It seems like it’s been years since the last World Cup, but the next one is coming up fast. Russia is the host country for this football event from June 14th to July 15th, 2018. If you’re worried you haven’t been keeping on top of the game, we offer the ultimate guide to the 2018 World Cup so that you can get up to speed on your favourite sporting event.
The is the first time since Germany 2006 that the World Cup has been held in European Russia. Most of the stadium events will be held to the west of the Ural Mountains, with only one to the east, apparently for enabling most of the world to watch the events at reasonable times in their time zones.
This year there will be 32 different teams from around the world participating in the games. The Russia host team automatically qualifies—a clever ploy on the part of Russia—with the 31 other teams being determined through qualifying competitions. Of these, 20 teams are back from 2014. It’ll be exciting to see Panama and Iceland making their first ever appearance at a FIFA World Cup.
The World Cup will be spread out to eleven different cities in Russia, and at twelve different venues. This will be quite a challenge for many teams as they won’t get comfortable in any one venue.
Shockingly, Italy failed to qualify this year, even though they’ve been participating in FIFA since 1958. The Netherlands also failed. While the teams must qualify to a certain point in their leagues, the 32 teams were actually chosen through a draw held on December 1, 2017. This is much like a lottery, and is the only fair way of doing it. The teams were divided into four different pots, and then drawn.
The following 32 countries have qualified:
• Saudi Arabia
• South Korea
• Costa Rica
• Russia (hosting)
The Final will take place on July 15, 2018 at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
You should also know where the different games are being held.
• Moscow: Luzhniki Stadium, Otkritie Arena
• Saint Petersburg: KrestovskyStadium
• Kalingrad: Kaliningrad Stadium
• Kazan: Kazan Arena
• Nizhny Novgorod: Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
• Samara: Cosmos Arena
• Volgograd: Volgograd Arena
• Saransk: Mordovia Arena
• Rostov-on-Don: Rostov Arena
• Sochi: Fisht Olympic Stadium
• Yekaterinburg: Central Stadium
During the first stage, the teams play on a round-robin basis. Only the top two teams in each group will make it to the next round of 16.
If there are any tiebreakers required, the following three methods will help determine who is the winner.
1. The total points will be counted in all the group matches.
2. The goal differences will be counted in all group matches.
3. The total number of goals counted in all group matches.
If the two tied teams match all of the above, then fair play points will be considered too. Finally, there may be lots drawn by the FIFA organising committee.
While you can find exact scheduled times for your favourite teams online, we’ll include a few notable countries to watch.
The first match will be played at 18:00 on June 14, 2018 between hosting team Russia, and Saudi Arabia. The second match will be held on the next day between Egypt and Uruguay at 17:00.
If you can actually nab some tickets and travel to Russia, the online portal is: http://welcome2018.com in English and Russian languages. It’ll provide travel and accommodation information for visitors.
Here are some notable teams to watch, Russia being one of them. They have a new manager, StanislavCherchesov, after they failed in Euro 2016. High goal scorers Fyodor Smolov and AleksandrKokorin will support the team for the FIFA games.
Portugal won Euro 2016, so it definitely a strong contender for FIFA. Pepe has left the team so that leaves their defence a bit weaker but Bernardo Silva and André Silva are strong players.
Spain’s star player is David Silva from Manchester City. Isco from Real Madrid is definitely a player to watch.
Morocco, Iran, and Egypt are also going to be strong contenders in the coming games.
The World Cup is about two months away. This should be an exciting year, sadly without the presence of Italy. Where are you placing your bets for the FIFA World Cup Championship this year?