Group A - Brazil, Cameroon, Croatia, Mexico
2014 hosts Brazil have a fine football philatelic history which started back in 1950 when they first hosted the World Cup finals. A three-stamp set was issued on 24th June the day of the opening game in which Brazil beat Mexico 4-0. Below is a block of four of the first stamp in the set which features a lovely first day of issue commemorative cancel.
|Brazil World Cup 1950 Issued 24/06/50|
|Croatia World Cup 1998 Issued 10/06/98|
|Mexico World Cup 1970 Issued 16/08/69|
Group B - Australia, Chile, Netherlands, Spain
Australia qualified for their second World Cup finals in 2006 and reached the last sixteen where hey lost 1-0 to eventual champions Italy. The winning goal coming from a controversial penalty awarded deep into second half injury time.
|Australia World Cup 2006 Issued 09/05/06|
Chile hosted the 1962 World Cup finals and on the day of the opening game, which saw Uruguay beat Colombia 2-1, released a set of four stamps, one of which is shown below. Chile progressed to the semi-finals where they lost 4-2 to eventual champions Brazil.
|Chile World Cup 1962 Issued 30/05/62|
|Netherlands World Cup 1974 Issued 05/06/74|
|Spain World Cup 1982 Issued 23/05/80|
Group C - Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan
Colombia, despite not qualifying for the 1982 World Cup finals issued these rather fetching stamps in June 1982. It was a sort of dual commemorative issue. On one hand the stamps marked the current tournament but on the other looked forward to the next tournament which the Colombians were due to host in 1986. However only a few months later in November 1982 Colombia withdrew leaving FIFA to find a new host for the 1986 tournament.
|Colombia World Cup 1982 Issued 21/06/82|
The Greeks opted for a contrast between old and new for this 1994 World Cup stamp. They also issued a minisheet using a similar classical v modern theme. As for the tournament the Greeks finished bottom of their group losing all three games without scoring and conceding ten goals.
|Greece World Cup 1994 Issued 06/06/94|
|Ivory Coast World Cup 1978 Issued 17/06/78|
|Japan World Cup 2002 Issued 31/05/01|
Group D - Costa Rica, England, Italy, Uruguay
Costa Rica issued a 5-value set to commemorate the 1986 World Cup. They didn't qualify for the finals though they did finish third in the 1985 CONCACAF Championship that had also served as qualification for the 1986 World Cup.
|Costa Rica World Cup 1986 Issued 30/05/86|
Great Britain issued it's first three football stamps in 1966 to commemorate the 1966 World Cup which was hosted by England. The sheet below shows the 4d stamp, probably the most iconic football stamp of all time, overprinted by 'England Winners'.
|Italy World Cup 1934 Issued 24/05/34|
|Uruguay World Cup 1950 Issued 20/03/51|
Group E - Ecuador, France, Honduras, Switzerland
This was the first Ecuadorean World Cup issue and very dull it is too. Thankfully future football issues were a huge improvement. Ecuador failed to qualify for the 1974 World Cup finishing bottom of their qualification group.
|Ecuador World Cup 1974 Issued 05/06/74|
This was France's very first football issue and what a beauty it is. It took the French another 39 years to issue another football stamp. France progressed to the quarter-finals of the 1938 tournament where they lost to eventual champions Italy.
|France World Cup 1938 Issued 01/06/38|
|Honduras World Cup 1966 Issued 25/11/66|
|Switzerland World Cup 1954 Issued 15/03/54|
Group F - Argentina, Bosnia Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria
Argentina were the 1978 hosts and these two stamps were issued a year before the tournament began. The 1978 tournament is the first I can remember watching and my parents allowed me stay up late to watch some of the games. Argentina won the Cup beating the Netherlands in the final.
|Argentina World Cup 1978 Issued 14/05/77|
|Bosnia Herzegovina World Cup 1998 Issued 22/05/98|
|Iran World Cup 1998 10/06/98 Issued|
This Nigerian World Cup stamp was issued on the first day of the 1998 World Cup finals. Nigeria progressed to the Round of 16 where they lost 4-1 to Denmark.
|Nigeria World Cup 1998 Issued 10/06/98|
Group G - Germany, Ghana, Portugal, United States
Germany hosted the 1974 tournament and issued this pair of stamps. Here they are with a Bonn first day of issue cancel. West Germany won their second World Cup beating the Netherlands in the final.
|Germany World Cup 1974 Issued 15/05/74|
|Ghana World Cup 1966 Issued 14/11/66|
Portugal issued this stamp a month after the 1978 World Cup had ended. The Portuguese failed to qualify finishing second to Poland in their qualification group.
|Portugal World Cup 1978 Issued 24/07/78|
|United States World Cup 1994 Issued 26/05/94|
Group H - Algeria, Belgium, Korea Republic, Russia
Algeria issued this pair of stamps to commemorate the 1982 World Cup. On the opening day the Algerian team pulled off one the biggest World Cup shocks to beat West Germany, the reigning European champions 2-1. However a shameful football crime meant they failed to qualify for the second round.
|Algeria World Cup 1982 Issued 18/03/82|
Belgium issued two stamps for the 1982 World Cup, both using the same design but differently coloured. The Belgians advanced into the second round of the 1982 tournament by finishing top of their first round group but then finished bottom of their second group.
|Belgium World Cup 1982 Issued 20/03/82|
The South Koreans got into the 2002 World Cup spirit really, really early. Here's two minisheets issued in 1996 six years before the tournament began. To be fair they were released only a few months after the Koreans had found out they and the Japanese were to be joint hosts. The 2002 tournament was a huge success for the South Korea as they finished in fourth place.
|South Korea World Cup 2002 Issued 01/08/96|
This lovely pair was issued by the USSR just prior to the opening game. The Soviets reached the quarter-finals where they lost to hosts and eventual runners-up Sweden.
|USSR World Cup 1958 Issued 05/06/58|
Billy Bonkers and the Wacky World Cup!