Yep, it is that time again – get your vuvuzelas and soccer shirts ready, the 2018 FIFA World Cup is almost here!
This year, the 21st FIFA World Cup will be hosted in European Russia. Held between 14 June to 15 July, it is setting up to be a cracker of a tournament. This is the first time since 2006 that Europe will host a World Cup, so we are sure to be given quite a treat.
The World Cup is made up of 32 national teams. 31 of these teams were decided through qualifying games and competitions leading up to the games, while the host team is automatically qualified.
Germany, the reigning champions, might be given the upper-hand being so close to home, but they are in for a tough tournament. Iceland and Panama are both making their debut appearances in the World Cup and might cause a few upsets. However, the biggest upset this year is that previous FIFA World Cup winners Italy and three times runners up Netherlands failed to qualify!
Both Italy and Netherlands usually bring excitement and such skill to the game, so there is a gap in the field for two new teams to shine this year. Other notable teams that have failed to qualify are Cameroon, Chile, United States, Ghana and Ivory Coast. To add, whether it is a surprise or not, South Africa have failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup as well (but that is a story for another day).
The draw for the pots took place on December 1, 2017. This World Cup saw all pots and teams arranged according to their FIFA World Rankings. Pot 1 is made up of the host country (Russia) and the top 7 teams in the rankings. Pot 2 contains the next best eight teams, Pot 3 and Pot 4 contain the next 16 best teams respectively. All the teams in the pots have not played in the same confederations, except for two teams in each pot from UEFA.
Here are the first 4 Pots for the FIFA World Cup 2018:
1: Russia (host), Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, France.
2: Spain, Peru, Switzerland, England, Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Croatia.
3: Denmark, Iceland, Costa Rica, Sweden, Tunisia, Egypt, Senegal, Iran.
4: Serbia, Nigeria, Australia, Japan, Morocco, Panama, South Korea, Saudi Arabia.
The teams are made up of 30 players. A final squad of 23 players must be named before the FIFA World Cup cut-off date. However, if a player is injured, they may replace them up to 24 hours before the team’s first match, and this replacement player does not have to be from the preliminary squad. All 30 players in the preliminary squad are required to observe a rest period from 21-27 May, except for those involved in the 2018 UEFA Champions League Final on 26 May.
The games are being divided up between 12 different venues.
Luzhinki Stadium – Hosting 7 games
Saint Petersburg Stadium – Hosting 7 games
Sochi – Hosting 6 games
Kazan Stadium – Hosting 6 games
Nizhny Stadium – Hosting 6 games
Novogrod Stadium – Hosting 6 games
Samara Stadium – Hosting 6 games
Otkrytiye Stadium – Hosting 5 games
Rostovon-Don Stadium – Hosting 5 games
Volgograd – Hosting 4 games
Kaliningrad – Hosting 4 games
Yekaterinburg – Hosting 4 games
Saransk Stadium – Hosting 4 games
Having 12 stadiums to host the games allows the FIFA fever to be spread around the country. This is a vast comparison to the 3 stadiums used in the FIFA World Cup hosted in South Africa in 2010.
The prize money for the FIFA World Cup teams was announced in October 2017. All teams are awarded prize money depending on their placing in the competition.
Champions – $38 000 000
Runners-up – $28 000 000
Third place – $24 000 000
Fourth place – $22 000 000
5th – 8th place – $16 000 000
9th – 16th place – $12 000 000
17th – 32nd place – $8 000 000
Now that the basics are covered – who should we be putting our money on?
There have been two steady favourites to become champions this year. It isn’t hard to guess who they are – Germany and Brazil. Their style of football may be very different, but both seem to have the best upper-hand when it comes to winning this round of the World Cup. The two teams have 9 joined wins between them. Germany will play alongside Mexico, Sweden and South Korea, while Brazil will face Switzerland, Costa Rica and Serbia.
While nothing is concrete and a bet is a leap of faith muddled in with some luck, it seems that if you want to win, these are the two teams to go for.
It has also been said not to rule out France, who were runners up in the EURO’s 2016. Belgium and England are also coming in guns blazing, so making your pick might be a bit more complicated than thought.
Remember when placing bets to only use a reputable betting site. You don’t want to be putting money on a bet, choosing the right team and winning, only to see the “bookie” running away with your money. There are plenty straight-up sites to choose from, and many can actually be downloaded as an app onto your mobile device. This helps you keep up to date with all the latest odds, results and pay-outs.
Sunbet, Sportingbet, and World Sporting Bets are all good sites to try out. Why not place a few early bets on unrelated games in the meantime and test them out. You might find yourself with some money in hand to use during the FIFA World Cup.
Here they are! The groups for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia! 🇷🇺🙌
— FIFA World Cup 🏆 (@FIFAWorldCup) December 1, 2017
Enjoy The Game
While there is a decent amount of money to be made betting during the World Cup try and remember the purpose of it. It is a worldwide event created to unite countries through a unified front – the love of soccer. With all the bad going on in the world, a tournament that brings such joy to people, and hope for budding young soccer players, may be exactly what we need. Sit back, relax with a Coca-Cola in hand, and enjoy the magnificent game.