The World Cup is the most coveted international football tournament in the world. Winning the title is the pinnacle of any footballer's career, even for the young Pele and Kylian Mbappe, who lifted the trophy as teenagers and won countless silverware afterward.
The World Cup has been held 22 times since its inception in 1930. Six of the 8 winning countries have won the tournament multiple times; they've also all been South American or European nations.
While we await this year's winner in Qatar, let's look back at the countries with the most World Cup titles in history.
Which country has won the most World Cups?
Brazil: 5 titles (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
The most decorated country in the tournament's 92-year history is Brazil. With some of the best footballers in the past century, including Pele, Didi, Garrincha, Ronaldo, and Ronaldinho, it's no wonder the Brazilians have taken the crown five a record five times.
However, Brazil has been stuck in a rut for the last two decades, having been eliminated in the quarterfinals in four of the last five World Cups. 30-year-old Brazilian sensation Neymar, who's tied with Pele as Brazil's top all-time goal scorer, remains hellbent on returning A Selecao to the glory days.
Brazil has reached the final seven times in total, one behind Germany.
Germany: 4 titles (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)
When and where there's a World Cup, there's always indomitable Germany. The DFB team has made the most appearances in the World Cup finals (9), winning 5 and losing 4.
Excluding the 1978 Argentina-Holland final, the World Cup included Germany or Brazil from 1950 to 2002.
Germany's Lothar Matthaus is also tied for the most World Cup appearances (25), winning the one with West Germany in 1990.
However, the current generation continues to come up short. The Germans have not won a World Cup knockout game since lifting the trophy in 2014.
Italy: 4 titles (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006)
With four World Cup titles, Italy remains one of the most successful nations on the world football stage. The Azzurri's fourth title came in 2006, with a victory against France in the final. Defender Fabio Cannavaro went on to cement the Ballon d'Or that year. Legends Gianluigi Buffon, Alessandro del Piero, Andrea Pirlo, and Franceso Totti were also on the 2006 team.
Italy's World Cup record since 2006 has been simply poor. The country has failed to qualify for the last two World Cups, even after Federico Chiesa powered them to triumph at the 2020 Euros.
With FIFA expanding the number of participating teams from 32 to 48 at World Cup 2026, it'll be nearly impossible for Italy to miss out.
Argentina: 3 titles (1978, 1986, 2022)
Argentina is one of South America's most celebrated and successful football nations on the international stage. Their three World Cup titles came in 1978, 1986, and 2022 with the former victory coming on home soil.
La Albiceleste has reached the World Cup final six times in the competition's history, with only Germany (8) and Brazil (7) making more.
Despite losing the 2014 World Cup finals, Argentina triumphed against France in 2022, led by no other than Lionel Messi. Interestingly, the 1978, 1986, and 2022 titles were the only instances where Argentina wore their home jersey. We think we see a theme.
France: 2 titles (1998, 2018)
France is no stranger to footballing success, especially on the World Cup stage.
After their 1998 triumph, France developed a reputation for being one of the finest teams in the world, boasting a golden generation of players — Zidane, Henry, Thuram, and Vieira.
In 2018, France again won the title for a second time. With ten of those 2018 talented players on the 2022 roster, including world-class players Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann, it'll be interesting to see if Les Tricolores can repeat.
France is the first nation since Brazil in 2002 to reach back-to-back World Cup finals. The defending champions could be the third nation to win back-to-back World Cups in Qatar on Sunday.
Uruguay: 2 titles (1930, 1950)
Uruguay won the inaugural edition of the World Cup in 1930, defeating Argentina 4-2 in Montevideo. Although they have not won since 1950, Uruguay continues to make a repeated statement, with a fourth-place finish in Brazil in 2010 and a 5th place finish in 2018 led by team attacking stalwarts Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani.
With the possibility of the World Cup returning to Uruguay in 2030, La Celeste will be gearing up to bring it home again.
Spain: 1 title (2010)
That victorious 2010 Spain squad is often considered one of the best World Cup teams ever. Led by a core of footballing legends from Barcelona and Real Madrid from the front line to the back line, such as Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez, and Iker Casillas, Spain won the tournament by beating the Netherlands 1–0 in the final match.
The Netherlands, for their part, have been to three World Cup finals, never winning any.
Spain has gone out of the last two tournaments in the Round of 16, still looking to rediscover the next golden generation of players.
England: 1 title (1966)
Bring it home, you say?
England's legendary victory in the 1966 World Cup on home soil is remembered fondly by British football fans and has made them hungry for more.
Despite having solid squads since then, the Three Lions have been unable to return to the top once again — their best performances since 1966 were the 4th-place finishes in 1990 and 2018, respectively.
England bowed out of the 2022 World Cup tournament in a harsh quarterfinal loss to France. But with the goal-scoring talents of Harry Kane and the talented young generation of ballers, including Jude Bellingham and Bukayo Saka, England could bring home glory once again.