On Sunday, December 18, on the pitch of Lusail Stadium in Qatar, Argentina will take on 2018 defending champions France for football’s most coveted trophy.
The FIFA World Cup, now in its 22nd edition, has been held every four years since 1930, except in 1942 and 1946 because of World War II.
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Over its 92-year history, 79 nations have battled it out for the top prize. Of these, 13 countries have made it to the finals, with eight being crowned champions.
Only European and South American teams have ever reached the finals. With eight appearances, Germany have the highest number of World Cup finals under their belt, followed by Brazil (seven times) and Italy (six times).
Argentina have reached the finals on five separate occasions – winning two of them – while France have appeared in three finals, which they have also won twice.
The highest-scoring World Cup finals
Historically, World Cup finals have had no shortage of goals. Since 1930, a total of 74 goals have been scored with an average of 3.5 goals per match. The only goalless final match was in 1994 between Brazil and Italy, which the South Americans won following a dramatic penalty shootout.
The most number of goals scored in a World Cup final was back in 1958 when Brazil defeated Sweden, the hosts, by five goals to two.
Only two nations have ever managed to win consecutive championship titles: the Italians in 1934 and 1938, and the Brazilians in 1958 and 1962. Defending champions France will be hoping to join them.
How much money do the World Cup winners get?
For 2022, the International Federation of Football Associations (FIFA) has allocated $42m to the winning team – an increase of $4m compared with four years ago in Russia.
In addition to the prize money, the winning team will receive a gold-plated bronze replica of the 18-carat gold trophy – measuring 38cm (15 inches) in height and weighing 6kg (13lbs) – designed by Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga.
How much money will each team receive?
According to FIFA, the total prize money for the 32 participating nations at the 2022 World Cup will be $440m.
The breakdown is as follows:
- Champions: $42m
- Runners-up: $30m
- Third place: $27m
- Fourth place: $25m
- 5th-8th place: $68m ($17m per team)
- 9th-16th place: $104m ($13m per team)
- 17th-32nd place: $144m ($9m per team)
In addition, each team would have received $1.5m before the competition to cover preparation costs.
Who are most likely to win the World Cup?
Kashef, Al Jazeera’s artificial intelligence (AI) robot, has analysed more than 200 metrics, including the number of wins, goals scored and FIFA rankings, from matches played over the past century to see who are most likely to win the World Cup final.
Predicting match results is no easy task. External factors such as team morale or player fitness make a big difference in how the game goes.
With 62 matches completed, Kashef has a 68 percent accuracy level. Sizing up all the odds, it could not be any closer with only 1 percent separating Argentina and France from each winning their third title.
However, only one team can emerge victorious. Kashef predicts that France, captained by Hugo Lloris, will edge out Argentina on Sunday to win the 2022 World Cup.
See if you can outsmart Kashef and predict Sunday’s winners by playing our AI game here.