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The World Cup is the ultimate competition for professional football. Nations from all over the world are eligible to participate. The World Cup is held every 4 years and is the most coveted prize in football. The first tournament took place in 1930 and has continued ever since. The only exception being during the Second World War when many nations were forced to disband there football leagues.

The world cup competitions as we know it is actually the World Cups final Phase. This contest consists of 32 teams from around the world, playing in a group setting and representing their home country. The actually world cup from start to finish takes much longer. Nearly 3 years and hundreds of qualifying games are played before the final phase is played in its designated host city.

The history of the world cup is quite long. It begins with the very first international football game being played between England and Scotland in 1872. At this time the sport was virtually unheard of on the European continent and was rarely ever played outside the British Isles. Improvements and increased travel gradually brought football to other nations. By the turn of the century it has grown significantly in popularity and was offered as a demonstration sport at both the 1900 and 1904 Olympics, with it becoming an official sport in the 1908 games.

The organization known as FIFA formed in 1904, and attempted to create an international football competition between national teams that fell outside the framework of the Olympics. However, the early attempts were not met with much acceptance and despite repeated tries the early efforts failed.

Another attempt to get a competition going came with the 1932 Olympic Games in Los Angles. The promoters of the Olympic did not originally plan to include football but due to it not being a popular sport in the United States. However, it was growing in popularity so it was agreed in principal. Plans failed again however, when FIFA and the IOC could not come to an agreement as to the status of amateur players. They were never able to settle the issue and the game was scrapped.

It seems odd that a tournament that failed so many times to even get started is now one of the most sought after sports honors in the world. Over 198 nations attempted to qualify for the FIFA 2006 world cup that was held in Germany. Of the 32 teams that made it to the final phase it was Italy that emerged as the world cup champions. The victory was extremely important to Italy being that Italian professional football had just been involved in one of the worst and most publicized football scandals in history. The world cup is always full of excitement, emotion and drama. With the growing popularity of the sport around the world it will surely continue its tradition. You can catch all international matches live online with our service.

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