World Cup Intro

Posted 2014

  1. Introduction-Tournament Format
  2. Participants with links to their wikipedia page
  3. Tournament Prize money
  4. Tournament Schedule
  5. Soccer terms/rules/glossary
  6. Web links to soccer history, Would Cup history and Top 50 players in the 2010 World Cup
  7. Most successful World Cup Teams/Nations
  8. Interesting World Cup facts & most popular sports
  9. Game ball, Tournament Mascot and Tournament trophy
  10. Maps
  11. Participating countries their rank, nicknames, trivia and links to country facts

The FIFA World Cup tournament final with 32 teams from 6 continents occurs every four years.

The 3 year qualification process for the World Cup Final begins almost immediately after the last final. Two hundred plus countries’ national soccer teams (all-star teams) compete.  After over 800 matches 32 teams are left for the 30 day final tournament.

The last December before the June/July final the 32 teams are drawn into eight groups of four. The top 7 seeds based on the FIFA World rankings and the host nation are drawn from  the first pot, placing a top seed in each group. The remaining teams from Asia, Oceania, North and Central America and the Caribbean, Africa, South America and Europe are drawn from pots 2, 3 and 4. The teams are allocated to the pots to avoid putting two teams from the same region into the same group except European teams where a maximum of two European teams may be in the same group (this is unavoidable as they have 13 spots reserved in the Final).

Each team will play the other three teams in their group.

A win is worth three points, a draw is worth 1 and no points for a loss.

The two teams in each group with the most points after the three matches advance. The other two are eliminated.

After narrowing the field down to 16 (two from each group), the tournament enters the knockout stage.

In the knockout stage the group winners play a runner-up from another group.  The winners advance to the next round and the losers are eliminated. This continues for a total of 4 rounds until there is one winner left. There is also a consolation game between the losers of the semi-final round. There can’t be any ties in the knockout phase, so if the match is tied after 90 minutes, they play two 15 minute periods of extra time. If the teams are still tied, they move to  penalty kicks shootout. In a penalty shoot out the team names 5 players to take 12 yard penalty kicks at the goal.  The kicks alternate between teams until one team has either an insurmountable lead during these alternating 10 kicks or if still tied after these 10 players’ kicks the penalty kicks continue with the remaining players one versus one until someone makes it and the other team representative misses.

The number of places alloted to each continent is based on the strength of each continent’s teams

Europe (53 teams 13 places)

  1. Spain
  2. England
  3. Germany
  4. Netherlands
  5. Italy
  6. Bosnia-Herzegovina
  7. Belgium
  8. Croatia
  9. Russia
  10. Switzerland
  11. France
  12. Greece
  13. Portugal

European teams that qualified in 2010 but not 2014


South America (10 teams 5 places plus Brazil)

  1. Brazil (automatic bid as host country)
  2. Chile
  3. Ecuador
  4. Argentina
  5. Uruguay
  6. Columbia

Africa (53 teams 5.5 places)

  1. Ivory Coast
  2. Cameroon
  3. Ghana
  4. Algeria
  5. Nigeria

African team that made it previously but not this year

South Africa (automatic bid as host country)

Asia (43 teams 4.5 places)

  1. Australia
  2. South Korea
  3. Japan
  4. Iran

Asian team that made it in 2010 but not 2014

North Korea

North America, Central America & Caribbean (Concacaf) (35 teams 3.5 places)

  1. USA
  2. Mexico
  3. Honduras
  4. Costa Rica

Oceania (10 teams 1/2 place)

Lost to Mexico in playoff for a spot in the final

New Zealand


  • $420 million tournament prize money
    • group stage-     $8 million per team
    • round of 16-      $9  million/team
    • Quarter-finals-  $18 million/team
    • Semi-finals-      $20 million/team
    • Runners up-     $24 million/team
    • Winners-          $30 million/team

For start times of the games click here


Pitch – Place where the game is played. You might call it a field

Box – The rectangle 18 yards from the goal line where the goalie stands, and the area in which he’s allowed to use his hands

Yellow card – A warning from the referee to a player for misconduct

Red card – An act of violent conduct – or a second yellow card – that results in the offending player being sent off the field. He can not be replaced, and thus his team must play with 10 men, better known as being “a man down.”

