The FIFA World Cup 2018 has kicked off on Thursday night in Russia. As the month-long 21st edition of the football tournament will get the world hyped with its craze, here’s a list of 21 facts which will make the fans and readers more excited for the World Cup.
1 Despite winning the World Cup on four different occasions, Germany have also lost the most number of finals. They finished runners-up in 1966, 1982, 1986 and 2002.2 The official match ball for the 2018 World Cup, ‘Telstar 18’ is reimagined and named after the first Adidas match ball used in Mexico in 1970. Back then, the Telstar was the first ball to be used in the World cup which was designed with 32 black and white panels so as to make it more visible on the black and white television sets of the 70’s.
3 The record for most goals in the competition stands at 171 (in 1998 and 2014), while that with least goals from 64 games is 145 (in 2010).
4 Germany has scored the most goals in the last three World Cups (14 in 2006, 16 in 2010, 18 in 2014).
5 Brazil has had the most red cards in the history of the competition (11), with Argentina (10) and Uruguay (9) not far behind.
6Only 11 of the 62 games England have played in World Cups have ended 0-0, more than any other team.
7Iceland are the country with the smallest population to ever compete at a World Cup, with 334,000 residents.8Mexico has qualified without winning the trophy more than any other country (16 times). Mexico have qualified for their 16th World Cup; only Brazil, Germany, Italy and Argentina have qualified for more.
9Brazil are the only side to have competed in every World Cup (21), have the most titles, 25% of tournaments, and the last to win back to back titles (1958 and 1962).
10Uruguayan defender Jose Batista holds the proud record of the fastest red card in World Cup History. He was sent off just 56 seconds into the match after he committed a high studded slide tackle to the back of the legs of Scottish midfielder Gordon Strachan.
11Shirt swapping was banned in 1986 as FIFA did not want players to bare their chest after the final whistle. However, England international Steve Hodge still managed to exchange shirts with Argentinean legend Maradona in the tunnel following the game where he scored the infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal.
12Roger Milla became the oldest goal scorer in the tournament when he scored Cameroon’s only goal in their 1-6 defeat to Russia in 1994. Milla was 42 at that time and was only picked for the national team following an intervention from the country’s President. The oldest player at this year’s World Cup will be 45-year-old Egypt goalkeeper Essam El-Hadary. And, should he play, he will become the oldest player to ever appear in the competition’s coveted history.
13Norman Whiteside was 17 when he played in the 1982 FIFA World Cup, making him the youngest player to play in the world cup.
14Frenchman Just Fontaine still holds the record for the most goals scored in a World Cup (13, in 1958), while Russian forward Oleg Salenko has bagged more than any other in a single World Cup match: five goals against Cameroon, on 28 June 1994.
15Brazilian legend Pele is the only player who has won the World Cup trophy thrice. He was part of Brazil’s winning teams in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He also holds the distinction of being the youngest goal scorer and winner of the tournament at just 17-years-old.
16Uruguay’s Oscar Washington Tabarez will be at his fourth World Cup; more than any other coach at Russia 2018 (he has six wins, three draws and six defeats in the competition). Helmut Schon is the coach with the most matches in the history of World Cups, 25 and all with Germany.
17Italy failed to qualify for the first time since 1958, being the only one of eight teams to have won the competition who won’t compete in Russia.
18Video Assistant Referees (VAR) will be used at this summer’s World Cup in Russia. It will be featured for the first time in World Cup competition.
19Sir Viv Richards, the legendary West Indies batsman, had sublime footballing skills. He wasn’t just any footballer, but the only player to play in the football and cricket World Cups. The legendary batsman represented Antigua in the qualifying rounds of the 1974 football World Cup. Unfortunately, Antigua failed to qualify for the finals that was hosted by West Germany.
20Since, FIFA is the French acronym for Federation Internationale de Football Association, in general English, it stands for the International Federation of Football Association. So, for this reason, it is not abbreviated as IFFA.
21India got qualified in the FIFA World Cup in 1950. However, the country had to withdraw because the rules of the game did not allow players to play barefoot on the field. — Internet