What are the best and worst World Cups since 1930 in Uruguay?
With kick-off in Qatar looming, we’re afforded the chance to look at past tournaments and ascertain does a best and worst World Cup exist.
Ask any football fan to recall their ‘best World Cup’ and the answers will vary dramatically depending on the age and nationality of the individual in question. England fans will point to 1966, Irish fans will go misty eyed when reflecting on Italia 1990 and the heroics under ‘Big Jack’ (Charlton), Spanish fans will recall with precision the extra time Andres Iniesta goal that secured the win for ‘La Roja’ over the Netherlands in South Africa and USMNT fans will delight in the 2002 infamous ‘dos a cero’ win over long standing rivals Mexico.
More elderly fans will recall the tournaments graced by the likes of Pelé, Bobby Charlton and Dutch maestro Johan Cruijff... the shadow of the camera at the Estadio Azteca in 1970, the incredible ticker tape reception handed out to the home side at Argentina in 1978 and the infamous Wembley Stadium 1966, “they think it’s all over....it is now commentary”.
The World Cup has an incredible capacity for reminding us of key moments in our own lives but these memories are conditioned by so many factors that it’s almost impossible to define a ‘best’ or ‘worst’, but a little digging that these are generally held to be the poorest and finest tournaments.
Italia 1934 ↓
With turmoil and unrest growing in Europe, the 1934 World Cup was marred by being a high-profile instance of a sporting event being used for overt political gain. In particular, Italian dictator Benito Mussolini was keen to use this World Cup as a means of promoting fascism.
Defending champions refused to travel to Europe claiming that only four European sides had travelled to South America four years earlier.
Just eight teams participated at Italia 34 and despite subsequent accusations of corruption and meddling by Mussolini to influence the competition to the benefit of Italy, the host nation always claimed to have deserved victory in the competition and the successful national team.
Mexico 1970 ↑
The Mexico tournament will always hold an advantage against other competition as it was the first World Cup broadcast in its entirety in colour.
The Mexico finals largely produced attacking football which created an average goals per game record of 2,97, a tally not since bettered by any subsequent World Cup Finals, it also heralded the international career swan song for the likes of Pele, Bobby Charlton and Lev Yashin, while ushering in new heroes of the game with a young Gerd Muller bagging 10 for West Germany in a side that featured a youthful Franz Beckenbauer in the ranks.
The Brazil team at 1970 competition delivered some of the finest football ever witnessed at the four yearly competition. Brazil won every game in Mexico bagging 19 goals and just conceding seven as the Selecao, with the likes of Pele, Tostao, Jairzinho and Carlos Alberto won everyone over with their flair and skill with the 4-1 demolition of Italy unanimously regarded as the complete World Cup final performance.