The FIFA World Cup has been held in Europe, South America, Asia, Africa and North America. Europe and South America have hosted the majority of tournaments. European or South American teams have dominated the tournament, but only a few of them have won it outside their continent.
In 1958, Sweden hosted the FIFA World Cup. Before this no team had won the Jules Rimet trophy beyond their continent, but a Pele inspired Brazil team would be the first in Sweden. After topping their group, they played Wales in the quarter-finals; and Pele's goal ensured a 1 - 0 victory. In the semifinals Pele scored a hat-trick against France as Brazil ran out 5 - 2 winners.
Once again Pele was in form in the final as they came up against the hosts Sweden. In a classic game Pele scored twice, and three additional Brazilian goals left the Swedes out of the match. The final ended 5 - 2, and Brazil lifted the FIFA World Cup for the first time. That remains the one time the trophy was not won by a European team in Europe.Credit: Image licensed under public domain on Wiki commons.
The 1970 Mexico World Cup was among the most exciting. It included some fantastic teams and players, among which were England's wingless wonders, the Italians and a flamboyant Brazil team. In the group stage Brazil came up against England. During that game Banks somehow saved Pele's header, but Brazil ran out 1 - 0 winners. Having beaten Uruguay 3 - 1 in the semifinals, they made it to the final. The Italians were in town for the final at Mexico City, but there could only be one winner. At halftime the teams were level, but in the second half Brazil swept Italy aside to clinch a 4 - 1 victory. Thus, they lifted the Jules Rimet trophy in North America.Credit: Licensed under public domain on Wik Commons.
In the 1986 FIFA World Cup, a Maradona inspired Argentina lifted the trophy in Mexico. They were somewhat lucky to win their quarter-final game with England after Maradona handled the ball over Shilton to score the opening 'goal'. That 'goal', and a fantastic second where Maradona dribbled passed much of the England team, ensured a 2 - 1 victory.
In the final they came up against West Germany, and when they were 2 - 0 up with little more than 15 minutes to play Argentina seemed sure of victory. Germany scored a couple of late goals from two corner kicks to level the game at 2 - 2. Argentina restored their lead a few minutes later, and as the game ended 3 - 2 they won the World Cup.
In 1994, Brazil traveled to the USA with a new generation of players. Among them was Romario, Bebeto and Ronaldo was also included in the squad. But Ronaldo did not play a big part in the 1994 cup.
Whilst it was probably not the most exciting Brazil team to have graced the cup, they were solid at the back and unlike their previous sides didn't concede too many goals. Only a couple of teams breached their back line as they marched to the final. The final with Italy ended with a penalty shoot-out after a dull 0 - 0 draw. Then the Brazilians emerged triumphant in North America as the Italians missed three penalties.
The 2002 World Cup was played in Asia for the first time. In this cup Brazil showed the best form, with Ronaldo scoring more than a goal a game. As such, they made it to the final where they came up against Germany. After a goalless first half, Ronaldo scored twice in the second to ensure victory for Brazil. Brazil lifted the trophy once again outside their continent.
In 2010, South Africa hosted the World Cup. It was a landmark World Cup hosted by an African nation. Germany, Brazil, Italy and co were all defeated before the final. Spain and Holland were the best teams, and they met in the final. The game remained goalless after 90 minutes, but then an Iniesta goal in the extra-time period sealed victory. Holland questioned why the ref had not given a free-kick to them, on the outside of Spain's penalty box, shortly before Spain scored. However, the winning goal was perfectly valid. So it was Spain that were the first European team to lift the trophy outside of Europe.
Germany also won the FIFA World Cup in Brazil with a 1 - 0 win against Argentina. Although the highlight of the tournament for them was perhaps their semifinal victory. In that match the Germans ran rampant as they thrashed the host nation, and favorites, Brazil 7 - 1 to clinch a place in the final.
Those are the teams that have won the cup beyond their continent. The South Americans have won most of the World Cups beyond South America and Europe. As FIFA rotates the cup more regularly, there will be plenty more scope for teams to lift the World Cup in other continents as the European teams are fairly dominant in Europe. Next, it will be in Russia; and a European or South American team will probably win the tournament there.