Australia to Zabivaka - An A to Z guide to the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Ahead of the FIFA World Cup in Russia, we have put together a complete A to Z guide covering all things from stadiums to Mascots.
Australia will be competing at its 4th consecutive World Cup (5th Overall) and have been drawn in Group C along with European Powerhouse France, Denmark & Peru.
Brazil is the most successful national team in the history of the World Cup, having won five titles and the only nation to qualify & participate in every edition since 1930. With Neymar coming back from injury and a host of other stars featuring for the Seleção, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they claimed their sixth title in Russia.
Cahill will be looking to be the ourth player ever to score at four World Cups. Australia all-time leading goal scorer has already found the net on 5 occasion in his previous three encounters and will write his name in the history books if he can score in Russia. The only person who could potentially beat him to that title is just a player by the name of Cristiano Ronaldo.
Daniel Arzani is Youngest Player to be select for this year’s World Cup. He will 19 years, 5 months, and 10 days old when the first ball is kicked in the tournament
Eastern Europe will host its first World Cup leaving only the Middle East (of which Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup) & Australia/Oceania as the only two regions never to host the biggest global sporting event.
France will be Australia’s first opponent in Russia this year and one of the Powerhouses favoured to feature in the final. Les Bleus won the tournament on home soil in 1998 however after losing the finals of Euro 2016 to Portugal in front of packed Stade de France, the French will be looking to go one better here in Russia.
Germany are current World Champions and the number one ranked side in Russia this year. Also did we mention that Die Mannschaft won the Confederations Cup last year in Russia (the warm up event for the World Cup) and are favourites with the bookies to claim back-to-back titles?
Honduras was who Australia had to overcome in the Inter-Continental Play-offs to book a spot in Russia. Only 15 of the 23 Socceroos called up for the Play-offs have been named in Bert Van Marwijk’s squad.
Italy failed to qualify for the first time since 1958 in what could only be described as a national tragedy for the Auzzuri.
Jules Rimet is the name of the Trophy that the 32 nations will be vying for – named after the FIFA president Jules Rimet who set up the first tournament.
Kaliningrad is the venue furthest West and the only one not to be located in Mainland Russia (it is enclave wedged between Poland & Lithuania) – In fact Kaliningrad is closer to Copenhagen (the capital of the Socceroos’ second opponents, Denmark), than it is to the Russian capital, Moscow.
Luzhinki Stadium will be the venue of the both the opening and final games of the tournament. In doing so it will be the 20th different venue to host a World Cup Final - only the Estadio Azteca (Mexico) & Estádio do Maracanã (Brazil) have hosted the finals multiple times.
Manchester City is the club most represented at this year’s World Cup with 16 players followed by Real Madrid with 15 & Barcelona with 14. In comparison only 3 A-League players have been selected for squads to feature in Russia (1 from the Newcastle Jets, Melbourne City & Western Sydney Wanderers respectively).
Nigeria will have the sexiest kit in Russia – that’s right we said sexiest. Nike claims it made 3 million replica shirts and they sold out amazingly in less than a day of going on sale. Oh well, I guess we will be settling for the cheap Bali knockoffs.
Oracle Animals – After the success of Paul the Octopus in 2010 one thing is for sure there will be now shortage of Physic Animals. We tried to get our very own Oracle, Larry the Goldfish, but unfortunately we spent all our Marketing Budget on this A-Z.
Panama along with Iceland are the only two nations making their World Cup Finals debut in 2018 – the most since the 2006 World Cup in Germany which had six.
Qatar somehow will host the 2022 World Cup. Let’s enjoy this while we can cause it’s all downhill from here for the next 4 years. Really which idiots thought it would be a great idea to host a World Cup in the desert.
Russia are the hosts of this year’s edition but are also the lowest rank team featuring in the tournament thanks to FIFA’s farcical Ranking System. The host will feature the tournament’s opening game against Saudi Arabia
Salah – this year’s Premier League top goal scorer led the Egypt to their first World Cup in 28 years - despite winning the African Cup of Nations on 4 occasions during that period. A shoulder injury to the Liverpool forward sustained in the UEFA Champions League final means he may be in doubt for the Pharaohs’ first game against Uruguay
Telstar 18 is the name of the ball being used at this year’s world cup. Manufacturer by Adidas, it is a tribute to the original 1970 World Cup Match day & has even has had the honour on being shot into space on a Russian rocket to the International Space Station.
Uruguay were the inaugural hosts (and winners) of the tournament. More recently they are renowned as being the guys that John Aloisi slotted home the penalty against to get us to the 2006 World Cup & also being the home serial biter/Cannibal, Luis Suarez
Viking Clap, the thing that contrary to popular belief was not started by the NRL’s Green Machine, the Canberra Raiders, but in fact it was popularised the smallest nation ever to compete in the tournament, Iceland. In fact, any Icelandic Male aged 18-40 has a 1 in 2000 chance of representing the national squad – that better odds than the Bookies gave Leicester to win the 2015/16 English Premier League.
Will Smith has teamed up with Nicky Jam & Era Istrefi to release the official song of the tournament, ‘Live It Up’. It is definitely getting a couple of plays on the office Spotify account but it is still no ‘Cup of Life’ by Ricky Martin.
Xherdan Shaqiri of Switzerland was the last player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup when he netted all the Swiss goals in the Group Stage defeat of Honduras.
Yekaterinburg is the most Eastern venue for the World Cup – the city will host only 4 group games including the Group C clash between France and Peru.
Zabivaka is the name of this year’s mascot who is a Wolf. His name translated from Russian to English means ‘the one who scores’ – We’re guessing when Australia host the World Cup, our Mascot will be called Timmy.