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Ranking the Top 20 Nations in the History of the Football World Cup

The World Cup is a football premier tournament which is held every four years. It gives the opportunity to players across the world to come together and compete for National pride and prestige. This is glory a nation gets that could only come for once a lifetime. In its lifetime of 92 years, it has seen several successful and memorable matches and teams playing on the international ground. Since its very first tournament in Uruguay in 1930, 21 World Cups have been held. Every World Cup offers something memorable for its fans. Here we have statistical data based on tallying points and matches played by the team. Some teams are chosen as the most successful in the history of the World Cup per this statistical analysis. But before we move on to those teams, it is necessary for you to know the criteria of selecting the most successful teams and the history as rules, regulations and the formation system of football kept changing over the years.


Criteria of Team’s selection

Now you might ask what is the basis of Team’s selection as the most successful team. There are some methods that follow some steps to distinguish teams. 

First of all the teams are chosen or separated from each other on the basis of the points they scored in winning or drawing fixtures at the tournament. As I told you, the scoring system went through a lot of changes over the years. This is why to ensure fairness all teams were given points according to the modern system which states three points for a win and one for a draw. In the case of penalty shootouts, the game is considered to be a draw and both teams are given one point each.

If two or more teams’ scores coincide and they finish level on points, the number of World Cups won by team will be given priority by judges. This can be called the tie breaking condition.Ranking

Now it’s the time to move on to those record breaking successful Nations teams which are ranked top 20 in the history of the World Cup, a tournament that provides an international image, pride and position. These teams Play for their Nations, therefore when a team wins the tournament nation takes pride in its team and the title of best playing Nation. 

1. Brazil

There’s no doubt that Brazil comes at the top of the list of most successful teams in the history of the World Cup. Brazilian players are famous for their dives and playing skills. How can a country with such outstanding players not be on top as the best team. The team has succeeded in appearing in 21 World Cup finals out of 21 since 1930.

It has been present in every single World Cup since the first world Cup held in Uruguay. The nation also hosted the world cup in 2014 with many titles. Total games played by the team is 97 and won 67.  The total points scored by the team is 216 making it the best team.

2. Germany

Germany has become the second most successful nation in the history of the world cup with a score of 199 points. The countries achieved this score in just two out of the first four world cups. West Germany returned with a spirit of victory in the 1954 world cup and won the tournament marking its achievement on the map. The consistency of the team is another factor that led them to play in most of the tournaments. Germany has played in 99 games and gained a victory in 60 of them contributing to the score.

3. Italy

Italy’s team Azzurri is the best and most successful team from Europe in the World Cup that trailed Brazil with four Jules Rimet Trophies. Yet it got third place as the most successful nation overall. The team constantly won two World Cups of 1934 and 1938 but this victory was followed by a defeat for 20 years despite being the most expensive and richest team in terms of finance and talent in the world. In spite of all of these ups and downs it suffered, Italy managed to score 153 points by playing 80 games. 44 games were won by the team while 15 were lost. 

4. Argentina

South America has achieved unique success in football tournaments, especially in the world cup. The team managed to win 124 points playing 70 games. Out of which 37 were won by them and 20 were lost. Even though it was finalized in 1930, it couldn’t make much success in bringing the impact on the competition. Afterwards it pulled out for 20 years from 1934 to 1954. 

Despite all of its crazy history, in modern times it has become one of the toughest and strongest opponent’s. The reason behind its success is creative legends including Diego Maradona, Juan Roman Riquelme and Lionel Messi. There is a phrase that says players decide the success of a team. This example proves it apparently.

5. England

How is it possible that the originator of football or the nation which unified its rules and system doesn’t make it here. It might come as a shock to some people to see England so high in this list. But once it makes it to the world cup finale, the competition gets tough for other teams. With an average of 1.64 points a game, their efficiency is comparable to France and Uruguay. 

It also appeared in 13 World Cup matches with consistency. As the name suggests, Three Lions are hard to conquer over. It has also lost only 14 games which is less than most of the teams playing in more than 50 World Cup matches. The Three Lions have played 59 matches out of which 26 were won by them making a score of 97. 

6. Spain 

Spain has always been one of the best achievers of the world cup with a team of plentiful talented players. It was blessed with this blessing until 2010 and the drama South Africa. Real Madrid dominated the world cup tournament in the 1950s and 1960s. Their record in international football games including the biggest competition, World Cup is incredibly respected. 

