Russia Takes on the 2018 FIFA World Cup
The anticipated sporting event of the football arena is coming soon with Russians hosting the tournament. Once again, after 4 years, football stars from 32 different countries will clash for the sought-after World Cup. The 2018 FIFA World Cup is no more than a year and a half away from television screens around the globe. From June 14 to July 15, football fanatics can revel in and enjoy top-tier forwards, defenders, and goalkeepers.
Russia was awarded the hosting rights back in December 2012 and will be the first World Cup held within the borders of Europe since Germany in 2006.
As usual, the tournament is comprised of 32 national teams, which features 31 teams that will battle it out during the qualifying rounds. Meanwhile, Russia, the hosting country is automatically eligible to play in the tournament. With a total of 64 matches played out in the span of a month, there is no question that this World Cup will be another one for the books.
The bidding took place prior the start of the last World Cup held in 2014, which was in 2009. The national associations were given until February 2009 to show interest. Initially, nine countries placed bids to host the 2018 event, but Mexico then backed out. Following their withdrawal was Indonesia’s bid that was rejected the following year due to their lack of documentations to support their bid. Before February, three nations pulled out of the bid, leaving England, Russia, Netherland/Belgium, and Spain/Portugal as potential hosts for the 2018 event. Eventually, after the voting ceremonies took place, Russia claimed the top spot and claimed the right to host the next FIFA World Cup after 2014.
Meanwhile, before Russia claimed the 2018 World Cup rights, UEFA president Michel Platini proposed that that tournament should be expanded to 40 teams coming from 32 starting from 2017. The format will remain the same, but with groups of five instead of four. This proposal was in response to FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s comments that Africa and Asia deserved more spots in the event at the expense of European and South American teams. However, FIFA general secretary Jerome Valcke opposed the expansion, while Russian sports minister Vitaly Mutko mentioned that the country was already preparing for the 32-team format for 2018.
Russia proposed the following cities to host the next FIFA World Cup: Kaliningrad, Kazan, Krasnodar, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Saint Petersburg, Samara, Saransk, Sochi, Volgograd, Yaroslavl, and Yekaterinburg. All aforementioned cities reside outside European Russia to cut down travel times for teams in the large country. This list was already trimmed down due to past proposals that exceeded FIFA’s minimum requirement. The final choice of the host cities was further reduced to 11 and number of stadiums to 12 as Krasnodar and Yaroslavl were removed from the list.
Indeed, it will be another exciting moment for football lovers around the world. The full schedule was announced last 2015, where Russia will be placed in position A1 and play the opening match at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on the 14th of June.