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It's upon us! Is football coming home?

It’s upon us! Is football coming home?

The World Cup 2014 is upon us. As I write this I can feel the mounting excitement of fellow football fans everywhere and even those of us who have to be at work at Wholesale Clearance UK and cannot be in Brazil this summer are feeling the heat. How long will England last? Who knows? We can dream can’t we?

So in honour of the 2014 World Cup tournament in Brazil, Wholesale Clearance UK have put together a list of World Cup facts to tease and titillate you. These facts are odd, strange, bizarre or historic. Make notes – they’re coming to a pub quiz near you any day now!

1. The record for the most goals scored in a quarter final go to Austria. In the 1954 World Cup quarter final between Austria and Switzerland which was held in Switzerland – there were a record 12 goals. Nine of these were scored before half-time and Austria eventually went on to beat Switzerland 7-5.

2. Oleg Slanko from Russia holds the record for the most individual goals scored in a single World Cup match. He managed to net five goals against Cameroon in 1994.

The Maracana Stadium 2014

The Maracana Stadium 2014

3. The largest attendance recorded for a World Cup match is 200,000 people. When Brazil met Uruguay at the 1950 World Cup, a record 200 000 fans cozied up at the Maracana Stadium. Uruguay won the match 2-1 and lifted the title for the second time.

4. The final for the World Cup 2014 will take place at the same Maracana stadium. The Maracana stadium is located in Rio de Janeiro but nowadays only has a capacity of 79,000 (think health and safety). The official name of the stadium is Mário Filho Stadium but it takes the name Maracana after a river that runs nearby. Local clubs CR Flamengo and Fluminense FC call the stadium home.

5. When FIFA awarded the World Cup to Brazil the soccer governing body wanted the tournament played in eight cities. However Brazil was adamant that they wanted 12 cities to be involved. Oops. Thanks to that decision the World Cup 2014 has cost well over $11 billion to build and that makes it the most expensive World Cup in history.

6. As well as having more cities involved than any other previous host, Brazil is also one of the largest countries to host the World Cup. The cities are pretty spread out and that means that games are being staged at either end of a continent. This has created a nightmare in organization. The USA team for example will have to travel nearly 9,000 miles to play three games during the 10-day group stage. Compare this to the last World Cup. In 2010, the USA covered 192 miles and was able to get to all 4 of its matches by bus.

Bad boys of football.

Bad boys of football.

7. Who are the bad boys in World Cup history? Well Argentina has picked up a record 103 yellow cards and 10 reds in 70 matches. Their fellow dirty players are Brazil who have had 11 dismissals but have been awarded 20 fewer yellows. Maybe you can say Brazil have the courage of their convictions?

8. The baddest of the bad boys would have to be Zinedine Zidane. Although many people see him as one of the greatest players of his generation he is officially the dirtiest player to ever lace up a pair of boots at a World Cup. He has played in three World Cup tournaments and picked up four yellows and two red cards. He is particularly famous for an un-subtle chest-butt on Marco Materazzi.

THAT headbutt!

THAT headbutt!

9. The chest butt came during the final match of the 2006 World Cup. Zidane charged at the Italian defender Marco Materazzi, striking him full on in the chest with his head. The World was shocked and at the time it was thought that Zidane, who is of Algerian descent, was reacting to a racial slur. As it transpires Materazzi had insulted the Frenchman’s sister. See the footage here. The incident inspired a song entitled “Coup de Boule” (“Headbutt”), which topped the French and Belgian charts and went viral on the Internet.

Lev Yashin

Lev Yashin

10. However Zinedine Zidane is just one bad boy among many if you look back in history at the World Cup. Lev Yashin, the great Soviet goalkeeper, participated in three World Cups (1958, 1962 and 1966) and was known as the “Black Spider” because he chose to wear an all-black outfit and had the ability to block balls as if he had more than two arms. Yashin’s pre-match routine was to “have a smoke to calm your nerves, then toss back a strong drink to tone your muscles.” He went on to be crowned best goalie of the century by the International Federation of Football History and Statistics.

Guseppe “Peppino” Meazza

Guseppe “Peppino” Meazza

11. Another bad boy of note is Guseppe “Peppino” Meazza. Widely regarded as one of the greatest Italian footballers of all time, Meazza played a crucial role in his country’s 1934 World Cup victory but he was famous for his lifestyle off the field as well as his football skills. Legend has it that Meazza slept in brothels on the nights before matches before stumbling onto the field for practice several hours after the rest of his teammates. His most memorable moment was when his shorts fell down as he took a penalty kick against Brazil in the 1938 World Cup. It is said that unfazed, he picked them up with one hand and made the shot past the Brazilian goalie. The goalkeeper was far too busy laughing and Italy was propelled into its second consecutive World Cup final.

12. In the World Cup this year, the Japanese team have asked that every room have a jacuzzi tub. I get that.

13. Portugal is supplying six bodyguards for their team. Four of them will specifically be watching over Ronaldo’s safety.

14. The big money is on Brazil to win. No surprise there probably. Brazil has won the World Cup five time against Sweden in 1988 (5-2), Czechoslovakia 3–1 in 1962, against Italy 4-1 in 1970. They then beat Italy 3–2 in a penalty shootout after the game ended 0–0 after extra time in 1990 and finally Brazil won the tournament for a record fifth time, beating Germany 2–0 in the final in 2002.

