The 1968 World Cup was the first to be contested under reduced tackle regulations, with four tackles allowed. The round one encounter between the United Kingdom and Australia drew 62,256 spectators, the most for a World Cup match until 1992. The final was staged at the Sydney Cricket Ground, where Australia defeated France in front of 54,290 people. This is the largest ever attendance at a sports event in Australia.
The tournament was also significant because it established rugby league as an official international sport. Previously, only national teams that were fully recognised by their countries could compete. This meant that many great players were unable to represent their countries because they were not selected by national coaches. The 1968 World Cup was the first to allow countries to send incomplete teams, which enabled many more players from around the world to participate.
Another important factor was the need for professional clubs in each country to have an outlet for playing matches outside of season competitions. The World Cup was therefore seen as a chance for clubs to gain experience of playing foreign opponents who would otherwise be out of reach financially.
Some nations had been experimenting with rugby league for several years before the 1968 Cup. In fact, some countries had formed semi-professional leagues that included Australian teams. But no other nation had yet put together a full professional league structure. This means that the 1968 Cup was truly an international tournament with teams from Britain, France, New Zealand, Australia and America taking part.
World Cup in 1966 The 1966 FIFA Globe Cup was the first to be staged in the English-speaking world. The final was held at Wembley Stadium, which has a capacity of 98,600 people. The host nation England finished first in their group with 13 points, followed by France with 11 points. Brazil and Italy were joint third with 10 points.
England's first game was against Uruguay on 14 June. The match ended in a 1-1 draw after extra time. England then faced Mexico in their second game who had already qualified as hosts. They needed only a draw to secure qualification but lost 1-0. In their third game, England played Belgium and won 3-0 with three goals from Kevin Keegan and one from Geoff Hurst. This meant that they had finished first in their group and were through to the quarter-finals.
They next met West Germany in the quarter-finals. England went into the match as favourites but were beaten 2-1. However, this did not affect their overall performance since both Germany and England had only four points after three games so it was still possible for either team to win the title. Germany went on to win the tournament by two points over Brazil.
England's fourth game was against Italy in the semi-finals.
On May 22, 1987, the competition began in wet weather at Auckland's Eden Park. New Zealand celebrated by beating Italy by a record score of 70-6. The opening try was a penalty try, and new All Black flanker Michael Jones was the first to cross the line. There were no further tries in the first half as both teams went into the break with the scores level at 6-6.
In the second half, New Zealand continued to dominate and they scored another six tries to win by this much again. New Zealand player Mark Horstmann was named man of the match for his efforts in the opening game.
This is the only World Cup that doesn't feature either England or Australia. Both countries had boycotted the event over fears that it would damage rugby league and football worldwide. However, they did play each other at the end of the tournament with Australia winning 16-14.
Uruguay defeated Argentina 4-2 in the final in front of 93,000 spectators in Montevideo to become the first country to win a World Cup. Italy hosted the 1934 World Cup, which was the first to have a qualification stage. Sixteen teams qualified for the event, a figure that would be maintained until the finals tournament was expanded in 1982.
The world's most prestigious international football competition was originally known as the Football World Championship and was played in several different formats over a three-year period from 1930 to 1933. Uruguay won its first title with then-manager Ángel Zuloaga doing the job himself after having been appointed player-coach. The victory also earned Uruguay entry into the first World Cup later that year.
However, Argentina protested at Uruguay's use of professional players arguing that it violated the rules set by the International Football Association Board (the body that governs soccer around the world) which at the time banned all forms of financial assistance to athletes. The controversy led to an arbitration case being brought before the board but they failed to come up with a decision so both countries went to Brazil for their second World Cups. It turned out to be a good move for Uruguay because they came out on top of their group while Argentina were knocked out by Germany in their first game.
So, Uruguay became the first country to win the World Cup and also the only one until France achieved this feat in 1998.