The story of the pound for pound world championship (1930 - 1966)
The early history of the Pound for Pound World Cup (PPWC) differs little from the FIFA endorsed one.
Uruguay hosted the first ever World Cup, which they subsequently won, becoming the first world champions, defeating Argentina 4-2 on July 30th, 1930.
They did not play again for over a year, but when they did, their first match saw them lose the crown, defeated 2-0 by Brazil in the Rio Branco Cup on September 6th, 1931. Uruguay had to wait until December 1932 before they had the opportunity to win it back, but were again defeat by Brazil.
Brazil therefore held onto the trophy up until the 1934 World Cup in Italy. Brazil were unable to succesfully defend their prize, losing out to Spain, and it would be the Italian hosts who would became champions on June 10 1934, defeating Czechoslovakia 2-1.
Italy lost a friendly to England, but of course the trophy was not up for grabs, and therefore it was Czechoslovakia who faced italy again in the Dr Gero Cup, this time being victorious and becoming world champions in 1935. Although the Italians actually won the Dr Gero Cup, it did not win them the tag of world champions back and therefore the Czechs were the holders of the PPWC.
Italy would take the trophy back in 1937 though, defeating the Czechs again in the Dr Gero Cup, and they took the trophy into the 1938 World Cup. The Italians relinquished their crown on June 5 as the tournament began, and just two weeks later picked up their crown again, defeating Hungary in the final.
The outbreak of World War Two meant no World Cups would be contested until 1950. Any matches Italy did play in that time were only friendlies, meaning they continued to be known as champions of the world up until June 24, 1950, when Brazil hosted the fourth World Cup. The Italians did take part in the Olympics of 1948, where they lost to Denmark 5-3, but because the tournament only allowed amatuer players, not all countries could play their strongest teams, and therefore no defence of the World Cup can be legitimately made.
Uruguay therefore were the next champions, taking the trophy home with victory in the 1950 final. They held the title until they took part in the Panamerican championships, when on April 23, 1952, Chile became world champions with a 3-2 win. They were champions for only seven days, as Brazil retook the prize with a 3-0 win.
A year later, and the championship went through a period of short-term champions. Brazil lost the title to Peru in the Copa America, but Peru would lose the title in their very next game - nine days later - in a 3-0 defeat to Uruguay, and despite friendly defeats Uruguay kept the prize until the 1954 World Cup. Despite an impressive start to the tournament which saw them score nine goals without reply against Czechoslovakia and Scotland, Uruguay saw any chances of holding onto the trophy put to bed when Hungary defeated them 4-2 in the semi-finals. Hungary themselves though could not win the trophy, with West Germany taking the spoils in a 3-2 victory in Switzerland.
The European Championships had yet to begin at this point, while the Germans had qualified for the 1958 World Cup as holders, therefore all their games in the four years up until the next tournament were friendlies, so the title was never lost. The Germans made a credible defence of their trophy, getting as far as the semi-finals, before being defeated by the hosts Sweden. Sweden lost the final 5-2 to Brazil, who were once again champions of the world.
The Brazilians would rack up an impressive haul of results as they defended the title, until they came unstuck against Uruguay in the 1959 Copa America. Uruguay held the title until August 17, 1960. Then, in the Atlantic Cup, Argentina became world champions for the first time with a 4-0 demolition in Buenos Aires, and they were able to hold onto it until the 1962 World Cup. A poor World Cup saw Argentina lose to England on the way to being knocked out in the group stages, and it would be Brazil who would go on to reclaim their throne with a 3-1 victory in the final over Czechoslovakia.
Brazil were shocked in the South American Championship by Paraguay, whose 2-0 victory ensured they took the prize for the first time. They were able to defend the trophy once, but within a week had lost to Bolivia and saw their claim to the throne vanish. They would win it back again two years later though, becoming the first country to defeat the Bolivians while they held the trophy, in a World Cup qualifying match. The Paraguans were proving to be no experts are holding onto the trophy though, and duly lost it seven days later to Argentina, who held onto the trophy until the 1966 World Cup.
Our records show that no football was played at the 1966 World Cup, and England were only allowed to keep the trophy because no-one else wanted it. The FA though decided to fashion a film called the "1966 World Cup" where they pretended to win it, so that something could be put down on record.
In the film, England knocked out the holders Argentina, and won the trophy with a 4-2 win in the final over Germany. Even in the film though, England won the game with two extra-time goals that in real life would not have counted - the third "goal" did not cross the line, while fans were on the field at the time of the fourth goal which would usually have resulted in play being stopped.