1930: The first World Cup final kicked off with 13 teams in Uruguay, including four European nations – Belgium, France, Romania and Yugoslavia.
1934: Expanded to 16 teams for the tournament in Italy, after a qualifying stage for the first time.
1938: Only 15 teams took part in France after Austria, which had just been annexed by Nazi Germany, withdrew.
1950: World Cup returned after World War II – the previous two editions having been cancelled – with 13 teams competing in Brazil.
1954: Hosted by Switzerland, the tournament returned to the 16-team format.
1958: In Sweden, format unchanged in a tournament in which Pele won the first of his three World Cups and France striker Just Fontaine is the top scorer with 13 goals, a record which still stands.
1970: World Cup in Mexico is one of firsts – introduction of substitutes (two) during a match; red and yellow cards and tournament televised in colour. Format unchanged.
1982: World Cup in Spain witnessed a small revolution with the passage from 16 to 24 teams and 52 matches played.
1986: This edition in Mexico won by Diego Maradona’s Argentina introduced a knockout round of last 16 and quarter-finals.
1994: Football continues to modernise with 147 participating in qualifiers and Africa gaining a third team in the final in the US.
1998: The tournament organised in France moves to 32 teams. 174 teams participated in qualifiers.
2002: For the first time the World Cup was jointly hosted by two countries – Japan and South Korea. Brazil won for a fifth time.
2010: The first World Cup hosted on the African continent. Format unchanged..