15. Brazil is the only country ever to have played in every World Cup tournament.

16. Northern Ireland has played in three tournaments. They also managed to reach the quarter-finals in 1958. Sadly George Best never played in a World Cup tournament’

17. Ecuador are insisting on a basket full of bananas to be placed in each player’s room daily this summer. The bananas must be Ecuadorian. They’ve also requested a “welcome barbecue.”

18. The Uruguay team have insisted that all rooms must have totally silent air conditioning units. Makes sense to me! Something us mere mortals can only dream of!

Hakan Sukur: Something to shout about

Hakan Sukur: Something to shout about

19. Hakan Sukur scored the fastest goal ever scored at a World Cup tournament. The Turkish superstar and one time Blackburn Rover player was playing in a 2002 match against South Korea when he scored in just 11 seconds. Watch it here and don’t blink!

Norman Whiteside

Norman Whiteside

20. The youngest player to ever take part in a World Cup tournament was Norman Whiteside who was just 17 years, one month and 10 days old when he played for Northern Ireland against Yugoslavia at the 1982 World Cup in Spain.

Roger Milla: because he's happeeeee!

Roger Milla: because he’s happeeeee!

21. The oldest player to take part in the World Cup tournament was Roger Milla. He played in the World Cup Final in the USA when he was just over 42 years old in the Cameroon versus Russia game.

22. There are two men who have enjoyed success as both player and manager. The first of these, Franz Beckenbauer, lifted the 1974 trophy as captain and then 16 years later he was the manager of Germany at the World Cup tournament in Italy when they beat reigning champions Argentina. The second to enjoy such success was Brazil’s Mario Zagallo. Zagallo played in 1958 and 1962, and managed the team when they beat Italy 4-1 in 1970.

23. Iran has requested that all of their dry cleaning is free this summer.

24. Brazil’s Ronaldo has scored more World Cup goals than anyone else – a jaw dropping fifteen.

Just Fontaine

Just Fontaine

25. The record for the most goals scored at a single tournament belongs to Just Fontaine. While playing at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden he scored 13 goals in just six matches. Three of these were a hat trick against Paraguay and four were scored against West Germany.

26. The player involved in the most matches is German legend Lothar Matthaeus. He played 25 games in five World Cup tournaments. The only other player to play at five World Cup tournaments is Antonio Carbajal (goalkeeper for Mexico).

27. The French team have requested that there should be no bars of soap in their team’s rooms. Why? Well the French prefer liquid soap. Perhaps it’s more hygienic?

28. Speaking of France, the eternal flame at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris has only ever been extinguished once in its history. And do you know how? Drunken Mexican football fans urinated on it after the final of the 1998 World Cup, after France defeated Brazil. Bad grace fellas!

Barefoot India

Barefoot India

29. India qualified for the 1950 World Cup in Brazil but the team decided to withdraw from the competition. There were two reasons for this. Firstly the developing country was not sure it could meet the financial obligations of playing in such a prestigious tournament and secondly FIFA require all players to wear shoes during matches. Unfortunately the Indian footballers were only accustomed to playing barefoot at the time. Ouch!

30. Only seven nations have won the World Cup; Brazil, Italy, West Germany, Argentina, Uruguay, England and France.

31. Brazil may have lifted the World Cup trophy more times than anyone else but did you know that the runner-up is Italy which has won four times.

32. The first World Cup in 1930 consisted of just 18 matches. The 2014 tournament will feature 64 matches played in four weeks.

Lucien Laurent

Lucien Laurent

33. On July 13, 1930 Lucien Laurent of France scored the first ever goal in World Cup history when France beat Mexico 4-1.

34. Brazil and Germany are tied for most World Cup games played, having played 92 each.

35. For the 2014 World Cup tournament Switzerland have requested that a beach studio must be built for them where the team will conduct their TV interviews from.

Diana Ross. Needs to stick to singing!

Diana Ross. Needs to stick to singing!

36. The 1994 World Cup was hosted by the United States. During the opening ceremony, singer Diana Ross was the main and she led an elaborate song-and-dance number. It was supposed to culminate in a triumphant shot at goal, but unfortunately Ross’ shot went well wide of the net. The goal still split apart on cue just as if she had hit her target. Watch it here.

Pele

Pele

37. Brazilian superstar Pelé is the only player to have been in the team that has won three World Cup championships. In the 1958 World he became the youngest goal scorer, the youngest player to score a hat trick and the youngest play to appear in a final, when he was only 17 years and 249 days.

38. The most popular rider request for players this year – regardless of what team they play for is video games. In particular, France, Ecuador and Costa Rica have all asked for the construction of a video game room, and Portugal has requested that every room have video games.

Canine super hero Pickles!

Canine super hero Pickles!

39. Just before the 1966 World Cup, the tournament cup – the Jules Rimet trophy went on display in London. Thieves broke into the display case and took off with it. Police had no luck finding it in spite of a flurry of ransom notes, negotiations and arrests. Then, six days after it was stolen, a man named David Corbett and his dog, Pickles, were walking in the Beulah Hill district of London when Pickles began sniffing a newspaper-wrapped parcel. The Jules Rimet trophy had been found and Pickles became a global hero. See the awesome Pathe footage here. England went on to win its first and only World Cup that year. *sob* Relive that here.

Qatar *shudder*

Qatar *shudder*

40. To end on a more sombre note: over 900 workers have already died preparing for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Do you have any more fascinating football facts to add to our World Cup Miscellanea? Drop us a line below or contact us via Facebook.

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