Soccer is a universal game, and it’s not surprising that the world cup is the most popular global soccer competition. Unlike the Olympics, the World Cup is a truly single-sport international event, but the competition is more passionate, blazing, and religious-like, following from the national pride it brings. What’s so amazing about this event is that there’s no other sports competition that is truly embraced by a lot of people across the world.
Now, it’s 2018, and the FIFA World Cup to be held in Russia is fast approaching. Once again, we will experience the anger, excitement, fear, and hope as we look forward to seeing the next world champion after Germany’s victory at Brazil in the 2014 World Cup. In this article, find out why the World Cup is a global phenomenon.
History and Champions
In 1932, the Summer Olympics held in Los Angeles did not include soccer or football because of its unpopularity in the United States. For this reason, in 1928 FIFA President Jules Rimet got the idea of creating the first soccer international tournament to be participated by both rich and poor countries in the world. The event took place at Montevideo, Uruguay in 1930, and its purpose was to bring the nations together through soccer.
There were only 13 teams that participated in the event perhaps because the expenses to participate in the event were very costly. Four European countries including Belgium, Romania, Yugoslavia, and France made it to the competition by crossing the Atlantic Ocean by boat. The other delegates of the competition were from South America and North America, including countries Peru, USA, Chile, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Mexico, and Uruguay.
The World Cup was held simultaneously where France and the USA won the first two matches against Mexico 4- 1 and Belgium 3-0, respectively. On the other hand, the first goal in the World Cup history was made by Lucien Laurent from France while the first hat-trick was successfully achieved by Bert Patenaude from the USA which made the American team win by 3-0 against Paraguay. The host country Uruguay was declared the overall winner for defeating Argentina with 4-2 in the finals. In front of 93,000 people witnessing the first-ever international soccer competition, Uruguay received the trophy as the first nation to win the World Cup.
Moreover, since it first launched in 1930, Brazil is the most successful throughout the entire World Cup history. The country has won 5 champion titles in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, and 2002 while Italy and Germany come next with 4 trophies. Germany is the current holder of the trophy as they won the championship title in 2014. On the other hand, Argentina and Uruguay are in third place with two wins.
The 2018 FIFA world cup in Russia is just around the corner. Russia is determined to impress the world as they are making the monumental effort just after they find out they will be hosting the most prestigious football event.
Fans of this event will surely be mesmerized by the newest and modernized stadiums that are specially built for the World Cup. There are 6 out of 12 venues that are newly built while the other 6 are renovated to improve the experience of the audience. For this reason, it’s not surprising that the locations of the competition are going to be the highlight of the 2018 World Cup.
If you are a fan of the World Cup, and you want to visit Russia for the special event, there’s no doubt that your travel will be the most memorable and exhilarating this year. Here is a list of the cities where the stadiums that will be used for the tournament is located:
- Nizhny Novgorod
- Saint Petersburg
Start Date and When Is the Final
The biggest soccer tournament will take place in Russia from June 14 until July 15, 2018. During the World Cup, watch out for the best players from 32 nations on a single ground. Ready your loudest screams as the teams have worked hard years before the event to give viewers fun and thrilling football games. The first match and the finals of the tournament will be held at Moscow. The host country Russia will begin the party underway against Saudi Arabia on June 14, and on July 15, the new champion of the World Cup will be announced.
Groups and Schedule
The World Cup is the most watched sports event. Whether you will watch on television or at the stadiums, it is important to know the groups and schedule of the World Cup tournament.
