The FIFA World Cup, occasionally called the Football World Cup, but usually referred to simply as the World Cup, is an international football competition contested by the men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the first tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not contested because of World War II.
The current format of the tournament involves 32 teams competing for the title at venues within the host nation(s) over a period of about a month – this phase is often called the World Cup Finals. A qualification phase, which currently takes place over the preceding three years, is used to determine which teams qualify for the tournament together with the host nation(s). The World Cup is the most widely-viewed sporting event in the world, with an estimated 715.1 million people watching the 2006 final.
During the 18 tournaments that have been held seven nations have won the title. Brazil are the only team to have played in every tournament and have won the World Cup a record five times. Italy are the current champions and have won four titles, and Germany are next with three. The other former champions are Uruguay, winners of the inaugural tournament, and Argentina, with two titles each, and England and France, with one title each.
The most recent World Cup was held in Germany in 2006. The next World Cup will be held in South Africa, between 11 June and 11 July 2010, and the 2014 World Cup will be held in Brazil.
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