The 2018 FIFA World Cup will be the 21st FIFA World Cup, a quadrennial international football tournament contested by the men’s national teams of the member associations of FIFA.
It is scheduled to take place in Russia from 14 June to 15 July 2018, after the country was awarded the hosting rights on 2 December 2010.
32 countries. 64 matches. 12 Venues. 11 Cities.
This will be the first World Cup held in Europe since the 2006 tournament in Germany, and the first ever to be held in Eastern Europe. All of the stadium venues are in European Russia, to keep travel time manageable.
The final tournament will involve 32 national teams, which include 31 teams determined through qualifying competitions and the automatically qualified host team.
Of the 32 teams, 20 will be making back-to-back appearances following the last tournament in 2014, including defending champions Germany, while Iceland and Panama will both be making their first appearances at a FIFA World Cup.
A total of 64 matches will be played in 12 venues located in 11 cities. The final will take place on 15 July at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.
The winners of the World Cup will qualify for the 2021 FIFA Confederations Cup.
North, Central America and Caribbean (3)
Euro 2016 Cinderella and fan favorite Iceland, will be making its first appearance in a World Cup. “Our Boys” stole the spotlight in The Euro 2016 competition, much imputed to their followers and their representation as a whole in that tournament. It’s reported that 10% of the countries total population made it to France to support Iceland in 2016, how many of the 334,252 total population will make it to Russia?
The only other participant to be debuting for the first time in a World Cup will be CONCACAF representer Panama. La Marea Roja (Red Tide) qualified dramatically in a boom heard across the world……
The Italians will be missing the world cup for the first time in over six decades. The four-time champion was eliminated during qualification in a two-leg playoff vs. Sweden. Italy failed to score in Milan in the return leg and ultimately fell 1-0 aggregate to Sweden, who will make its first appearance since 2006. This is only the 3rd time in history that Italy will miss the competition.
Needing a miracle just to make it to the playoff match, the Dutch were required to win by a margin of 7 goals, to surpass Sweden. Just two tournaments ago (2010), the Orange machine was able to reach the World Cup Final before falling to Spain in extra time. The Dutch have now been on a downward spiral since Brazil, failing to qualify for the 2016 European Championships as well. Sweden’s thrashing of Luxembourg 8-0 would prove to be the difference pushing the Swedes ahead through goal differential.
In what is being deemed as the “Dark Era’ of American Soccer, USA will be absent from the field for the first time in 28 years. In an astonishing defeat, the Americans fell to Trinidad and Tobago, the 99th ranked team in the world. Only needing a tie on the final day of qualification, The Stars and Stripes felt extremely confident needing just a tie at the minimum to punch their ticket to Russia. The rest is history, and we are left here in the states wondering what could have been.