- Russia vs. Saudi Arabia – June 14, 2018 | 16:00 BST
- Egypt vs. Uruguay – June 15, 2018 | 13:00 BST
- Russia vs. Egypt – June 19, 2018 | 19:00 BST
- Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia – June 20, 2018 | 16:00 BST
- Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt – June 25, 2018 | 15:00 BST
- Uruguay vs. Russia – June 25, 2018 | 15:00 BST
- Morocco vs. Iran – June 15, 2018 | 16:00 BST
- Portugal vs. Spain – June 15, 2018 | 19:00 BST
- Portugal vs. Morocco – June 20, 2018 | 13:00 BST
- Iran vs. Span – June 20, 2018 | 19:00 BST
- Spain vs. Morocco – June 25, 2018 | 19:00 BST
- Iran vs. Portugal – June 25, 2018 | 19:00 BST
- France vs. Australia – June 16, 2018 | 11:00 BST
- Peru vs. Denmark – June 16, 2018 | 17:00 BST
- Denmark vs. Australia – June 21, 2018 | 13:00 BST
- France vs. Peru – June 21, 2018 | 16:00 BST
- Australia vs. Peru – June 26, 2018 | 15:00 BST
- Denmark vs. France – June 26, 2018 | 15:00 BST
- Argentina vs. Iceland – June 16, 2018 | 14:00 BST
- Croatia vs. Nigeria – June 16, 2018 | 20:00 BST
- Argentina vs. Croatia – June 21, 2018 | 19:00 BST
- Nigeria vs. Iceland – June 22, 2018 | 16:00 BST
- Nigeria vs. Argentina – June 26, 2018 | 19:00 BST
- Iceland vs. Croatia – June 26, 2018 | 19:00 BST
- Costa Rica vs. Serbia – June 17, 2018 | 13:00 BST
- Brazil vs. Switzerland – June 17, 2018 | 19:00 BST
- Brazil vs. Costa Rica – June 22, 2018 | 13:00 BST
- Serbia vs. Switzerland – June 22, 2018 | 19:00 BST
- Serbia vs. Brazil – June 27, 2018 | 19:00 BST
- Switzerland vs. Costa Rica – June 27, 2018 | 19:00 BST
- Germany vs. Mexico – June 17, 2018 | 16:00 BST
- Sweden vs. South Korea – June 18, 2018 | 13:00 BST
- South Korea vs. Mexico – June 23, 2018 | 16:00 BST
- Germany vs. Sweden – June 23, 2018 | 19:00 BST
- South Korea vs. Germany – June 27, 2018 | 15:00 BST
- Mexico vs. Sweden – June 27, 2018 | 15:00 BST
- Belgium vs. Panama – June 18, 2018 | 16:00 BST
- Tunisia vs. England – June 18, 2018 | 19:00 BST
- Belgium vs. Tunisia – June 23, 2018 | 13:00 BST
- England vs. Panama – June 24, 2018 | 13:00 BST
- Panama vs. Tunisia – June 28, 2018 | 19:00 BST
- England vs. Belgium – June 28, 2018 | 19:00 BST
- Colombia vs. Japan – June 19, 2018 | 13:00 BST
- Poland vs. Senegal – June 19, 2018 | 16:00 BST
- Japan vs. Senegal – June 24, 2018 | 16:00 BST
- Poland vs. Colombia – June 24, 2018 | 19:00 BST
- Japan vs. Poland – June 28, 2018 | 15:00 BST
- Senegal vs. Colombia – June 28, 2018 | 15:00 BST
Most Interesting Fixtures
Now that you have seen the overall fixtures of the 32 teams, it’s time to know the most interesting fixtures to look forward to in this year’s World Cup tournament.
Russiavs. Saudi Arabia(Group A) Portugalvs. Spain(Group B) Argentinavs. Iceland(Group D)
- Any teams from Group H
It’s the opening match of the World Cup, and for sure, a lot of people will be watching on their TV Screens. The opening game is always fun as the host is one who will start the tournament. The first game is definitely a good chance to have a flying start, and this match is probably what Russia needs in order for them to get through in the competition. According to William Hill, Russia has odds of 1.29 to win the game, which could be enough for the team to survive until the later parts of the tournament.
