It makes sense to start with the greatest World Cup teams of all time. In this section, we look at the most successful nations in World Cup history.
Most World Cup Titles
Brazil stands alone as the greatest country in World Cup history, having claimed five titles. When you think about all the amazing Brazilian teams over the years, it is hardly surprising that they have won more World Cup titles than anyone else.
Italy and Germany are the second-most successful countries in World Cup history, sealing four titles each. The Germans have also reached the most finals, qualifying for the showpiece on no fewer than eight occasions.
Argentina, France, and Uruguay have all won two World Cups, while England and Spain both have one title to their name.
In total, eight nations have lifted the famous trophy: Brazil (5), Italy and Germany (4 each), Uruguay, Argentina and France (2 each), England and Spain (1 each).
FIFA World Cup Final Tournaments’ Most Team Appearances
You probably won’t be surprised to learn that the record World Cup winner has also featured at the most World Cups.
In fact, Brazil is the only nation to have appeared at all 21 editions of the tournament. That is a phenomenal achievement.
With four titles apiece, Germany and Italy have featured at 19 and 18 World Cups, respectively, while Argentina had made 17 tournament appearances.
Remarkably, Mexico competed in 16 World Cups between 1930 and 2018. That means the Mexicans hold the unwanted record of making the most World Cup appearances without winning a title.
Most World Cup Final Tournaments’ Match Wins
Unsurprisingly, Brazil has won more World Cup games than any other nation. The Brazilians have won 73 of their 109 matches, giving them a win percentage of 67%.
Germany has played exactly the same number games, picking up 67 wins (61%). Italy has registered 45 wins in 83 matches (54%), while Argentina has won 43 of their 81 games (53%).
Most top-two finishes: Germany (8)
Most top-three finishes: Germany (12)
Most top-four finishes: Germany (13)
Most final losses: Germany (4)
Most semi-final losses: Germany (5)
Most quarter-finals losses: England (8)
Most last-16 losses: Mexico (14)
Most first-round eliminations: South Korea, Scotland (8)
Most titles won by confederation: UEFA (12)
Most consecutive titles: Italy, Brazil (2)
Most consecutive titles by confederation: UEFA (4)
World Cup Final Tournaments’ Top Goalscorers
Here are the top goalscorers in World Cup history.
Miroslav Klose, Germany – 16
Ronaldo, Brazil – 15
Gerd Müller, West Germany – 14
Just Fontaine, France – 13
Pelé, Brazil – 12
Sándor Kocsis, Hungary – 11
Jürgen Klinsmann, Germany – 11
Helmut Rahn, West Germany – 10
Gary Lineker, England – 10
Gabriel Batistuta, Argentina – 10
Teófilo Cubillas, Peru – 10
Thomas Müller, Germany – 10
Grzegorz Lato, Poland – 10
Germany’s Miroslav Klose has scored more World Cup goals than any other player, netting 16 times across four tournaments between 2002 and 2014.
Despite only playing in three World Cups (1998, 2002, 2006), Brazil’s Ronaldo scored one goal fewer than Klose.
Gerd Müller only featured at the 1970 and 1974 World Cups. Yet, he still managed to score 14 goals. If you think that record is impressive, all 13 of Just Fontaine’s goals came in the 1958 edition of the tournament!