Russia hosts the first FIFA World Cup on two continents
Just a bit more than two months are left till the beginning of the 21st FIFA World Cup, June 14 till July 15, which host will the largest county in the world, Russia, for the first time in its 88 long history. Russia will host 32 national teams on 12 stadiums located in 11 cities, where 64 matches in total are going to be played. There is no doubt that such fantastic country and its hospitable people, despite problems with finishing works at several stadiums and fact that a true diplomatic war is waged against it, will be an excellent host to all who decide to visit it this summer. The World Cup will be played on two continents for the first time in its history – Europe and Asia, although it is stressed that Europe is the host of the World Cup for the first time since 2006 when Germany had the honour. Island and Panama are debutants, while Peru made the longest break out of all team that qualified, as it participated the last time at the World Cup in 1982.
Only Europeans and South Americans won the World Cup so far
Only national teams from Europe (Italy and Germany four times; England, France and Spain one time) and South America (Brazil five; Uruguay and Argentina two times) have won the World Cup so far. Brazil has the most titles and it won them at four different continents. It also participated at each and every World Cup so far, and it has five titles in total. Germany, after triumph in Brazil four years ago, won its fourth title and become the first after Brazil which won titles at minimally two continents. Italy is the only one out of eight national teams which won titles so far that failed to qualify for the final tournament for the first time since 1958. At last two World Cups defending champions were eliminated already in the group phase – Italy 2010 and Spain 2014. If Germany defends the title it will equalise with Brazil in number of won titles and become the second team after Brazil which managed to defend the title (Brazil defended the title at the WC 1962).
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32 national teams will take place at the final tournament.
Six national teams (Uruguay 1930, Italy 1934, England 1966, Germany 1974, Argentina 1978) had won the title when being the host of the World Cup, while the last to do so was France which triumphed in 1998 when the World Cup changed the format to 32 teams. The format hasn’t been changed since then. South Africa is the only host county, 2010 World Cup, which failed to reach the knockout phase. The home team hopes, despite not so good performances displayed in preparatory matches, that will not be the second host county team which is eliminated already at the beginning of the final tournament. Winners of last three World Cups were European teams; Italy 2006, Spain 2010 and Germany 2014. Fact that Italy failed to qualify for the World Cup leaves Spain and Germany as strongest European teams who can keep the title in Europe, while Brazil and Argentina will try to return the title to South America for the first time after 2002 when Brazil won the World Cup played in South Korea and Japan, as it is hard to expect that a team from some other continent is strong enough to win the title now.
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