The wait is over and this week, the 2024 FIFA World Cup will finally get going in Qatar. Head coaches have named their squads, thousands of supporters are making their way to the tiny Persian Gulf nation, as the Middle East hosts the competition for the first time in tournament history.
But aside from the high expectations for a magnificent event this year, this is a competition which boasts a wonderful history, filled with countless magical moments from each and every edition. Given the popularity of the World Cup, let’s take a closer look at what makes the tournament so fascinating.
Greater feeling of direct participation
All around the globe, fans will be tuning in to watch live TV broadcasts and online streams, with more than 5 billion viewers expected. In fact, more than 140 countries had secured broadcast rights for the 2024 FIFA World Cup, while audience figures are expected to smash all previous records.
Many millions will also be wagering on games, making the latest Asiabet guide to online betting a useful resource, covering all the options available across the region. Reviews are available in multiple languages, including Thai, aiming to educate and inform, highlighting where to get the best odds and offers.
Indeed, never before has betting on football been more popular, given that wagering on the outcome of games can provide a greater sense of participation. This is also backed by an abundance of access to data and statistics, with mobile applications and websites dedicated to feeding live statistics, making us more informed as football fans than ever before.
The History of the FIFA World Cup
The FIFA World Cup is the biggest and most prestigious international football tournament in the world. The first edition of the World Cup was held in Uruguay in 1930, and it has been staged every four years since then. The World Cup is a huge event, with 64 teams competing for the title.
The World Cup is often described as being ‘the world’s biggest club competition’, because of its global reach. The tournament is broadcast to over 200 countries and watched by over 1 billion people. In total, FIFA estimates that around 25% of the world’s population are tuned into some form of coverage of the World Cup!
This only happens once every four years
Just like both the summer and winter Olympic Games, the tentpole event for international football is only held every four years, which undoubtedly adds to the sense of eager anticipation whenever the World Cup takes place. Uruguay hosted the very first World Cup back in 1930, and 2024 in Qatar will coincidentally be the 22nd edition of the tournament.
But why is the FIFA World Cup only held every four years? Well, the reasoning is actually both logical and logistical, as this is one of the biggest and most complicated events on the planet. Due to the impressive scale of this event, host countries usually need to spend lots of time and economic resources, establishing suitable infrastructure along with stadiums and facilities.
Likewise, hosting a World Cup each year would be impractical for the global game. Every country has its own domestic club competitions and leagues, as do each of the continental confederations, aside from additional continental tournaments for international teams. The fixture list for both club and international teams is already congested enough.
Amazing things can happen at the World Cup
Part of what makes a World Cup so special is the ‘beautiful game’ of football itself, due to the outcome of games often being so unpredictable, filled with the potential for surprises and upsets. While the most powerful nations are the most frequent winners, quite frequently over previous tournaments, there have been plenty of shock results.
The 2018 World Cup is a prime example, when Croatia defied all the odds to reach the final, before ultimately being beaten by France. At the 2014 World Cup, Costa Rica stunned everyone by reaching the quarter-finals, while host nation Brazil were thrashed 7-1 by Germany in the semi-finals.
Other monumental highlights include the USA beating England in 1950, while North Korea managed a completely unexpected win against Italy in 1966. Scotland shocked the Netherlands in 1979, Algeria defeated Germany in 1982, and Cameroon beat reigning champions Argentina in 1990. These kinds of results capture the imagination, proving that literally anything is possible.
Obscure players become global icons
The beauty of the World Cup is that it’s a global stage, and one upon which everyone has the chance to become an instant star. Previously obscure players can suddenly rise to prominence, such as veteran forward Roger Milla, highlighted by ESPN for his displays for Cameroon at both the 1990 and 1994 tournaments. Nobody will forget him dancing at the corner flag, celebrating every goal.
Ahead of the 2014 World Cup, goalkeeper Keylor Navas was playing for modest LaLiga side Levante, but after his magnificent performances at the tournament with Costa Rica, he went on to sign for Spanish giants Real Madrid. The 2010 tournament is where Mexico striker Javier Hernandez made his name, going on to play at Manchester United and Real Madrid, before arriving in the MLS at Los Angeles Galaxy.
Essentially, the World Cup is an ideal opportunity for any player to push themselves into the limelight. Leading clubs around the globe are always watching for potential stars, which means that if they can perform well in the most prestigious tournament, there’s every chance they can do the same in top domestic leagues and competitions elsewhere.
There’s just something about the FIFA World Cup that makes it so fascinating. From the buildup to the final match, there’s always something new and exciting happening. Whether you’re a soccer fan or not, we think it would be safe to say that you’ll enjoy following all of the action this year.