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Best 15 major & most popular football tournaments around the world

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Football is the most popular sport played by millions worldwide, with more followers and attention than any other sport.

 

The most famous soccer tournaments globally are the UEFA Champions League, FIFA World Cup, FIFA Club World Cup and the European Football Championship.

 

In this article, we’ve researched all soccer Championships around the world, bringing you the most popular and why they’re worth the time.

 

Our research brought out some of the most popular international football tournaments worldwide.

 

Here are the best and most famous football competitions in the world

 

1. FIFA World Cup

 

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“FIFA World Cup Trophy” by warrenski is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0cc iconcc by iconcc sa icon

The FIFA World Cup is the most famous soccer tournament played by association football Men’s National Teams that qualify for the finals.

 

It is organised and regulated by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association, headquartered in Zürich, Switzerland, with over Membership 211 national associations.

 

The competition was established in 1930 as the sport aims to bring the rest of the world together under one umbrella. It began with teams from South America and Europe and currently remains the tournament that attracts worldwide interest.

 

 

The tournament has since expanded to include teams from all continents. Football began in England in 1888 and was later introduced in many countries like Argentina and Brazil, where the best young talents are currently discovered.

 

Since its establishment, over eight different teams have won the competition. Countries like Brazil, Germany, Italy, France and Argentina lead the World Cup all-time winners chart.

 

Best FIFA World Cup teams

Brazil Men’s National Team

The Brazilian Men’s soccer team known as the Seleção are the most successful in the competition’s history with five titles.

 

Spearhead by the world’s greatest footballers like Pelé Ronaldo Luís, Brazil won five World Cup titles in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002. The country has been consistent and has produced some of the best players worldwide.

 

Some of the most notable Brazilian soccer players of the 21st century include Ronaldinho, Romário, Neymar Jr, Ronaldo, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, Robinho, Lúcio, etc.

 

Brazil’s legendary players that were part of the five World Cup trophies are Pelé, Ronaldo Luís Nazário, Marcos Evangelista de Morais (Cafu), Romário, Zico, Bebeto, Rivaldo, Jairzinho, Ronaldinho, Tostão, Roberto Carlos, etc.

 

Germany

Germany is the second most successful Men’s National Team in the competition history with four titles.

 

The country’s most recent triumph was during the 2014 edition held in Brazil, where the German National scored a record seven goals against host nation Brazil in the quarter-finals.

 

Germany is the best performing Men’s National Team in the competition’s history, having won four titles and finished four timep. Nickntimed ‘Die Mannschaft’, Germany is one of the most respected teams in the competition.

 

Italy

Italy is third on the all-time winner’s chart with three World Cup titles.

 

The Italians were also a dominant side, especially during the first tenon two titles. Italy’s last World Cup success was in 2006.

Argentina

Behind Brazil, Argentina is the joint fourth most successful team in the competition and France and Uruguay with two titles, respectively.

 

The South American country was the first nation to establish a working professional soccer competition outside England since the sport was introduced in 1883.

 

Argentina’s first title was in 1978, which they hosted and won by beating The Netherlands in the final. Top players like Daniel Passarella Mario Kempes contributed to the successful outing.

 

The ‘La Albiceleste’ won their second trophy in 1986 and were runners up three times in 1930, 1990 and 2014.

 

France

The French Men’s National Team, known as the Les Bleus, has won twice. France lifted the trophy in 1998 and most recently in 2018.

 

Uruguay

Uruguay was the first country to host the FIFA World in 1930 and successfully won it.

 

The South American country made it two trophies in 1950, about twenty years after. Others with at least one title are England and Spain.

 

2. European Football Championship

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“UEFA European Football Championship Trophy” by wuestenigel is licensed under CC BY 2.0cc iconcc by icon

The European Championship is the second biggest national soccer championship after the FIFA World Cup.

 

The Euros is the primary soccer tournament organic European Football Associations (UEFA). It was established in 1958 and have since featured over ten different winners, including Germany, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Greece, etc.

 

The Euros remains one of the most famous soccer tournaments globally, behind the FIFA World Cup.

 

All UEFA member nations participate in a series of qualifiers for a ticket to the finals.

Best European Championship Teams

 

Germany Men’s National Team

The German Men’s National Team are the joint-most successful team in the history of the Euros along with Spain on three titles each.

 

The ‘Die Mannschaft’ is the most standout team in the tournament history, having won three titles and losing in three finals.

 

The country’s first title was in 1972, then as West Germany, following a three-nil win over the Soviet Union, played at the Heysel Stadium in Brussels.

 

Spain Men’s National Team

The Spanish team are joint most successful along with Germany with three titles.

 

Spain won the second edition of the European Championship in 1964, about four years after the Soviet Union had won the inaugural edition in France.

 

However, it took the Spanish Men’s National Team up to forty-four years to win a second trophy in grand style as they were able to defend the title they won in 2008 four years after in 2012.

 

To date, Spain is the only national team to have successfully defended the title.

 

Italy Men’s National Team

The Italian team are the second most successful with two titles along with France.

