(Reuters) – List of FIFA World Cup champions since the tournament began in 1930:
URUGUAY 1930 – URUGUAY
* Uruguay won the inaugural FIFA World Cup after beating Argentina 4-2 in the final in Montevideo.
* The first tournament included 13 teams, with only four from Europe. The trip to South America was challenging for many European players because they feared losing their jobs after being absent for a long time.
ITALY 1934 – ITALY
* Hosts Italy defeated Czechoslovakia 2-1 in Rome in a tournament consisting of a Round of 16.
* Reigning World Cup holders Uruguay declined to participate as a protest to the refusal of several European countries to travel to South America for the previous World Cup. At the same time, Egypt became the first African country to participate.
FRANCE 1938 – ITALY
* Italy took their second trophy, beating Hungary 4-2 in the final.
* Dutch East Indies, present-day Indonesia, became the first Asian team to participate in the World Cup.
BRAZIL 1950 – URUGUAY
* The first World Cup after World War Two, where England made their debut. Uruguay took their second victory after a 2-1 win against host nation Brazil in a game that later became known as “Maracanaco”.
* With 173,850 spectators, the game is still the highest-attended game ever played.
SWITZERLAND 1954 – GERMANY
* West Germany took their first title after a 3-2 win in the final against Hungary.
SWEDEN 1958 – BRAZIL
* The only tournament in a Nordic country saw the debut of a 17-year-old Brazilian player named Pele, who scored six goals and helped his team to beat Sweden 5-2 in the final.
* France’s Just Fontaine scored 13 goals in the tournament, still a record.
CHILE 1962 – BRAZIL
* Brazil defended their title in a 3-1 victory over Czechoslovakia in the final in Santiago.
ENGLAND 1966 – ENGLAND
* The only victory in the World Cup for England, as they secured a 4-2 extra time win over West Germany in the final.
* North Korea and Portugal debuted in this World Cup, with the Portuguese striker Eusebio becoming the tournament’s top scorer.
MEXICO 1970 – BRAZIL
* Brazil took their third title in Pele’s last World Cup after winning 4-1 against Italy at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City.
* The tournament passed without a single player being sent off. It was the first time substitutes were allowed, and yellow and red cards were introduced. It was also the first World Cup broadcast in colour and the first with an officially sponsored match ball.
WEST GERMANY 1974 – GERMANY
* The host nation took their second World Cup title after beating the Netherlands 2-1 in the final.
* A new trophy was introduced for the tournament after Brazil had won the Jules Rimet Trophy permanently due to three victories.
ARGENTINA 1978 – ARGENTINA
* The host nation once again lifted the trophy as Argentina won 3-1 against the Netherlands at Estadio Monumental.
* Tunisia’s 3-1 win over Mexico was the first time an African team won a match in the tournament’s history.
SPAIN 1982 – ITALY
* Italy became world champions for the third time in Spain with a 3-1 victory over West Germany.
* The tournament marked the first time a penalty shoot-out was used.
MEXICO 1986 – ARGENTINA
* Mexico hosted the World Cup for the second time, with Argentina’s Diego Maradona dominating the tournament and securing his home nation a second trophy after beating West Germany 3-2.
* However, the quarter-final against England might be best remembered as it included the famous “Hand of God” goal and the solo raid from Maradona that later was dubbed the Goal of the Century.
ITALY 1990 – GERMANY
* West Germany won the tournament for the third time as they beat Argentina 1-0 in Rome.
* Roger Milla and Cameroon became famous as they beat Argentina at San Siro in the group stage and went on to the quarter-finals as the first African team ever.
UNITED STATES 1994 – BRAZIL
* The first tournament held in the United States was marked by several high-profile teams and players.
* Romario and Bebeto guided Brazil to the final, where Italy and Roberto Baggio waited. After a lacklustre game, it became the World Cup final’s first penalty kick contest, with Brazil claiming their fourth trophy after Baggio missed.
FRANCE 1998 – FRANCE
* It was the first World Cup with 32 teams competing. The host nation, led by Didier Deschamps, won 3-0 over Brazil in the final.
SOUTH KOREA/JAPAN 2002 – BRAZIL
* The first World Cup co-hosted by two nations and the first to be held in Asia. Ronaldo could finally crown his career as Brazil took its fifth World Cup home after beating Germany 2-0 in Yokohama.
GERMANY 2006 – ITALY
* Italy beat France 5-3 on penalties in Berlin after 1-1 in ordinary time, in a game forever known for Zinedine Zidane’s head-butt on Marco Materazzi and subsequent red card.
* Another game that went into history was the Round of 16 match between Portugal and the Netherlands. Nicknamed “the battle of Nuremberg”, the game saw four red cards and 16 yellow cards, setting a record for cards shown at any FIFA-administered international tournament. Portugal won 1-0.
SOUTH AFRICA 2010 – SPAIN
* The tournament was held in Africa for the first time, with Spain claiming their first World Cup trophy after beating Netherlands 1-0 in the final after extra time.
BRAZIL 2014 – GERMANY
* Germany won their fourth title after beating Argentina 1-0 in the final.
RUSSIA 2018 – FRANCE
* France won their second title, beating Croatia 4-2 in the final, making coach Didier Deschamps the second man to win the World Cup as both a captain and a manager (after Franz Beckenbauer), as he led the team to victory in 1998.
* The tournament marked the first use of video assistant referees (VAR).
(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; Editing by William Mallard)