The FIFA World Cup, occasionally called the Football World Cup, but usually referred to simply as the World Cup, is an international football competition contested by the men's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's global governing body. The championship has been awarded every four years since the first tournament in 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 when it was not contested because of World War II. There are preliminary rounds to select the 32 final teams to compete in what is known as “World Cup Finals”.
During the 18 tournaments that have been held, seven nations have won the title. Brazil is the only team to have played in every tournament and have won the World Cup a record five times. Italy is the current champions and has won four titles, and Germany is next with three. The other former champions are Uruguay, winners of the inaugural tournament, and Argentina, with two titles each, and England and France, with one title each.
The most recent World Cup was held in Germany in 2006. The next World Cup will be held in South Africa, between 11 June and 11 July 2010, and the 2014 World Cup will be held in Brazil.
Now, to explain how selection of teams are undertaken. Since the second World Cup in 1934, qualifying tournaments have been held to thin the field for the final tournament. They are held within the six FIFA continental zones (Africa, Asia, North and Central America and Caribbean, South America, Oceania, and Europe), overseen by their respective confederations. For each tournament, FIFA decides the number of places awarded to each of the continental zones beforehand, generally based on the relative strength of the confederations' teams.
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