The FIFA World Cup, often simply the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior 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 inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champions are Spain, who won the 2010 tournament in South Africa.
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 19 World Cup tournaments have been won by eight different national teams. Brazil have won five times, and they are the only team to have played in every tournament. The other World Cup winners are Italy, with four titles; West Germany, with three titles; Argentina and inaugural winners Uruguay, with two titles each; and England, France, and Spain, with one title each.
The World Cup is among the world’s most widely viewed sporting events; an estimated 715.1 million people watched the final match of the 2006 FIFA World Cup held in Germany.
The next three World Cups will be hosted by Brazil in 2014, Russia in 2018, and Qatar in 2022.