The past month has seen 32 teams battle for one of the biggest prizes in sports, the World Cup trophy. Of course, for many casual fans, not much is known about the award itself.
To players around the world, the trophy is seen as the premium goal to highlight any career. Simply making the national team and representing one's country at this level is an achievement in itself, but going through seven matches and winning a title is a dream come true.
However, it is important to note that the trophy is not just valuable based on what it represents. It is actually worth quite a bit on its own due to the fact that it is made out of 18-carat gold. According to FIFA.com, which breaks down the trophy in detail, it is 36.8 centimeters (14.5 inches) high and 6,175 grams (13.61 pounds) heavy.
This much gold makes the statue quite a valuable piece of property, and FIFA reports that the original trophy was in fact stolen twice in its early history:
The Jules Rimet Cup [originally named for the World Cup's founding father] had an eventful history, beginning with a tenure hidden in a box under a bed during World War II. It was stolen in 1966 while on display in England. With the help of a small dog named Pickles, the famed English detectives of Scotland Yard were able to retrieve the Trophy which was hidden in a suburban garden. [...]
In 1983, the Trophy was again stolen in Rio de Janeiro, never to be seen again. It is widely believed that it was melted down by thieves.
Since the incident, the trophy is no longer given to any teams but instead passed around and given out only at the ceremony. The nations are given a replica to honor their achievements, but the original remains heavily guarded.
Fans were able to see it live before Sunday's final between Germany and Argentina. As shown by HT Sports, Spain's Carles Puyol helped present the trophy as a representative of the 2010 championship along with Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen:
By the end of the match, one of the talented teams will be able to raise the prize after a grueling month-long tournament.
Of course, the trophy still means more than just the gold it is made out of and the monetary value is holds. It remains a showcase of a great achievement, and replicas will continue to be made around the world to represent that significant honor.
One of the more interesting stories from the week came during Brazil's embarrassing defeat in the semifinals to Germany, which featured a fan giving his own replica of the trophy to a German fan, as captured by Neetzan Zimmerman of Gawker:
This just goes to show how big the trophy is, not only among teams and players, but also among fans.
It is undoubtedly one of the more recognizable objects in the world, and teams will continue to fight for it now and long into the future.
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