TIME World Cup

The World’s Love Affair With Soccer: A History in Pictures

The World Cup: 32 nations, 64 matches, 1 billion viewers, 1 winner.

From the beaches of Rio de Janeiro to the busy streets of London to the stadiums of Buenos Aires, TIME presents a view of the global fervor around the big, beautiful game, seen through the eyes of Magnum Photographers.

As the World Cup returns to its spiritual home, Brazil, these are the classic goals and heart-stopping highlights, and the all-time great players — Garrincha, Pele, Jairzinho, Carlos Alberto — that give the 2014 host country its deep roots in futbol.

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