Awesome Things: Football World Cup

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The Greatest Show on Earth!


How exciting is this, at the end of the week one of the greatest sporting events on the planet kicks off. This iteration sees 32^ of the best teams in the world travel to Russia to battle it out to be crowned world champion.

Being based in Oz, the timing of many of the games will be challenging but we’ve packed the fridge full of beer and the cupboard full of Berocca and we’re settling in to watch it all on the new TV (TV Manufacturers expect a 15% sales jump in World Cup years).

Awesome Points

  1. The trials and tribulations of the qualification process throws up surprises every time and means that over 30% of the teams playing in Russia are from outside the top 32 rankings. Some see this as a negative, but we firmly believe it’s awesome for the growth of the sport.*

  2. Australia owns a record, that’s unlikely to be surpassed anytime soon having scored 31 goals vs. American Samoa in qualifying for the 2002 World Cup. Side note: Archie Thompson holds the record for most goals scored in an international from the same game at 13.

  3. The 86 World Cup also gave the world the ‘Mexican Wave’ – which, 32 years later, and much to the chagrin of purists of many a sporting code is still going strong. If only Columbia hadn’t pulled out of hosting we’d all be doing the ‘Colombian Wave’ which I dare say has different connotations.

  4. Whilst Football has been pretty slow to accept most technology, case in point the video replay & goal line technology, ‘Vanishing spray’ was first used by referees in a World Cup (Brazil 14). It wouldn’t have stopped the “Hand of God” but baby steps are better than no steps.

  5. Iceland, with a population of just 350,000, will be the smallest country to ever participate in a World Cup when they make their debut in Russia. For context 199,854 people, or over half of Iceland’s entire population attended Rio’s Maracanã for the 1950 final.

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Awesome Images – World Cup Moments

Hand of God

Maradona – Hand of God
Photo: AP


Main Photo: Getty Images


Uruguay Goal - 1st World Cup Final 1930

Uruguay Goal – 1st World Cup Final 1930
Photo: AP

Australia's World Cup Record

Australia’s World Cup Record
Photo: Blecher

^ Just 13 teams played in the first edition back in 1930. From 2026 however the number will increase to 46.


* The 10 outside the top 32 are: Saudi Arabia (68), Panama (60), South Korea (52), Australia (46), Tunisia (45), Japan (44), Iran (43), Nigeria (40), Egypt (36), Russia (35)


Written by Sam Smith. Article first published on June 13, 2018. Return to the Hawke Guide ›

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