18 things you didn't know about the World Cup
Every four years, Americans remember, "Oh yeah, people in other countries call soccer football. That's dumb", despite the fact that the world's most popular sport is in fact played with feet, and not by gigantic gladiators in plastic armor. But we digress.
In less than a week, the 2014 FIFA World Cup is set to kick off in Brazil. From June 12 through July 13, the ups and downs on the world's stage will bring about many story lines: Vines and YouTube clips of bars erupting after goals, good ol’ "U-S-A" chants, and the chance to act like you know the difference between a 4-2-3-1 formation and a 4-3-3 for a month and a day.
In the interest of making you sound interesting and interested, we’ve rounded up some awesome tidbits of information to impress all the "football" snobs huddled around the office Keurig machine for the next month. Here are 18 things you probably didn't know about the World Cup.
1. People drank more than 2 million beers in 2010
More than 224,546gal of beer (juuust over 2,395,157 12oz bottles) and 390,600 hot dogs were sold in World Cup stadiums in 2010. That's slightly fewer than the grizzly bear ate when it defeated Kobayashi.
2. The worst game ever ended 31-0
The biggest score line in the history of World Cup qualifiers, and in the history of international soccer, was recorded on April 11, 2001, when Australia destroyed American Samoa 31-0. The Australian Archie Thompson scored 13 goals that day, the world record for goals in a single international match.
3. More people watch the World Cup than the Super Bowl
Around 715.1 million people watched the final match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. As a reference point, Super Bowl XLVIII had 167 million total worldwide viewers. Take your Super Bowl party and multiply it by 3.5. That's how big a deal the World Cup is.
Switzerland 1954 was the first World Cup to be televised. Sixteen years later, at Mexico 1970, the World Cup was televised across the globe and instant replays (!) were introduced.
South Africa 2010 was shown in every single country and territory on Earth, including Antarctica and the Arctic Circle, reached more than 3.2 billion in-home people – 46.4% of the world’s population -- and that’s not even counting the folks at bars, restaurants, and online.
4. 2014's host also owns the most World Cup victories
The tournament has been played every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946, when it wasn't held because of the World War II. Only eight teams have won the tournament, with Brazil winning five; Italy claiming four; Germany three; Argentina and Uruguay two; and England, France, and Spain each winning one title apiece.
5. Put two people in every seat at MetLife Stadium, and it's still smaller than the World Cup attendance record
The record for single-game attendance was set in 1950, when a crowd of 173,850 packed into the Maracana in Brazil. The new Maracana, although Brazil’s biggest stadium, only has a capacity of 73,531. To put it in perspective: Yankee Stadium only seats 50,291, while MetLife Stadium seats 82,566.
6. One guy played one minute, but can still call himself a champion
Argentine Marcelo Trobbiani set the record for the shortest World Cup career of all time when he made his first (and last) appearance in the 89th minute of the 1986 final…which Argentina ended up winning.
7. They have played soccer where the sun don't shine
The first-ever indoor WC match took place in the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit, Michigan in 1994, when the US tied Switzerland 1-1.
8. One living legend never played a minute at the World Cup
Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs never played in the FIFA World Cup, despite a 24-year pro career that included 13 league titles and two UEFA Champions League victories. But he does have pretty terrific stubble, and apparently enjoys shagging his brother’s wife.
9. Bosnia-Herzegovina is the 77th country to participate
A total of 76 teams have participated in the World Cup since the first edition in 1930. This tally includes nations that either no longer exist or have undergone a transformation, such as Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia. Bosnia-Herzegovina will be the 77th side added to the list in 2014.
10. The single tournament scoring record is 13 goals
The Moroccan-born Just Fontaine scored the most-ever goals in a World Cup when he put 13 bulges in the back of the ol’ onion bag in six games for France in 1958. Also, his name is Just Fontaine, and that's incredible in itself.
11. Coaches range in age from 27 to 71
At 71 years young, Otto Rehhagel became the oldest man to coach at the World Cup when he led Greece at South Africa 2010. The youngest coach was Argentina’s Juan Jose Tramutola, who was 27 years old when he managed the team in 1930.
12. There have been two World Cup trophies.
The Coupe Jules Rimet, which was used from 1930 to 1970, and, now, the simply named FIFA World Cup Trophy. The current version weighs just under 14lbs, of which 11 pounds is pure 18-karat gold. Let's hope nobody treats any of them like OJ's Heisman.
There were 53 submissions of sculptures from seven different countries for the latest version, but in the end, Italian Silvio Gazzaniga was commissioned to design the golden icon.
13. 2006 saw the most red cards ever
Yellow and red cards were introduced at Mexico 1970, but no one was sent off until 1974 when Chile's Carlos Caszely picked up the first red card in World Cup history in the 67th minute against West Germany. Plácido Galindo was the first player ever sent off in the World Cup in 1930, but the refs didn't have their magic trump cards back then.
The record for red cards in one tournament is 28, set in 2006, with the the most famous being this one that led to a billion meme gifs. There were also 345 yellow cards that year, an average of 5.39 per match.
Now play nice, boys.
14. England's actually not that good
1966 -- the first, last, and only time England won a World Cup.
15. The World Cup mascot is named "Fuleco" and he has his own website.
He is a Brazilian three-banded armadillo, and will be 14 years old at the time of the World Cup. It goes to show: People put way too much thought into fake animals that everyone ignores once every four years.
Fuleco's blue shell represents Brazil's fertility, landscape, the skies, and the water. He has said (how does a fake armadillo talk?) he enjoys "watching the latest animated films" and playing "video games on my computer whenever I can. I also like to draw and read cartoon and comic books."
Um, OK. Now please get out of the way so we can watch sports, mascot.
16. Pelé is the youngest scorer ever
At 42 years old, Roger Milla became the oldest player in World Cup history when he laced up his boots for Cameroon in 1994. He also scored in that tournament, and holds the record for the oldest player to ever score in a cup.
Pelé became the youngest (of course he did) when he scored against Wales at Sweden 1958, when at 17 years and 239 days old.
This comes after the disaster that was 2010's Jabulani, which players seemed to hate and probably has a MySpace account.
18. The U.S. actually had the best attendance ever
The highest total and average attendance was in 1994 USA. Suck on that, soccer haters. A total of 3,587,538 fans came out, averaging almost 69,000 soccer nuts per game. The final between Brazil and Italy at the Rose Bowl drew 94,164 people.
More than 34 million fans have attended the 772 World Cup matches played since 1930, averaging out to about 44,000 per game. Sure beats the 200 people the Miami Marlins draw on a nightly basis.