Which is the smallest country to win the FIFA World Cup? – NBC New York

International football can often be a numbers game.

No, not in terms of scores, but in terms of population. Unlike club competitions, international teams can only select players originating from that nation. While a team like Real Madrid can sign anyone from anywhere in the world, the Brazil national team can only use players who are of Brazilian descent.

So a country like Brazil with over 216 million inhabitants in 2022 would have a much higher chance of winning a tournament with a strong starting XI than a country like Iceland with around 340,000 inhabitants.

Of course there are exceptions. Croatia reached the final of the 2018 FIFA World Cup with a population of just over four million. But it suffered a 4-2 defeat by France, a country of over 65 million people. On the other hand, China and India, the two most populous countries in the world, are not exactly known as international football powerhouses.

With the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, let’s look back at the smallest country to win the prestigious tournament:

Which is the smallest country to win the FIFA World Cup?

Uruguay – 1930, 1950

With 21 World Cups in history, Uruguay has twice produced impressive feats. La Celeste is unbeaten in the World Cup finals, having beaten Argentina 4-2 at the first-ever World Cup in Uruguay and exactly 20 years later beat Brazil 2-1 in Rio de Janeiro.

Uruguay is by far the smallest country to have won the World Cup. According to The Guardian, it had a population of around 1.5 million in 1930 and just over two million in 1950 -radar nation that could make a big run in Qatar.

After Uruguay, Italy has the second-lowest population among the world champions. It had just under 42 million when it won in 1934, a big difference between the two countries.

Curiously, Uruguay did not participate in the 1934 World Cup.

Why didn’t Uruguay take part in the 1934 and 1938 World Cups?

Uruguay decided to boycott the 1934 World Cup in Italy to defend their title because many nations did not attend the event in the small South American country.

Only four European teams took part in the 1930 World Cup, which was held in Uruguay due to the difficulty of traveling to South America.

Uruguay, along with Argentina, also skipped the 1938 World Cup because FIFA decided that France should host the event for a second consecutive World Cup in Europe.


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