All of us know , the most watched game in the world is Football. According to some estimates nearly three billion people across the globe watch the world cup
We will try to understand the format and analyse the same. The world of football is broken into five continents and based on the power of the continent in football the representation is given. Europe is at present a “Power Continent” and treated as such in representation.
We all know that 32 countries qualify for the world cup finals with the following break-up
01. Europe : 13 countries
02. Africa : 05
03. Americas(South&North) : 07
04. Asia : 04
05. Oceania : 01
06. Host country : 01
But the struggle in the Football Federation (FIFA) is going on for the past 8-10 years over the domination of Europe, even though other continents, especially African Nations, are catching up. FIFA has relented and the World Cup 2026 will witness 48 countries vying for the Cup. The revised break-up continent wise is given below
01 Europe : 16 countries
02 Africa : 09
03 Americas(South&North) : 12
04 Asia : 08
05 Oceania : 01
06 Host country : 01 or 02
The present world cup is twenty first edition and the previous twenty editions have seen only eight champion countries lifting the Cup. Three countries have won the trophy thirteen times amongst them, Brasil being the only country to have won the Cup five times!. Italy and Germany are the other two countries to win the cup four times each. Two South American countries, Argentina and Uruguay have won the Cup twice, Uruguay being the first winner of the world cup which was started in the year 1930.
Three European Nations, England Spain and France, have won the trophy once
World Cup 2018 has been a huge embarrassment to few football power-houses. In the European zone, four times champion Italy got knocked out at the continent stage itself. Two other prospective countries, Holland and Northern Ireland(!) were eliminated and failed to qualify for the world cup finals. In the Americas continent, Paraguay and USA were eliminated by the ‘scheming’ Peru and Costa Rica. In the world cup finals Germany a European powerhouse got defeated at the league stage and could not move to the next stage. And two other classical teams, Messi’s Argentina and Iniesta’s Spain, could not make it to quarterfinals
In the quarterfinals, only four teams which have won the Cup at least once are left. England, France, Uruguay and the ‘Great’ Brasil. In the present world cup the dark horse is Belgium which is pitted against Brasil in the quarter finals. Russia being the host Nation, which is ranked 70th in the world, has the home advantage but whether that alone can carry the teamto the finals is anybody’s guess. The present England team is youthful and full of energy but against experienced Uruguay or Brasil, can they perform to the potential is doubtful.
This brings us to the question ‘Who will win world cup 2018?’. Will it be 6th title for Brasil or will it be a new Champion in Belgium? We have to wait for the answer till 15th of July when the finals takes place.
(Former University Basketball Captain)
Author is a former ISRO Scientist and Editor of Swatantra Online Magazine.