Soccer World Cup 2018

The 2018 FIFA World Cup takes place in Russia from June 14 – July 15

The world’s most highly-anticipated professional football tournament, the FIFA Soccer World Cup takes place every four years and soccer betting on the event is huge.

The FIFA World Cup, which attracts more spectators than even the Olympic Games, has taken place since 1930 when won by Uruguay.

In the current format 32 men’s national football teams take place in the World Cup finals stage.

FIFA World Cup 2018

  • Soccer World Cup 2018 Dates: June 14 – July 15
  • Host Country: Russia
  • Edition: 21st
  • Number of Teams: 32
  • Defending Champions: Germany (2014)
  • Debut World Cup Teams: Iceland, Panama
  • Total Matches: 64

It was decided that the FIFA World Cup 2018 would take place in Russia when they were awarded hosting rights in December of 2010 and is the first World Cup of soccer held in Europe since Germany hosted the 2006 event.

20 of the World Cup Teams for 2018 are returning after playing in the 2014 tournament and two make their debut appearances: Iceland and Panama. Iceland is officially the lowest-populated country to play in a World Cup.

Four-time World Cup winners Italy will be absent from the tournament for the first time since 1958.

Soccer World Cup Teams

Teams qualify for the World Cup of Soccer in the three years leading up to the tournament and this is known as the qualification phase of FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.

The host nation is always part of the 32 team line-up for the World Cup Finals, with the number of teams expanded from 24 to 32 in 1998.

Brazil are currently the most successful team in the Soccer World Cup boasting five titles and are also the only World Cup team to have played in all 20 tournaments from 1930 – 2014.

Germany are only one behind having scored their fourth success in the 2014 event that was held in Brazil, equal with Italy (4).

A total of eight national soccer teams have taken out the FIFA World Cup Trophy, the current one introduced after 1970.

World Cup football teams come from six FIFA continental zones: Africa, Asia, North and Central American and Caribbean, South America, Oceania and Europe.

World Cup Winning Teams:

  • Brazil (5)
  • Germany (4)
  • Italy (4)
  • Argentina (2)
  • Uruguay (2)
  • England (1)
  • France (2)
  • Spain (1)

World Cup Qualifiers

The soccer World Cup qualifiers or qualifying tournaments can kick off close three years before the actual World Cup date, lasting around two years, and decide the teams that will play in the World Cup finals.

World Cup Finals

The World Cup Finals is essentially and more commonly referred to as the World Cup as it involves the 32 teams that made it through the qualification process from their respective confederations.

The competition lasts a month and takes place over two stages: the Group stage and the World Cup Knockout stage. The Group stage of the soccer World Cup features eight groups each made up of four teams. There are eight seeded World Cup teams, which always includes the host nation.

The World Cup Group stage features three games for each team against teams in the same group, with the best two teams moving onto the knockout stage.

Following the round-robin format of the Group stage, the World Cup Knockouts then work as a single-elimination tournament. Extra time and penalty shootouts come into play at this time of the World Cup finals.

The World Cup Knockout stage is made up of:

  • The Round of 16
  • Quarter-Finals
  • Semi-Finals
  • Third-Place Match
  • World Cup Final

World Cup Awards

Following the FIFA World Cup result there are six major awards given to the top players and teams. These include the Golden Ball for the tournament’s best player; the Golden Boot for the top World Cup goal-scorer; and the Golden Glove Award for the best goalkeeper of the World Cup tournament.

World Cup Betting

World Cup betting is open months in advance of the tournament kicking off.

All-in FIFA World Cup odds on the winning nation are available and both the host nation and defending World Cup winners often dominate the soccer betting markets on the event.

When it comes to betting on the Soccer World Cup it is interesting to note that the host nation has a historical advantage. In the 20 World Cups played from 1930 – 2014 the host nation has won six times, most recently France (1998).

World Cup Records

  • Highest World Cup Winning Score: 7 points (Brazil 5 – 2 Sweden in 1958)
  • Biggest World Cup Winning Margin: 3 points (1958 and 1998)
  • Most World Cup Appearances by a Player: 5 World Cups – Antonio Carbajal (1950-1966); Lothar Matthäus (1982-1998)
  • Most World Cup Appearances by a Nation: Brazil (20)
  • Most World Cup Matches Played by a Nation: 106 – Germany
  • Most World Cup Finals Goals Scored by a Player: 16 – Miroslav Klose (2002-2014)
  • Most World Cup Goals Scored by a Nation: 224 – Germany

*Records correct following 2018 FIFA World Cup.

World Cup Winners

Year Host Nation/s Winners Score Runners-Up
1930 Uruguay Uruguay 4-2 Argentina
1934 Italy Italy 2-1 Czechoslovakia
1938 France Italy 4-2 Hungary
1950 Brazil Uruguay 2-1 Brazil
1954 Switzerland West German 3-2 Hungary
1958 Sweden Brazil 5-2 Sweden
1962 Chile Brazil 3-1 Czechoslovakia
1966 England England 4-2 West Germany
1970 Mexico Brazil 4-1 Italy
1974 West Germany West Germany 2-1 Netherlands
1978 Argentina Argentina 3-1 Netherlands
1982 Spain Italy 3-1 West Germany
1986 Mexico Argentina 3-2 West Germany
1990 Italy West Germany 1-0 Argentina
1994 United States Brazil 0-0 (3-2 Penalty Shoot Out) Italy
1998 France France 3-0 Brazil
2002 South Korea & Japan Brazil 2-0 Germany
2006 Germany Italy 1-1 (5-3 Penalty Shoot Out) France
2010 South Africa Spain 1-0 Netherlands
2014 Brazil Germany 1-0 Argentina
2018 Russia France 4-2 Croatia
2022 Qatar TBD TBD TBD