The 2018 World Cup is Headed to Russia – Team Breakdown + more

By : Ian Pearson

FIFA World Cup is just around the corner and this will be its 21st edition (in the 21st century, how convenient). There are only about 6 months left to prepare for the biggest sports event in the world that will take place in Russia in June 2018.  With the current format nearing its end, since the next FIFA World Cup will take place in Qatar outside of the European summer, it’s time to prepare for what awaits us. We’ve prepared everything you need to know everything about the soccer event that’s going to gather some of the best players in the world.


Group A:  Russia, Uruguay, Saudi Arabia, Egypt

Group B: Spain, Portugal, Morocco, Iran

Group C: France, Denmark, Australia, Peru

Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria

Group E: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Costa Rica

Group F: Germany, Sweden, Mexico, South Korea

Group G: England, Belgium, Panama, Tunisia

Group H: Poland, Colombia, Senegal, Japan

Group B and D look particularly strong, while Group E isn’t too far behind them. Germany in Group F is expected to have an easy time going through the group stage, and the same could be said for France in group C.

The Teams That Surprisingly Missed Out

The biggest surprise would be if Argentina didn’t manage to qualify, and they came very close to that but managed to pull out a clutch win over Ecuador. Chile wasn’t as lucky, and they got eliminated after a convincing defeat by Brazil.

The biggest surprises in Europe are Italy and Netherlands who both failed to qualify. We’ve grown used to the Dutch underperforming, but Italy was looking very strong the last time around. But then again – they were led by Antonio Conte at the time (and might be again in the future).

Besides them, teams that surprisingly failed to qualify are Turkey, USA Austria, Republic of Ireland, Wales, Cameron, Ghana and the Czech Republic.

The Official Ball

At the World Cup 2018 in Russia, all games will be played with the Adidas Telstar 18 ball. The decision was made official on Nov 9 with the help of Lionel Messi, who helped launch the product.

The first Telstar ball was used in Mexico, at the World Cup in 1970. The second iteration of the ball was then again used in 1974 at the World Cup in West Germany.

As Adidas is trying to keep the tradition going, Telstar 18 is also inspired by a classic design that was used so many years ago.

When’s the Kick-Off?

The first match of the tournament in Russia will be played on June 14, at 6PM local time. That’s 4 PM for the UK.

Most of the group matches will be played during the day, at 3PM and 6PM Moscow time, while some matches will also be played at 9PM Moscow time.

The finals are scheduled for Sunday, July 15, with the kick off at 6 PM Moscow time. The third-place match will take place one day earlier, with the semi-finals scheduled for July 10 and July 11.

Who’s Most Likely to Win it All?

At the moment, Germany is currently a favorite to win the World Cup, while the general public also sees Brazil with similar odds. If you are one of those who likes to spice things up a bit while watching the games, there are plenty of bonus betting sites you can check out. Even though Germany has lost their former captain, Philipp Lahm, due to retirement – they’re still packed with stars such as Toni Kroos, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller and Manual Neuer. Not only did Germany have a perfect record during their qualifiers, but they also scored 43 goals in just 10 matches!

Brazil, on the other hand, has a tougher group to get through, as Serbia qualified as the number one seed in their group, while Switzerland was one win away from having a perfect record as well.

As far as the bookkeepers go, France and Spain are next in line for the throne, with both teams having some of the best European talent available in their squads.

Golden Ball Contenders

It’s been a long time since Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo started their roads to stardom and there’s no one to compare with these two players at the moment.

However, since both Argentina and Portugal are unlikely to become the new World Cup champions, there’s also the German star Thomas Muller who already was a runner-up to Messi in 2014. Neymar as well has been having quite a season in PSG and he won’t be the Brazilian sole star this year, as Liverpool’s duo of Coutinho and Firmino will be helping him out.

Toni Kroos, Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba and Eden Hazard could all be contenders as well, depending on how well their teams perform in the group stage.

Bottom Line

World Cup in Russia is likely to be the last of its kind, as in eight years we’ll see the change in format with the expansion to 48 teams. By then, most of these players competing next year won’t be around, while some younger stars will be running the show. It’s clear that soccer has never been more competitive and unpredictable than these few years, so we might be seeing a series of upsets as some countries have picked up the pace and can compete with the big boys on the highest level. It’s only six months until World Cup in Russia – and we already can’t wait!

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