Having just celebrated the New Year in Vietnam, the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca-Cola finished off its Asian leg with successful trips to Malaysia and Indonesia. Now the Trophy is finally making its way over to the football crazy continent, South America! Kicking off in Chile today the Trophy will spend 24 days making stops in Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.
Most of these South American nations are no strangers to the FIFA World Cup™, with Argentina and Uruguay both having won the coveted prize twice, and every other nation, with the exception of Venezuela, qualifying to the Finals at least once. However for this year’s edition of the World Cup in Brazil, it would be especially interesting to see how the fans welcome the Trophy that their national teams will be battling for in the 5 countries that have qualified: Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Ecuador and Colombia.
With the inclusion of the host nation Brazil, South American countries have won the World Cup a total of nine times, but that’s not the only fun fact we could dig up for you. Here’s a look at some of the most interesting things you may not have known about the continent:
- Uruguay was the first nation to host a World Cup in 1930.
- With eight FIFA World Cups™ under their belts, Chile are level with Paraguay in fourth place on the list of South American nations that have appeared at most editions of the showpiece event.
- The Columbian National football team are nicknamed Los Cafeteros due to the coffee production in their country.
- In last year’s qualifying round, Argentina went on a 13-match unbeaten run that helped La Albiceleste seal their place in Brazil with two games to spare.
- Uruguay has two World Cup wins under their belt, the first of them coming at home in 1930 and the second in Brazil 20 years later, when they stunned the host nation with a shock 2-1 win at the Maracana, an epoch-defining game that will forever be known as El Maracanazo.
- Argentina have contested four World Cup Finals in all, the first of them at the inaugural tournament, Uruguay 1930.
- With the landmark achievement of claiming four consecutive FIFA Ballon d'Ors (2009-12), Lionel Messi is the undisputed leader of the Argentina national team and a multiple-trophy winner with Barcelona.
- The leading goal scorer during the qualifying round was Luis Suarez from Uruguay with 11 goals to his name. In second place comes Aregntina’s Lionel Messi with ten goals, followed by his fellow countryman Gonzalo Higuain with nine goals and Radamel Falcao from Colombia with nine goals as well.