The Soccer World Cup – 18 things you probably didn’t know

You might well know the 2010 Soccer World Cup was hosted by South Africa. It’s been four years since we introduced the Vuvuzela to soccer fans all over the planet.

Soccer World Cup 2010, South Africa

Whether you’re cheering for your favourite team in B-flat, your own flat or someone else’s flat – here’s some trivia you probably did NOT know about the World Cup:

1. People ate a LOT of boerewors rolls – and drank more than 2 million beers during the 2010 World Cup

Boerewors roll
Boerewors roll – limited series edition 2010 Soccer World Cup: number 5,467 of 390,600

More than 850,000 liters of beer and 390,600 boerewors rolls were sold in World Cup stadiums in 2010.

2. The best/worst game ever: 31-0

Archie Thompson
Archie Thompson

The biggest score line in the history of World Cup qualifiers, and in the history of international soccer, was recorded on April 11, 2001, when Australia destroyed American Samoa 31-0. Australian Archie Thompson scored 13 goals that day, the world record for goals in a single international match.

3. Our Soccer World Cup was seen by almost half the people on the planet



The South African 2010 Soccer World Cup was shown in every single country and territory on Earth, including Antarctica and the Arctic Circle, and reached more than 3.2 billion people – that’s 46.4% of the world’s population.

4. The first televised Soccer World Cup, and the first ever instant replay

3D TV Soccer

Switzerland 1954 was the first World Cup to be televised. Sixteen years later, at Mexico 1970, the World Cup was televised across the globe and instant replays were introduced.

5. The 2014 host country has the largest number of World Cup victories

Brazil 2014 parrot

The tournament has been played every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946, when it wasn’t held because of the World War II. Only eight teams have won the tournament, with Brazil winning five; Italy claiming four; Germany three; Argentina and Uruguay two; and England, France, and Spain each winning one title apiece.

6. England’s actually not that good

1966 – the first, last, and only time England won a World Cup. Eish.

7. Marcelo played for only one minute – and became a Soccer World Cup champion

Marcelo TrobbianiArgentine Marcelo Trobbiani set the record for the shortest World Cup career of all time when he made his first (and last) appearance in the 89th minute of the 1986 final – which Argentina ended up winning.

8. Ryan Giggs never played a single minute in any World Cup – ever

Ryan Giggs, interim manager of Manchester United

Manchester United legend Ryan Giggs never played in the FIFA World Cup, despite a 24-year pro career that included 13 league titles and two UEFA Champions League victories.

9. The first ever indoor Soccer World Cup match

Pontiac Silverdome
The dilapidated Pontiac Silverdome

The first ever indoor Soccer World Cup match took place in the Pontiac Silverdome in Detroit, Michigan in 1994, when the US tied Switzerland 1-1.

Sadly, as of May 2014, the Silverdome’s contents are being salvaged and auctioned and future development is uncertain. The stadium was left without a permanent tenant since 2001.

10. The United Stated had the best attendance ever

The highest total and average attendance was in 1994 USA. A total of 3,587,538 fans came out, averaging almost 69,000 soccer fans per game. The final between Brazil and Italy at the Rose Bowl drew 94,164 people.

Crowd attendance soccer

More than 34 million fans have attended the 772 World Cup matches played since 1930, averaging out to about 44,000 per game.

11. Bosnia-Herzegovina is the 77th country to participate

Bosnia-Herzegovina Soccer World Cup team
The Bosnia-Herzegovina 2014 Soccer World Cup team. Photo credit: Getty Images

A total of 76 teams have participated in the World Cup since the first edition in 1930. This tally includes nations that either no longer exist or have undergone a transformation, such as Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, and Czechoslovakia. Bosnia-Herzegovina will be the 77th side added to the list in 2014.

12. Pelé is the youngest scorer ever

At 42 years old, Roger Milla became the oldest player in World Cup history when he laced up his boots for Cameroon in 1994. He also scored in that tournament, and holds the record for the oldest player to ever score in a cup.


Pelé became the youngest when he scored against Wales at Sweden 1958, when he was 17 years and 239 days old.

13. The single tournament scoring record is 13 goals

13 goals
Photo credit:

The Moroccan-born Just Fontaine scored the most-ever goals in a World Cup when he scored 13 goals in six games for France in 1958.

14. Coaches range in age from 27 to 71

At 71 years young, Otto Rehhagel became the oldest man to coach at the World Cup when he led Greece at South Africa 2010. The youngest coach was Argentina’s Juan Jose Tramutola, who was 27 years old when he managed the team in 1930.

Ivor Powell
Ivor Powell, believed to be the world’s oldest football coach . Photo credit: PA

In June 2014, Ivor Powell – the world’s oldest football coach – has finally retired at the age of 93 after a sporting career spanning more than 70 years.

15. There have been two World Cup trophies

The first Soccer World Cup Trophy, the Coupe Jules Rimet, was used from 1930 to 1970. It was stolen on 20 December 1983 and was never recovered. The current trophy is simply named the FIFA World Cup Trophy. The current version weighs just over 6kgs, of which 5kgs is pure 18-karat gold.

Soccer World Cup 2014 Adidas ball Brazuca trophy stadium

There were 53 submissions of sculptures from seven different countries for the latest version, but in the end, Italian Silvio Gazzaniga was commissioned to design the golden icon.

16. 2006 saw the most red cards ever

Yellow and red cards were introduced at Mexico 1970, but no one was sent off until 1974 when Chile’s Carlos Caszely picked up the first red card in World Cup history in the 67th minute against West Germany.

Plácido Galindo was the first player ever sent off in the World Cup in 1930, but the referees didn’t have their magic trump cards back then.

The record for red cards in one tournament is 28, set in 2006, with the most famous being the one in the video above. There were also 345 yellow cards that year, an average of 5.39 per match.

Zinedine Zidane 'Headbutt' statue
Immortalised in Bronze: A statue depicting Zinedine Zidane’s headbutt on Italy’s Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final has been unveiled outside the Pompidou museum in Paris. Photo copyrighted: Reuters

The Zindane headbutt incident was so controversial, it’s been immortalised in bronze. ‘Headbutt‘ is a sculpture by the Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed. It is 5 m (16.4 ft) tall and was unveiled on 26 September 2012 at the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France.

17. The World Cup mascot is named ‘Fuleco’ and he even has his own website

He is a Brazilian three-banded armadillo, and will be 14 years old at the time of the World Cup. Fuleco’s blue shell represents Brazil’s fertility, landscape, the skies, and the water. Fuleco

18. Ball adjustments were necessary

The ball for the 2014 World Cup is the Adidas Brazuca, made from six individual polyurethane panels.

The Brazuca had a pretty wild launch party, and also has its own Twitter account.

This comes after the disaster that was 2010’s Jabulani, which players seemed to hate.

(Original article by Christopher Discipio, adapted, expanded on and edited by Trivia SA for its South African audience.)

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