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What You Need To Know About The FIFA World Cup

How the FIFA World Cup competition has evolved over time


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Mubarak Ganiyu

a year ago | 4 min read

The beautiful game of football is about to unite the world again this winter when the FIFA World Cup commences in Qatar on November 20, 2022 with an opening game between Qatar and Ecuador. Every four years, 32 teams from different continents come together to compete and see which nation can demonstrate the best footballing ability.

Given that this tournament has been taking place for around 90 years now, it definitely has some interesting history to it. Hence, I have decided to use this article to share some interesting details about the world cup. Firstly, I gathered data on the world cup from Kaggle via this link. More data was needed to capture extra information here.

Using these pieces of data in conjunction with Python & Tableau, I proceeded to build a collection of dashboards that shared a lot of insights about the history of the FIFA World Cup. Here is the link to the webpage hosting the dashboards. The next section will dive deeper into different dashboards and explain the message they are expected to convey. Moreover, it will provide the reader with some guidance on how to interact with the dashboard.

FIFA World Cup History Dashboard Collection

Figure 1. First Page of the Dashboard.

The first dashboard in Figure 1, as shown in the image above, is a page that allows the user to travel through time and obtain a short overview about the world cup in a specific year. Using the slider at the bottom of the page to go to a specific year will assist the user to gain information about the world cup host for that year as well as the top three winners of the world cup. The left side of the page is a geographical location of the host country. The right side of the page is a bar graph that showcases which countries came in first, second and third place during that year.


Figure 2. Dashboard providing information about goals within each tournament.

This dashboard makes it possible for users to gain an understanding of how many goals were scored for each world cup, which teams had the most goals and a ranking of the games during that world cup based on goal margin. All the user has to do is click a ball on the line chart and all these information will be provided to them. The line chart on the left displays how the total number of goals scored at the world cup has increased over time. The ball for each point signifies the ball that was used during that world cup year. One valid reason behind the increasing trend might have to do with the fact that the FIFA world cup has experienced multiple team expansions over time which translates into more games being played at the world cup. Hence, creating an avenue for more goals to be scored.


Figure 3. Most Prolific Teams at the World Cup.

The dashboard above in Figure 3 provides information on the which teams are known for performing well at the world cup based on qualifications and total number of wins. It can be seen above that Brazil tops both charts as they have qualified for the world cup 21 times and won the world cup 5 times. Germany is clearly the next prolific team as they rank second in both departments. Italy comes third by just being one qualification shy away from having the exact same record as Germany. Another mark of a proficient world cup team is the number of goals they score.


Figure 4. Goal Scoring Charts.

In the dashboard above, it can be observed on the left chart that the two most prolific teams at the world cup, Brazil and Germany, also happen to have scored the most goals. When looking at the chart on the right, Hungary had the best world cup spell in terms of goal scoring record. They scored 27 goals in 1954. However, Germany still went on to win the world cup in that year. Germany and Brazil each feature three times on the list of top 10 teams who have the best goal scoring campaign ever. In the next dashboard, we explore the biggest wins ever at the world cup.


Figure 5. Games with the biggest goal margins.

In the chart above, we can see Hungary defeating South Korea 9–0 in 1954 which contributed heavily to them having the best goal scoring campaign ever. Other games that produce similar goal margins are: Yugoslavia defeating Zaire 9–0 in 1974 and Hungary defeating El Salvador 10–1 in 1982. According to Figure 4, another team known for inflicting huge harm on others in Germany as they beat Turkey 11–3 in 1954 and beat Saudi Arabia 8–0 in 2002.


Figure 6. FIFA World Cup Attendance.

Figure 6 shows us a trend of how attendance has grown over time at the FIFA world cup competitions. However, it seems like there was a dip in 2010 when South Africa hosted the world cup. The reasoning behind this could be because South Africa’s stadiums might not have had as much capacity when compared to those of other host nations like Brazil, France, USA and Germany who were previous hosts.

Conclusion

Having the opportunity to watch the world cup every four years is an amazing experience. And given that our current world is becoming more defined by huge volumes of data, I used this as an opportunity to provide some interesting insights on the world cup by visualizing the data on the world cup. Thank you very much for reading. If you want to play around with the dashboard inside the images you saw in the previous section, click on this link and you will be directed to the webpage containing the dashboard.

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