 

The Italians won the third edition they hosted at home after a hard-fought win in the final against Yugoslavia. Italy’s second title was in 2020.

 

France Men’s National Team

France is the second joint most successful team with two titles.

 

The French team won their first title in 1984 when they hosted the competition. In the final against Spain at the Parc des Princes, two second-half goals from Platini and Bellone handed the french her first-ever title.

 

The country won their second title in the year 2000. Other teams with at least one title include Russia (the Soviet Union), the Czech Republic, Portugal, Netherlands, Denmark, and Greece.

 

3. Copa America

URUGUAY CHAMPION OF AMÉRICA | Copa America 2011 | 110724-9277-jikatu“URUGUAY CHAMPION OF AMÉRICA | Copa America 2011 | 110724-9277-jikatu” by jikatu is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0cc iconcc by iconcc sa icon

Copa America remains one of the biggest soccer competitions in the world.

The tournament is organised by CONMEBOL and contested by South American national teams with few invitees from other parts of the world.

 

Copa America is the oldest running continental football competition and doubles as the third most-watched in the world behind the Euros and World Cup.

 

Established in 1916, eight of the ten national teams on the continent have won the tournament at least once.

 

Since the beginning of the 21st century, it has been shared amongst the most vibrant teams who have most of their best legs from the European continent.

 

Best teams in the Copa America

 

Uruguay 15

Uruguay has won fifteen Copa America titles, the joint record holder with Argentina.

 

The Uruguayans used to lead the all-time winner’s chart until 2021, when Argentina, led by top players like Lionel Messi, Lautaro Martinez, Ángel Di María, won the tournament to equal the record.

 

Argentina

Argentina has won fifteen titles, the joint record holders with Uruguay.

 

Brazil 9

Brazil is the second most successful team in the competition history with nine titles.

 

Paraguay, Peru and Chile sit third on the log with two titles each. Colombia and Bolivia have also won at least one title each.

 

4. UEFA Champions League

File:Sam Hutchinson Champions League Winner parade.jpg“File:Sam Hutchinson Champions League Winner parade.jpg” by Julian Mason from London, UK, is licensed under CC BY 2.0cc iconcc by icon

The Championship League is Europe’s premier football competition contested by clubs from UEFA member nations. It is regarded as the most prestigious club soccer competition in the world.

 

Organised by UEFA, the Champions League is the most-watched club soccer competition globally, along with the English Premier League.

 

Top teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus have gathered a lot of followers across the world through participation in the competition.

 

Apart from popularity, it is one of the world’s richest soccer competitions, with tons of sponsors trooping every year.

 

The competition was established in 1955 as the Coupe des Clubs Champions Européens or the European Cup until it was rebranded in 1992 as the Champions League.

 

Best UEFA Champions League teams

 

Real Madrid

Real Madrid is the most successful team in the competition with thirteen titles.

 

The Madrid based club singlehandedly won the first five editions of the Champions League then the European Cup from 1956 to 1960.

 

The Los Blancos also made history, becoming the first club to win the title in three consecutive seasons from 2016 to 2018 since it was rebranded to the League Champions League in 1992.

 

AC Milan

Italian giants AC Milan are the second-best team with seven titles and finished four times as runners up.

Bayern Munich

Closely followed by the Italians is German giants Bayern Munich who trail the all-time winners by seven titles. Bayern is the third-best team with six titles.

 

Liverpool FC

English side Liverpool FC are joint third and Bayern Munich.

 

FC Barcelona

The Catalan based club is no exemption from the list of Champions League best performers.

 

Barcelona has won five titles majority of which were achieved in the 21st century.

 

5. African Cup of Nations

The African Cup of Nations, stylised as AFCON, is the number one football competition on the African continent.

 

The competition also draws the world’s attention even as Africa’s best in the big leagues in Europe compete for the biggest trophy. It was established in 1957 only contested by just three teams. But today, over twenty-four teams qualify for the finals.

 

African football powerhouse includes Egypt, Algeria, Ghana, Nigeria, Cameroon, Cote D’Ivoire, DR Congo, Zambia, Tunisia, Morocco, South Africa, etc.

 

Modern African football powerhouses like Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso are yet to win the AFCON.

6. FA Cup

The English FA Cup is one of the most-watched domestic knockout cup competitions globally.

 

The popularity of the FA Cup could be attributed to the success recorded by major teams like Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Manchester City in European competitions.

 

Also, the level of organisation, infrastructure and television coverage make the Premier League stand.

 

Currently, the FA Cup is contested by some of the most prominent footballers the world has to offer and the most brilliant coaches in the world.

 

Another excellent value is the finance and heavy investment by foreigners who saw the lucrative nature of the league as well as the market reach.

 

The English FA Cup, also referred to as The Football Association Challenge Cup, is the annual knockout cup competition in England.

 

Established in 1871, it is the oldest domestic knockout cup competition globally.

Best FA Cup teams

Arsenal

Arsenal is the most successful team in the history of the FA Cup with fourteen titles.

