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The FIFA World Cup: A Global Phenomenon

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The FIFA World Cup is the most prestigious soccer tournament globally and the most widely viewed and followed single sporting event worldwide. The international governing body of soccer, FIFA, organizes the tournament, which was initially held in 1930. With the exception of 1942 and 1946 due to World War II, the World Cup is held every four years.

Although the tournament currently features 32 teams, this number will increase to 48 starting in 2026. The team with the most titles in the tournament's history is Brazil, having won five. The current champions, Argentina, secured their third title in the 2022 World Cup, held in Qatar.

The 2018 World Cup attracted an estimated 3.57 billion viewers, nearly half of the global population. The 2022 World Cup garnered an estimated engagement of 5 billion, with roughly 1.5 billion people watching the final match. The tournament has a significant worldwide audience, as supporters from around the globe watch their preferred teams contend for the prized trophy.

The FIFA World Cup Trophy, awarded to the tournament winners, was created by Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga and presented for the first time in 1974. It stands at 36.8 centimeters tall and is made of 18-carat gold. The base consists of two layers of semi-precious malachite, while the year and name of each FIFA World Cup winner since 1974 are engraved on the trophy's bottom side. The trophy's description by Gazzaniga was: "The sculpture's spiraling lines emanate from its base, creating a dynamic tension that culminates in the victorious athletes at its peak. The Middle East hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup, marking the first time that the tournament took place in the region." The Middle East hosted the 2022 FIFA World Cup, marking the first time that the tournament took place in the region.

The tournament proceeded as scheduled despite criticisms of the treatment of migrant workers involved in the construction of stadiums and tournament-related infrastructure. It is projected to be the most-watched in its history, expected to attract at least 5 billion viewers worldwide.

FIFA also launched an extravagant media service and app named FIFA+ centered on the World Cup, providing fans with a platform to play games, make match predictions, and participate in competitions. The broadcasting rights were highly contested, and different networks worldwide vied for the opportunity to broadcast the tournament. In the United States, the group stage match was viewed by around 20 million viewers on both Fox and Telemundo, making it one of the most-watched soccer matches in American history.

In conclusion, the FIFA World Cup captivates billions of people globally. The tournament boasts a rich history and tradition while also undergoing continuous evolution with each successive edition. Despite the controversies surrounding the tournament, it is still one of the most highly anticipated events in the world of sports.