World Cup: Fifa Fair Play award winners

By Natasha Sporn Action Images/Associated Press
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The Fifa Fair Play award rewards the most sporting team at the World Cup

After each World Cup tournament, the FIFA Fair Play award is awarded to the country considered to have demonstrated the most sportsmanship and played the tournament the fairest See Gallery

The FIFA Fair Play award started out as a certificate given to the team considered to have demonstrated the fairest play during the World Cup tournament and soon graduated into a statue inspired by cartoon character Sport Billy. As well as the gold figurine, the winning country also receives $50,000 worth of footballing equipment for the development of youth squads in their country. A country must play at least four matches in the World Cup finals to be eligible for the award.

The winner is chosen by the FIFA Technical Study Group and and is based on the number of red and yellow cards received, behaviour of the team and coaching staff and respect for opponents, as well as positive play on the pitch.

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1978: Argentina

Argentina won the first Fair Play award for their disciplinary record in the 1978 tournament that they hosted and won - making them the only host nation to date to win the award. The Argentinian team were shown five yellow cards in their seven matches. In recent years, there have been claims that the Argentinian government allegedly fixed a deal with the Peruvian government over the outcome of the Argentina-Peru match, which Argentina won 6-0. They needed to win by four goals to reach the final. The claims, however, have not been proven.

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1982: Brazil

Brazil's excellent record of being shown only two yellow cards in their five matches - out of 98 shown in the tournament – won them the 1982 Fifa Fair Play award. It was the first time a trophy was presented for the award - the golden Sport Billy trophy.

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1986: Brazil

In a tournament mostly remembered for Argentinian midfielder Diego Maradona and his goals, Brazil managed to retain their Fair Play award by picking up only three yellow cards in five matches.

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1990: England

England won the Fair Play award for the first time in 1990 after being shown just six yellow cards in seven matches played.

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1994: Brazil

Brazil topped off an amazing run of form in the 1994 World Cup tournament by becoming champions for a fourth time thereby becoming the most successful national football team in the world. As well as the championship, Brazil won the Most Entertaining Team award for their impressive and exciting play and the Fifa Fair Play trophy for the third time.

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1998: England and France

England won their second Fifa Fair Play title in 1998 and shared the glory with World Cup champions France. This was despite David Beckham being sent off in England’s match against Argentina for kicking Diego Simeone.

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2002: Belgium

Belgium won the Fair Play award at the 2002 tournament in Korea/Japan after finishing in first place on the technical committee report by a single point. Belgium committed 84 fouls in their four games and were shown only six yellow cards.

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2006: Spain and Brazil

A total of 326 yellow cards and 28 red cards were shown in the 2006 World Cup tournament in Germany. The joint Fifa Fair Play award winners Spain and Brazil managed to avoid red cards completely and received only 17 yellow cards between them. This was the fourth time that Brazil had won the Fifa Fair Play award.

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2010: Spain

The 2010 champions of the world also won the Fifa Fair Play Award for their clean football at the games in South Africa. Out of 261 yellow cards shown during the tournament, Spain received just eight of them - and five of them were in the final match against the Netherlands.