Flop or dive – When a player falls to the ground as if he’s been horribly injured when, in fact, he was just trying to get a free kick from the referee.

Offside rule – In order to receive a pass in the opponent’s half of the field, there must be two opponents between the player receiving the pass and the opponent’s goal. One of those is almost always going to be the goal keeper. This rule does not apply on passes to teammates running behind the ball.

Own goal – When a player kicks or heads the ball into his own net

Corner kick – If a team kicks or heads the ball over the line behind their own goal, the opposing team gets to put the ball down at the corner flag and knock it into the box.

Direct free kick – is a method of restarting play following a penalty foul (e.g. dangerous play). Unlike an indirect free kick, a goal may be scored directly against the opposing side without the ball having first touched another player.

Indirect free kick – is awarded to the opposing team when a player commits a foul other than a penalty foul. Unlike a direct free kick, a goal may not be scored directly from the kick. An indirect free kick is also awarded to the opposing team when play is stopped to caution or send-off a player when no specific foul has occurred. The most common cause is the offside offence.

Penalty kick (or penalty) – a free kick taken from twelve yards out from goal and with only the goalkeeper of the defending team between the penalty taker and the goal. It is awarded to the fouled team following a foul that has occurred within their opponent’s penalty area (18 yard box).

Penalty Area (the box) -The marked area around each goal, measuring 18×44 yards, within which the defending keeper has the privilege of handling the ball, and inside which a penalty foul by the defensive team will result in a penalty kick. (colloquially also known as the 18-yard box, penalty box or simply the box)

Touch Line – The boundary lines marking each sideline of the field.

Goal kick – A goal kick is awarded to the defending team when the ball leaves the field of play by crossing the goal line (either on the ground or in the air) without a goal having been scored, having been last touched by an attacking player. The ball is initially placed anywhere within the defending goal area. All opposing players must be outside the penalty area until the ball is in play.

Penalty fouls
1. Kicking at an opponent, not the ball. Contact does not have to be made.
2. Tripping an opponent. The player does not have to fall down.
3. Jumping at an opponent. Contact does not have to be made.
4. Charging an opponent violently or from behind.
5. Striking (hitting) or attempting to strike an opponent.
6. Pushing an opponent.
7. When tackling, contacting the opponent before touching the ball.
8. Holding an opponent.
9. Spitting at an opponent (red card offense).
10. Handling the ball deliberately (except the keeper within the keepers own penalty area).

Non-Penal (minor) fouls

1. Dangerous Play: A player does something to endanger himself or others. Most common are high kicks when another players head is near, or low headers near other players feet.
2. Impeding the progress of an opponent when not within playing distance of the ball. This used to be called obstruction.
3. Obstructing the Goalkeeper.

Confederation – the groups or zones for world cup qualifying created by FIFA. They are CONCACAF(North American, Central America and the Caribbean), CONMEBOL (South America),CAF (Africa), AFC (Asia and Australia), Oceania (New Zealand and other island Pacific nations) and UEFA (Europe).

Friendlies – A soccer match between two countries’ national teams that is more for practice and testing out players, It does not count for World Cup qualification.

Soccer history link

History of FIFA World Cup link

The Top 50 players in the World Cup Link

Soccer popularity worldwide map link

  • Most successful teams:

Only eight nations have ever won the World Cup. They are Brazil (5), Italy (4, including the last one in 2006), Germany (3), Argentina (2), Uruguay (2), France (1),  England (1) and most recently Spain (1).

The FIFA World Cup Trophy is a 15 inch tall 14 pound 18 carat solid gold trophy.  Winners of the tournament receive a gold plated replica of the original. The sculpture depicts two human figures holding up the Earth. Its “melt” value is about 150 thousand dollars.

