The FIFA World Cup is widely considered as the most important soccer tournament in the world – above the likes of the UEFA Champions League and English Premier League. A national competition, it combines the best 32 footballing countries in the world (based on results from qualifiers played beforehand) and over the course of a month, filters out losing teams until the final match.
The winner of the finals takes home the grand prize, a World Cup trophy finished in gold and silver and the ultimate level of respect that any single national team can receive.
History of The World Cup
The body that is in charge of planning and hosting the competition, FIFA (or the Federation of International Football Associations), was founded in 1904. After the leaders of the federation saw the successes of the 1924 and 1928 Olympic soccer tournaments (which were both won by Uruguay), they began to put plans in place to host such a tournament as an independent competition and at a larger scale.
And so the stage was set – despite their initial reticence, then FIFA President Jules Rimet managed to convince European countries Belgium, France, Yugoslavia and Romania to travel across the Atlantic and take part in the inaugural competition in Uruguay.
Taking full advantage of being at home, Uruguay won the inaugural World Cup, defeating Italy 4-2 to clinch the title in Montevideo. Since 1930, the World Cup has been played every four years – except in 1942 and 1946 because of World War 2.
Past Winners and Host Nations
Every four years, qualifying countries send teams to participate in the competition. The host nation is decided by a bidding system put in place by FIFA. The federation checks the bidding countries’ sports infrastructure and hosting capabilities and eventually, selects one of them to host the competition.
Russia hosted the 2018 World Cup and in doing so, joined an exclusive list of only 16 other countries including France, Brazil, Germany, England and Spain. South Africa remains the only African country to ever receive the honor and in 2022, Qatar will make history as the only Middle-Eastern country to do so.
France won its second World Cup trophy in 2018 after defeating Croatia 4-2 in an enthralling game. Aside from France, Brazil has won the competition five times and Germany and Italy have each won it four times.
World Cup Giants and Underdogs
Going into any World Cup, countries like Germany, Brazil, England, Spain and Argentina have always been seen as favorites to at least make a deep run in the competition – with the winner expected to come from that same pool.
The underdogs, however, are what make the competition interesting. Croatia battled past teams like Denmark, Russia, and England to reach their first ever final in 2018, a feat that few thought possible. In 1990 as well, Cameroon became the first African team to reach the quarter-final stage of the competition with legendary forward Roger Milla as their main man.
Best Betting Sites for the World Cup
A large source of excitement in any competition as big as the World Cup is betting. Fans from the US and all over the world have, since its inception, placed some sort of wager on who they thought would win at different stages of the competition. Since the world of betting has largely gone online, here are a few of the best World Cup betting sites in the United States:
The American sports betting site has all the features that both new and experienced bettors would want. Intertops hosts thousands of soccer games to bet on – from the qualifiers to the finals. It also has a live score checker option as well as real time bet tracking. The website also offers a signing up bonus of 100% on a deposit of up to $500.
A premier American Sportsbook, the company and its eponymous website have hosted some of the best odds in the betting industry since 2011. Bovada allows users the option to place bets either in real currency or in bitcoin, with virtually all major credit and debit cards accepted on the main website and mobile apps. The sportsbook platform offers users bonuses of all kinds, including a 25% welcome bonus and up to $750 in cash for users depositing with Bitcoin. The website is easy to use, with descriptive animations and colorful graphics. For bettors, Bovada provides a versatile deposit system – with support for platforms like Zelle, Visa, Mastercard, Bitcoin, American Express, and even its vouchers.
A relatively new entrant into the legal sports betting space, MyBookie has established itself as one of the premier platforms for sports wagers in the United States. Licensed out of Curacao by the Dutch Government, the site implements some of the best encryption and security protocols in the industry. MyBookie gives first-time users a whopping 100% sign-up bonus up to $1000 on their initial deposit and allows deposits through Visa, MasterCard, Litecoin, Bitcoin, and eCheck.
The platform has been in operation for over 20 years and in that time, served its American users with a fast and reliable platform to bet on their favorite teams and sports. For World Cup bettors, the platform offers a 50% welcome bonus on the initial deposit as well as an additional 100% bonus on first-time cryptocurrency deposits (with support for Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Ripple, and more). The site also offers a live score checker and bet tracker dashboard. Users can also enjoy fast, 24-hour withdrawals on their winnings.
General Betting Tips
The World Cup can present a tricky competition to bet on. To maximize your potential to win big on every bet, always keep these tips in mind:
- Countries like Brazil, France, Germany, Spain, Argentina, and Belgium usually have higher odds of winning the competition whilst those like Chile, Colombia, Switzerland, and Uruguay sit in the middle.
- Take a look at head-to-head records before placing bets on any game.
- Always check for the credibility of any sportsbook before placing a bet.
- Aside from game-winners, there are other bets to make. Explore goals betting, corners, and even top scorer bets.
- Assess the condition of every team on your bet slip. Check their player fitness through the qualifying rounds, as this will serve as a strong indicator going into the main tournament. Look for teams that have been hot in qualifying.