FIFA World Cup: Number of games played 1930-2018

Total number of games played at FIFA World Cup tournaments from 1930 to 2018

by Christina Gough, last edited Sep 10, 2019
FIFA World Cup: Number of games played 1930-2018

How many games in the World Cup?

The 1998 World Cup Finals in France saw a change to the format that had been used for the previous four tournaments. The format for the finals was initially changed for the 1982 World Cup in Spain in which 24 teams participated. The current format, first implemented in France 1998, sees 32 teams split into eight groups of four. As a result, the last six editions of the World Cup, including the latest World Cup in Russia in 2018, featured 64 games.
World Cup goal fests

A total of 171 goals were scored across the 2014 FIFA World Cup held in Brazil, marking a joint record for the tournament along with France 1998. The goal-fest in 2014 was thanks to some unusually high-scoring games, including Netherlands beating Spain 5-1 in the group stages and, most famously, Germany embarrassing Brazil 7-1 at the semi-final stage. The 2014 World Cup in Brazil also holds the record for the most amount of different scorers in a single tournament with 121 players.

World Cup goal-scorers

One of the most notable scorers at the 2014 World Cup was Germany’s Miroslav Klose, who became the leading goal-scorer of all time in World Cups, with his record-breaking 16th goal coming in that infamous semi final against Brazil. The top goal-scorer at the last World Cup in 2018 was England captain, Harry Kane. The forward scored six goals across the tournament, including a hattrick in England’s 6-1 drubbing of Panama. However, his goal-scoring exploits did not stop England from falling short of glory as they were knocked out by Croatia in the semi-finals.
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Total number of games played at FIFA World Cup tournaments from 1930 to 2018

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