player to appear in a final, at the tender age of 17 years and 249 days.
The 2006 final between Italy and France was watched by over 715.1 million viewers.