  • The cumulative audience of all 64 matches of the 2006 World Cup was 26 billion
  • 715 million watched the 2006 World Cup final (a ninth of the entire population of the planet).
  • 200 million watched the 2010 World Cup group draw on December 4, 2009
  • No team outside the European or South American Confederations has ever made the tournament final
  • $6 billion spent on South African stadiums, transportation and other infrastructure in preparation for the World Cup

-Most Popular Sports:

1) Football: 3.3-3.5 billion fans (Europe, Africa, Asia, Americas, etc.)

2) Cricket: 2-3 billion fans (India, UK, Pakistan, Asia, Australia, etc.)

3) Field hockey: 2-2.2 billion fans (Asia, Europe, Africa, Australia)

4) Tennis: Around 1 billion fans (Europe, Americas, Asia)

5) Volleyball: Around 900 million fans (Asia, Europe, Americas, Australia)

6) Table tennis: Around 900 million fans (Asia, Europe, Africa, Americas)

7) Baseball: Around 500 million fans (US, Japan, Cuba, Dominican Republic)

8.) Golf: Around 400 million fans (US, Canada, Europe)

9) Gridiron (American football): 390-410 million fans (US mainly)

10) Basketball: Not more than 400 million fans (US, Canada mainly)


Old stuff from 2010

The match ball for the 2010 FIFA World Cup will be named the “Jabulani”, made by Adidas, which means “bringing joy to everyone” in Zulu; it features eleven colors, one for each player on the pitch, it retails for $150.

The official mascot for the 2010 FIFA World Cup is Zakumi, an anthropomorphised leopard with green hair. His name comes from “ZA”, the international abbreviation for South Africa, and “kumi”, a word that means “ten” in various African languages.  The mascot’s colors reflect those of the host nation’s playing strip – yellow and green.

Participants and rankings:

Group A:

85. South Africa – Bafana Bafana (The Boys)

2 time cup participant, automatic qualifier as the host, many believe South Africa will be the first host nation to fail to advance out of the group stage

17. Mexico – El Tri (The Tri-colors)

13 time cup participant, hosted cup twice, best finish final 8 twice as hosts, reached the final 16 the past 4 cups, Eight time Concacaf Confederation Cup Champion most recently in 09

20. Uruguay – La Celeste (The Sky Blue), Los Charrúas

10 time cup participant, hosted the very first world cup in 1930 which it won, won a second crown in 1950 in Brazil

7. France – Les Bleus (The Blues), L’Equipe tricolore (The Tri-color Team)

12 time cup participant, hosted and won the cup in 1998, finalist in ’06 losing to host Germany, 3rd place in ’58 &  ’86, 4th place in ’82

Group B:

8. Argentina – La Albiceleste (White and Sky blue)

14 cup appearances, 2 time champion ’78 as host and ’86, 2 time runner up (’30 & ’90), 3 final 8 appearances including the most recent cup in ’06, the consensus best player in the world plays for Argentina Lionel Messi of the Spanish Premier League team FC Barcelona

22. Nigeria – Super Eagles 3 time cup qualifier, reached final 16 of the cup twice, U-17 world cup winners in 85, 93 and 07, Olympic champions in 96,

52. South Korea – Taeguk Warriors, Red Devils, Tigers of Asia

7 time cup participant, best finish 4th place in 2002 as co-host with Japan,

13. Greece

1rst and only previous appearance in the world cup in 94 hosted in the US, won the UEFA European championship in 2004

Group C:

9. EnglandThe Three Lions

12 time participant, Cup Champion in 66 as host, 4th place in 90, 6 appearances in the final 8, in Wayne Rooney of Manchester United of the English Premiere League they have one of the best strikers in the world

 14. USA – The Yanks, The Stars and Stripes

8 time participant, 3rd place in 1930, final 8 in 02, round of 16 in 94 as host, 4 time champion of the biannual Concacaf (North America) Gold Cup – 91, 02, 05, 07, Runner-up at 2009 Confederations Cup (first final appearance in a major international competition), midfielder Landon Donovan is the star of the USA team

