Saturday, June 26, 2010

World Cup Trivia by the Numbers

Team USA is about to play Ghana in the knockout round of the World Cup. Here are some interesting tidbits:

There have been 18 World Cups divvied up among just 7 winners: Brazil (5), Italy (4), Germany (3), Argentina (2), Uruguay (2), England (1), and France (1).

Half of all World Cups have been won by Italy and Brazil.

Half have been won by European countries.

Half have been won by South American countries.

No team from North America (which includes Mexico), Asia, Africa, or Australia has ever even made it to the final.

The host country has won 6 times. In fact, 6 of the 7 countries to have won a World Cup, won at least one at home, including England and France's only wins. The odd exception is Brazil. While they have won more World Cups than any other country, they lost the one they hosted in 1950 to Uruguay. Brazil hosts again in 2014, and one assumes they'll be heavily favored.

Team USA has only won 1 game in the knockout round, that came in 2002 against Mexico. In spite of this, Team USA's highest finish was third place in the first World Cup in 1930. Only 4 teams advanced to the knockout round that year and no third place game was played.

Team USA has only won their group twice, in 1930 and 2010.

A European country has never won a World Cup held outside of Europe. Brazil is the only non-European country to win a World Cup held in Europe (World Cup Sweden in 1958). In World Cup Germany in 2006, only 2 non-European countries even made it as far as the quarter-finals. None made the semis.

This is the first World Cup held in Africa.

South Africa is the first host nation to fail to reach the knockout round.

Of the 7 countries to have won a World Cup, 2 have already been eliminated: Italy and France. By the time this posts, Uruguay will have played its match against South Korea and may have become the third.

Of the 16 teams in the knockout round, there are 6 from Europe, 5 from South America, 2 from Asia, 2 from North America, and 1 from Africa. So it's likely Europe/South America will continue their dominance.

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