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FIFA World Cup

The FIFA World Cup (also called the Football World Cup, the Soccer World Cup, or simply the World Cup) is an international association football competition contested by the men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the first tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War.

The current format of the tournament involves 32 teams competing for the title at venues within the host nation(s) over a period of about a month – this phase is often called the World Cup Finals. A qualification phase, which currently takes place over the preceding three years, is used to determine which teams qualify for the tournament together with the host nation(s).

The 18 tournaments that have been held, excluding 2010, have been won by seven different national teams. Brazil have won the World Cup a record five times, and they are the only team to have played in every tournament. Italy have won four titles, and Germany are next with three titles. The other former champions are Uruguay, winners of the inaugural tournament, and Argentina, with two titles each. England and France have won a single title each, both at home, while Spain or the Netherlands will win their first World Cup in South Africa, which will also be the first win for a European team in a finals tournament held outside of Europe.

The World Cup is the world's most widely viewed sporting event; an estimated 715.1 million people watched the final match of the 2006 World Cup held in Germany.[1] The current World Cup is being held in South Africa from 11 June to 11 July 2010, and the 2014 World Cup will be held in Brazil.

With South Africa 2010 having just come to a close, all eyes are now on the intensive preparations for the forthcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.

Taking up the baton from the Rainbow Nation, O País Pentacampeão has already begun the long journey towards what they hope will be their sixth world title and thereby erase memories of their failed challenge on home soil in 1950. If the recent presentation of the Official Emblem in Johannesburg is anything to go by, Brazil will be putting on quite a show.

A Seleção’s quarter-final exit in South Africa caused them to drop two places in the latest FIFA/Coca Cola World Ranking, although the other four South American sides on duty at the world finals all fared much better. Argentina jumped up to fifth, Uruguay to sixth, Chile to tenth and Paraguay to 15th, progress that augurs well for next year’s Copa America.

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