The 21st edition of the football World Cup starts in Russia on June 14. Here is what you need to know about the event.
The 21st edition of the football World Cup kicks off in Russia from June 14.
The qualification campaign for the tournament started with 210 countries that involved 872 matches.
Over the next month, 32 teams from across the world will be taking part in the tournament with the final to be played in Moscow on July 15.
There will be 64 games spread over 25 match days.
The tournament kicks off on Thursday, June 14 when hosts Russia take on Saudi Arabia in the tournament opener (kick-off 15:00 GMT).
Russia is hosting the football World Cup for the first time.
The 64 matches will be played across 12 stadiums in 11 cities. The opening match between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia will take place at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. The same venue will also host the final that takes place on July 15.
Ekaterinburg (Ekaterinburg Arena) – Capacity: 35,696
Kaliningrad (Kaliningrad Stadium) – Capacity: 35,212
Kazan (Kazan Arena) – Capacity: 44,779
Moscow (Luzhniki Stadium) – Capacity: 81,006
Moscow (Spartak Stadium) – Capacity: 43,298
Nizhny Novgorod (Nizhny Novgorod Stadium) – Capacity: 45,331
Rostov-on-Don (Rostov Arena) – Capacity: 45,145
St Petersburg (St Petersburg Stadium) – Capacity: 68,134
Samara (Samara Arena) – Capacity: 44,807
Saransk (Mordovia Arena) – Capacity: 44,442
Sochi (Fisht Stadium) – Capacity: 47,700
Volgograd (Volgograd Arena) – Capacity: 45,568
Who is taking part?
Out of 210 countries that started the qualification round, only 32 have made it to Russia:
Find all Russia 2018 fixtures here.
Who missed out?
Four-time World Cup winners Italy and the Netherlands are two of the biggest names to have missed out on qualifying for World Cup 2018.
Italy lost out to Sweden in the playoffs after finishing second in their group while the Netherlands, semi-finalists at Brazil 2014, finished third in their group.
Chile, Cameroon, Ivory Coast and potential 2026 hosts USA will also be spectators at this year’s tournament.
Uruguay hosted the first edition of the World Cup in 1930. The hosts also went on to win the tournament but have only managed to win it one more time since then.
Brazil has been the most successful team in the history of the World Cup, having won the tournament five times.
Germany are the defending champions, having beaten Argentina in Brazil four years ago to lift the trophy.
This is the penultimate time that the World Cup will comprise 32 teams. FIFA announced that World Cup 2026 (that follows Qatar 2022) will have 48 teams taking part.