Ranking Countries Based On Matches Won In World Cup History

The number of days until the 2022 FIFA World Cup starts is now down to 10.

With those heavily invested in the mega event already beginning to fly to Qatar as others weigh up their team’s chances with a mix of hope and expectation, we thought we’d take a look at who historical records suggest could lift the 22nd edition of the quadrennial mega-event.

Let’s run through the most successful national sides to have graced the tournament.

Brazil (73)

The history of the Seleção is intertwined with that of the World Cup to a degree that it would be inconceivable to think of how global football would have fared without the iconic Canary Yellow and Blue strip.

Pele is the only player to win 3 World Cups in history: 1958, 1962 and 1970

The South American team have played in all editions of the tournament and remains the only one to do so.

Their overall record in World Cup matches, thus, is also unrivalled with only 18 losses and a record 73 games won in 109 while having gone on to lift the trophy 5 times.

Such is the nation’s obsession with the tournament, that the failure to win it on home soil in 1950 still haunts their fans to this day, and Maracanazo, as the game was christened, became the catalyst for them to change their home kit colours to what it is today from previously being all-white.

Success in the competition took 28 years in the making for the nation, with the first win coming in 1958 in Sweden in a team with a young Pele and Garrincha.

Fair to say, the national side has kicked on, dominating subsequently in 1962 and 1970 in the tournaments in Chile and Mexico respectively, the latter team being known as the greatest squad in a World Cup.

A dry spell followed, but tournament wins in the USA in 1994 and Korea/Japan in 2002 only serve to highlight the flair the Seleção have brought to the global stage, with the introduction of names such as Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho.

20 years on and having had a few lows in this period, the side managed by Tite will look to bring number 6 back to Brazil.

Germany (67)

Having won the tournaments in 1954 in Switzerland, 1974 at home and Italia 1990 as West Germany, and then the 2014 edition in Brazil, for all intents and purposes, it’s Germany who is the second-most successful footballing nation.

Germany won its fourth title courtesy of Mario Gotze’s lone strike in the final against Argentina.

Die Mannschaft have a scattered past before the Second World War, but with DFB gaining recognition soon after 1950, the nation has assembled a few great teams with the likes of Fritz Walter, Franz Beckenbauer, and once the World Cup top-scorer Gerd Müller.

The German team have also played 109 World Cup matches, winning 67 and losing 22, while 20 have been drawn.

This term, the side is managed by former Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick and are contenders for the prestigious trophy as they look to equal Brazil’s record.

Italy (45)

Gli Azzurri are level with Germany in terms of the number of titles with four, having won two of the first three editions.

Their first win came at home in 1934 while the second followed four years later in France.

Dino Zoff holds the trophy aloft for Italy at the Santiago Bernabeu in 1982

It was, however, a long wait until they won their next World Cup in 1982 in the tournament held in Spain where their striker Paolo Rossi emerged with the Golden Boot with 6 goals.

Their fourth win came in Germany in 2006, playing in the infamous final against France.

Shrouded in controversy in domestic football, with match-fixing scandals before their last two winning campaigns, Italy has punched well above their weight although their date with destiny is on hold having failed to qualify for the last edition as well as for this edition in Qatar.

Italy have won 45, drawn 21 and lost 17 times out of their 83 World Cup matches, representing the third-most appearances for a nation.

Argentina (43)

The Albiceleste have won the prestigious trophy twice as well but that hardly does justice to the inextricable way they are linked to the tournament’s greatest moments.

Brazil’s greatest rivals came close to winning on enemy turf in 2014 but have been successful in the tournament hosted by them in 1978 and the second time it was hosted by Mexico in 1986.

Estadio Azteca witnessed the magic from Diego Maradona in 1986, culminating with him lifting the second World Cup for Argentina

The latter is best remembered for the moments of pure magic and awe provided by the late Diego Maradona.

The Argentines have managed to win 43 out of their 81 World Cup matches.

