The World Cup football (soccer) tournament, held by FIFA, is the “world’s most widely viewed sporting event” and takes place every four years to determine the world champion. Over the course of a month, 32 national teams compete in 64 matches to win the claim of the best soccer team in the world. The 2018 World Cup is scheduled to take place in Russia from June 14 to July 15, 2018.
Here are 18 little-known World Cup facts to get you into the soccer spirit for the 2018 World Cup in Russia!
- The World Cup in 2018 will mark the first time Russia has ever hosted this event and their 11th World Cup appearance. Their highest finish was 4th place in 1966.
- An astounding 3.2 billion people (almost half of the world’s population) tuned in to watch the 2014 World Cup.
- The World Cup has been played 20 times, Brazil holds the most titles with five. Italy and Germany are close behind with four each.
- For the first time in the history of soccer, the 2002 World Cup was held in two different countries: South Korea and Japan.
- The oldest goal scorer in the World Cup was Roger Milla, who was 42 in 1994 when he scored a goal for Cameroon against Russia.
- It is rumored that India withdrew from the 1950 tournament as they were not allowed to play barefoot.
- One of the venues for the 2018 World Cup, Fisht Stadium in Sochi, is the same stadium that hosted the opening and closing ceremonies at the 2014 Winter Games.
- The first World Cup was played in 1930. Uruguay was both the tournament host and winner that year.
- The World Cup trophy went missing for 7 days in 1966, when it was stolen just prior to the tournament.
- The distance between the easternmost host city (Ekaterinburg) and the westernmost host city (Kaliningrad) at the 2018 World Cup is over 1500 miles. For comparison, that’s about the same distance as Moscow to London, England.
- The average attendance per game at the 2014 World Cup was over 53,000 fans!
- The highest scoring game in World Cup history was in 1954, when Austria defeated Switzerland 7-5.
- The Italians have had the most number of draws in World Cup history with 21.
- Of all countries that have appeared in the World Cup, Indonesia has played the least number of matches – just one in 1938.
- Surprisingly Mexico has the most World Cup losses (25), though they do also have 14 wins and 14 draws.
- While 32 teams will qualify for the 2018 tournament, the number will jump to 48 in 2026.
- The most goals ever scored by one player in a World Cup match is an impressive five, by Oleg Salenko of Russia.
- The World Cup winning country is rumored to see a baby boom 9 months after the World Cup. In fact, Hyundai even created a commercial based on this fact.
It’s hard to believe that the 2018 World Cup is less than a year away already. It doesn’t seem like very long ago that we spent an incredible summer in Brazil, enjoying the amazing atmosphere and the outstanding soccer at the 2014 World Cup. It’s no secret that this event is one of our favorites and we’re already fielding lots of interest in the 2018 tournament.
Want to join us next summer in Russia for this iconic event? We have some amazing luxury 2018 World Cup packages with the best 2018 World Cup hotels in the country including the Ritz-Carlton Moscow Red Square and the Four Seasons Lion Palace in St. Petersburg. We’d love to be your host as you experience the excitement for yourself!