Last updated on July 24th, 2022
Football is one of the most beloved sports in the world. A simple yet beautiful game adored by billions of passionate fans.
It is hard to argue otherwise when the FIFA World Cup is officially the most-watched sporting event in history.
The quadrennial event is participated by 32 nations who will compete for the most prestigious title in football. Broadcasting analytics shows that the latest 2018 World Cup was watched by 3.572 billion people, making up more than 50% of the world population.
The numbers are astonishing, but how did the World Cup get so popular?
Here’s what you need to know.
World Cup Soccer: History, Finals, ...World Cup Soccer: History, Finals, Winners & Host NationsWhy is the World Cup so popular?
Here are 4 main reasons why the World Cup is one of the most watched tournaments in the world:
#1 The most coveted trophy in football
First played in Uruguay in 1930, the World Cup has evolved into the longest-running competition in international football. The premise is exciting and simple, the winner will be crowned the best footballing nation on earth.
For that reason alone, World Cup matches are played with very high stakes.While it may not be the best paying competition for footballers, it is still chased after by superstars including the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Most football players have loved the game since they were a child. Having watched the World Cup, it is only normal for most to aspire to win one themselves. As the 2 times World Cup Winner Cafu once said: “every player dreams of winning the World Cup.”
Ultimately, it is a great achievement for footballers of every level. More than just a lifetime dream, it is also an act of service to represent their country on the global stage.
#2 Build-up and anticipation
The FIFA World Cup is held once every 4 years, which is a rather long wait!
Hundreds of nations will compete in qualifications, and have a chance to develop new talents and improve their team along the way.
Only 32 nations will qualify for the World Cup. Since qualifiers are held in each respective continent, qualifying is almost guaranteed for strong sides such as Germany, Brazil, Argentina, and Japan.
However, there is room for surprises as strong teams may fail to qualify and underdogs make it to the final stages.
For example, Italy, the 2020 European champions, failed to qualify for the 2nd consecutive World Cup after losing the play-off 0-1 to North Macedonia.
You can find out why Italian defenders are considered the best here.
#3 Incredible talent display
The World Cup presents a rare chance for players to showcase their talent on the global stage. With an impressive campaign, players can take their careers to the next level.
A fine example would be James Rodriguez’s run in the 2014 edition. He won the golden boot with 6 goals and guided Colombia to the quarter-finals. That was more than enough to persuade Real Madrid to pursue his transfer from Monaco.
James Rodriguez is just one of many footballers stepping up for the World Cup. With many players striving for the best, World Cup matches are played at an excitingly high level. For football fans, it is all the more reason why the FIFA World Cup is so popular.
#4 Iconic moments
From impressive performances, outstanding goals, and controversial decisions, each World Cup is always filled with iconic moments and performances. It is part of why the World Cup is a must-watch for football fans.
Here are some of the most iconic moments that happened in the World Cup:
- Diego Maradona’s “Hand of God” (1986)
- Ronaldinho’s wonderful free-kick against England (2002)
- Zinedine Zidane’s infamous headbutt (2006)
- Iniesta’s winning goal (2010)
- Brazil defeated 7-1 at home (2014)
- Underdog South Korea beating Germany 2-0 (2018)
For better or worse, these have become some of the most memorable moments in the history of football. It lives in the hearts of players and football fans of all generations. The best part is that we can all experience it all over again in the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The World Cup is more than just a football competition. It is a rare chance for elite footballers to compete for one of the greatest honours in sports. In the end, the World Cup is so popular because it is a celebration of the beautiful game known as football.
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