In Qatar, it should be the last time their greatest-ever footballer Lionel Messi leads them into the pitch and Lionel Scaloni’s side is expected to make a good fist of it.

France (34)

Defending champions France won the last tournament in Russia with an extraordinarily talented squad and remain favourites for this edition as well.

Defending champions France celebrating their success against Croatia in the 2018 final in Moscow

However, given that the last 2 champions have exited from the group stages in the following tournaments, France will look to end the hoodoo.

Les Bleus have a rich heritage of notable runs in World Cups, however, their first win came at home as late as 1998, with the likes of Zinedine Zidane and current manager Didier Deschamps as captain.

France have won 34 of their 66 World Cup ties, having had 13 stalemates and 19 losses.

Spain (30)

Just like England, Spain have always had a strong domestic league but success on the international stage had escaped them until the famous victory in 2010 in South Africa, which came amidst the golden generation of Spanish players.

Spain lifting their only World Cup Trophy in Johannesburg

Ever since this win, Spain have remained the favourites to compete going into tournaments and the same appears to be the case this time for Luis Enrique’s men as well.

La Rojas have played 63 matches in World Cups, having won 30 out of them.

England (29)

The nation’s FA is one of the world’s oldest and was the one to codify the rules of the game as we know them today.

However, glory has evaded the football-crazy nation for the most part, with their sole victory coming in the 1966 edition, which surprisingly is the only one that they have hosted.

England captain Bobby Moore with the Jules Rimet Trophy at Wembley, the penultimate time before the old trophy was replaced with the current version in 1974

The England national team have won 29 out of 69 World Cup games, losing 19 times.

Gareth Southgate’s side are one of the favourites this term as well but it remains to be seen if heartbreaks are in order as they have often been for the three lions.

Uruguay (24)

The tiny South American nation of Uruguay were the inaugural World Cup winner in the tournament they hosted in 1930 as well as the aforementioned shock victory in 1950.

The Uruguay team before the 1950 final in Rio de Janeiro, or Maracanazo

Their overall World Cup record is quite modest considering their 2-time-winner status, having finished on the winning side just 24 times out of 56.

Even though they remain underdogs after more than 70 years of their last triumph, La Celeste never stop producing talent that light up the global event, Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan being prime examples of it in 2010 in South Africa.

Other Notable Mentions

Only 8 nations have ever won the World Cup, however, this should not obscure the fact that every so often, a team dominates, entertains and looks worthy of winning the sport’s greatest prize, only to fall short at the final hurdle.

Hungary, is one such nation, having been dominant in the early 50s with players like Ferenc Puskas tearing up opposition defences.

They finished runners-up to Italy in 1938, and have won 15 of their 32 World Cup appearances.

They again came agonizingly close to winning in the 1954 final at Bern, Switzerland against West Germany, leading 2-0 until a comeback from the Germans meant this was the final time they made it to the pinnacle of the sport.

The Hungary and German (far left) sides line up before the 1954 World Cup final in Bern

Civil unrest in the nation has seen them drop off ever since then but the ‘Mighty Magyars’ as they were called are often remembered as one of the greatest teams to grace the World Cup.

The Netherlands are another team who dominated with ‘Total Football’ in the 70s with Johan Cruyff in the team.

They, unfortunately, lost two finals in a row in 1974 and 1978, each to the host nation, and also lost 2010 final to Spain.

Johan Cruyff being brought down in the opening seconds of the 1974 final in Munich; the hosts ended up winning 2-1

Oranje does still stand quite a good chance this time with Virgil van Dijk and Frenkie de Jong amongst a whole host of talent in Louis van Haal’s squad.

The Dutch, by the way, have a better record in World Cups than those of Spain, England and Uruguay, having won 27 and lost just 11 of their 50 games.

These are some of the most prominent names in FIFA World Cup history, but let that not stop you from being amazed by the wonder of the moments that the biggest celebration of the beautiful game has to offer come November 20th.