A world cup is a global sporting competition in which the participant entities – usually international teams or individuals representing their countries – compete for the title of world champion. A world cup is generally considered the premier competition in its sport, with the victor attaining the highest honour in that sport and able to lay claim to the title of their sport's best. However, in some sports the Olympic title carries at least as much prestige.
There are a number of notable popular sports competitions labeled "world cups", such as the ICC Cricket World Cup, but perhaps the best known is the FIFA World Cup, which is widely known simply as "the World Cup".
Differences between world cup and world championshipsSome sports governing bodies prefer the title "world championship" or a related term; some even organize both a world cup and a world championship with different rules. Usually, such competitions take one of two forms, a short periodic competition or a year-long series of meetings, but more frequently many sports have both World Cup, and world championship. Some examples in the following table.
|Sport||World Cup||World Championships|
|Alpine skiing||FIS Alpine Ski World Cup||FIS Alpine World Ski Championships|
|Archery||Archery World Cup||World Archery Championships|
|Artistic gymnastics||Artistic Gymnastics World Cup||World Artistic Gymnastics Championships|
|Athletics||Athletics World Cup||World Athletics Championships|
|Cross-country skiing||FIS Cross-Country World Cup||FIS Nordic World Ski Championships|
|Cycling||UCI Road World Cup||UCI World Championships|
|Diving||FINA Diving World Cup||FINA World Aquatics Championships|
|Fencing||Fencing World Cup||Fencing World Championships|
|Rhythmic gymnastics||Rhythmic Gymnastics World Cup||World Rhythmic Gymnastics Championships|
A periodic world cup or world championship usually takes the form of a knockout tournament. This is held over a number of days or weeks, with the entrants eventually being whittled down to two, and the tournament culminating in a world cup final. The winner take the title of World Champion and hold it until the next time the event is held. This format is most common in team sports, as with the FIFA World Cup or the ICC Cricket World Cup.