The countries with the most World Cup soccer titles are an elite group.

These nations have history of producing world class talent each year. Therefore, they are always in the mix for contention when the World Cup rolls around every four years.

In the 21 editions of the tournament, only eight countries out of FIFA’s 211 members won the World Cup. Then, six of those can say they won the competition multiple times. Spain and England are the only countries to win just one World Cup Final. Interestingly, three countries played in more World Cup Finals than both Spain and England. However, the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Hungary all came up short on multiple occasions.

There is certainly overlap between where the best players in the history of the game come from and which country has the most World Cup soccer titles. Pele, Diego Maradona, Gerd Muller and more all played crucial roles in lifting the World Cup.

However, Pele stands out. As a member of the Brazil National Team, he is the only player to claim three World Cups as a player. Plenty of Brazilians won two with Brazil winning three World Cups in four tournaments from 1958 to 1970.

Therefore, Brazil built its pedigree as one of the most successful countries at the World Cup. Despite last winning over 20 years ago, Brazil remains the country with the most World Cup titles in history.

The country with the most World Cup soccer titles

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Country World Cup wins Runner-up finishes Years won
Brazil 5 2 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002
Germany 4 4 1954, 1974, 1990, 2014
Italy 4 2 1934, 1938, 1982, 2006
Argentina 2 3 1978. 1986
France 2 1 1998, 2018
Uruguay 2 0 1930, 1950
England 1 0 1966
Spain 1 0 2010

There are interesting things to note regarding Brazil being the country with the most World Cup wins. From 1950 to 2002, the World Cup Final featured one of Brazil or Germany/West Germany each tournament except for one. That exception is when Argentina defeated the Netherlands in 1978. Only once did Brazil and Germany play each other in a Final: 2002 when Oliver Kahn’s mistake in goal opened up a lead Brazil would not relinquish.

Something else not listed in the table above are the efforts of the Netherlands. Despite three World Cup Final appearances, the Netherlands lost against West Germany, Argentina and Spain.

While the host of the World Cup switches each year, it is always more fun from a neutral fan’s perspective when they host nation does well. Having the support of a nation on full display provides more excitement. Germany, Italy, Argentina, France, Uruguay and England all won the World Cup on home soil at some point. Brazil despite both being the country with the most World Cup titles and hosting the competition twice, is not one of those teams. In 1950, over 150,000 fans watched Brazil lose in the final against Uruguay. Then, in 2014, a crushing 7-1 defeat in the semifinals sent the hosts packing.

All these teams enter the World Cup each year with hopes of adding to their trophy cabinet. That is, of course, leaving out Italy, which failed to qualify for a second-consecutive World Cup in 2022.

Photo credit: JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images