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Saturday, July 10, 2010
A history of World Cup finals

Soccernet staff

Ahead of this year's showpiece between Netherlands and Spain, Soccernet takes a look back at the previous 18 World Cup finals. Uruguay 1930 - Uruguay 4-2 Argentina The first ever World Cup was held in Uruguay and it was the host nation who were crowned world champions after beating Argentina 4-2 in front of 93,000 fans in Montevideo. Trailing at the break, Uruguay fought back to claim the inaugural title in their centenary year. Italy 1934 - Italy 2-1 Czechoslovakia Defending champions Uruguay chose not to travel to the second World Cup in Italy, and for the second time in succession it was the host nation who emerged triumphant. They too trailed at half-time before coming back to beat Czechoslovakia, with Angelo Schiavio netting the winner. France 1938 - Italy 4-2 Hungary On the eve of the World War II, Italy successfully defended their title in France with a remodelled side. Coach Vittorio Pozzo led the Azurri to a 4-2 victory over Hungary in the final, and it was a title they would hold for 12 years as conflict broke out across Europe. Brazil 1950 - Uruguay 2-1 Brazil This was a tournament that would be remembered for two shock results. USA beat England before Brazil were stunned by Uruguay in the final. The Maracana in Rio de Janeiro was built specifically for the World Cup and 200,000 spectators crammed into it to watch the host nation defeated at the hands of their South American rivals. Switzerland 1954 - West Germany 3-2 Hungary If Brazil's loss in 1950 was a shock then West Germany's defeat of Hungary in this final stunned the world of football. Hungary had beaten their opponents 8-3 in the group stages and were unbeaten in 31 matches but, despite scoring 25 goals en route to the final, they lost 3-2 in a controversial game that would become known as 'Miracle of Berne'. Sweden 1958 - Brazil 5-2 Sweden Brazil finally got their hands on the World Cup after beating hosts Sweden in the final. A 17-year-old Pele burst onto the world stage and epitomised the Brazilian approach, with the emphasis on flair and style. Brazil won the final 5-2, and Pele netted two. Chile 1962 - Brazil 3-1 Czechoslovakia Brazil retained their title but this time it was Garrincha who was their star player. Pele missed the majority of the tournament through injury, but his absence was softened by Garrincha's superlative form as he finished joint top scorer. He led his team to the final, and to a 3-1 win over Czechoslovakia. England 1966 - England 4-2 West Germany The first and only time England have won the World Cup was on home soil at Wembley. Sir Geoff Hurst scored a hat-trick against West Germany, including one of the most famous goals in the tournament's history - a shot that struck the crossbar and was adjudged to have crossed the line by an Azerbaijani linesman. It also featured a classic line of commentary from Kenneth Wolstenholme as he described the scene leading to Hurst's clinching goal: "Some people are on the pitch. They think it's all over ... [Hurst scores] It is now!" Mexico 1970 - Brazil 4-1 Italy Brazil were back to their brilliant best in 1970 to claim their third title in what many people believe was the greatest side in the tournament's rich history. Pele was in fine form and Jairzinho scored in every match as Mario Zagallo's brushed aside all before them. Brazil crushed Italy 4-1 in the final with a sparkling display. Germany 1974 - West Germany 2-1 Netherlands Another tournament in which the host nation triumphed, as West Germany defeated an immensely talented Netherlands side boasting Johan Cryuff. The Dutch scored inside the first two minutes, but goals from Paul Breitner and Gerd Muller secured the title for West Germany. Argentina 1978 - Argentina 3-1 Netherlands The hosts finally broke their World Cup duck as Netherlands were beaten in the final for the second successive tournament. In front of a frenzied crowd at the Estadio Monumental, Mario Kempes scored twice as Argentina won 3-1 after extra time, and he also finished top scorer. Spain 1982 - Italy 3-1 West Germany Paulo Rossi's goalscoring form propelled Italy to their first World Cup triumph in 44 years as he scored six goals. Rossi had already netted a hat-trick against Brazil in one of the finest games in the tournament's history, and he was on the scoresheet again as Italy beat West Germany 3-1. Mexico 1986 - Argentina 3-2 West Germany The World Cup that will forever be known for Diego Maradona's supreme performances for the hosts. After the 'Hand of God' controversy in the quarter-final against England, captain Maradona led his team to a 3-2 victory over West Germany in the final and lifted the famous trophy. Italy 1990 - West Germany 1-0 Argentina The two sides met again in the final four years later but this time around West Germany gained revenge for their 1986 defeat. A poor game was settled by a late penalty as Andreas Brehme secured the title for West Germany. It meant Franz Beckenbauer became the first man to win the World Cup as a captain and as a manager. USA 1994 - Brazil 0-0 (3-2p) Italy The 1994 final became the first in history to be decided on penalties and it was Italy's star man, Roberto Baggio, who missed the crucial spot-kick as Brazil captain Dunga lifted the trophy. Strikers Romario and Bebeto were the key men in Brazil's team as they became champions for the first time since 1970. France 1998 - France 3-0 Brazil Inspired by the genius of Zinedine Zidane, France finally broke their duck and on home soil to boot. They crushed Brazil 3-0 in the final, with Zidane scoring twice in front of a rapturous crowd in Paris. A million people later poured onto the capital's streets to celebrate. Japan/South Korea 2002 - Brazil 2-0 Germany Ronaldo made up for Brazil's disappointment four years earlier by netting two goals in the final against Germany as he finished the tournament's top scorer with eight. It was the first time the World Cup had been held in Asia, and South Korea did the continent proud by making it to the last four. Germany 2006 - Italy 1-1(5-3p) France Italy claimed their fourth World Cup in Berlin as they exorcised the ghost of their defeat in the 1994 final. France star Zinedine Zidane was sent off for launching a headbutt on Marco Materazzi and the game ended 1-1 after extra time. David Trezeguet missed a penalty for France in the shootout and Fabio Grosso sealed Italy's win.

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