The 2018 FIFA World in Russia is less than 70 days to the official opening ceremony slated for The Luzhniki stadium on June 14, 2018.
Legit.ng attempts an over view of important facts; that includes key events, dates and figures of different scenarios’ you should know heading into football’s greatest fiesta in June.
1. Russia 2018 will be the next to the last World Cup that 32 nations will be vying for honours. From 2026 tournament, 48 teams will be on parade.
2. Nigeria’s group opponents, Iceland alongside Panama will be debuting in the World Cup at Russia 2018.
3. Brazil’s Seleção are the only nation to have played in every edition of the World Cup and have won the most titles (5). The South Americans will be gunning for their sixth title at Russia.
4. In Russia, Germany’s Die Mannschaft will be targeting to become the first nation to win back-to-back titles years since Brazil’s feat in 1958 and 1962 tournaments.
5. Nigeria's Super Eagles will be making a record appearance at Russia (6). Till date, no African country has reached that figure since the Clemens Westerhof-tutored Eagles’ squad made an entry at the world’s most glamorous football fiesta in 1994.
6. Germany’s Die Mannschaft with 18 goals in 2014, 16 in 2010 and 14 at in 2006 have accounted for the most goals at the last three edition of the World Cup.
7. Russia's Oleg Salenko currently sits on top for most goals scored in a World Cup game after hitting (5) against Cameroon’s Indomitable Lions in 1994.
8. South Korea with 10 World Cup appearances is the most from the Asian continent.
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9. Iceland with about 334,000 inhabitants will be the smallest nation to play at the World Cup in Russia. They are expected to storm Russia with the Viking claps.
10. Legendary Russian goalkeeper, Lev Yashin, who tasted action between the sticks at the 1958 and 1970 World Cups remain the only shot stopper to win the Ballon d'Or going into Russia 2018 World Cup.
11. A special breed, St. Petersburg museum-based deaf cat, Achilles, who predicted accurately, after getting all but one right at last year’s FIFA Confederations Cup, will be in action again during June’s soccer fiesta in the eastern European nation.
12. Nine newly built stadiums listed alongside 12 in 11 different cities; will host matches during Russia 2018.
13. The forthcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia is expected to cost over half a billion more than budgeted as the European will spend close to $12 billion.
However, the sum is still a couple billion fewer than former host, Brazil spent four years ago.
14. Champions at Russia 2018 World Cup will pocket $38 million while runners-up receive a princely sum of $28 million as consolation.
In addition, for making the group stage, countries will bank $8 million. Russia 2018 World Cup received a 12 percent hike when compared to the last edition in 2014.
15. Russia 2018 will witness the introduction of the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) for the first time after the use of the technology got approval from the International Football Association Board (IFAB).
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16. Argentina’s Lionel Messi (30) and Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo (33) are expected to continue their rivalry maybe for the final time, when hostilities commence in June.
17. If Germany’s Die Mannschaft claims the top prize at Russia 2018, each squad member will smile to the bank with €350,000 each.
18. A total of 64 matches in 30 days will be played at Russia 2018 Fifa World Cup in the summer.
19. The 2018 Fifa World Cup could be the final time global fans’ bid farewell to the likes of Dani Alves (34), Rafa Marquez (39), Vincent Kompany (31), Luis Suarez (31), Andreas Iniesta (33), Luka Modric (32), Thiago Silva (33), Jakub Blaszczykowski (32), Keisuke Honda (31) and Falcao (32).
20. Nigeria’s Super Eagles alongside the trio of Argentina’s La Albiceleste, Iceland’s Strákarnir okkar and Croatia’s Vatreni in Group D have been ‘termed’ one of the most exciting group during the forthcoming 2018 Fifa World Cup.
21. Brazil’s Seleção will parade the most expensive squad (€671.5 million) at Russia 2018 while Panama will showcase the cheapest at €5.25 million.
22. The last two defending champions of FIFA World Cup in Brazil 2014 and South Africa 2010 (Spain and Italy respectively) did not get to the knock out stage.
23. Russian 2018 opener will go into the records book as the first World Cup opener to be played by the two lowest-ranked teams in the competition (Russia 65th, Saudia Arabia 63rd).
24. Going into Russia 2018, India is the only country that qualified for the global football fiesta, but never tasted any action in 1950 World Cup after FIFA insisted they can’t play barefoot.
25. Fans hoping to catch a glimpse of the action during the summer World Cup will splash out from €85 ($105) to €892 for the final.
However, Russian residents are offered cheaper tickets with prices from €19. Four years ago in Brazil, the cheapest group stage matches cost the fans €69 while the most expensive final tickets was €730.
26. There will be whole host of new foods at Russia for visiting fans to try. Those visiting Sochi venue, will get special lunch boxes with Black Sea cuisine.
27. During the FIFA World Cup tour, only Presidents, heads of state or World Cup winners are allowed to touch the real trophy.
28. Germany's Thomas Müller, currently is on top of active players with the most goals (10) and assists (6) in the World Cup.
29. Russia is the world's largest country in terms of area, spanning across 11 time zones. Only four will be relevant for the World Cup though.
30. Legendary Egyptian goalkeeper, Essam El-Hadary at 45, is set to become the oldest player ever at a World Cup.
El-Hadary played and captained in all but the final game of qualifying, has 156 caps for his country and Russia will be his World Cup debut.
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