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World Cup Trivia

The 2010 FIFA World Cup will be a ball! Every year, the best football teams from all corners of the globe compete in the biggest sporting event in the world. This year, the tournament will take place in South Africa, from June 11 to July 11. Here are some fascinating facts about the tournament taking place this year and in the past:

1. The official mascot of the 2010 World Cup is Zakumi.

Zakumi is a humanized leopard with green hair. The name is a mixture of the international abbreviation for South Africa (ZA) and the word “kumi”. In several African languages, the word “kumi” translates into English as the number ten. The colors of the mascot, yellow and green, are also present in the center of the South African flag. Zakumi’s birthday is South African Red Letter Day: Youth Day. Also, Zakumi’s date of birth (1994) signifies South Africa’s first non-racial national elections.

2. Only two World Cups will have taken place outside of the Americas and Europe.

The exceptions were in 2002 (South Korea/Japan) and 2010 (South Africa).

3. Europe and South America dominated the event.

In fact, European countries have won the tournament nine times, while South American countries have also won it nine times in total. Interestingly, a European country has never become world champion in a competition played outside of Europe. Unless you’ve lived your whole life under a rock, you probably know that Brazil is one of the world’s footballing powerhouses. It’s no surprise, then, that the country has won a record five world championships. But Italy is lagging behind, with four championships of its own. Germany (West) are next, with a total of three World Cup titles. Meanwhile, Uruguay and Argentina both have two championships. And finally, England and France have each won the tournament once.

4. The youngest and oldest players were 17 and 42 respectively.

The youngest World Cup player was Norman Whiteside (Ireland), who was just 17 years old/41 days old when he played in 1982. Meanwhile, Roger Milla (Cameroon) was 42 years old/39 days old when he took the field in 1994.

5. The all-time top scorer in the World Cup was a Frenchman.

In 1958, Just Fontaine of France scored 13 points during the tournament, averaging just over two points per game. The second all-time goalscorer was Sandor Kocsis of Hungary. Hungry for goals, in 1954 he scored 11 total points during the tournament, in five games. And the third top scorer of all time was West Germany’s Gerd Muller. In 1970, he scored 10 points in six games.

6. Two players have scored in four consecutive World Cup finals.

Interestingly, both players scored in the same World Cups. Pelé (Brazil) and Uwe Seeler (West Germany) both scored in the 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970 finals.

As always, the 2010 tournament will be an exciting event. As well as watching the thrilling action on the football pitch, keep an eye on the record books to see if any records are being broken.

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