There is a moment that stars the dreams of every professional soccer player in the world. However, only a very few of the dreamers can tell the tale that their longing came true: touch and lift the Trophy after becoming Champions of the FIFA World Cup. Which will be the brave, and lucky, ones that will live this moment in the upcoming Qatar 2022?
"It is a long way to the top", says the legendary rock group AC/DC in one of its brilliant songs, and it is brutally true. To become the Champion of the FIFA World Cup, at least since Spain 1982, a National Team must have a winning streak of 7 games against the best rivals of the globe.
Then, as a tribute to all those squads and players that have reached the immortality of the soccer universe, get to know every single one of the National Teams that have won the 21 past editions of the FIFA World Cup.
Statistical curiosities and the list of all the FIFA World Cup Champions
-Since the first one was held in Uruguay in 1930, the World Cup has been played by 79 of the 211 National Teams affiliated with FIFA. That's already a great filter and a great award, so achieving the feat of winning soccer's main tournament is one even bigger.
-As mentioned above, the list of FIFA World Cup Champions is short and limited: only 8 of the 79 countries that have played it have had the chance of lifting any of its two statuettes (the Jules Rimet or the FIFA World Cup Trophy) or both, like Italy, Germany, and Brazil.
-Among the Champions of the FIFA World Cup, there are also more divisions: the ones who have accomplished that goal just once (Spain, and England) the two-times monarchs (Argentina, France, and Uruguay), the quadruple champions (Italy, and Germany), and the King of Kings and five-time World Cup Champion (Brazil).
-From the 21 editions held off the World Cup, 16 times the tournament was celebrated for the first time in the host country. Only, Mexico, Italy, France, Brazil, Germany have received the tournament twice. Then, only 6 host countries have been able to win the Trophy (Uruguay, Italy, England, Germany, Argentina, and France), but only 5 of them did it on the very first time they were the party-givers (Uruguay, Italy, England, Germany, and Argentina). Will Qatar 2022 host country be able to add itself to this list?
Uruguay 1930: Uruguay
The first glory-covered team in the history of the FIFA World Cup was also its first host country. Uruguay defeated Argentina 4-2 at the Centenario Stadium in Montevideo to take the Jules Rimet Trophy to its trophy cabinet, which already boasted six Copa America wins and two Olympic gold medals to date.
Italy 1934: Italy
The first controversial edition of soccer's main event. With Benito Mussolini's shadow behind its National Team the whole tournament, Italy achieved to repeat the Uruguayan feat that happened 4 years before and became the second host country in a row to win the FIFA World Cup by defeating 2-1 former Czechoslovakia.
France 1938: Italy
A tradition was broken: the FIFA World Cup's host country could not win the tournament three times in a row. With the World on the verge of its second global war, Italy became the first two-time World Champion, again with a fascist sensation in the air. The Azzurra's new victim was Hungary, which fall 4-2 in the final match.
Brazil 1950: Uruguay
One of the saddest chapters of Brazilian history. The Canarinha lost against Uruguay in the final game of the tournament: the Maracanazo was a real tragedy for the whole country. Juan Alberto Schiaffino and Alcides Ghiggia became legends scoring the goals that led to the 2-1that made Uruguay a double FIFA World Cup Champion.
Switzerland 1954: Germany
The Wankdorfstadion in Switzerland witnessed one of the greatest chapters of the FIFA World Cup: the Miracle of Berna. The German team arrived at the final as a sure victim of the most brilliant generation of Hungary National Team leaded by mighty Real Madrid striker Ferenc Puskas. However, someway somehow, the Mannschaft accomplished to win 3-2 to conquer its first World Cup, a special one for a devasted country after the Second World War.
Sweden 1958: Brazil
The moment of vindication for the Canarinha. After its painful loss at home in 1950, a new generation led by the, at the time, young ace Pele took Brazil to win its first FIFA World Cup by defeating the host country 5-2 in the main match.
Chile 1962: Brazil
The third double Champion of the FIFA World Cup emerged. Again former Czechoslovakia became a runner-up as Brazil defeated it 3-1 in the National Stadium in Santiago, Chile. With Pelé on the injury list, Garrincha, Vavá, and Amarildo were the heroes of the Brazilian feat.
England 1966: England
For the third time in the FIFA World Cup history, the host country won the tournament. To please the romantics, the soccer main event "came home" and remained there because England conquered it after winning over Germany 4-2.
