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History of soccer: the FIFA World Cup

It's widely regarded as the most prominent and hotly contested soccer tournament in the entire world, and is one of the few times when you can see international teams from all over the globe come together to play the beautiful game.

The FIFA World Cup is like Christmas to soccer fans, and for good reason! More than 200 countries around the world have a national soccer team, yet only 32 are able to qualify for the biggest stage of them all.

That makes the FIFA World Cup – which is held once every four years – one of the most hotly contested tournaments in all of sport.

The very first FIFA World Cup occurred in 1930, when it was held in Uruguay. Prior to this the only real international soccer competition fans had to look forward to was the Olympic Games, so it was a pretty ground breaking event.

Only 13 nations competed at that inaugural 1930 World Cup, where the host nation Uruguay met Argentina in the final and won 4-2 to secure an historic victory.

Since then a grand total 19 World Cups have been held – with the 1942 and 1946 events being cancelled due to the Second World War – and nine nations have hoisted the trophy.

Of those winners, Brazil is by far the most successful as they have been victorious an astonishing five times, including twice in a row in 1958 and 1962. Their most recent World Cup title came at the 2002 event in South Korea and Japan, where they beat Germany in the final.

However Brazil are not the current World Cup champions, as that honour went to Spain in 2008 when they beat the Netherlands 1-0 in extra time to claim their very first title.

The other countries to have won the FIFA World Cup are Italy, Germany, Argentina, England and France. Unfortunately Australia's international team, the Socceroo's, have never made it past the round of 16.

The next FIFA World Cup will occur in 2014 in the spiritual home of soccer – Brazil – and is sure to be one of the most colourful and exciting sporting events of all time!

If you would like to start your training for the 2014 World Cup, or just have some fun exercising and meeting some friendly people, why not come down to Strathfield Sports Club Sydney and experience all the thrills and spills of the beautiful game for yourself!

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