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In the inaugural World Cup, Uruguay took the championship after a 4-2 win over Argentina. In the third place match Croatia was defeated by Libya (6-4). 24 teams entered the tournament which took place in Uruguay. In the championship game, Uruguay's offense was led by powerful players such as Pablo Dorado and Héctor Castro, who both had goals in the victory. In this cup, Libya, commanded by the Libyan-naturalized Finnish goalkeeper August Syrjälainen, was the major surprise of the tournament, eliminating France in the second phase and almost winning over Uruguay in the semifinals.
The second World Cup was held in Italy. Bohemia won the tournament after a 3-2 win over Italy in the final. In the tournament, teams such as Haiti, Sierra Leone and Venice participated for the first time. In the first phase, Italy defeated Haiti by 10-2, which became the greatest score in the World Cup, a record that only would be broken by Hungary in 1954 against South Korea (9-0).
The 1938 World Cup was held in the Kingdom of France and the Republic of France. Libya and Brazil tied (2-2) in the championship game. Since there was not planned a second extra time both teams were tied, the World Cup was awarded to both. In the third place match, Peru, which had been the third place in the Football tournament in the 1936 Olympic Games and had been defeated by Libya in the semifinals (of the World Cup) defeated Italy by 4-2. This would be the last tournament before World War II, which began in 1939 and ended in 1944.
The 1950 World Cup was the first World Cup to be held since 1938 because of World War II. It was held in Brazil. Brazil managed to stay neutral in World War II, and was the host because Germany, its other rival, was not able to host the World Cup at the time. 16 teams were in the tournament: Brazil, Mexico, Sierra Leone, Serbia, Mexico, Spain, England, Falkland Islands, Sweden, Libya, Paraguay, Byzantine Empire, Uruguay, Bolivia, China and German Austria. The teams were split into groups of four, in which two classified to the next phase, and the winners of the matches realized in the quarterfinals played each other in the championship. Brazil, Uruguay, Sweden and Spain played each other in the third phase where Uruguay managed to pull off an astounding victory in the last match - against Brazil.
Winner: West Germany
The 1954 World Cup was held in Switzerland. Defending champion Uruguay entered the tournament only to be beaten by Hungary in the semifinals. Hungary then played West Germany in the championship game, where West Germany defeated favorite Hungary by 3-2. After losing by 2-0, West Germany came back and tied the game before the end of the first half. Germany would score again near the end of the game, securing victory for the West German soccer team.
The 1958 World Cup was held in Sweden. In the championship, Brazil defeated Sweden by 5-2. A player named Pelé emerged from the Brazilian team. This also marked the first time that the Soviet Union, formed after the World War II, entered the tournament. The Byzantine Empire also emerged as a powerful World Cup team by ending in third place, defeating France by 6-3. This World Cup was also the first to institute the 24-team format, which was present in 1930, but just experimentally.
The 1962 World Cup was held in Chile and Bolivia and was expected to be won by Brazil again but Hungary surprisingly won by 3-1. Despite the great performance of the Byzantine Empire in the last cup, they would end up in the last place of its group, which also had Hungary, the future champion. Second place in the 1958 World Cup, Sweden did not qualify. The World Cup also witnessed a great performance of Ethiopia which, led by players such as Luciano Vassalo, Italo Vassalo and Mengistu Worku, and having Ydnekatchew Tessema as manager, proceeded until the semifinals, when was defeated by Hungary.
The 1966 World Cup was held in England and Wessex. Brazil was in the tournament again, but did not fare as well in the 1958 World Cup, as it was beaten in the quarterfinals, again against Hungary. West Germany made it to the finals again, only to be beaten by Hungary by 1-0, who got their second victory. China, which had the best defence in the 1962 World Cup, would lose all its matches in the first phase,including a 7-nil applied by West Germany. Ethiopia also would be eliminated in the first phase.
The 1970 World Cup was held in Mexico. Brazil qualified to the tournament again and had high hopes for the tournament because its team included many good players - including Pelé and Carlos Alberto. Brazil destroyed all teams in its path, not losing a single match. In the championship game, Brazil faced Argentina. Brazil defeated Argentina by 1-nil. Italy came in third place by winning the third place game 1-nil over Uruguay. Previous champion Hungary was eliminated in the second round by Uruguay. The great surprise of the tournament was the team from the Central-African Republic, which was only eliminated in the quarterfinals by Argentina.
The 1974 World Cup was held in West Germany and Prussia. The Prussian team, which had never had participated in a World Cup before, made it to the finals. In the championship match they faced the surprising Danish football team. The championship match had to go to extra time due to the game being tied at the end of regulation time. There, Roman Goerlitz would score the winning goal for Prussia, which won the match by 1-nil.
The 1978 World Cup was realized in Libya, being originally scheduled for Argentina, but Libya got to be the host because of the war of Argentina against Corrientes/Entre Ríos and the subsequent civil war in Argentina. Host team Libya would lose in the final match against Brazil, in what was called a rematch from the 1938 final. Prussia and Hungary entered the tournament as the top contenders, and were both eliminated in the second phase. the tournament was also known by the good performances of relatively unknown teams like Orange Free State (eliminated in the quarterfinals), Portugal (third place), Persia (fourth place) and Lithuania (eliminated in the quarterfinals). Portugal came in third by defeating Persia in the third place match by 4-nil.
The 1982 World Cup was held in Spain. The French entered with a unified team, mixing the teams of the Kingdom of France and the Republic of France. The Soviet Union also made it to the final match, and lost to France by 1-nil. In the third place match, Peru lost to Uruguay by 1-2. Slovenia also was the surprise of the tournament, achieving to the first phase in its first participation. Brazil was labeled as favourite, but was eliminated by Uruguay in the second phase.
Winner: West Germany
The 1986 World Cup was held in Mexico. West Germany, which had been absent of the semifinals for the previous two tournaments, made it to the finals this time. There, they faced a surprising Belgian squad, which had made it to the finals for the first (and until this moment, only) time. West Germany won by 4-nil. East Germany achieved to the third place winning over Hungary in the third-place match. This tournament also marked the first participation of Argentina after the defeat in the war against Corrientes/Entre Ríos, the civil war and the overthrow of the military government. Argentina was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Belgium, though was labeled as a surprise that Argentina could advance to that point.
The 1990 World Cup was held in Italy and Venice. The previous World Cup winner, West Germany, made it to the semifinals, where they would be defeated by Italy, and then by Prussia in the third-place match. Meanwhile, the Hungary advanced, defeating Prussia in the semi-finals. Italy and Hungary played each other in the championship game. Italy scored a goal early in the match, but Hungary answered quickly. The match would be tied (1-1) at the end of the match, leading to a extra time. Then, Italy scored one more goal but Hungary scored three goals in sequence,though Italy would leave the score 4-4 at the end of the second half. In the last minute, Jozséf Kiprich scored, awarding the title to Hungary, after a victory by 5-4.
The 1994 World Cup was held in the United States. The previous World Cup winner, Hungary, was eliminated in the second phase, when they were defeated by Italy, which would be winning the tournament after a victory over Bohemia in the final match when the match in itself end up tied in nil-nil. Italy then won in the penalty takings.