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20 Things You Should Know Before The World Cup This Year

cbf_futebol / Instagram

Are you ready for the biggest sporting event of the year? The World Cup kick off is on June 14th and you should be excited whether you’re a die hard soccer fan or if this is your first time watching this global celebration of sportsmanship. The World Cup takes place every four years to determine the world champion of soccer. The event is hosted by FIFA, and the 2018 tournament will take place in Russia from June 14 to July 15, 2018. There will be a total of 32 teams competing from eight different groups from around the world.

Here is a list of 20 interesting World Cup facts to get you into the soccer spirit for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

1. Russia will host for the first time ever.

CREDIT: 2018fifaworldcup_russia / Instagram

The 2018 World Cup will mark the first time Russia has ever hosted this event. On December 20th, 2010, Russia was granted the right to host the World Cup where games will be played throughout 11 cities, including Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

2. Two new countries will make their World Cup debut this year.

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Iceland and Panama will making their debuts in the competition but history shows that debuting teams don’t fare too well in their first World Cup appearance. Slovakia were the last team to make it past the group stage on their debut back in 2010.

3. Brazil has history on its side.

CREDIT: cbf_futebol / Instagram

Brazil has won the World Cup more than any other country, with five championships to its name. It is also the only country to have competed in every competition. They were also the last host country back in 2014 but were beaten 7-1 by Team Germany.

4. No country has been repeating champions since 1962.

CREDIT: dfb_team / Instagram

Germany will hope to be the first national team to win back to back World Cups since Brazil in 1962. Only Brazil (5) have more titles than Germany (4).

5. Mexico is looking to finally break through.

CREDIT: miseleccionmx / Instagram

Mexico has qualified without winning the trophy 16 times, more than any other country. Mexico’s other unfortunate record is for the most 2nd round eliminations in tournament history. The farthest the team has gone is into the quarterfinal twice back in 1970 and 1986. Here’s to this year being the year they can make the big jump to the championship round.

6. Italy will make history for all the wrong reasons.

CREDIT: azzurri / Instagram

Italy failed to qualify for the first time since 1958, being the only one of eight teams to have won the competition who won’t compete in Russia. This is one of the most surprising stories coming into the World Cup this year as Italy was seen as a lock to qualify.

7. USA will miss the World Cup for the first time in 32 years.

CREDIT: ussoccer_mnt / Instagram

Team USA also joins Italy as surprising teams to miss the World Cup this year. They lost their final qualifying match back in October with a 2-1 loss to Trinidad and Tobago that ended a run of seven straight American appearances in the World Cup. The last time they didn’t qualify was back in 1986.

8. Iceland will have a small nation rooting behind them .

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Iceland is the country with the smallest population to ever compete at a World Cup, with 334,000 residents. But with this being their debut they should have enough motivation to do well this year.

9. Keep your eye out for James Rodriguez.

CREDIT: jamesrodiguez10 / Instagram

Rodriguez was the top scorer for Colombia back in the 2014 World Cup and the 2018 qualifiers, being involved in eight of his country’s last 10 games in World Cup games. The 26-year-old soccer star should have the eyes of the world on him after his first tournament appearance.

10. Every team that has won the World Cup has shared something in common with its coach.

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Every team that has ever won a World Cup has done so under a coach who shares his nationality with his team. There have not been any exceptions to this so far. It’ll be interesting to see if this year continues this trend.

11. If your team isn’t from Europe or South America, Good luck.

CREDIT: footballlovers127 / Instagram

All World Cups have been won by European (11) or South American (9) sides. Will this be the year this streak ends?

12. German soccer player Miroslav Klose has a World Cup record that may never be broken.

CREDIT: miroslav_klose / Instagram

The World Cup’s top scorer is retired German striker Miroslav Klose who, in four tournaments (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014) scored a total of 16 goals. Second place belongs to the Brazilian player Ronaldo, who scored 15 goals in four tournaments (1994, 1998, 2002, 2006).

13. Pele is a good luck charm when it comes to winning World Cups.

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The player who has played on a winning team the most times is Brazilian, Pelé, who has won three World Cups altogether, in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He is also the youngest scorer, and winner of the tournament, at 17 years old.

14. Being host might not be so lucky.

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Playing as Russia, (they once played as the USSR) this years hosts have never managed to overcome the group stage in a World Cup (1994, 2002, 2014), finishing in third position on each occasion.

15.  The oldest player in this year’s World Cup is 45 years old.

CREDIT: essamelhadary73 / Instagram

Essam El-Hadary, who plays for Egypt, will become the oldest player to play in the world Cup 2018. The veteran goalkeeper is currently 45 years old. Let’s see if he can prove age is just a number.

16. Mexico has an old face on their team that fans have gotten used to over the years.

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Rafael Marquez who plays for Team Mexico, is the only player from the 2002 World Cup that will play in Russia this year. The 39-year-old is one the greatest players to ever put on the Mexico uniform on.

17. If you’re not first you’re last.

CREDIT: fifaworldcup / Instagram

Since 1986, the world champion came first in the group stage. Which means every championship team has placed first in their respective group stage. Will this year be any different?

18. Red cards aren’t something to be proud of unless you’re Brazil.

CREDIT: eduasportin / Instagram

Brazil has had the most red cards in the history of the competition (11), with Argentina (10) and Uruguay (9) right behind them. Brazil and Argentina have has a successful World Cup history so these red cards haven’t had too much of a negative effect on their performances.

19. Long time no see, Peru.

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Peru, who competed in the very first World Cup, will play in the competition for the first time since 1982, the longest absence of any team that will be playing in Russia this year.

20. This years World Cup mascot will be a wolf.

CREDIT: fifaworldcup / Instagram

Zabivaka is the official mascot of this years World Cup and will be seen all throughout this year’s games. The wolf will not only promote the event and entertain crowds at the stadiums, but also become an ambassador for Russia at the tournament.

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