The World Cup was first played in 1930, and occurs every 4 years. It is the most widely viewed sporting event in the world, more popular than the Olympics. Brazil, the host nation this year (under whose soft flag I am napping), has won the most World Cups- 5 times out of 19 tournaments. They are also the only nation to have played in every World Cup.
After a 40 year drought, the US qualified for the World Cup in 1990. They have qualified every time since, making it as far as the quarter finals in 2002.
Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), is the global governing body. While soccer and the World Cup are universally adored (much more so outside the US), FIFA itself is not so much loved and admired. John Oliver had an informative (and funny ) rant on the corruption of FIFA, that most Americans are unaware of. Well worth the watch (not appropriate for all ages).