Organized by FIFA every four years, this prestigious tournament brings together 32 nations for an international competition followed around the world by all football enthusiasts. Only eight countries have won at least one world championship title since 1930, when the World Cup was created. But who are they?
CNEWS has listed the winners of the World Cup, the most popular sporting event on the planet.
Note that the trophy brandished by the victorious team was not always the famous FIFA World Cup that we currently know, and which has only been awarded since 1974.
Previously, from 1930 to 1970, the tournament winner was awarded the Jules Rimet Cup.
Brazil – 5 titles (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
Brazil’s last World Cup victory dates back to 2002. © Odd ANDERSEN / AFP
La Seleçao holds the record for World Cup victories with five coronations. Having lost their first final in 1950 against Uruguay, Brazil finally experienced its first World Cup triumph in 1958, beating Sweden 5-2 in the final. Led by Pelé, the Brazilians won again in 1962 against Czechoslovakia 3-1 and again in 1970 against Italy with a final score of 4-1. They also won the World Cup in 1994 against the Italians, but this time after the penalty shoot-out. Their last coronation took place at the 2002 World Cup organized jointly by Japan and South Korea. In the final, Brazil beat Germany 2-0 thanks to a brace from Ronaldo in the second half. This last victory allowed Brazil to exorcise the bitter failure suffered in the 1998 final against France.
GERMANY – 4 tracks (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)
A second world champion title for the Germans in 1974 © FIRO / ICON SPORT
Before the reunification of Germany in 1990, it was under the flag of the FRG (Federal Republic of Germany) that the Germanic conquered their titles of world champions. Their first coronation took place at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, with a surprise 3-2 victory, in the final over Puskas’ Hungary, the tournament’s arch-favorite team. Twenty years later, the Mannschaft were crowned once again at home, at the 1974 World Cup, thanks to the talents of players such as Franz Beckenbauer and Gerd Müller. Led by the score in the final, the FRG finally won 2-1 against the Netherlands of Johan Cruyff.
The 1990 World Cup in Italy gave the Germans their third world championship crown at the expense of Argentina’s Maradona, thanks to Andreas Brehme’s successful conversion from a late-game penalty against the Argentines. The team from a reunified Germany added a fourth title to its list at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, once again beating Argentina’s Lionel Messi 1-0 in the final.
ITALY – 4 titles (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006)
The joy of Italy in 2006 © SBI / ICON SPORT
Squadra Azzurra also have four World Cup victories. The first took place during the second edition of the competition which took place in 1934 in fascist Italy. Playing in black since the 1930s, the Italian team won the final against Czechoslovakia 2-1, after extra time. The Italian fascist regime saw in this victory an ode to the glory of Mussolini. At the 1938 World Cup in France, Italy managed to keep their title and hung a second star on their crest by triumphing over Hungary in the final by a score of 4-2. After a very long period of famine, the Italians restarted the clock by adding a third victory at the 1982 World Cup in Spain. Having managed to emerge victorious from the second round of the pools by beating Argentina and Brazil, Squadra Azzurra swept Poland 2-0 in the semi-final and made short work of the Germans by beating them 3-1 in the final, they exhausted by an epic semi-final against France could not resist the Italian assaults. Finally, Italy won its fourth world crown in 2006 at the World Cup held in Germany. In the final, the Italians triumphed over the Blues after the penalty shootout.
ARGENTINA – 2 tracks (1978, 1986)
After Argentina’s victory, Diego Maradona was carried in triumph to the Azteca stadium in Mexico City in 1986. © Jean-Michel BANCET / ICON SPORT
Unhappy finalist of the inaugural edition, Argentina was victorious 48 years later, at home, during the 1978 World Cup, in the heavy context of the military dictatorship in power since the coup d’état of March 24, 1976. In addition, the confrontation between the Argentinians and the Peruvians in the last group match was very controversial and raised important suspicions of political arrangement between the two countries. Indeed, the Albiceleste crushed a 6-0 the Peruvian team when it was enough for him to win only with at least 4 goals of difference not to be eliminated and to reach the final against the Netherlands. . Against the Dutch, the Argentines won 3-1 including a double from the brilliant Mario Kempes.
