The World Cup final has always been a one-off match except for 1950 when the last four teams were thrown in a group with a round-robin format, similar to the style in operation in group stages now.
Of the 21 World Cups played so far, 13 have made it to the final while there have been eight different winners.
Brazil are the most successful team in World Cup finals with five victories. Italy and Germany have won four World Cup finals each, whereas France, Argentina and Uruguay have a victory each to their name. England and Spain have both won the World Cup once. The last team to win the World Cup final was France, which beat Croatia 4-2 in 2018.
World Cup finals are easily the most watched sporting event of the year they take place in. According to FIFA, 1.12 billion people had watched the 2018 World Cup final.
The 2022 World Cup final will be played on December 18 (Sunday) at the Lusail Iconic Stadium. The match will begin at 6pm local time. The line-up of the final will be known once the second semi-final finishes on December 14.
The 1950 World Cup final between Brazil and Uruguay is arguably the most memorable World Cup final ever played. It was watched at the famed the Maracana Stadium by an astonishing crowd of 173,850 people which makes it the most heavily attended football match of all time. Brazil were upset 2-1 at home in that game in what has since been known as “The Blow of Maracana”.
The 1966 World Cup final between England and West Germany was also a memorable affair. It remains the only World Cup final played in London. Sir Geoff Hurst had scored a hat-trick, including two goals in extra time to give his side a 4-2 win.
Similarly, the 1994 World Cup final between powerhouses Brazil and Italy at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Los Angeles is still remembered by the world. The game was decided on penalties, with Italy great Roberto Baggio missing the decisive penalty to see Brazil lift the trophy.
Zinedine Zidane’s demolition of defending champions Brazil in the 1998 World Cup final was the highlight of that tournament, whereas a dazzling Ronaldo’s brace in the World Cup final of 2022 against Germany is a sequence still remembered.
Zidane’s headbutt of Italy’s Marco Materazzi and the Italians’ subsequent triumph in the ensuing penalties gave the 2006 World Cup final its plot. The 2010 and 2014 World Cup finals were decided in extra time, with Andres Iniesta finding the winner in former and Mario Gotze in the latter. The 2018 World Cup was a one-sided affair, with France beating Croatia 4-2.