Your guide to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia
The Caltex Socceroos have booked their spot at a fourth consecutive FIFA World Cup after overcoming Honduras in a tense play-off on Wednesday night.
After the first leg finished 0-0 in San Pedro Sula, a hat-trick to captain Mile Jedinak inspired Ange Postecoglou’s side to a convincing 3-1 win at Stadium Australia.
With their spot in Russia now secure, we can now take a closer look at next year’s showpiece event.
WHEN IS IT?
The 2018 World Cup will kick off next year in Russia on June 15 (AEDT) with the final to be played a month later on July 15. The group stages will run for a fortnight with the knockout phase of the tournament beginning June 30.
WHICH CITIES HOST?
Eleven different Russian cities will see World Cup action in 2018. The Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow will host the final with Saint Petersburg, Sochi and Volgograd just a few of the other cities set to host games
HOW MANY GAMES ARE THERE?
There will a total of 64 matches played to decide the winner of the 2018 World Cup.
Each nation plays three group matches with the top two sides from each pool progressing to the knockout stages.
The knockout rounds consist of: Round of 16, Quarter-Finals, Semi-Finals and Final.
WHO ARE THE FAVOURITES?
Germany will be right in contention to defend their 2014 World Cup crown with the world’s highest-ranked nation cruising through qualifying.
The European powerhouse also won this year’s Confederations Cup title.
Brazil, France and Spain also loom as the danger sides in Russia.
The mascot for the 2018 World Cup will fittingly be a wolf called Zabivaka, which is a Russian translation for ‘the one who scores’.