The first international football match was played in 1872 between Scotland and England. At this stage the sport was rarely played outside Great Britain and Ireland. As football started gaining popularity, it was held as a demonstration sport (with no medals awarded) at the 1900 and 1904 Summer Olympics. It became an official competition at the 1908 Summer Olympics. Planned by the Football Association, the event was for amateur players only and was regarded suspiciously as a show rather than a competition.
The 1932 Summer Olympics, held in Los Angeles, did not plan to include football as part of the schedule due to its low popularity of football in U.S. So football was dropped from the Games. FIFA President Jules Rimet thus planned the inaugural World Cup tournament to be held in Uruguay in 1930. The national associations of selected nations were invited to send a team, but the choice of Uruguay as a venue for the competition meant a long and costly trip across the Atlantic Ocean for European sides. Indeed, no European country pledged to send a team until two months before the start of the competition. Rimet eventually persuaded teams from Belgium, France, Romania and Yugoslavia to make the trip. In total 10 nations took part- four from South Africa, four from Europe and two from North America.
The issues facing the early Worid Cup tournaments were the difficulties of intercontinental travel and war. Few South American teams were willing to travel to Europe for the 1934 and 1938 tournaments, with Brazil the only South American earn to compete in both. The 1942 and 1946 competitions were cancelled due to World War II and its aftermath. The 1950 World Cup was the first to include British participants. The tournament also saw the return of Uruguay, who had boycotted the previous two World Cups.
In the tournament between 1934 and 1978, 16 teams qualified for each finals tournament. The finals were expanded to 24 teams in 1982, then 32 in 1998.

From 1930 to 1970, the trophy was awarded to the Cup winner. It was originally simply known as the 'World Cup' or 'Coupe du Monde', but in 1946 it was renamed after the FIFA president who set up the first tournament and thus called the 'Jules Rimet Trophy'. In 1970, Brazil's third victory in the tournament entitled them to keep the trophy permanently. However the trophy was stolen in 1983 and has never been recovered.
After 1970, a new trophy known as the FIFA World Cup Trophy was designed. This is not awarded to the winning nation permanently. It will not be retired until the name plaque has been entirely filled with the names of winning nations in 2038. The new trophy is 36 cm high, made of solid 18-carat gold and weighs 10.97 kilogrammes. The base contains two layers of semi-precious malachite while the bottom side of the Trophy bears the engraved year and name of each FIFA World Cup winner since 1974. World Cup winners retain it until the next tournament and are awarded a gold-plated replica rather than the solid gold original.
The Golden Boot award is given to the top scorer of the tournament. Eusebio was the first player to be awarded by the Golden Boot in 1966. The Golden Ball award started in 1982.