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The 2026 World Cup countdown is on. Here at Roadtrips, we know just how exciting it is to be in the World Cup host cities. We can’t wait to be on the ground with our guests and experience the incredible atmosphere. If you don’t know much about the event, or you just want to brush up on your World Cup facts, check out our ultimate World Cup guide below.

What is the World Cup?

2022 world cup packagesThe World Cup is an international soccer tournament contested by senior men’s national teams from various countries. It is one of the most popular international sporting competitions, with an estimated 1.5 billion fans tuning in to watch the 2022 final.

Fans travel from all over the world to follow their favorite teams as they compete against some of the most talented players in soccer. The World Cup is made up of teams from six different continental zones – Africa, Asia, Europe, North and Central America and the Caribbean, Oceania, and South America.

There is also a Women’s Worlds of Soccer which follows a similar format. The next Women’s Worlds tournament will take place in 2027.

 

How often is the World Cup?

The World Cup, the most prestigious soccer tournament in the world, is played every four years. This schedule allows time for the qualification tournaments and play-offs to take place, for the 48 national teams who will participate in the month-long tournament. The Women’s Worlds of Soccer also takes place quadrennially.

How did the World Cup start?

The first World Cup took place back in 1930, and was proposed by Jules Rimet, who wanted to create an international competition between men’s football teams (at the time, soccer was not a part of the Summer Games). The tournament consisted of thirteen invited teams and took place in Uruguay, who also won the tournament.

Why is the World Cup every four years?

The four-year gap between each World Cup tournament allows time for the qualification fixtures to be played. While many of us would love to see the World Cup happen every year, I’m sure we can all agree it’s too big of an event and too special to be rushed!

The World Cup has been played every 4 years since its inaugural tournament in Uruguay in 1930, and played every 4 years since, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of World War II.

How many World Cups have there been?

There have been a total of 22 World Cups: the first was in 1930 and the most recent in 2022.

The Women’s version is more recent with a total of 9 World Cups, dating back to 1991.

Who won the World Cup (in 2022)?

Argentina defeated in the 2022 World Cup Final to claim their third World Cup title. The match was tied 3-3 after extra time and went to a penalty shootout to decide the winner. Argentina came out ahead 4-2.

How is the World Cup different to soccer at the Summer Games?

The World Cup tournament is longer and contains more matches and teams than the Summer Games. To compare, the 2026 World Cup will consist of 48 national teams and a total of 104 matches. At the 2024 Summer Games, there will be 16 teams and 32 matches.

The other big difference between the two events is the age limit for the Summer Games tournament. The Summer Games regulations require players on the men’s team to be under 23 years of age, with each team allowed three overage players.

What country has won the most World Cups?

Brazil has won the most World Cups with five. Italy and Germany are close behind with four each.

How many times has the USA won the World Cup?

team USA Despite soccer’s growing popularity in the USA, their national team has never won a World Cup. Or perhaps we should say, not yet?

The USA women’s team has been more successful, with a total of four World Cup titles.

 

What are the World Cup qualifying groups?

As part of the World Cup qualifying process, the teams are divided into confederations based on geographic region. There are six confederations in total and each has their own process for qualifying.

When are the World Cup qualifiers?

The 2026 World Cup qualifying matches began on September 7, 2023, with matches between CONMEBOL (South American Confederation) teams. World Cup qualifying will continue until March 2026.

How many teams go through in World Cup Qualifiers?

A total of 211 teams began the qualification process for the 2026 World Cup. A total of 48 teams will make it through the qualifying matches to earn a spot in the 2026 World Cup tournament.

How does World cup qualifying work?

The World Cup Qualification process is a complicated operation that takes place over a few years and differs for each confederation. To give a very simplified explanation, teams within each confederation play each other (some confederations divide their teams into World Cup qualifying groups) over a number of rounds, before moving on to a playoff to determine who qualifies for the World Cup.

How does USA qualify for the World Cup?

Team USA has automatically qualified for the 2026 World Cup as one of the host countries, bypassing the traditional qualifying matches.

List of all World Cup Winners

  • 1930 in Uruguay : Uruguay def. Argentina 4-2
  • 1934 in Italy: Italy def. Czechoslovakia 2-1 (ET)
  • 1938 in France: Italy def. Hungary 4-2
  • 1950 in Brazil: Uruguay def. Brazil 2-1
  • 1954 in Switzerland: West Germany def. Hungary 3-2
  • 1958 in Sweden: Brazil def. Sweden 5-2
  • 1962 in Chile: Brazil def. Czechoslovakia 3-1
  • 1966 in England: England def. West Germany 4-2 (ET)
  • 1970 in Mexico: Brazil def. Italy 4-1
  • 1974 in West Germany: West Germany def. the Netherlands 2-1
  • 1978 in Argentina: Argentina def. the Netherlands 3-1 (ET)
  • 1982 in Spain: Italy def. West Germany 3-1
  • 1986 in Mexico: Argentina def. West Germany 3-2
  • 1990 in Italy: West Germany def. Argentina 1-0
  • 1994 in USA: Brazil def. Italy 0-0 (3-2 PKs)
  • 1998 in France: France def. Brazil 3-0
  • 2002 in Japan: Brazil def. Germany 2-0
  • 2006 in Germany: Italy def. France 1-1 (5-3 PKs)
  • 2010 in South Africa: Spain def. the Netherlands 1-0 (ET)
  • 2014 in Brazil: Germany def. Argentina 1-0 (ET)
  • 2018 in Russia: France def. Croatia 4-2
  • 2022 in Qatar: Argentina def. France 3-3 (4-2 PKs)

