The FIFA world cup, commonly known as just the ‘world cup’ has over the years become the most widely viewed championship in the world. It has even gained a larger audience on television compared to the Olympic Games. Since its first tournament that started in 1930, it has been known to take place every four years.
Format of FIFA World Cup
As the popularity of this tournament increases, a lot of teams are beginning to participate. In order to thin the field for the tournament itself, qualifying tournaments are being held. These tournaments are held across the continental zones and respective FIFA confederations are given the responsibility of overseeing them which include: Europe, Oceania, South America, Asia, Africa and North and Central America. This qualification process usually begins about three years before the commencement of the final tournament. How the qualifications are conducted is solely left to the individual confederations. The only team excepted from the qualifying matches is the defending champions.
This is where the qualified teams, currently 32 teams are laced to compete in the host nation(s) over the period of a month. This format is made up of two stages: the group stage and the knockout stage.
Group stage: This is where teams of four teams competes groups of eight. Each team undergoes three matched, competing with the other teams of same group. A total of six matched gets played within one group and then the top two teams of each group are advanced to the knockout stage.
Knockout Stage: This is the point in the tournament where the teams that made it through the group stage play each other in one-off matches. At this stage whoever loses is out of the game. Often times this could lead to giving extra times and penalty shootouts.
Hosting the FIFA World Cup
The issue of who gets to host the tournament is now decided in a vote by The Executive Committee of FIFA – under an exhaustive ballot system. This process usually takes place about six or seven years before the tournament itself. After the host has been decided upon, FIFA sends a “Hosting Agreement” to the national football association of the chosen country. This agreement states and explains the requirements and steps for the hosting. This country is expected to fill the form attached and submit for a confirmation of acceptance.
Designated group of inspectors are sent by FIFA to ensure that the hosting requirements are met by the country.
FIFA World Cup Awards
As a competition that it is, awards are to be presented to the winning teams – usually the first three places. Apart from these presentation there are others presented to the players themselves for their accomplishments.
The Best Player Award: This is an award given to the best three overall players of the tournament. This is determined media members vote. The first is given a golden ball, the second is given silver and the third is given a bronze ball.
The Top Goal Scorer Award: This award comes with a golden boot, sometime called a golden shoe. Just recently it has been extended to the silver boot and bronze boot o be awarded to the second and third top goal scorers respectively.
The Best Goal Keeper Award: The best goal keeper gets a golden glove.
Other tournaments of FIFA World Cup
FIFA Women World Cup
This is an equivalent for women’s football and was held in China, 1991. Since then, although smaller in scale compared to the men’s, the women tournament is gradually gaining popularity. Just like the men’s world cup, the women’s tournament is held every four years. This tournament also has two stages: group and knockout stage. The features of this tournament are the same with the men – same format, same awards.
This tournament was originally organized by Saudi Arabia but was taken over by FIFA in 1997. Since then it’s been held every four years and usually one year before the world cup at the world cup host nation(s). This is considered a dress rehearsal for the upcoming world cup.
Other tournaments organized by FIFA are:
Youth football international tournaments like FIFA U-20 World Cup. FIFA U-17 World Cup, FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup
Club footballs like FIFA Club World Cup, FIFA Women’s Club World Cup.
Since it was first televised in 1954, the world cup has gradually risen to the most followed and viewed sporting in the world.