By Eyo Nse,
As the 2018 world cup builds up, here are some facts you need to know about the world most popular football tournament which will be hosted and held in Russia from June 14 to July 15 2018, as compiled by Brainnews Radio.
The facts are;
1. 2 December, 2010 Russia, for the first time in its history, was granted the right to host the FIFA World Cup. The finals of the tournament will be held from June 14 to July 15, 2018.
2. 32 teams will take part in the competition. Russia and 13 national teams would represent European zone (Russia was automatically qualified for the Championship as the host country), five national teams from African zone, and ten from Asia and South America, and three from North American zone. Another two tournament tickets will be decided in play-offs.
3. The FIFA Cup matches will be held in 11 cities: Moscow (this city will host the finals of the cup) –
4. From 17 June to 2 July, 2017 Russia will host another FIFA tournament– the Confederations Cup. 8 teams will participate: Russia as a host country of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Germany as the current world champion, Australia as the winner of the 2015 Asia Cup, Chile as the winner of the 2015 Copa America, Mexica as the winner of play-off match between the winners of the 2013 and 2015 Golden CONCACAF Cup, New Zealand as the winner of the 2016 OFC Nations Cup and Portugal as the current champion of Europe. Another participating country will be determined only on February 5, 2017; it will be the national team who wins the African Cup of Nations.
5. The matches of Confederation Cup will be held on the stadiums of four cities. Kazan and Sochi will host semi-finals, Spartak Stadium in Moscow will host the semi-final for the third place match, and Saint Petersburg will host the first semi-final and final match of the cup.
6. In October of 2014 the FIFA unvelined the brand identity of the World Cup and its official emblem, designed in a form of the principal trophy – the world cup. The principal theme of the World Cup Russia is a dream and the cosmic outer space exploration, enlivened with folk motives featuring Firebirds, Matryoshkas and folk patterns.
7. Wolf Zabivaka™ designed by student Ekaterina Bocharova won the right to be the 2018 World Cup mascot. The main symbol of the tournament was chosen via online voting.
8. Volunteers will be assisting in the process of managing and hosting the FIFA World Cup and the Confederations Cup. They will receive special training for 20 functional directions. The organizers plan to include over 5 thousand people for hosting the FIFA Confederations Cup 2017 and about 15 thousand people in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. About 20 thousand volunteers will take part in the program entitled City Volunteers.
9. The 2018 FIFA World Cup and each host city will be represented by elected ambassadors – famous people who were either born in those cities, or are somehow related to them. The ambassadors of the World Cup promote sports and healthy lifestyle and promote the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
10. Apart from football matches, guests will also be able to visit FIFA Fan Fests – special events organized by FIFA. These are officially dedicated areas to watch Confederations Cup 2017 matches, where everyone unable to come to the stadium is welcome to join the fun. This is the perfect way to safely and conveniently watch live coverage of the games between the best teams in the world.
11. 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.
12.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. This will be the first World Cup held in Europe since the 2006 tournament in Germany; all but one of the stadium venues are in European Russia, west of the Ural Mountains, 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.
13. The draw was held on 1 December 2017, at 18:00 MSK, at the State Kremlin Palace in Moscow. The 32 teams were drawn into eight groups of four.
For the draw, the teams were allocated to four pots based on the FIFA World Rankings of October 2017. Pot 1 contained the hosts Russia (who were automatically assigned to Position A1) and the best seven teams, Pot 2 contained the next best eight teams, and so on for Pots 3 and 4. This was different from previous draws, where only Pot 1 was based on FIFA Rankings while the remaining pots were based on geographical considerations. However, still retained was the fact that teams from the same confederation were not drawn against each other for the group stage, except for UEFA where each group contained up to two teams.
14. On 16 March 2018, the FIFA Council approved the use of video assistant referees (VAR) for the first time in a FIFA World Cup tournament.
On 29 March 2018, FIFA released the list of 36 referees and 63 assistant referees selected to oversee matches.
15. Each team must first name a preliminary squad of 30 players. From the preliminary squad, the team must name a final squad of 23 players (three of whom must be goalkeepers) by the FIFA deadline. Players in the final squad may be replaced due to serious injury up to 24 hours prior to kickoff of the team’s first match, where the replacement players do not need to be in the preliminary squad.
For players named in the 30-player preliminary squad, there is a mandatory rest period between 21 and 27 May 2018, except for those involved in the 2018 UEFA Champions League Final played on 26 May.
In February 2018, it was announced that the number of players to be named in the provisional squads would be increased from 30 to 35.