When is the next World Cup?

The next World Cup is the 2026 World Cup in Canada, Mexico, and the United States, which will begin on June 11 and culminate with the World Cup Final on July 19th.

The next Women’s Worlds will take place in 2027, on dates yet to be determined.

Where is the World Cup in 2026 and What are the 2026 World Cup Host Cities and Stadiums?

The tournament will take place across 16 cities in USA, Canada, and Mexico. The 2026 World Cup will also see the number of teams in the tournament increase from 32 to 48.

2026 World Cup host cities and stadiums:

  • Vancouver, Canada: BC Place
  • Toronto, Canada: BMO Field
  • Mexico City, Mexico: Estadio Azteca
  • Monterrey, Mexico: Estadio BBVA
  • Guadalajara, Mexico: Estadio Akron
  • New York, USA: MetLife Stadium
  • Dallas, USA: AT&T Stadium
  • Kansas City, USA: Arrowhead Stadium
  • Houston, USA: NRG Stadium
  • Atlanta, USA: Mercedes-Benz Stadium
  • Los Angeles, USA: SoFi Stadium
  • Philadelphia, USA: Lincoln Financial Field
  • Seattle, USA: Lumen Field
  • San Francisco, USA: Levi’s Stadium
  • Boston, USA: Gillette Stadium
  • Miami, USA: Hard Rock Stadium

How are World Cup host countries chosen?

Countries who are interested in hosting the World Cup must first submit an application, in which they must outline why they would be the perfect location and include their plans for stadiums, transport and accommodation for soccer fans. The host country (or countries) has minimum expectations to meet to qualify and if they meet them, tournament organizers will go through a series of evaluations, including site tours to prospective hosts, before a vote is cast to determine the winner.

What is the format of the 2026 World Cup tournament?

Prior to the tournament, a draw will split the 48 teams into 12 groups, consisting of four teams each. The four teams in each group will play each other once, with the top two teams from each group, along with the eight top third place teams, advancing to the next stage: the round of 32. The winners will proceed to the Round of 16, followed by the quarterfinals, and semi-finals. The winners of the two semi-finals will play each other in the final, while the losers will be relegated to the third-place match.

How many matches are played in the World Cup?

There will be a total of 104 matches in the 2026 World Cup, a big increase from the 64 matches at the 32-team tournament in 2022.

How many teams play in the World Cup?

The 2026 World Cup will see 48 teams competing in the tournament for the first time. Previously, there were 32 national teams represented in each World Cup from 1998 until 2022.

What do you get for winning the World Cup?

In addition to the pride and fame that comes along with becoming a national hero, the winning team is awarded the World Cup Trophy. While the team gets to enjoy the much-imagined celebration with the trophy after the final, they don’t get to take it with them. Instead they’re given a replica.

How was the World Cup trophy made?

The current World Cup trophy has been presented to winning teams since 1970, though a replacement had to be made after the original was stolen in 1983 and never found. The trophy, which was made in Italy, is made of 18-carat gold and weighs in at 13.5 pounds.

What happens if there is a tie in a World Cup match?

If there is a tie at the end of a World Cup group stage match, the result is a draw and the teams each receive one point. Once the tournament moves into the knockout rounds, two 15-minute periods of extra time will be played. At the end of the 30 minutes, if the match remains tied, the teams will go to penalty kicks (best of five). If that still doesn’t determine the winner, the penalty kicks will continue one at a time until the tie is broken.

What is the format of a World Cup match?

World Cup matches consist of two 45-minute halves with a running clock. Following each half, the referee may add stoppage time, to make up for time lost due to injuries, penalties, and anything else that disrupts the play. If the game is tied following the 90 minutes and stoppage time, extra time may be played as described above.

How long is the World Cup final match?

Like the other matches in the tournament, the World Cup final consists of two 45-minute halves, followed by possible stoppage time. If the game is tied after this, two 15-minute overtime periods are played. If the game remains tied after OT, the game will be decided by penalty kicks.

How big is a World Cup soccer field?

