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Sunday, May 3, 1998 Published at 17:35 GMT 18:35 UK

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image: [ Brazil with their fourth World Cup ]
Brazil with their fourth World Cup

From the invitation-only 1930 tournament in Uruguay to the hugely popular extravaganza of USA 1994, the World Cup has a colourful and exciting history.

Facist and Nazi regimes overshadowed the 1934 and 1938 World Cups, but when the tournament resumed in 1950 after World War II, football had moved into a new era.

The early years were dominated by Uruguay and Italy. But as the number of competitors increased, the world was given the chance to see the entertaining Magical Magyars of 1954, the battling West German victories of 1954 and 1974 and Cameroon's "Indomitable Lions" of 1990, not to mention the talents of Pele, Eusebio, Hurst, Beckenbauer and Maradona.

[ image: England captain Bobby Moore kisses the World Cup in 1966]
England captain Bobby Moore kisses the World Cup in 1966
For England there was jubilation in 1966 and devastation in 1990, while Scotland suffered their biggest humiliation in 1978.

1982 provided the most bizarre and the most thrilling matches in World Cup history while Argentina have been at the centre of many of the tournament's controversies, not least in 1986.

But the nation synonymous with World Cup history is Brazil. Sensational champions in 1958, 1962 and 1970 and winners of the USA 1994 tournament, the Brazilians are the only team to have won the esteemed title four times.

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