The FIFA World Cup, often simply called the World Cup, is an international association football competition contested by the senior men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the inaugural tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not held because of the Second World War. The current champions were Spain, who won the 2010 tournament in South Africa.
The current format of the tournament involves 32 teams competing for the title at venues within the host nation(s) over a period of about a month; this phase is often called the World Cup Finals. A qualification phase, which currently takes place over the preceding three years, is used to determine which teams qualify for the tournament together with the host nation(s).
The 19 World Cup tournaments have been won by eight different national teams. Brazil have won five times, and they are the only team to have played in every tournament (Brazil automatically qualified for the 2014 tournament, as the host nation). The other World Cup winners are Italy, with four titles; West Germany, with three titles; Argentina and inaugural winners Uruguay, with two titles each; and England, France, and Spain, with one title each.
The World Cup is the most widely viewed and followed sporting event in the world, exceeding even the Olympic Games; the cumulative audience of all matches of the 2006 FIFA World Cup was estimated to be 26.29 billion with an estimated 715.1 million people watching the final match, a ninth of the entire population of the planet.
The 2014 FIFA World Cup is currently being contested in Brazil. The next two World Cups will be hosted by Russia in 2018, and Qatar in 2022.
Meanwhile, various of social phenomenon have showed up as the game gained great popularity these days.
For example, increasing number of women largely ignored during the World Cup, when their husbands become engrossed in the global soccer showpiece to the exclusion of virtually everything else.
Up to one-fifth of women polled in Nanchang, capital of Jiangxi province, consider themselves soccer widows who experience lower levels of intimacy with their husbands during the tournament, according to a survey on the effects of the World Cup conducted by Nanchang Evening News.
Some of these women complain that they will be ignored by their husbands during the monthlong event, while others report more quarrels with their partners. Many turn to female friends to shop, watch movies and travel together.
More than one-third of the 1,200 women polled in a survey by online travel portal ctrip.com said they had made travel plans during previous World Cups.
For what's more, cases involving people driving under the influence of alcohol have risen sharply since the FIFA World Cup in Brazil kicked off on June 12, as soccer fans tend to bet on their luck in eluding police checks, according to the Ministry of Public Security.
Statistics from the ministry show that in the first three days of the World Cup, which runs through July 13, police nationwide dealt with more than 570 cases of drunken driving and 5,200 cases of drinking while driving - an increase of 65 percent over the number for the first three days of the World Cup four years ago.