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Soccer Trophies: Story of the FIFA World Cup Trophy

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FIFA World Cup Trophy

Unique Soccer Ball Trophies

Few sporting events draw global attention like the FIFA World Cup tournament. It’s a unique competition that demands an equally unique prize. But why is it so special among soccer ball trophies? To get an understanding of why so many are excited to receive the trophy or simply lay eyes on it in person, some background information is helpful.

History of the Trophy

The current trophy design didn’t start with the FIFA World Cup. Originally, teams competed for a trophy in the form of the Greek god Nike, and the soccer trophy was appropriately named Victory. The gold-plated, sterling silver, and lapis lazuli adorned trophy was later renamed the Jules Rimet Trophy, in honor of the FIFA president who started the international competition. It was ultimately retired and permanently awarded in 1970 to Brazil after they won the trophy for the third time.

It wasn’t until 1974 that the modern trophy was unveiled. For the design, 53 submissions were received by FIFA from sculptors in seven countries before the organization selected the Silvio Gazzaniga trophy. It was first trophy awarded to West Germany during the 1974 games, which the country hosted. The award has since become iconic among soccer ball trophies and gained international recognition both for what it symbolizes and its unique style.

Construction and Design

Weighing only 11 pounds and standing 14.5 inches, the FIFA World Cup trophy is one of the smallest championship trophies in professional sports. Only the NFL’s Lombardi Trophy weighs less, but it is still taller. For those who see the World Cup trophy up close, the impact of the award in comparison to other soccer ball trophies is primarily aesthetic.

Made from 18 carat gold with two layers of malachite at the base, it’s an eye-catching prize, to say the least. Add in the unique design that depicts two figures holding up the Earth – giving the award a truly universal feel – and any sports fan can understand why the award is coveted.

Originally, FIFA’s top prize was given to the winning team every four years. Since 2006, the singular trophy has been housed in the FIFA World Football Museum in Zurich when not on display during the FIFA soccer tournament. Winning teams now receive a gold-plated bronze replica of the legendary trophy they can display in perpetuity, however they choose.

Legacy of the Winners

One reason the World Cup Trophy is so desirable is that the chance to win it only arrives every four years. The timing of World Cup gives players a chance to truly prove they are the best. Teams from 211 countries are eligible to qualify, with the top teams making it to the tournament. As of 1998, 32 teams compete in the finals for the trophy, but that number will increase to 48 for the 2026 competition.

Finalists compete during a month-long, two-stage tournament in the host country: the group stage and the knockout stage. The tournament is played like a playoff system, with the top group of teams advancing to the knockout stage, until eventually a winner is named. Teams from only eight countries have hoisted the trophy since 1930. Brazil has been the unmatched champion overall, winning five times, while Germany is the unmatched winner in modern play, with three victories since the new trophy was unveiled.

Need a Soccer Trophy?

While not every soccer star will get their hands on the top prize of the FIFA tournament, that doesn’t mean they won’t enjoy a unique soccer trophy of their own. At Trophy Outlet, we have soccer ball trophies and other soccer awards that players are sure to cherish and display.

We can help you create a dazzling, custom award that can mean as much to your local stars as the World Cup Trophy means to international champions. Give us a call today at 886-282-0847 or use our contact form for assistance finding the perfect award for your players. And remember: When you order from Trophy outlet, you can personalize your trophies with free engraving!