Some exciting FIFA World Cup facts and incidents
The countdown has begun. Less than a month to the kick-off of the 20th edition of the football World Cup, the greatest show on earth! Football lovers across the continents are counting days, keeping tab on their favorite teams, busy scheduling and rescheduling their plans so that they can enjoy their 30 days of soccer bliss. Here’s the time when friends will soon become foes and strangers will become your comrades. On and off the field, new records will be created and old ones will be broken. The football-history book will add chapters to it and many excting and interseting stories will be told. On the same line of thought, let us revisit some fanstastic and intriguing facts and incidents about Copa Mundial de Fútbol, as they call it in Spanish.
- The first televison coverage of World Cup happened in 1954. It became the most widely watched sporting event in the world.
- Italian goalkeeper and Captain Dino Zoff is the oldest player to lead a country to the World Cup title. He was 40 when he captained Italy to their 1982 FIFA World Cup title.
- The first player to miss a penalty kick in a World Cup competition was Valdemar de Brito of Brazil at the first ever World Cup in 1930, Uruguay.
- The first player to score a penalty goal was Mexico’s Manuel Rocquetas Rosas against Argentina at the same edition, 1930.
- The cricket legend, Sir Viv Richards is the only person to have played both, World Cup Football and World Cup Cricket. He played in the 1974 World Cup qualifiers for Antigua.
- Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in 1938 was the first Asian country to appear in World Cup finals.
- The first african country to qualify to the World Cup was Egypt in Italy, 1934.
- Oleg Salenko of Russia was the first player to score five goals in a single match during the 1994 FIFA World Cup match against Cameroon.
- At least four people are believed to commit suicide after the shock defeat of Brazil in the 1950 final.
- In the 1958 World Cup qualifiers, Israel almost qualified without playing a single match. Five of their opponenets withdrew to give Israel a golden chance. However, Israael was made to face Wales in a play-off and they lost eventually.
- In the 2006 World Cup at Germany, referee Graham Poll booked Josip Simunic of Croatia not once, not twice, but three times before sending him off in the encounter aganist Australia.
- Prior to the 1966 finals in Engal, the Jules Rimet (former World Cup) trophy was stolen from the Westminister Central Hall. Fortunately, the trophy was traced down, thanks to ‘Pickles’, a small dog. The cup, which was rewared to Brazil after their third World Cup victory in 1970 was again stolen in 1983 and has not been recovered till date.
- During the 1930 World Cup semifinal between the United Staes and Argentina, the American trainer ran inside the field to argue with the referee. In a fit of rage, he threw the medical bag to the ground, unknowingly breaking a bottle of chloroform and fainted in its effect.