World Cup soccer fields are not all the same, though they must fit a specific set of guidelines set out by the governing body. If you picture the playing field as a rectangle, the longer lines are called “touch lines” and the shorter ones are called “goal lines”. The touch lines must be the same length and between 100 and 110 meters. The goal lines must also be the same length and between 64 and 75 meters. The recommended dimensions are 68 meters by 105 meters.

What is a “Group of Death”?

The group of death in the World Cup is a group which is particularly competitive, because the number of strong teams in the group is greater than the number of qualifying places available for the next phase of the tournament.

What is the Women’s Worlds of Soccer?

Like the men’s version, the Women’s Worlds of Soccer takes place every four years. The next Women’s Worlds will take place in 2027.

The Women’s Worlds of Soccer follows a similar format to the men’s tournament. A total of 32 teams will earn a spot in the tournament with the host country guaranteed a spot. A draw is used to divide the teams into eight groups of four.

Where is the next Women’s Worlds of Soccer?

The host for the 2027 Women’s Worlds of Soccer is expected to be announced in May 2024. Currently, there are four bids in the running: Brazil; South Africa; USA and Mexico (joint bid); and Belgium, Netherlands, and Germany (joint bid).

When is the World Cup Draw?

The date of the 2026 World Cup draw has not been announced. Typically, the draw is held approximately six months before the tournament begins.

Countries that have won the soccer World Cup (from 1930 to 2022):

Edit
Winners Number of Championship Wins
1. Brazil 5 times champions (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
2. Germany 4 times champions (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)
3. Italy 4 times champions (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006)
5. Argentina 3 times champions (1978, 1986, 2022)
4. Uruguay 2 times champions (1930, 1950)
6. France 2 times champions (1998, 2018)
7. England 1 time champions (1966)
8. Spain 1 time champions (2010)

Interesting World Cup Facts

The World Cup is one of the world’s most widely viewed sporting events and takes place every four years to determine the world champion. The World Cup tournament will take place in Canada, Mexico, and the USA from June 11 to July 19, 2026. Here is a list of 20 fun and interesting World Cup facts to get you into the soccer spirit for the 2026 World Cup:

  1. The 2026 World Cup will mark the first time the tournament will be played with 48 teams (up from 32 in 2022).
  2. Last year’s World Cup was in Qatar, with the host country making their first World Cup appearance. The last time the host nation made their World Cup debut in the same year was the second World Cup in 1934.
  3. A total of 1.5 billion people tuned in to watch the 2022 World Cup Final.
  4. This is a 9% increase on the 3.2 billion people who watched the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
  5. The World Cup has been played 22 times. Brazil holds the most titles with five. Italy and Germany are close behind with four each.
  6. For the first time in the history of soccer, the 2002 World Cup was held in two different countries: South Korea and Japan.
  7. The oldest goalscorer in the World Cup was Roger Milla, who was 42 in 1994 when he scored a goal for Cameroon against Russia.
  8. The first World Cup was played in 1930. Uruguay was both the tournament’s host and winner that year.
  9. The World Cup trophy went missing for 7 days in 1966 when it was stolen just prior to the tournament.
  10. The 2022 World Cup was the first winter World Cup in the northern hemisphere. The tournament took place in November and December to avoid the intense heat of the Qatari summer.
  11. The highest scoring game in the World Cup history was in 1954 when Austria defeated Switzerland 7-5.
  12. Of all the countries that have appeared in the World Cup, Indonesia has played the least number of matches – just one in 1938.
  13. Mexico has the most World Cup losses (28), though they do also have 17 wins and 15 draws.
  14. The most goals ever scored by one player in a World Cup match is an impressive five, by Oleg Salenko of Russia.
  15. Brazil is the only country to have appeared in all 22 World Cups.
  16. The World Cup winning country is rumored to see a baby boom 9 months after the World Cup. In fact, Hyundai even created a commercial based on this fact.
  17. Lusail, the city that hosted the 2022 World Cup Final is a multi-billion dollar planned city that didn’t exist prior to 2006.
  18. Qatar is the smallest country to host a World Cup tournament.
  19. The 2022 World Cup was the highest-scoring World Cup to date with a total of 172 goals scored.
  20. There were five different continents represented in the 2022 World Cup knockout stage for the first time.
  21. The largest attendance at a World Cup match was Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro for the 1950 World Cup Final: an official total of 173,850 watched Uruguay defeat Brazil.

Interested in experiencing the 2026 World Cup? Join our presale list for front-of-the-line access for our upcoming travel packages.

 

World Cup Ticketing Notice

Roadtrips is in no way associated with FIFA, the Organizing Committee for the FIFA World Cup, or Canada/Mexico/USA 2026. The term World Cup is used only for the purpose of properly describing certain events and without the specific permission of FIFA. Roadtrips’ travel packages and services are not affiliated with FIFA. FIFA’s official ticket site is www.fifa.com/tickets.