World cup is fast approaching and this time it’s in  Russia .  Time flies rather fast . It feels like it was only yesterday that we had a splendid summer in Brazil where the mighty Germany won the world cup in 2014. The world cup is held by the footballing organisation FIFA in every four years to determine the world champion.

This time the tournament is being held in Russia from  June 14th to July 15th 2018. This will be the 21st world cup to be held by FIFA, 88 years after the first world cup in Uruguay in 1938 . Russia is the host of this event for the first time.

The tournament will be taking place in 12 stadiums across 11 cities with the Russian capital Moscow having two venues – Luzhniki and Spartak .

Germany will be hoping to be the first nation to win back to back world cup since Brazil in 1962. Only Brazil (5) has more world cups than Germany. However, the last two reigning champions were eliminated in the group stages only. Italy in 2010 and Spain in 2014.

Portugal on the other hand, will be aiming to be only the fourth team to win the European championship and the World Cup consecutively. Only West Germany (Euros 1972, World Cup 1974 ), France (Euro 1998, World Cup 2000) and Spain (Euros 2008, World Cup 2010, Euros 2012) have done it before.

Italy failed to qualify for the first time since 1958. Italy is the one of the eight  countries to have won this prestigious competition  before and not going to Russia.  Mexico on the contrary , is the country to have qualified the most number of times without winning it. They have qualified 16 times  so far.

 

So here’s a list of facts about the coveted event watched by billions of people amidst  the stress and excitement that comes with each and every match.   

 

1 . Russia will be having it’s 11th appearance in the world cup . Their best finish  so far is  4th position in 1966 world cup .

  1.  The world cup went missing  for a span of seven days in 1966 prior to the tournament kicking off .

3 .  The Italians have the most number of draws in world cup history . A record 21 times.

  1.  The eastern most city  of Russia , Ekaterinburg  hosting the  matches is 1500 miles away from the Western most city , Kaliningard . The same distance between Moscow and London in England.
  2. Of all the teams that have participated in the world cup , Asian country Indonesia has played the least number of  matches . They played only one match in 1938.

 

6 . The Fisht stadium in Sochi , one of the host  stadiums , is the same stadium that hosted the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2014 winter games.

 

  1.  Austria defeated Switzerland  7-5 back in 1954 . This is the highest scoring game in a world cup match.

8 .   Switzerland is the only country to have not conceded in a world cup . They didn’t concede in  4 games  back in 2006.

 

9 .  Among the current players , Thomas Mueller has the most number of goals . He has 10 goals , 5 in each of the two world cups that he played in . He is shy of just 6 goals from World cup top scorer Miroslav Klose (16 goals ).

 

10 . It will be the first world cup for former Everton man Roberto Martinez .  He is the first  foreign coach to lead  a team  to the world cup since Doug Livingstone took Switzerland  to the tournament back in 1954.

11 .  Iceland is the country with the lowest population to participate in the tournament .  They have a population of just 334,000 citizens .

 

12 . No African country qualified more than Nigeria. This one in Russia is their 6th world cup participation .

 

13 .  Since qualifying for the world cup, Saudi Arabia have two coaches, namely Bert Marwijk and  Edgardo Bauza. Talk of trust issues.

 

14 . Since 1958, only Germany (5) have reached more finals than Argentina (4) .

15 . None of Morocco’s 12 world cup goals have come from a set pieces . The last eight goals of Belgium have come after the 70th minute.

16 . South Korea have qualified for the  10th time. The most by an Asian country. They haven’t failed to qualify for the world cup since 1986.

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