Every four years, the FIFA World Cup captures the global imagination like no other sporting spectacle. With a cumulative television audience of several billion people tuning in to the 2014 World Cup, and an estimated 700 million watching the finals--including more than 25 million in the United States alone--the World Cup is the world's most-watched sporting event. The Encyclopedia of the FIFA World Cup provides the most comprehensive and up-to-date information available on the history of this incomparable event. An introductory narrative explains the origins and historical progression of the World Cup, while a chronology traces the development of the World Cup since it was first held in 1930. Hundreds of entries cover the players and coaches who have participated in the World Cup and made the most memorable contributions to the event's history. Additional entries include officials, stadiums, overviews of each major country's performances, and more. A separate section provides detailed entries for each World Cup finals tournament. Appendixes contain details on every participant in World Cup history, as well as top performers, officials, and World Cup records. Including an indispensable bibliography on the key World Cup texts, Encyclopedia of the FIFA World Cup is an essential reference for soccer fans, players, and researchers alike.