World Cup

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noun Soccer.
a trophy emblematic since 1930 of the world championship in soccer and competed for every four years by finalists who have won qualifying matches among more than 150 national teams.
the quadrennial championship match for this trophy between the two finalists emergent from 24 qualifying teams, which include regional winners, the defending champion, and the host country team.


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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What is the World Cup?

The World Cup is an international soccer tournament played among 32 mens’ teams and, as of 2023, 32 women’s teams that is often seen as the highest level of competition in the sport.

The trophy given to the winner of the championship match is called the World Cup.

Because of soccer’s worldwide popularity and the number of teams represented in the tournament, the World Cup is one of the most watched and followed sporting events in the world.

In the first round of play (the group stage), competing teams are placed into groups, in which the teams play against each other until every team in a group has played each other once. The two teams from each group with the most wins will then play in the knockout stage, which includes quarter-finals, semifinals, a third-place match, and the finals. The semifinals produce four ranked teams, with the third and fourth place teams competing in the third-place match and the first and second place teams competing in the finals.

When is World Cup?

The World Cup usually takes place over a month, beginning in June and ending in July, every four years. Since 1991, the Women’s World Cup has taken place every four years, always in the year following the last Men’s World Cup. The most recent Men’s World Cup was played in Qatar in 2022. The 2023 Women’s Word Cup will be take place from July 20-August 20 in Australia and New Zealand.

More information and context on the World Cup

The World Cup began in 1930 when the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) gathered the best teams that were tracked by its organization to compete in a global championship. Except for during World War II, the World Cup has been held every four years since 1930. The event moves location every four years and has never been held in the same country twice.

The Women’s World Cup, also created by FIFA, follows the same formula as the Men’s World Cup. The Women’s World Cup also travels from country to country, but was hosted twice in the United States—in 1999 and 2003.

Teams can qualify for the World Cup, with various regions’ countries competing against each other to qualify. Regions that don’t have definite numbers of qualifiers compete against each other for the final spots to equal 31 teams. The nation that is hosting the World Cup automatically qualifies for the competition, filling out the competition to 32 teams.

What are some terms that often get used in discussing the World Cup?

How is the World Cup discussed in real life?

Following the team from one’s country in the World Cup is a worldwide cultural trend.


Try using World Cup!

True or False?

The World Cup is always held in the same location.

How to use World Cup in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for World Cup

World Cup

an international competition held between national teams in various sports, most notably association football
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012