Manchester United

Manchester United are the second most successful with twelve titles.

Chelsea

Heavy investment in the club made it a strong force in the domestic scene. Chelsea currently boasts eight titles.

Tottenham Hotspur

The Spurs have more domestic titles in the FA with over eight victories.

Liverpool FC

Liverpool FC is a seven-time FA Cup winner.

Aston Villa 7

Newcastle United 6

Manchester City 6

Blackburn Rovers 6

 

7. Women’s World Cup

The FIFA Women’s World Cup is the most prestigious women’s soccer competition globally and one of the most-watched.

 

The competition is organised by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), played every four years. It was established in 1991.

 

FIFA Women’s World Cup best teams

United States

The US Women’s National Team are the most successful in the tournament with four titles.

 

The USA were runners up once in 2011 and finished the third position on three occasions.

Germany

Germany is the second most successful with two titles. Other countries with at least one title are Norway and Japan.

 

8. FIFA Club World Cup

The FIFA Club World Cup is an annual football club organised by FIFA.

 

The tournament is contested by various winners of their respective Championship from the six confederations. It is the meeting between winners of the respective Champions League worldwide in contention for the biggest club trophy.

 

The Club World Cup was established in 2000 as the replacement for the Intercontinental Cup, which European and South American football clubs contested.

 

The competition has produced several winners, including the likes of Real Madrid, who’s currently the world most respected football club.

 

Best FIFA Club World Cup teams

Real Madrid

The Royal whites have won the tournament four times, including three consecutive titles from 2016 to 2018.

 

The Los Blancos have never lost in any final, making them the most successful with a hundred per cent record.

Barcelona

Catalonia based club and Real Madrid main rivals in Barcelona are the second most successful with three titles.

 

Barca won their first title in 2009, and the last time was in 2015.

Corinthians

Brazil soccer team Corinthians were the first team to lift the trophy in the inaugural edition in 2000 in an all Brazilian final against CR Vasco da Gama. Corinthians have won two titles.

 

Bayern Munich

The German giants are third joint best with two titles.

 

9. Copa Libertadores

The Copa Libertadores is the most prestigious soccer competition in the North and South American region. It is the second most valuable continental club football competition behind the UEFA Champions League.

 

Established in 1960, the tournament is contested by some of the biggest football clubs in the world, like Corinthians, São Paulo, Independiente, River Plate, Boca Juniors, etc.

 

Most notably, Corinthians and Sport are the only two teams outside Europe to have won the FIFA Club World Cup, including the inauguration edition in 2000.

 

Best teams in the Copa Libertadores

 

Independiente

Independiente of Argentina has a perfect record in the competition, having won seven titles without a single defeat in any final.

 

The club dominated the competition from the early 1960s to the 1970s.

Boca Juniors

Boca Juniors, also from Argentina, is the second most successful team with six titles.

 

Boca, however, enjoyed success more in the 21st century compared with Independiente, who achieved all titles in the late 20th century.

Peñarol

Peñarol is an Uruguayan professional football club that sits third on the all-time winner’s chart with five titles.

River Plate

Club Atlético River Plate is the fourth most successful team with four titles.

 

Estudiantes

Estudiantes of Argentina is the joint fourth most successful team along with River Plate on four titles.

 

10. Copa del Rey

The Copa del Rey is the oldest Spanish national football competition. It is considered one of the most prestigious national cup trophiesgloballyd.

 

Interestingly Real Madrid is behind Athletic Club Bilbao and Barcelona as the top two teams with twenty-three and thirty-one titles, respectively.

 

11. UEFA Europa League

 

The UEFA Europa League is the second tier annual European club competition contested by UEFA member nations.

 

The competition was created mainly for teams outside the Champions League and domestic Cup winners from the various member nations.

 

Formerly the UEFA Cup, it is one of the most popular competitions globally.

 

Big teams like Manchester United, Liverpool FC, Atlético Madrid have won the tournament at least once.

 

Spanish clubs like Sevilla CF have won six titles.

 

12. Asian Cup

The Asian Cup is the number one football competition on the Asian continent contested by AFC member nations.

 

It is the second oldest running continental football tournament after the CONMEBOL Copa América.

 

Some of the most successful teams on the continent include Japan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, South Korea, etc.

 

13. Olympic Football Tournament

 

It is one of the most successful international football competitions in the world.

 

Some of the most successful teams include Great Britain, Hungary, Brazil, Argentina, Russia, Uruguay, etc.

 

14. CONCACAF Gold Cup

The CONCACAF Gold Cup is the most extensive continental competition in North America.

 

Mexico is the most successful team with eleven titles, followed by the United States with seven titles.

 

15. AFC Champions League

The next big destination for continental club football is the AFC Champions League.

 

With a high influx of already established professional footballers, the league have continued to attract a worldwide audience.

 

The AFC Champions League is the top tier football competition in Asia, with the most vital national leagues receiving the highest number of entrants for the competition.

I'm a sports enthusiast, love writing about football. I have been writing about top teams in Europe, the Premier League and La Liga.

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