Mexico 1970: Brazil
The Canarinha became the first three-times Champion of the FIFA World Cup and the only permanent owner of the Jules Rimet Trophy. A superb tournament was performed by Jairzinho, Rivelino, Tostao, Carlos Alberto, and mighty Pelé led Brazil to the glory, who was crowned against Italy in the Azteca Stadium.
Germany 1974: Germany
West Germany won its second FIFA World Cup Trophy by defeating Johan Cruyff, and Rinus Michael's iconic Netherlands. A difficult mission that was accomplished thanks to the accuracy of mighty Gerd Muller who scored the winning goal of the 2-1 score.
Argentina 1978: Argentina
The whole had to learn to dance the Tango to celebrate the Albiceleste's first FIFA World Cup conquer. With a young Maradona absent due to technical reasons of the Argentinian coach Cesar Luis Menotti, Ubaldo Fillol, Daniel Passarella, Osvaldo Ardiles, and Mario Kempes were the aces that give made their country reach the sky by defeating Netherlands 3 to 1 at Antonio Vespucio Liberti, Monumental, Stadium in Buenos Aires.
Spain 1982: Italy
Forty-four years after its latest soccer success, Italy won its third FIFA World Cup. The main character of the Azzurra's glory tale was its goalkeeper Dino Zoff, who became the oldest player to win the tournament at the age of 40 years, 4 months, and 11 days. This remains a current record.
Mexico 1986: Argentina
The thirteenth edition of the FIFA World Cup can also be named "Maradona's tournament". The late Diego led his team to immortality, supported by All-Time Argentinian greats such as Jorge Valdano, and Oscar Ruggeri. The "Hand of God" and the "Goal of the Century" were the main chapters of the most iconic tale of Argentina in this tournament.
Italy 1990: Germany
Germany avenged the loss it has suffered 4 years before. With the legendary Franz Beckenbauer now as a manager, the Mannschaft overcame Maradona's Argentina in a one-goal final game at the Olympic Stadium in Rome.
United States 1994: Brazil
Brazil broke the tie it had with Italy as the king of the FIFA World Cup. Both teams arrived at the decisive game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena and offered an all-out war who needed the Penalty kicks to end. There the fails of Italian legends Franco Baresi and Roberto Baggio, and the accuracy of Romario, Branco, and Dunga took Brazil to conquer its fourth World Cup.
France 1998: France
Before 1998, the French golden generation was considered to be the one of Platini, Fernandez, and Tigana. However, Barthez, Desailly, Thuram, Blanc, Petit, Djorkaeff, and Zidane were the ones that gave Les Bleus their first FIFA World Cup, with the whole country focused on the Stade de France in Saint-Denis.
Korea-Japan 2002: Brazil
The first-ever and so far only FIFA World Cup to be hosted by two countries witnessed the Canarinha last glory chapter on this tournament. After a horrible knee injury, Ronaldo cleared up all doubts about his shape and led its country to defeat Germany 2-0 in the final match to vindicate the brutal loss suffered in 1998.
Germany 2006: Italy
When nobody was expecting it, the Azzurra slipped through the Final to give Zinedine Zidane a bitter goodbye in his last appearance as a professional player. Again, and for the second time of the FIFA World Cup history, a Penalty shootout in the decisive game was starred by Italy, however, and unlike USA 1994, on this occasion, Gli Azzurri succeeded.
South Africa 2010: Spain
The tactical revolution began with Guardiola's Barcelona and Aragones' Spain had its climax in South Africa. La Roja had never given up its game plan and achieved a thrilling win over the Netherlands in the Extra-Time. Casillas, Puyol, Xavi, Iniesta, Torres, and Vicente del Bosque included their names in the golden book of Spanish soccer history.
Brazil 2014: Germany
Fourteen long years passed until Germany could taste again the flavour of glory in the FIFA World Cup. In the last nod of the Positional Play apogee, Joachim Low's team led by Neuer, Kroos, Schweinsteiger, Muller, and Goetze outdid Messi's Argentina in the Final at mythical Maracana to conquer its fourth World Cup.
Russia 2018: France
Didier Deschamps joined Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer as the only stars capable of winning the FIFA World Cup as players and as managers after his team defeated Croatia at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Lloris, Varane, Kanté, Pogba, Griezmann, and Mbappé were the heroes that led France to its second World Cup.