26. Algeria – Les Fennecs (the Desert Foxes)

2 time participant never reached beyond the group stage, last appearance in the cup was 24 years ago, African Cup champion in 90

31. Slovenia

making their 2nd appearance in the world cup, gained independence from Yugoslavia in 1991, nation of 2 million people


Group D:

6. Germany – Die Mannschaft (The Team), The DFB-Eleven

3 time cup champion 54, 74, 90, (only better records are Brazil 5 titles and Italy with 4), sixteen cup appearances, four runners-up, three 3rd places,

21. Australia – The Socceroos

32 year Cup absence until 06 when they reached the final 16, Australian national team record set during 2010 qualification with 7 straight shut-outs

19. Serbia – Bell Orlovi (White Eagles)

9 time cup participant, 4th place in 62, three final 8 appearances, first appearance at the cup as an independent nation, formerly part of Yugoslavia then Serbia Montenegro

34. Ghana – The Black Stars

making 2nd appearance in the Cup, previous appearance in 06 reached the round of 16, four African Cup titles, though none since 1982, two FIFA U-17 World Cups, and the first African team to lift the FIFA U-20 World Cup when they beat Brazil on penalties in October 2009.

Group E:

3. Netherlands – The Oranje, Total Football

8 cup appearances, 2nd place in 74 & 78, 4th in 98, UEFA European Cup Champion in 88,

28. Denmark – Danish Dynamite

3 time cup participant, final 8 in 98, round of 16 in 86 & 02, UEFA  European Champions in 92 and International Confederations Champion 95

43. Japan – Samurai Blue

2010 is their 4th appearance in a row at the cup, best finish was reaching round of 16 as co-hosts in 2002

11. Cameroon – The Indomitable Lions

highest ranked African team in the Cup, 5 Cup appearances, final 8 in 90, 4 time African Cup Champion


Group F:

4. Italy – The Azzurri (The Blue)

4 time Cup Champion as well as most recent champion in 06, 2nd place twice in 70 & 94, third place in 90 as host, 16 cup appearances

 29. ParaguayLos Guaranies, La Albirroja (white and red)

7 cup appearances 4th in a row in 2010 , reached round of 16 three times, Silver medalists at the 04 Olympics,


82. New ZealandThe Kiwis, The All Whites

Making only their 2nd appearance at the World Cup, previous appearance was in 82

33. Slovakia – Repre

1rst time cup appearance, 8 appearances as part of Czechoslovakia, 2nd place in 62 & 34, final 8 in 38 & 90

Group G:

2. Brazil – A Seleção (The Selection), Canarinho (Little Canary), Auriverde (Yellow and Green)

Has made all 18 world cups, 5 time champion, 2nd place twice, 3rd place twice, 4th place once, final 8 five times,  has one of the best footballers in the world in Kaka who was sold to Real Madrid of the Spanish Premiere League for a transfer fee of $95 million

 86. North Korea – Chollima

1 time qualifier in 66 when they reached the final 8

16. Ivory Coast – Les Elephants

1 time cup appearance in 06, African Cup champions 92 and runners up in 2006, has one of the best forwards in the world in Didier Drogba of the English Premier League team Chelsea

5. Portugal – A Selecção das Quinas

4 cup appearances, 2 time semi-finalist finishing third in 66 and 4th in 06, has one of the best-known and most creative players in the game in Cristiano Ronaldo of the Spanish Premiere League team Real Madrid

Group H:

1. Spain – La Roja (The Red), La Seleccion

12 time cup participant, final 8 five times, 4th place in ’50, Current European Champion winning in 08, and previous European champ in 64

18. Switzerland – Schweizer Nati

8 time cup participant, final 8 three times in 34, 38 and 54, reached round of 16 in 06

 37. HondurasLos Catrachos, La Bicolor

2nd appearance in the Cup previously qualifying in 82,

15. Chile – La Roja (The Red)

7 time cup participant, 3rd place finish in 62 as hosts, made the final 16 in 06

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