9 Things You Might Not Have Known About The 2014 World Cup
Well, it’s that time again. Every four years, you either get on the soccer bandwagon, or stand gracefully to the side for the next month. Yup. The World Cup is back and ready to kick off in the South American soccer bastion of Brazil. We’re all a little excited, because any event that happens once every four years is inherently a little exciting. But what do we really know about the World Cup? Not much. But that’s going to change.
Here are nine fun* World Cup facts that will entertain you and your friends for hours**.
*Facts are not actually that fun.
**You and your friends will be entertained for seconds, probably. A minute, tops.
9. Pele is the Only Player to Win 3 World Cups (‘58, ‘62, ‘70)
Fuleco the armadillo was selected to spread awareness of the plight of the three-banded armadillo, which was long thought to be extinct, until it was found living in western Brazil in the 1990’s. Fuleco is a play on “football” and “ecology.” It’s about as clever as it is fun. The ecological effort isn’t in keeping with much of Brazil’s efforts towards a green world cup, as the country tore down hundreds of acres of rain forest to accommodate a $325 million stadium. But still…How about that Fuleco? Pretty awesome, right?
8. The 2014 World Cup Mascot Is an Armadillo Named Fuleco. Yes, Really.
So if the Americans thought that they could get out of their “Group of Death,” without a struggle (unlikely, considering it’s called the “Group of Death’ for a reason), they best think again. Germany is perhaps perennially (quadrennially?) the most consistently great team on the planet. Expectations are high this year as well, so you can count on the German fans and team to have an appetite that far surpasses the quarter-finals.
7. Germany Has Reached the Quarter-Finals in Each of the Last 8 World Cups
In 2010’s South African World Cup, the Golden Boot Award went to Thomas Muller. Muller, who was only 20 at the time, scored five goals. And it only took him five shots to make that happen. It’s no wonder he additionally was awarded Young Player of the World Cup, which sounds a little patronizing, unless you say it in Snoop Dogg’s voice in your head, in which case, it sounds pretty damn chill.
6. The Top Scorer of the Tournament Wins the Adidas Golden Shoe Award
What’s even stranger is that Germany was slated to host the 1942 World Cup. “You can declare war on the entire world except for Italy, or you can host the World Cup, Germany. But you can’t do both.” Germany apparently chose the war, and the 1942 Cup was cancelled. And while the war had ended by 1946, when Brazil was slated to host, there was still a lot of cleaning up to do. So that year’s Cup got struck as well.
5. The World Cup Took 1942 and 1946 Off Due to Some…Global Unpleasantness
With globalization at the forefront of the tournament, many have complained that because of their pedigree, European and South American teams are getting a disproportionate number of the berths. While no one wants to penalize them for sending teams capable of qualifying, FIFA president Sepp Blatter has conveyed that he’d like to see the field up to 40 so that the field can reflect more global diversity.
4. Don’t Be Surprised if We See the Field of 32 Gets Raised to 40 in the Coming Years
After winning the tournament for the third time in 1970, the Brazilian team was allowed to keep the trophy permanently (weird, but whatever). Thirteen years later, in 1983, the trophy was stolen and hasn’t been seen publicly since. Soccer lore says that the trophy was melted down by the thieves, which is pretty much the most awesome thing a thief can do with something they steal – melt it down for absolutely no reason. Since 1970, a new trophy has circulated, and teams only keep the original until the next World Cup., because Brazil wasn’t responsible and ruined it for everyone forever.
3. Brazil Lost the Actual World Cup After Winning It in 1970
Holland, despite having made appearances in the 1974, 1978, and 2010 championship game, hasn’t taken down a World Cup yet. Even in the heyday of “Clockwork Orange,” the team couldn’t get it done. And considering they fell apart in EURO 2012, dropping games left and right, and making team infighting public off the pitch, the expectations are understandably lower. Which is probably just what those crafty Dutchmen want.
2. Holland Is The Buffalo Bills of the World Cup, and This Probably Isn't Their Year
While 909.6 million at-home viewers is the official tally for the last World Cup final, it’s very likely the actual number of viewers was over 1,000,000,000 when taking into account the number of viewers at bars and public viewing parties. To give some perspective, the Super Bowl nets about 100 million viewers, and that’s second only to the Champions League final in terms of annual sporting events.