There have been 21 World Cups since 1930. This one is the 22nd. Eight nations have hosted the trophy. Five of those countries are from Western Europe: Germany (4), Italy (4), France (2), Spain (1), and England (1). That’s twelve of the twenty-one winners. South America has produced the other nine winners: Brazil (5), Argentina (2), and Uruguay (2).
So it’s not the World Cup. It’s the Western Europe-v.-South America soccer tournament!
No Asian team has ever won. Nor has an African team. This year we will see Senegal reach the knockout phase (the final 16 teams). Other teams like Japan, Ghana, Cameroon, Iran, and Tunisia are still in the hunt. North America (USA-Canada-Mexico) has never had a winner. This year both Mexico and USA are still in contention. Perennial favorites like Brazil and France are expected to take the trophy home this year, however. The big countries with a long history of competition are most likely to win. We will probably get another repeat champion—one of the “elite eight” past winners.
The 2026 World Cup will feature 48 teams, up from the usual 32. FIFA (world football’s governing body) recognizes over 200 nations! Maybe by 2030 (the 100th anniversary of the World Cup) we’ll get a winner that hasn’t won before. Or maybe we’ll get a surprise in Qatar this time. I think that would be a good thing for the “World” Cup, don’t you?