The Oddschecker Guide to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia

Our comprehensive guide to the Russia 2018 FIFA World Cup, with history and information about the tournament, plus the best betting tips and odds for all of the teams taking part.

Oddschecker
 | 
Thu, 7 Dec, 12:05 AM

 

2018 FIFA WORLD CUP

 

SPORT: Football / Soccer

 

DATE: 15 June – 16 July

 

LOCATION: Russia (12 Venues in 11 Cities)

 

TEAMS: 32

 

PREVIOUS WINNER:  2014: Germany (1-0 AET vs Argentina)​​

 

THE PRIZE MONEY: $38 million USD ($50 million AUD)

 

World Cup History

At the turn of the 20th century, the popularity of football was quickly spreading throughout the world. Up until then, the only recognised international tournament was the British Home Championship. Football appeared as a demonstration tournament in the 1900 and 1904 Summer Olympics, then as an official sport in the 1908 games in London.

 

Following its founding in 1904, FIFA eventually recognised the Olympic tournament as a world football championship for amateurs. By 1924 and the start of the professional era for FIFA, football’s governing body and president, Jules Rimet, started planning its own international tournament outside the Olympics. The 1928 FIFA Congress in Amsterdam paved the way for the first World Cup.

 

As the winner of the last two Olympic tournaments and also celebrating their independence centenary, Uruguay were chosen as the hosts of the inaugural World Cup tournament in 1930, with 13 nations participating: 8 from South America, 4 from Europe, 2 from North America. The hosts Uruguay went on to win the tournament with a 4-2 victory against Argentina in front of a 93,000 crowd in Montevideo.

 

World Cup Format

Following the inaugural 1930 World Cup in Uruguay, the World Cup was held every four years until the outbreak of World War II, and didn’t resume until the 1950 finals hosted in Brazil. For most of the tournaments between 1934 and 1978, there were 16 teams competing, before expanding to 24 teams in 1982 and then 32 in the 1998 tournament. The next expansion has already been agreed by FIFA, with 48 teams set to participate in the 2026 World Cup finals.

 

With Russia already qualified as hosts for the 2018 finals, all 210 remaining FIFA member associations registered for the preliminary competition, although Zimbabwe and Indonesia were disqualified before playing their first matches. In total, a record 208 teams participated in the qualification process over the three years preceding the 2018 finals.

 

As in previous tournaments since 1998, the 2018 World Cup in Russia will feature 32 teams, split into 8 groups of 4 teams for the first phase. The draw was held at the Kremlin in Moscow on 1st December 2017, defining the composition of the eight groups. The top two teams from each of those groups will progress to compete in the last sixteen for the first knock-out phase, then on to the quarter-finals, semi-finals, third place playoff and final.

 

World Cup Final

The 2018 World Cup Final will take place at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, on 15th July 2018 and with kick-off scheduled for 18:00 local time. When the whistle blows to start the game, the two teams will be competing to become the 21st winner of the World Cup.

 

Brazil have won the World Cup five times and are the only team to have competed at every tournament. Germany and Italy have each won the trophy four times; Argentina and Uruguay twice each; and England, France and Spain have each claimed the title once.

 

World Cup Trophy

The first World Cup trophy was originally named ‘Victory’, but was subsequently renamed in honour of former FIFA president, Jules Rimet, who had been instrumental in the inauguration of the first ever tournament held in Uruguay. It was made of gold plated sterling silver and lapis lazuli, featuring a depiction of Nike, the Greek goddess of victory. The Jules Rimet Trophy was used between 1930 and 1970, when it was awarded outright to Brazil.

 

The subsequent ‘FIFA World Cup Trophy’ was introduced for the 1974 World Cup. It depicts two human figures holding up the earth and is made of 18 carat gold with a malachite base, designed and sculpted by the Stabilimento Artistico Bertoni company in Italy.

 

World Cup Awards

Beyond the winners of the World Cup trophy itself, there are additional awards presented at the end of the tournament. The FIFA Fair Play Trophy recognises the team with the best fair play record, usually for the lowest number of yellow and red cards from the knockout rounds. The Best Young Player Award was introduced for the 2006 World Cup and was last won by France midfielder, Paul Pogba, at the tournament in Brazil. Clean sheets and agile performances between the posts are also recognised with the Golden Glove for goalkeepers, last won by Germany shot-stopper Manuel Neuer in 2014.

