Jules Rimet would probably have never imagined that for the best part of 84 years after his initiative, the world would be hypnotised by what would eventually become his lasting legacy.
President of FIFA between 1921 and 1954, it was under his leadership that a professional competition to determine who the world’s best international football team was first instigated. It culminated with a first competition in 1930, with hosts Uruguay lifting the inaugural World Cup in Montevideo — defeating Argentina 4-2 in the final.
Since then, the World Cup has evolved and revolved. The trophy itself has changed and has been rotated around nine nations. Its hosting has taken it to new frontiers. Tactical innovations have been confirmed at it, while rule changes have also been adapted at it.
Through it all, there have been many records, many memorable moments and magnificent anecdotes. The tournament is about much more than just who wins and who loses. Its expansion has ensured that it retains some exoticness, while still managing to provide quality football.
It is why this column will attempt to quantify such proceedings.
From a huge amount of happenings within the 19 previous tournaments, we will attempt to come up with a top 5 list of some of the World Cup’s greatest monuments. For example, who were the top 5 greatest Golden Boot winners? Which of the World Cup’s greatest upsets rank amongst the top 5? Of all the winners, which teams were ultimately the best 5 of the lot? Of the teams that never won, which ones can make it into a top 5?
These questions, and more, we hope to answer in the coming weeks. We also know that such an attempt is fatally inconclusive — and any suggestions that may add to the same will kindly be appreciated.
As such, this is a journey we hope will take you through all the way to this year’s tournament commencement date on the 12th of June. We only hope that this journey can be half as great as the one the World Cup began all those years ago. For that, we are forever grateful to the imaginative action of Jules Rimet.