As the final whistle blew in Montivideo last week, a 0-0 scoreline between Uruguay and Jordan was enough to see the South American champions ease past the visitors to become the thirty-second and final nation to qualify for World Cup 2014 in Brazil.
The 20th edition of the tournament, Brazil 2014 will be the first in South America since Argentina hosted in 1978. It will also be the second time the “Greatest Show on Earth” returns to the sport’s — with apologies to the Catalonian sympathizers out there — spiritual home. The Seleção have not only (until recently anyway) been the flag bearers of the way the beautiful game should be played, but they’ve also been the most successful nation in terms of international championships, having won the tournament a record five times. Whether or not they’ll win their sixth title at home remains to be seen. But if they do manage to do so, they’ll become the seventh nation to do so on home soil.
So with the final field of 32 for Brazil now finally set, I rounded up twenty unique stats about the twentieth World Cup finals to get us all in the mood.
1 – World Cup appearance now for the lone debutantes of this World Cup, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
2 – Straight World Cups that have been held outside of Europe, a first for the tournament.
3 – Names proposed to name Adidas’ official ball for the tournament, including Bossa Nova, Carnavalesca and the winner… Brazuca. I promise I’m not making that up.
4 – Nations that qualified from the CONCACAF region — Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, United States — as well as the AFC region — Australia, Iran, Japan, South Korea.
5 – Nations that qualified from the CAF region: Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Nigeria. Interestingly, these are the same five sides that qualified for the 2010 World Cup
6 – Nations that qualified from the CONMEBOL region: Argentina, Brazil (as hosts), Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay.
7 – New stadiums being built to host matches for the World Cup: Estádio Nacional Mané Garrincha (Brasília), Arena Pantanal (Cuiabá), Arena da Amazônia (Manaus), Arena das Dunas (RN), Estádio Beira-Rio (Porto Alegre), Arena Pernambuco (Recife), Arena de São Paulo (São Paulo),
8 – Sides that did not qualify for World Cup 2010 in South Africa that did qualify for Brazil: Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Ecuador, Iran, Russia.
9 – Countries that will have won a World Cup championship if someone other than Brazil, Italy, Germany, Argentina, Uruguay, Spain, France or England can manage to win in Brazil. But if you’re hoping for this, you best pin your hopes on someone from South America, Asia or Africa… no European side has ever won lifted a World Cup in the Americas.
10 – Winners have lifted the current FIFA World Cup Trophy, by a total of six countries. The original trophy, the Jules Rimet Trophy, was permanently awarded to Brazil after they won their third tournament in 1970. I wonder if they win their third version of this trophy if FIFA will give this one to them permanently, too.
11 – Goals were scored during qualifying by three players — Belize’s Deon McCaulay, Holland’s Robin van Persie, Uruguay’s Luis Suárez — making them joint top scorers for the qualification cycle.
12 – Brazilian cities hosting matches during the World Cup: Belo Horizonte, Brasília, Cuiabá, Curitiba, Fortaleza, Manaus, Natal, Porto Alegre, Recife, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, São Paulo.
13 – Nations that qualified from the UEFA region: Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, England, France, Germany, Greece, Holland, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Switzerland.
14 – World Cup finals goals scored by Germany Striker Miroslav Klose, the most of any active player qualified for the tournament. Should the Lazio striker make the German squad — he turns 36 just six days before the finals kick off — he’ll be aiming to tie or break Ronaldo’s record of 15 total World Cup goals.
15 – Finals appearances accumulated thus far by Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas, the most of any active player qualified for the tournament. Whether he’ll get number 16 or not, however, remains to be seen.
16 – Times progressed from the first round of the World Cup finals by both Germany and Brazil, the most of all countries. Extreme circumstances will need to unfold for both to not make it to 17.
17 – Current world ranking of Ivory Coast, the higheset of the African sides in the field. This will likely be the last shot for Les Éléphants “Golden Generation” of the Didier Drogba, Didier Zokora Kolo and Yaya Touré to make a mark on the World’s stage as they reach the twilight of their careers.
18 – Age that Cameroon’s Fabrice Olinga will be when the World Cup finals kicks off next summer, the youngest player used by any of the 32 teams during qualifying. Málaga’s Olinga, born May 12, 1996, was just 16 when he made an appearance for the Indomitable Lions.
19 – FIFA ranked sides 1 through 19 all qualified for the finals, with Ukraine (currently ranked #20) the highest ranked side not to make the cut.
20 – World Cups qualified by Brazil can lay claim to attending all of them.
I’ll be honest, twenty facts didn’t seem like quite enough. So I threw in a few bonus stats that fall above the number 20.
27 – Degrees latitude that separate the Northernmost host city of Manaus and the Southernmost host city of Porto Alegre, making this the World Cup with the largest North-South distribution. However, it’s not the overall largest distribution of host cities in a single World Cup… that distinction belongs to the US which saw an East-West distribution of 48 degrees.
36 – Goals scored by Germany during qualifying, more than any other nation.
64 – Matches to be played over the course of the tournament.
203 – Nations that participated in the 2014 World Cup qualification tournaments, two less than for the 2010 edition.
440 – Price in US dollars of the cheapest ticket to the 2014 World Cup Final on July 13th at the Maracanã stadium in Rio de Janiero.
816 – Matches played during 2014 World Cup qualifying, 36 less than the last qualification cycle.
990 – Price in US dollars of the most expensive ticket to the 2014 World Cup Final.
2334 – Goals scored during 2014 World Cup qualifying, seven less than the last go around.
3,710,103 – Number of tickets available for the 64 matches of World Cup 2014.
1,100,000,000 – Estimated US dollars it will cost Brazil to renovate/build the 12 stadiums to be used during the tournament.
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