European winner will play against neighbour country Spain. Both teams are one of the favourites, and there’s no doubt that their match is going to be big. These countries are most likely to win the world cup as Spain got the World Cup title in 2010 and Portugal won the UEFA Euro in 2016 with Christiano Ronaldo.
The World Cup 2018 is a great opportunity for Argentina’s Lionel Messi to, once again, prove himself as a great football player. On the other hand, the first-timer Iceland has no reputation to lose. This gives them more reasons to strive hard to win over 2014’s runners-up on this year’s tournament.
This year’s tournament is most likely the final World Cup for Leonel Messi, and fans should expect that this football phenomenon is eager to hoist the rest. On the other hand, Iceland is a newbie on the competition. They have no title to defend and clearly have nothing to lose. What makes the game exciting is that it would be quite embarrassing if Argentina will lose to Iceland.
Group H might be the least glamorous in the list of the most interesting fixtures because it involves countries that are not heard much when it comes to World Cup. What makes this group interesting, though, is that there is a good balance in this group, and it will be hard for the audience or television viewers to identify which team will win.
According to a news article, the World Cup is an opportunity for Russia to be reintroduced to the global community. In 2014, the country had a bad international reputation that led to an economic sanction. Thus, such efforts in building and renovating stadiums to be used on the world cup tournament will help them refashion their image to the world, especially for the television audiences and travelling fans of the World Cup.
Finally, the cities and stadiums are now set for June 14, 2018 World Cup action despite the tournament-related controversies it had faced in the past years. The 12 stadiums that will surely bring Russia to the global spotlight are:
- Ekaterinburg Arena (Ekaterinburg)
- Fisht Stadium (Sochi)
- Kaliningrad Stadium (Kaliningrad)
- Kazan Arena (Kazan)
- Krestovsky Stadium (Saint Petersburg)
- Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow)
- Mordovia Arena (Saransk)
- Nizhny Novgorod Stadium (Nizhny Novgorod)
- Rostov Arena (Rostov-on-Don)
- Samara Arena (Samara)
- Spartak Stadium (Moscow)
- Volgograd Arena (Volgograd)
Ekaterinburg is quite a thousand miles away from major cities like Moscow. The stadium was redeveloped especially for the world cup. However, it may not be visually appealing to everyone. The design is very artistic, but the unsheltered stands may not be overly attractive for fans travelling for the event. It is one of the smallest and will not be used for bigger crowds.
Fisht Stadium is located in the city of Sochi. For sure, a lot of sports fans will remember the stadium as it was used for the Winter Olympics and Paralympics in 2015. The stadium is huge as it can accommodate up to 47, 659 people. Since the World Cup will be held in summer, the audience should expect a hotter climate inside the stadium as it was renovated for football grounds.
Kaliningrad Stadium is the only venue that’s not located in the mainland of Russia. The place is enclaved between the border of Lithuania and Poland. Because of its distance to the rest of the cities, the stadium will not be used for the knockout stage. Moreover, the good side of the location is its picturesque view.
Kazan Arena is a familiar destination among Champions and Europa League Fans. It has a rich history that will allow travelling fans to have insights of the city’s European and Asian Culture. The stadium’s biggest attraction is the huge high definition video screen that is perfect for distant fans who will come to witness the event firsthand.
The Krestovsky Stadium is located at the stunning city of Saint Petersburg. It is one of the most prominent stadiums next to Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The venue is where Chile lost to Germany in the Confederations Cup in 2017. Although the stadium was fully built in December 2008, it was only last year that it was opened to the public, and it is also tagged as one of the world’s most expensive stadiums.
This stadium is the biggest one and can be located in Moscow, the capital of Russia. It will be the centrepiece of the event as it will host the final match where the champion of the 2018 World Cup will be announced. The old stadium is a history as it was used for several world tournaments such as the Olympic Games in 1980 and the Champion League final in 2008.
The inside of the stadium was torn down in 2013, and the athletics track was also removed to increase the capacity of the stadium. Now it can accommodate up to 81,000 visitors.
