REUTERS/Carl Recine

FIFA World Cup 2018 commenced on June 14 with host Russia blanking Saudi Arabia, 5-0 at Luzhniki stadium in Moscow. With 32 teams including host Russia and reigning champions Germany competing in 64 games in a space of 32 days for the most coveted trophy in global sports. Here are some quick facts you need to know!

  • The World Cup will be played in 12 stadiums across 11 cities over 1800 miles.
  • 1966 winners England remains the only team from home nations to qualify and start against Tunisia on June 18.
  • Reigning champions Germany are looking to become the first team to win the world back to back since 1962, while Brazil are hoping to clinch a record 6th title.
  • The month-long football competition is expected to bring one and a half million supporters into Russian soil while an estimated global television audience of about three billion viewers is been anticipated.
  • There are eight groups contesting with four teams present in a group. The top two teams of each group proceeds to the knockout stages of the competition.
  • The finale of the competition will take place in the 81,000-seat Luzhniki Stadium on July 15 2018.
  • Several teams already have been fancied to lift the trophy on July 15 with reigning champions Germany, five time champions Brazil, Euro 2016 champions Portugal, 1998 World Cup winners France, 2014 runners up Argentina and 2010 champions Spain all regarded as the strong favorites for the trophy.
  • Teams like Belgium, England, Poland and Nigeria have been fancied to impress based on the quality of players. Germany remains the only country to have been present in the semi-finals of the world competition in 4 consecutive edition dating back from 2002.
  • The reigning champions considering the quality of players in their team are tipped to lift the competition but must be wary of teams. Joachim Low in his press statement said that his team will be target of every other country while also adding that only Germany remains the only team with something to lose in the World Cup.
  • The team will be hoping to avoid the curse that lead to the departure of Italy and Spain from the group stages as they been placed in the same group with Mexico, South Korea and Sweden. Brazil the only team to have made it to all editions of the world cup are fancied to lift the accolade based on the quality of players in the side.
  • The Selecao seemed to have moved on from the 7-1 humiliation by Germany in the 2014 edition of the world cup as they look fresh and ready to compete. The Selecao are 9/2 to be crowned world champions with big free bet.
  • 2010 champions Spain are also fancied considering the quality they side possesses. Despite the setback in which the firing of Lopetegui might bring, La Roja still have the crop of players that can be relied on to achieve success.
  • France also possesses crops of talented footballers with the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Antonio Griezmann and Paul Pogba all playing for the Les Blues side. The 1998 champions are also fancied for the trophy. Argentina remains another interesting team fancied to lift the trophy.
  • The Abiceleste team have reach the final of every major competition they have feature going back to 2014 and are heavily fancied for this edition. 2014 Euro champions Portugal will be fancying there chance of lifting the trophy while relying the firepower of their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo.
  • Teams such as Belgium, England, Poland and Nigeria are expected to impress in the tournament but not heavily fancied to lift the trophy.
  • It’s no longer news that a host of teams failed to make it to the showpiece with 4-times champions Italy, South American champions Chile, 2010 runners up Netherland and African champions Cameroon all absent, but there are lots of positives to take from these edition as Iceland and Panama made it to the World Cup for the first time.
  • Notable long-term absentees such Peru, Egypt and Morocco all made it to Russia. Another most important news is the use of Virtual Assistant Referee (VAR) for the first time in the World Cup.

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