Following its success, it also had a chance of hosting the tournament in 1982 after which it never failed to qualify for the knockout stage of the tournament. Real Madrid played a total of 56 matches and won 28 of them while losing 16. It succeeded in scoring 96 points within the played matches. 

7. France

Here is another country from Europe to make it to the list making it apparent why Europe has been dominating football. It has played 54 games with a score of 86. France Has a long illustrious association with the World Cup. The founder of the World Cup, Jules Rimet, was also a Frenchman. France was one of these four European teams to brave the steamer ride over Uruguay in the very first world cup tournament in 1930. It has sustained a golden generation containing plenty of talented outstanding player stars such as Michel Platini and Alain Giresse in its history. Its home victory in 1998 became memorable for all the world. 

8. Netherlands

Netherlands’ Oranje has endured unexpected defeats failing to win even a single Jules Rimet Trophy. Though it became runner up three times in 1974, 1978 and 2010. It is no less than a curse for the Netherlands that no team has ever played so many finals without even winning a single World Cup. This is bad luck because despite having so many wonderful teams, it couldn’t succeed in lifting a single Jules Rimet Trophy. Despite this constant failure, it made it to the eighth place in this list on the basis of its effectiveness with a score of 76 and 43 played games. 

9. Uruguay

The country was blessed with the fortune of hosting the very first tournament of the world cup and inaugurating it in 1930. It also won the World Cup titles in 1930 and 1950 along with two gold medals in the year before FIFA recognized it as a top level international Football competition. In 2010, the country returned to its glory days again and became the smallest country to win the Jules Rimet Trophy. All of it made it obvious for Uruguay to emerge as one of the top ranking countries in the history of the world with a score of 66 and 18 won games. 

10. Sweden

Though Sweden never won any world cup, its consistency and solidity in the world cup let it here. It is ranked 10th in top performing countries. They cannot be the strongest team in the world but definitely tops in giving mind-blowing performances. The Swedish team reached the finals in 1958 tournament against Pele’s Brazil for the first time. This played a total of 46 games and managed to make it here with a score of 61. While it only won 16 World Cup matches its ability led it here and it deserves a hat off.

11. Serbia

If you are a student of history then you must be aware of the dissolution of Yugoslavia in the 1990s after the cold war ended. It proved the worst moment for the country’s football. A team containing the talented players such as Robert Prosinecki, Davor Suker, Alen Boksic and Dragan Stojkovic succeeded in securing a quarter final place at 1990 World Cup. The golden era of the nation came after the world war ended. But as of now Serbia made appearance in three world cups with all excluded in round one. Yet, Serbia is ranked 11th top nation with a score of 59.

12. Russia

As it can be told, seeing its size and talent, Russia should have been ranked higher in the list. At the time of the Soviet Union the same was true of Ukraine, Belarus and USSR’s other countries. Being the superpower, it also managed to demonstrate its influence on football. In 1960, Soviet football lifted the European championship and finished fourth in England 6 years later. Also it stayed among the top eight sides for four world cups constantly. They never achieved the same again but independent Russia did Better than the group stage making a score of 57.

13. Poland

The nation used to be a popular face in the 1970s and 1980s. Like other countries constituting the soviet union, polish football also sustained a golden era before the 1990s. Poland for surprise finished third at the 1974 World Cup, marking the best ever performance of the nation. It also showed up as a strong nation in the 1978 and 1982 world cup. But the fall of the Berlin Wall made it all fade away in clouds. Yet the previous successes helped Poland make it to the 13th position in this list with a score of 50. 

14. Mexico

Mexico is the fifth Ranked country that has qualified most World cups after four. Mexico is the least effective country in our list for sure. With an average of one point a game, it has comfortably made it here. It finished in the quarter finals in 1970 and 1986 which highlighted the Mexican National side. It played 49 World Cup matches and scored 49 points winning only 12 of the matches played. It lost 24 games while 13 resulted in draws.

15. Hungary

Hungary’s greatest football days belongs in the past as it finished its second in 1938. After that it began being influenced by modern football and the game had a twist. Mighty Magyars was influenced by Ferenc Puskas and Co. 16 years later, Hungary lost to Germany in the finals scoring 27 points in five games. Unfortunately, those great days of football never returned for the nation. It also failed to qualify for the World Cup in 1986. Yet, a fortune led Hungary to this list with a total score of 48 points in 32 World Cup matches.


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