The construction of this stadium was only done early this year, and visitors should bring their cameras because of its impressive architecture. The exterior is a mixture of red and orange tiles that look stunning. The ground is huge as it can be used by other sports such as Tennis and Basketball. It can cater up to 44,000 people.
Nizhny Novgorod is another newly built venue and will host 6 matches in the heart of the city. The city is an hour flight from Moscow — such an easy travel for World Cup fans and teams. The game between Sweden and South Korea will be the opening match of the stadium this year. After the World Cup, the stadium will be the new home of the Russian Premier League side FC Olimpiyets.
The arena is a two-hour flight away from Moscow, and it is quite a long trip for those fans aiming to witness any of the 5 big games in Moscow. The arena is a brand new stadium that is located near the underdeveloped river which is the River Don. Although the venue is spectacular-looking, the city where the stadium is situated is quite dangerous with high crime rate.
Samara Arena is one of the recently-unveiled venues with spaceships themed designs. The stadium looks like a glass dome from the outside. Because of its unique design, it is considered as a famous tourist destination as the Aviation and Space Exploration Museum is also located in the venue. The arena looks great especially at night because of the lights placed in the entire exterior.
Still located in Moscow, Spartak Stadium was only opened in 2014. Although it is built for the World Cup, it will only be used on the earliest part of the game as it can’t accommodate a big audience. The Luzhniki stadium will be used on the latter part of the tournament instead.
Both inside and out of the new stadium has a fine-looking ground. The seats are near to the pitch and the outside ground is quite luxurious as it is made up of white and red diamonds with colours that can be adjusted based on the teams playing there.
Volgograd is also built for the World Cup. The place was known as a faceless bowl, and now it was restored into an attractive modern venue. The arena has a lattice exterior that is quite impressive to look at. The roof is meant to resemble a bicycle wheel, and a slab girder is displaced to allow the natural light to pass through to the inside of the stadium.
Odds for The Favourites to Win the World Cup
As the world cup draws near, we know now which team will meet on the grounds of the World Cup 2018 in Russia. Although it’s difficult to identify which country will bring home the bacon, it’s good to have a consensus in mind on which teams will likely win or lose. Now, let’s try to figure out the odds of the favourites to win the World Cup.
Germany Brazil Spain Argentina
Germany is in Group F along with not-so-big teams from Mexico, Sweden, and South Korea. Germany has won the World Cup 4 times already, and it’s easy to conclude that the country will overcome these 3 countries for them to advance to the next stage of the competition. However, it doesn’t matter which country joins them on the group as they have proven enough throughout the World Cup history. Moreover, according to Ladbrokes, Germany shines at odds of 1.4 to win group F.
Brazil is a five-time winner of the World Cup, and it’s not surprising that they will win again this year. Their teams are powered by highly talented individuals, including Neymar who is considered as one of the best football players. However, some find Brazil as their second favourite after being embarrassed by Germany with 7-1 in the semis. However, Brazil will most likely progress through the Final.
With odds of 7.00 by Betway, Spain is also one of world cup fans’ favourites. With its strong players, it’s no doubt that they are now capable enough to withstand Brazil and Germany. They have won the World Cup in 2010 and the European Football Champions in 2008 and 2012. Although the players are not the same anymore, Sergio Ramos, together with his squad, will definitely shine in the tournament.
This year’s World Cup could be Leonel Messi’s final chance to secure his title as the best player in the Football history. Pundits observed that the thing that is lacking for him to cement his status is the championship title for his country. Thus, his team should step up and produce some spectacular Messi magic tricks if they want Argentina to have a momentum in Russia. With the team’s odds of 10.00 by Bet365.
The World Cup is a worldwide event. It is the perfect time to set aside differences and unite through an international tournament. It is a good venue where great players and good history are made. Tune in and don’t miss a thing from this year’s World Cup.