Ready to face its adoring public?
The most important occasion in any football fan’s diary is upon us once more. The 2014 World Cup kicks off today and in one month’s time the winning team will lift the coveted trophy.
It’s coming home, right?
Love that optimism but England stands a 25/1 chance of reclaiming the trophy for the first time since 1966, compared with odds of 3/1 that Brazil will secure a sixth win. Initially called Victory, it was renamed in 1946 in honour of former Fifa president Jules Rimet, who passed a vote in 1929 to initiate the competition. The first team to be awarded the trophy was Uruguay in 1930. It was awarded permanently to Brazil, the first nation to win three World Cups, in 1970, as had been stipulated by Rimet in 1930.
I hope they looked after it…
They tried: It was put on display at the Brazilian Football Confederation headquarters in Rio de Janeiro in a cabinet with a front of bullet-proof glass. In 1983, though, the wooden rear of the cabinet was prised open with a crowbar and the cup was stolen.
Calamity! What happened?
It was never recovered and is believed to have been melted down and sold. This wasn’t the first time the Jules Rimet cup went missing: in 1966, it was stolen from an exhibition in Westminster and later found by a dog, Pickles, under a hedge in south-east London. Italian artist Silvio Gazzaniga was commissioned to create the current trophy. It stands 36.5cm tall and is made of 5kg of 18-carat gold with a base 13cm in diameter and depicts two human figures holding up the Earth. Rumour has it the trophy is hollow; if, as is claimed, it were solid, it would weigh up to 80kg and would be too heavy to lift.
All that glitters isn’t gold?
Certainly not when you consider that, while the winning nation gets to lift the real trophy, once the festivities are over, they take home a cheaper replica. Fifa keeps hold of the original.