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FIFA World Cup history is full of legendary names, teams and tournaments. Played every four years, the list of past winners, best players and leading goalscorers is a veritable who’s who of footballing royalty.
In 2022 it was Argentina who won the Cup after arguably the greatest final ever, with France’s Kylian Mbappe losing the decider but taking home the golden boot courtesy of a hat-trick on the biggest stage of all.
He’d pip Lionel Messi for the title, who scored two goals himself, though the Argentinian great would claim the golden ball for player of the tournament, becoming the first player to claim the award twice having previously won in 2014.
Below is a list of the winners, runners-up, best performers and leading goalscorers of each World Cup.
|Year||Winners||Runners-up||Player of the tournament||Leading goal scorer|
|2022||Argentina||France||Lionel Messi||Kylian Mbappé|
|2018||France||Croatia||Luka Modric||Harry Kane|
|2014||Germany||Argentina||Lionel Messi||James Rodriguez|
|2010||Spain||Netherlands||Diego Forlán||Thomas Müller|
|2006||Italy||France||Zinedine Zidane||Miroslav Klose|
|1990||West Germany||Argentina||Salvatore Schillaci||Salvatore Schillaci|
|1986||Argentina||West Germany||Diego Maradona||Gary Lineker|
|1982||Italy||West Germany||Paolo Rossi||Paolo Rossi|
|1974||West Germany||Netherlands||Johan Cruyff||Grzegorz Lato|
|1966||England||West Germany||Bobby Charlton||Eusébio|
|1962||Brazil||Czechoslovakia||Garrincha||Garrincha, Vavá, Leonel Sánchez, Flórián Albert, Valentin Ivanov, Dražan Jerković|
|1954||West Germany||Hungary||Ferenc Puskás||Sándor Kocsis|
The World Cup is a chance for each country to showcase its best players. The grand tournament has allowed young players to get the national recognition they deserve and older veterans to continue their legacy.
The now-retired Miroslav Klose holds the legendary status of most goals scored ever in World Cup finals matches.
Below is a list of the top scorers in the competition’s history.
|Rank||Player||Country||Number of goals|
|3||Gerd Müller||West Germany||14|
|8||Helmut Rahn||West Germany||10|
|Karl-Heinz Rummenigge||West Germany||9|
|Uwe Seeler||West Germany||9|
No national team has been as successful in World Cups than Brazil. The Selecao have won the tournament a record five times, the last of which came in 2002 when a star-studded team featuring Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho defeated Germany 2-0 in the final.
The Germans are next on the list of most successful World Cup nations, having lifted the trophy on four occasions – three as West Germany and once more as a unified nation in 2014. Italy, the first nation to win two World Cups, sit equal with Die Mannschaft on four victories.
Uruguay were the inaugural champions, the first side to claim the Jules Rimet trophy in 1930, and won one more title in an upset in 1950. Argentina have also won two titles.
|Team||World Cup wins||Years won|
|Brazil||5||1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002|
|Germany||4||1954, 1974, 1990, 2014|
|Italy||4||1934, 1938, 1982, 2006|