The 1986 World Cup in Mexico was less controversial. Captain of the Argentine team, the talented Diego Armando Maradona illuminated the tournament of his class but also of his cunning. Against England in the quarter-finals, he first scored a goal with his hand, later dubbed “Hand of God”, then another, three minutes later slaloming through the English defense, considered the one of the most beautiful in the history of the World Cup. All of Maradona in one game. Arrived in the final after getting rid of Belgium thanks to a double from the “Pide de Oro”, the Albiceleste is victorious 3-2 against the tough RFA (German Federal Republic). Second title for Argentina and first trophy brandished by Diego Maradona at the top of his game.
FRANCE – 2 titles (1998, 2018)
In 1998, Captain Zinedine Zidane brandished the coveted trophy. © PIXSELL / ICON SPORT
Reigning world champion, France was crowned for the first time in its history, July 12, 1998. At home, the Blues of Aimé Jacquet have finally allowed their country to access the very closed club of Cup winners of the world. In the final, the Habs largely dominated the Brazilians 3-0 including a brace from Zinedine Zidane and a goal from Emmanuel Petit. They made the Stade de France dance and sing, but also the whole country to the sound of “And one, and two, and three … zero”. Twenty years later, the Blues conquered, on July 15, 2018, a new title and added a second star to the tricolor jersey, beating Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final held in Russia.
uruguay – 2 titles (1930, 1950)
The second goal signed Alcides Ghiggia confirms the victory of Celeste in 1950 © Philippe PERUSSEAU
The first edition of the World Cup took place in 1930 in Montevideo, Uruguay. The competition hosted thirteen teams including France, which arrived by boat in the Uruguayan capital. The host nation was the first nation to lift the trophy after their national team defeated Argentina in the final 4-2. Uruguay won its second world title at the 1950 World Cup, held in Brazil. The final phase of the competition took place in the form of a mini championship bringing together Brazil, Sweden, Spain and Uruguay. The duel between the Celeste and the Seleçao took place at the newly inaugurated Maracana stadium. A draw would have been enough for Brazil to win and claim the world crown. Despite the opener, the Brazilians were defeated 2-0 by the Uruguayans.
england – 1 title (1966)
Captain Bobby Moore and his teammates celebrate their victory on the pitch at Wembley Stadium. © CENTRAL PRESS / AFP
World champion, England has only been once. It was in 1966 during the World Cup organized at home. Bobby Moore’s Three Lions dominated the FRG (Federal Republic of Germany) in the final, the German team still believing that the goal awarded in extra time to the English had never crossed the goal line. Indeed, striker Geoffrey Hurst shot powerfully in the direction of the opposing goal in the 101st minute. Hitting the crossbar, the ball bounced off the goal line. In front of or behind it? The Swiss referee validated the goal despite German protests. The goal has since become the most controversial and famous in football history. As if to silence the debates concerning this arbitration decision, Geoffrey Hurst scored at the last minute, a new goal, becoming the only footballer to have scored three times in the same World Cup final. At the final whistle, the English are crowned world champions on the lawn at Wembley Stadium, 4-2.
spain – 1 title (2010)
The Spaniards taste for the first time the joy of being world champions. © SPI / ICON SPORT
Like England, Spain have a World Cup victory, won in 2010 in South Africa. Despite losing to the Swiss in their first group game, La Roja managed to pull themselves together and make their way smoothly to the final thanks to the efficiency of their ball possession game known as of “tiki-taka”. Opposed to the Netherlands in the final, Spain won 1-0, after extra time, thanks to a saving goal from Andres Iniesta. A deserved title for a dominating team which thus achieved the double Euro – World Cup.