The World Cup 2018 is almost here! The biggest single-event sporting competition in the world will start mid-June and we will see the giants of world football battling it out to be crowned the best in the world. Whether you’re a huge fan, are new to ‘soccer’ or you’re just interested in the hype of the competition, here we give you all the information you’ll need to enjoy the beautiful game in Madrid this summer.
This world cup will take place in Russia (Moscow). Moscow is the capital of the Russian Federation, one of the most well-known, fascinating and populated cities in the world. It is a dynamic 21st century metropolis that has some of the best shops, night bars, restaurants and architecture. They welcome over 4 million tourists every year. The city itself has 12.2 million residents.
The tournament is taking place from the 14th of June to the 15th of July. This will be the first World Cup held in Europe since the tournament in Germany; all but one of the stadium venues are in European Russia, west of the Ural Mountains to keep travel time to a minimum.
Countries from all around the world have qualified for the tournament. Let’s go through the best ones from every continent:
Senegal aka “The Lions of Terranga”. After defeating South Africa 2-0 in November 2017, the national team of Senegal qualified for the 2018 world cup for the second time in history. They have also won the Amilcabar Cabral cup, a West African soccer tournament 8 times making them by far one of the best teams in Africa and also in the world.
Iran is one of the most successful national teams in Asia with three Asian Cup championships (1968, 1972, and 1976). Iran has qualified for the World Cup five times (1978, 1998, 2006, 2014, and 2018) but has never advanced past the group stage. Iran’s only win in the World Cup has been a 2–1 victory against the United States in 1998.
Iran is definitely a team to look out for in this World Cup.
In Europe we have plenty of teams that are favorites to reach the final stages every four years.
France, Germany, Argentina and Brazil are the only national teams that have won the three most important men’s titles recognized by FIFA: the World Cup, the Confederations Cup, and the Olympic tournament.
Let’s not forget our Spanish national team!
Spain: Spain is one of the most successful international teams in the world, yet has only won the World Cup once in 2010. In total they have played in 14 of the 20 competitions held since it began, more than any other team.
During the last World Cup in 2014, they shocked the world when they crashed out in the group stages of the competition, yet this year look promising to reach the final stages.
Style of play: “Tiki-taka”
Spain is renowned for its “Tiki-taka” style of play, a phrase that has come to mean short passing, patience and possession above all else.
Top players from the Spanish national team:
Andres Iniesta: The first and only World Cup championship Spain can claim is all thanks to this goal in extra time (116th minute) by Andres Iniesta.
It doesn’t end there …
Iker Casillas: Captain of both the Spanish national team and Real Madrid. He has World Cup, Euro Cup, multiple Liga and Champions league titles, as well as countless individual awards.
“Saint Iker” commonly called will always be remembered as an all-time great and may have overshadowed the great goalkeepers before him with all his accomplishments.
Xavi Alonso is considered by some circles to be the best player Spain has ever produced (big statement, we know!). He doesn’t score many goals nor is he the fastest or most physical so why do they call him the best?
He is the most masterful. No one has a higher percentage of completed passes in the World Cup than Xavi. Along with Andres Iniesta in the midfield, Xavi orchestrates the offense and creates countless opportunities for Messi and Villa up front.
Rarely has Spain ever seen any player with the vision, accuracy and consistency of Xavi.
These are some of the most notable names but let’s not forget names such as Raúl Gonzalez Blanco, Sergio Ramos, Carles Puyol and David Villa.
Here is a list of the times in Spain of all the World Cup group matches:
This year’s World Cup is set to be one of the best so far! If you’re in Madrid during any of the games, be sure to check out our blog post on some of the best places to watch the World Cup in Madrid!