 

The Golden Ball award is presented to the best player at each World Cup finals, and voted for by official representatives of the media, from a shortlist decided by the FIFA technical committee. It was last won by Argentine maestro Lionel Messi at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The highest goalscorer is also recognised with the Golden Boot award, which was won by German striker Miroslav Klose at the last tournament. Interestingly, no player has ever won any of the awards more than once.

 

World Cup Betting

Football betting is hugely popular, so as fans get swept along with the World Cup fever, the bookmakers are offering more betting markets for the tournament than ever before. There's all the traditional match markets such as Result, Correct Score, Over/Under Goals, 1st Goalscorer, plus the Outright Winner to keep an eye on; but there's also much more for Russia 2018.

 

Bookmakers like Sportsbet and CrownBet are already offering odds on where the Socceroos will finish in their group in additional to what stage, the Socceroos will be eliminationed.

 

At Oddschecker, we have all the key markets covered, and more, so you can easily check where the best odds are at a glance, before the tournament begins and right the way through to the final.

 

World Cup Tips

Following the World Cup draw in Moscow at the start of December 2017, the majority of bookmakers quickly installed Germany and Brazil as the firm outright favourites. We all want to put our money on the winning teams and the outright markets are always popular, but with so many exciting games taking place, there's much more you can back.

 

Throughout the tournament, Oddschecker will be keeping you up to date with detailed data-driven previews ahead of every game, helping you to identify the form of teams and players, plus the best value markets and odds according to our football betting experts. At our expansive World Cup Tips section, knowledge is power!

Wold Cup Groups

 

  • Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
  • Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
  • Group C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
  • Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria
  • Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
  • Group F: Germany, Sweden, Mexico, South Korea
  • Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
  • Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan

 

World Cup Odds

Brazil $6
Germany $6
France $6.5
Spain $8
Argentina $10
Belgium $13
England $19
Portugal $26
Uruguay $34
Russia $41
Colombia $41
Croatia $41
Poland $51
Denmark $81
Switzerland $81
Mexico $101
Sweden $126
Senegal $151
Serbia $151
Peru $201
Iceland $251
Nigeria $251
Egypt $301
Japan $301
Australia $401
Morocco $501
Iran $501
Costa Rica $501
South Korea $751
Tunisia $751
Saudi Arabia $1001
Panama $1001

 

Past World Cup Finals

Year

Winners

Final Score

Runners-up

Final Venue

1930

Uruguay

4-2

Argentina

Montevideo, Uruguay

1934

Italy

2-1 (aet)

Czechoslovakia

Rome, Italy

1938

Italy

4-2

Hungary

Paris, France

1950

Uruguay

2-1

Brazil

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

1954

West Germany

3-2

Hungary

Bern, Switzerland

1958

Brazil

5-2

Sweden

Solna, Sweden

1962

Brazil

3-1

Czechoslovakia

Santiago, Chile

1966

England

4-2 (aet)

West Germany

London, England

1970

Brazil

4-1

Italy

Mexico City, Mexico

1974

West Germany

2-1

Netherlands

Munich, West Germany

1978

Argentina

3-1 (aet)

Netherlands

Buenos Aires, Argentina

1982

Italy

3-1

West Germany

Madrid, Spain

1986

Argentina

3-2

West Germany

Mexico City, Mexico

1990

West Germany

1-0

Argentina

Rome, Italy

1994

Brazil

0-0 (aet) 3-2p

Italy

Pasadena, USA

1998

France

3-0

Brazil

Paris, France

2002

Brazil

2-0

Germany

Yokohama

2006

Italy

1-1 (aet) 5-3p

France

Berlin, Germany

2010

Spain

1-0 (aet)

Netherlands

Johannesburg, South Africa

2014

Germany

1-0 (aet)

Argentina

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

 

World Cup Records

  • Most Appearances: 24, Lothar Matthäus (Germany, 1982-1998)
  • Most Goals: 16, Miroslav Klose (Germany, 2002-2014)
  • Highest Scoring Match: Austria 7-5 Switzerland (26th June 1954)

 

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