Tomorrow, on June 14, an event that unites the world will begin. The FIFA World Cup is held every four years, and inspires rabid fanaticism across the globe in football fans and neophytes alike. Before the opening ceremony and kick-off tomorrow, here are a few things you should know – including where to watch it in Hong Kong.
The FIFA World Cup was founded in 1904. Its headquarters are in Zurich, Switzerland, and there are 211 member national associations.
The first World Cup tournament was held 88 years ago. That year, Uruguay hosted – and won it, too.
But this is the first time that the country will host the tournament.
These include St Petersburg, Ekatarinburg, and Sochi. The Finals will be held in Moscow.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup is the first time in the history of the tournament that Italy has failed to qualify. However, the 2018 tournament also marks the debut for both Iceland and Panama.
The tournament is ripe for making history. The highest-scoring game in World Cup history was in 1954, when Austria trumped Switzerland 7-5.
Speaking of making history, Brazilian superstar Ronaldo holds some serious World Cup records. He – along with Germany’s Miroslav Klose – holds the record for the most goals scored in multiple World Cup tournaments (that’s 15 each, if you’re counting). Ronaldo is also one of only three players to win the coveted FIFA World Player of the Year award three or more times.
Some 50% of the world’s 7.05 billion people will be watching. Considered the world’s most watched sporting event, some estimate that nearly 3.2 billion people tuned in to watch the World Cup in 2010 – and that’s expected to increase this year.
During the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, over 750,000 litres of beer was drunk – that’s 3,170,064 beers! – and more than 390,600 hot dogs were consumed. And that’s not even counting the people at home!
As well as the obvious bragging rights for the next four years, the winners of the World Cup takes home US$35 million. The runners-up also take home a cool US$25 million. Even better? All teams participating in the group stage receive US$8 million just for showing up.
In the nearly 90 years of its existence, almost half of all FIFA World Cup titles have been won by just two teams. Between them, Brazil and Italy have a total of nine World Cup championships.
Maybe it’s their “Samba Boys” nickname or their flashy gold and green uniforms, but something’s working for the Brazil football team. They’ve appeared in every World Cup since the tournament started in 1930, and have won the most number of titles (that’s five, if you want to get specific).
Russian striker Oleg Salenko holds the record for the most number of goals scored in a single World Cup match. How? In 1994, he scored five goals against Cameroon in a group match, giving Russia a comfortable win of 6-1.