September 22, 2023
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How many teams have retained the World Cup? This is a topic of great interest because the World Cup is the pinnacle of international football, competing the greatest teams from every continent and confederation against one another. Winning it is the pinnacle of most players’ careers, so it’s no surprise that the various teams prepare to compete at their best each time it comes around. The tournament’s complexity also implies that winning it once, much alone numerous times in a row, is incredibly tough.

Defending Champions at the World Cup

Defending Champions at the World Cup

The FIFA World Cup, usually referred to as the FIFA World Cup, is a football competition held every four years for all national men’s football teams of FIFA member nations.

The first tournament was held in 1930. Due to the harshness of World War II, it has only been broken up twice up until this point, in 1942 and 1946. To win, a team must eliminate its rivals and win the honorable World Cup soccer cup that anyone can covet.

Currently, the world championship tournament allows the 32 best teams to participate in the final round. Qualifiers will be held during the three years preceding the official competition year.

This qualifying round will be held on a continent-by-continent basis. That is, countries on the same continent will play against each other. From there, select the best teams to participate in the final round. There are different types of qualifiers such as: Asian Regional Qualifiers, European Qualifiers, Africa, South America,…

To qualify for the final round, all teams must compete in the qualifying round. The only exception was the squad that year that hosted the tournament. Currently, around the world there are more than 200 countries participating in the qualifying round.

List of World Cup winners from 1930 to 2022

Year Winner Runners-up Host Country Total Teams Matches
1930 Uruguay Argentina Uruguay 13 16
1934 Italy Czechia Italy 16 17
1950 Uruguay Brazil Brazil 13 22
1954 Germany Hungary Switzerland 16 26
1958 Brazil Sweden Sweden 16 35
1962 Brazil Czechia Chile 16 32
1966 England Germany England 16 32
1970 Brazil Italy Mexico 16 32
1974 Germany Netherlands West Germany 16 38
1978 Argentina Netherlands Argentina 16 38
1982 Italy Germany Spain 24 52
1986 Argentina Germany Mexico 24 52
1990 Germany Argentina Italy 24 52
1994 Brazil Italy United States 24 52
1998 France Brazil France 32 64
2002 Brazil Germany South Korea, Japan 32 64
2006 Italy France Germany 32 64
2010 Spain Netherlands South Africa 32 64
2014 Germany Argentina Brazil 32 64
2018 France Croatia Russia 32 64
2022 Argentina France Qatar 32 64

How many teams have retained the World Cup?

How many teams have retained the World Cup?

Only two countries—Italy in 1934 and 1938 and Brazil in 1958 and 1962—won consecutive FIFA World Cups between 1930 and 2022.

West Germany was beaten by Argentina in the 1986 World Cup Final, but the Germans reversed the tables when the two teams faced off in the Italia ’90 final. After winning the World Cup in 1994 and finishing as runners-up in 1998, Brazil went on to win the World Cup once again in 2002.

More: How Many Teams Are in A Soccer Tournament?

Italy – 1934 and 1938

Italy World Cup 1934

In the second and third stagings of the competition, in 1934 and 1938, Italy became the first country to win back-to-back World Cups.

The 1934 World Cup began with elimination contests and Vittorio Pozzo served as Italy’s captain in both competitions.

The formula was established by Pozzo’s hosts’ 7-1 thrashing of the USA, followed by close wins over Spain and Austria and a victory over Czechoslovakia in the final after extra time due to Angelo Schiavio’s game-winning goal.

Four years later, in France, the task of defending their title came under intense pressure, but a semifinal victory over the hosts served as a spark, and Gino Colaussi’s goals helped the Azzurri defeat Brazil and a strong Hungary team to claim the championship.

Brazil – 1958 and 1962

Brazil in the 1958 World Cup

During the Samba Boys’ powerful era in World Cup history, Brazil won the first of its five World Cups in 1958 and successfully retained it in 1962.

Brazil easily advanced to the knockout rounds of the 16-team competition in Sweden in 1958 despite playing England to a scoreless stalemate in their second group encounter.

From that point on, a 17-year-old Pele took over the World Cup, scoring the game-winning goal in their 1-0 triumph over Wales to set a new record for the youngest World Cup scorer.

Pele in the 1958 World Cup
Pele in the 1958 World Cup

The world stood up and took note of the extraordinary teenager when, in the quarterfinals, he broke yet another record by becoming the youngest World Cup hat trick scorer in a 5-2 victory over France.

Chile was the host nation for the 1962 World Cup. Given that Chile’s infrastructure had been harmed by an earthquake in 1960, some people argued that the country wasn’t prepared to hold such a competition.

Stadiums and the county’s facilities were rebuilt in record time, and the tournament was still held there. In the end, the tournament had no organizational issues.

Brazil defeated Czechoslovakia 3-1 in the championship despite Pelé’s illness.

Related: How many teams are left in the FA Cup? and teams remaining

In conclusion

Retaining the World Cup is a difficult feat that only a handful of teams have accomplished. Since the inception of the tournament, only two nations, Brazil and Italy have been able to defend their title successfully. These teams have shown great skill, determination, and consistency in their performances, which has allowed them to lift the trophy twice in a row. However, winning the World Cup is not just about retaining it; many other factors come into play, including team chemistry, individual talent, tactical acumen, and luck. As we look ahead to the next edition of the tournament, it will be interesting to see if any team can join the exclusive club of repeat champions or if a new contender will rise to the occasion and claim the coveted trophy.

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