FIFA World Cup is around the corner and everyone is very thrilled after four years of waiting!
Almost 1.3 billion people is anticipating this event (half of the world population!) and for starters here is a quick guide.
A total of 9 countries placed a bid for 2018 World Cup, later many countries withdrew & had been disqualified.
The final voting took placed between European countries:
Belgium & Netherlands
Portugal & Spain
Then it was announced exactly on the 2nd of December 2010, Russia for the very first time in its history was granted the right to host the 21st World Cup.
The first World Cup in Europe since 2006, since FIFA is always rotating the continents who will host the event.
2018 World Cup will be held in 11 cities and 12 stadiums around Russia and specifically Moscow Stadium is where the finals will be held.
It is scheduled to start from 14 June until 15 July 2018.
32 teams will be taking part in this sports event and this will be an interesting one because of these factors:
Former World cup champion Chile is not included.
Italy also failed to qualify for the first time since 1958.
Peru will also be joining the World Cup after a long drought, last time they participated is in 1982.
And Germany will be gunning to get back to back titles.
World Cup will be held in 11 cities and 12 stadiums around Russia and Moscow Stadium is where the finals will take place.
The Official Mascot is also a staple in every World Cup, it plays a very important role in promoting the culture of the host country acting as an ambassador and sometimes dubbed as a Worldwide Celebrity.
More than one million Russians cast their votes on FIFA Official Website during the month-long voting period and finally the big reveal was done during a live show on Russia’s Local Channel 1 Network.
It was revealed as a wolf and it is named Zabivaka™ which literally means “the one who scores” in Russian after the most engaging creative process for an Official Mascot in FIFA World Cup history.
Voting results also revealed:
Wolf scored 53% of the vote
Tiger with 27%
Cat with 20% of the vote, was in third place.
If you are planning to attend, Visa is not needed when going to Russia during World Cup. You just need to provide documents such as return tickets for validation.
It’s the perfect time to go and experience a major event like World Cup and at the same time experience the wonderful culture of Russia!
QUICK FACTS ABOUT WORLD CUP
June 14-July 15, 2018 – The World Cup (men’s) is scheduled to take place in Russia.
June 12-July 13, 2014 – The World Cup took place in Brazil. Germany wins its fourth World Cup championship by defeating Argentina in extra time, 1-0.
June 7-July 7, 2019 – The Women’s World Cup is scheduled to take place in France.
June 6-July 5, 2015 – The Women’s World Cup takes place in Canada. USA defeats Japan 5-2 to become the only country to win three Women’s World Cup championships.
The Golden Ball award is presented to the most outstanding player at each World Cup finals, as decided by the FIFA Technical Study.
Men’s 2014 Winner: Lionel Messi (Argentina)
Women’s 2015 Winner: Carli Lloyd (USA)
The Golden Boot award is presented to the top goal scorer at every World Cup finals:
Men’s 2014 Winner: James Rodriguez (Colombia)
Women’s 2015 Winner: Célia Šašić (Germany)
The Golden Glove award is presented to the tournament’s most outstanding goalkeeper:
Men’s 2014 Winner: Manuel Neuer (Germany)
Women’s 2015 Winner: Hope Solo (USA)
Teams with the most World Cup titles:u
Men’s: Brazil has won five times – 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002
Women’s: USA has won three times – 1991, 1999 and 2015
Now let’s check the groups participating in the FIFA Russia World Cup 2018. They are divided into 8 groups respectively, Group A, Group B, Group C, Group D, Group E, Group F, Group G & Group H
They went comfortably through qualifying and are headed to their 3rd straight World Cup appearance. With the same team (Muslera, Godin, Suarez, and Cavani) that lead them to the first two. Now with the additional of promising addition of midfielders this team will be promising and will be a threat if they make the semifinals again.
It all comes to Mo Salah, the catalyst for Egypt’s return to World Cup after 18 years. But with his health issues, they are not built to survive without his presence.
Hector Cuper’s heavy conservative approach has limited the team’s ability to make offense as a team. Without the Liverpool star it will be tough as nail.
There are a very few attacking players in the team, like Alan Dzagoev, but a weak defense, a poor coach in Stanislav Cherchesov and a terrible two year friendly match results brings catastrophy.
But being under the easiest group in the tournament, still chances are low.
