11 top FIFA World Cup facts

The draw for the 2018 World Cup is getting closer. Ahead of finding out who the Caltex Socceroos will face in the group stage at Russia 2018, here are 11 top World Cup facts. 

  • This is the 21st FIFA World Cup, 88 years after the first tournament in Uruguay (1930). It will be played in Russia for the first time.
  • 32 teams are taking part in the 2018 World Cup, with Iceland and Panama the only debut nations.
  • 12 stadiums in 11 different cities will be used for the tournament. Moscow is the only city to play host to two venues (Luzhniki Stadium, Spartak Stadium).
  • Since (and including) 1986, the winners of each World Cup have always won their group stage.
  • The World Cup hosts have always reached the second round of the competition, with the exception of South Africa in 2010.
World Cup
The trophy everyone is playing for: the FIFA World Cup
  • 30% of the World Cups have been won by the host nation (6 out of 20), the last being France in 1998.
  • All previous 20 World Cups have been won by teams from Europe (11) or South America (9).
  • Germany will look to become the first team to win back-to-back World Cup titles since Brazil achieved it in 1962. However, the last two defending champions have been knocked out in the group stages (Italy 2010, Spain 2014).
  • Italy have failed to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958 and are the only one of eight World Cup winning nations not taking part in the 2018 tournament.
  • Mexico have qualified for the World Cup the most times (16) without ever winning it.
  • All previous 20 World Cups have been won by a manager with the same nationality as the winning team.
World Cup mascot
French World Cup winner Marcel Desailly jokes around with World Cup mascot Zabivaka