The first competition for the cup was organized 1930 in Montevideo, Uruguay, by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and was won by Uruguay. Held every four years since that time, except during World War II, the competition consists of international sectional tournaments leading to a final elimination event made up of 32 national teams.
After another two events in 1934 (Italy) and 1938 (France), there was a 12 year break due to the World War, before recommencing in 1950 in Brazil. The World Cup has been held every four years since then.
The trophy cup awarded from 1930 to 1970 was the Jules Rimet Trophy, named for the Frenchman who proposed the tournament. This cup was permanently awarded in 1970 to then three-time winner Brazil (1958, 1962, and 1970), and a new trophy called the FIFA World Cup was put up for competition. Many other sports have organized “World Cup” competitions.
13 teams participated in the first World Cup in 1930. Up until 1978, the tournament was between 16 teams, then it was increased to 24 from 1982, then to the current level of 32 teams from 1998.
Brazil is the only country to have competed in every World Cup finals series, and are also the most successful country with five victories.
Unlike Olympic football, World Cup teams are not limited to players of a certain age or amateur status, so the competition serves more nearly as a contest between the world’s best players. Referees are selected from lists that are submitted by all the national associations.
In 2017, it was decided to expand the World Cup to 48 teams from 2026 onwards. The format will consist of 16 groups of three teams.