If there’s a team that Russia can beat, probably this is the team. Saudi Arabia just returned from World Cup since 2006. Made up of domestic players, undersized, and lacking of international experience.
Since qualifying they changed coaches, first with Edgardo Bauza then Juan Antonio Pizzi after failing to make into the finals with Chile.
With a new coach in Julen Lopetegui and being unbeaten in qualifying with an impressive +33 goal differential they look rejuvenated and ready to beat anyone. They are playing faster co.mpared to previous years.
The elephant in the room is at center forward position.Diego Costa has always been an awkward fit, but may be in line to starting role.
With their excellent coach Herve Renard, only few teams qualified more impressively than Morocco. They scored 11 goals and not conceded in their six games. With a fearless style of soccer, pressing and attacking is their expertise.
Having this talent they are very capable of advancing through the 1st round.
Being triumphant at Euro 2016, it’s all about their defense. Conceded just 1 goal in 4 knockout games. Their defense relies on Pepe & Bruno Alvas.
The attack has a fresh vibe, with young players like Andre Silva and Bernardo Silva taking spots with Christian Ronaldo, this team is still all about brute force and achieving results.
Will it be like the Euros? We need to see to find out.
The third team into the touney after Russia and Brazil, they are very hard to break down. Former Real Madrid and Portugal boss Carlos Quiroz is a defensive minded individual and his team followed his idea.
Their hole is that they can’t play from behind and maybe lacking technical expertise to play itself out of pressure against its group bracket.
By make no mistake they are capable of upsetting maybe one of the big Europe teams.
It’s not special Denmark is returning to the World Cup after missing the 2014 edition, but they have someone special: Christian Eriksen, the one who scored a hat-trick in the qualifier match against Ireland.
They are organized around Eriksen and have a strong central defense but they are somewhat not good.
Aside Eriksen, they won’t do much either.
Peru has been led by their dominating captain and star striker Paolo Geuerrero who was suspended for testing positive for bare amounts of banned substance.
Since he appealed his ban, he is now back with the gang.
They haven’t lost a game since 2016 and they are playing with a sense of real urgency. No doubt they will backed by a massive support.
France is fully packed when it comes to talent, with their best generation since Zidane’s upcoming maturity. 9 players from Euro 2016 team that reached the finals are going to participate in this tourney.
But still there are some questions regarding the team’s meantality. One of the big players, Antoine Griezmann or Paul Pogba must lead and step up.
Ceiling for this French team is extraordinarily very high, but, as always, so is the potential for a breakdown.
They took the longest road to the tourney, winning very exhausting matches against Honduras and Syria, then their coach Ange Posteceglou quit.
Bert van Marwijk a former Dutch coach has taken over the role. In terms of overall talent, Australia is one of the weakest teams.
That said, Australia have always played hard and together. Having put a serious scare into the Netherlands at the last World Cup they can do it again this time.
They are a mess in qualifying, very much as they were before the 2010 tournament, with 3 manager changes, little improvement, dragged over the line by the great Lionel Messi.
With too much attacking talent, not only Messi, but Di Maria, Higuian, Dybala, Aguero. They need to establish a system or style of playing moving forward.
With Messi’s probable last World Cup appearance, he will do what it takes to overcome the torment he suffered on the international stage. He will shine for sure.
Euro 2016 darlings are back, being qualified for their 1st ever World Cup. The exact team that destroyed England 2 years ago.
Their experience and long lasting continuity will be a big factor. Having a good chemistry they are not afraid of anyone.
Health issues and lack of athleticism could be their biggest hole, but they are very competitive that’s why they are loved around the world.
Nigeria is the only African country qualified from the last World Cup. They are exciting and fun to watch.
One of the youngest teams in the competition, they have a lot of young attackers together with veterans John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses, they are questionable in regards to offense and defense.
Having the best midfielders in the tournament, you can’t deny Croatia. Mateo Kovacic, Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, there’s an experience that every side except Germany & Spain would want.
The only problem is that there is no leadership within the team. Lot’s of drama between media, star players particularly Modric are not backing down.
They’ve shown some flashes like when they beat Spain at Euro 2016, but they can’t get out of their way. Hopefully they will change in this year’s World Cup.
In part two we will be tackling Group E-H, watch out for it!
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