The FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour by Coca Cola got underway in Sri Lanka on 23 January 2018 and will reach Vladivostok in the host nation, Russia, on 1 May 2018
You can follow the tour, which will visit 51 countries in 2018 as well as at least 16 cities in Russia, on Facebook.
With most of Europe’s top club teams qualifying for the knock out stage of the Champions League, the draw has thrown up some very tasty matches, some of which would happily grace the final.
The Champions League last-16 draw is:
Juventus v Tottenham (13 February and 7 March)
Basel v Manchester City (13 February and 7 March)
Porto v Liverpool (14 February and 6 March)
Sevilla v Manchester United (21 February and 13 March)
Real Madrid v PSG (14 February and 6 March)
Shakhtar Donetsk v Roma (21 February and 13 March)
Chelsea v Barcelona (20 February and 14 March)
Bayern Munich v Besiktas (20 February and 14 March)
ITV and the BBC have sat down and agreed the schedule of matches they will each air during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. ITV will show the opening game between Russia and Saudia Arabia on 14 June, but the networks will go head-to-head when they both broadcast the final live from Moscow on Sunday, 15 July at 16:00.
Following the group stage ITV has the first pick in the last 16. The BBC will have the first two choices of quarter-final games, including England’s if they progress that far.
In the UK most of the games – with a few exceptions – will kick off daily at 13.00, 16.00 and 19.00.
The full UK TV schedule for the 2018 World Cup at the group stage (times are for the UK) is:
Thursday, June 14
- Russia v Saudi Arabia Moscow 4pm ITV
Friday, June 15
- Egypt v Uruguay 1pm BBC
- Morocco v Iran 4pm ITV
- Portugal v Spain 7pm BBC
Saturday, June 16
- France v Australia 11am BBC
- Argentina v Iceland Moscow 2pm ITV
- Denmark v Peru 5pm BBC
- Croatia v Nigeria 8pm ITV
Sunday, June 17
- Costa Rica v Serbia 1pm ITV
- Germany v Mexico Moscow 4pm BBC
- Brazil v Switzerland 7pm ITV
Monday, June 18
- Sweden v South Korea 1pm ITV
- Belgium v Panama 4pm BBC
- Tunisia v England 7pm BBC
Tuesday, June 19
- Colombia v Japan 1pm BBC
- Poland v Senegal 4pm ITV
- Russia v Egypt 7pm BBC
Wednesday, June 20
- Portugal v Morocco 1pm BBC
- Uruguay v Saudi Arabia 4pm BBC
- Iran v Spain 7pm ITV
Thursday, June 21
- France v Peru 1pm ITV
- Denmark v Australia 4pm ITV
- Argentina v Croatia 7pm BBC
Friday, June 22
- Brazil v Costa Rica 1pm ITV
- Nigeria v Iceland 4pm BBC
- Serbia v Switzerland 7pm BBC
Saturday, June 23
- Belgium v Tunisia 1pm BBC
- Germany v Sweden 4pm ITV
- South Korea v Mexico 7pm ITV
Sunday, June 24
- England v Panama 1pm BBC
- Japan v Senegal 4pm BBC
- Poland v Colombia 7pm ITV
Monday, June 25
- Saudi Arabia v Egypt 3pm ITV
- Uruguay v Russia 3pm ITV
- Iran v Portugal 7pm BBC
- Spain v Morocco 7pm BBC
Tuesday, June 26
- Denmark v France 3pm ITV
- Australia v Peru 3pm ITV
- Nigeria v Argentina 7pm BBC
- Croatia v Iceland 7pm BBC
Wednesday, June 27
- South Korea v Germany 3pm BBC
- Mexico v Sweden 3pm BBC
- Serbia v Brazil 7pm ITV
- Switzerland v Costa Rica 7pm ITV
Thursday, June 28
- Japan v Poland 3pm BBC
- Colombia v Senegal 3pm BBC
- Panama v Tunisia 7pm ITV
- England v Belgium 7pm ITV
The famed Moscow Metro held the unveiling of the last remaining visual icon of the event. For the 2018 issue of the Official Poster, the Russian artist Igor Gurovich chose legendary Soviet goalkeeper Lev Yashin as a central figure of his work.
“The Official Poster of the 2018 FIFA World Cup is a true reflection of Russia’s artistic and football heritage,” commented FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samoura. “We are very proud of this beautiful landmark asset that portrays such an important icon and celebrates the coming tournament on Russian soil.”
Yashin played in four FIFA World Cups – 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970 – and remains the only goalkeeper in the history of football to win the Ballon d’Or. In the poster, he is dressed in his traditional outfit of black shirt and shorts, knee brace and his famous cap. He is shown reaching for the ball, one half of which is a typical football from Yashin’s era, with the other depicting the vast landmass of Russia as seen from space, reflecting a key inspiration of the 2018 FIFA World Cup brand, that of Russia’s achievements in space exploration.
Artistically, Gurovich was inspired by the Russian movement of Constructivism from the late 1920s, in particular the posters designed by Dziga Vertov and the Stenberg brothers. The rays of light emanating from the ball, a common feature of Constructivist work, symbolises the tournament’s energy, while the circle of green represents the pitches of 12 stadiums in 11 Host Cities that will stage the 64 matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The scene is all set for all 32 participating member associations to learn their paths to possible glory with the draw for the FIFA World Cup taking place on 1 December (18:00 local time) in Moscow’s State Kremlin Palace.
The October 2017 edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking has been used to allocate all qualified teams to the four pots in descending order, with the best seven teams along with hosts Russia in pot 1.
The draw sequence will start with pot 1 and end with pot 4. Each pot will be completely emptied before moving on to the next. As per the usual standard FIFA procedure, a ball from a team pot will be drawn, followed by a ball from one of the group pots, thus determining the position in which the respective team will play.
In pot 1, Russia will be a red ball and has already been pre-assigned the position of A1 as the host country, allowing it to play in the opening game on 14 June. Ironically Russia is the lowest ranked team playing in the World Cup.
The remaining seven teams in pot 1 will automatically be drawn into position 1 of each group (B to H), whereas teams in pots 2, 3 and 4 will be drawn into positions randomly in their groups.
FIFA’s general principle is also to ensure that no group has more than one team from the same qualification zone drawn into it. This is applicable to all zones except Europe, which is represented by 14 teams. Each group must have at least one but no more than two European teams drawn into it. As such, six out of the eight groups will feature two European teams.
The distribution of the teams into the groups according to the geographic separation principle will be monitored by a system designed to take all parameters into account, which means that groups may be skipped. For example, Peru, Colombia and Uruguay, which are in pot 2, will not be drawn into the same group with Brazil or Argentina, which are in pot one. The same principle will apply to the teams from the other confederations with the exception of UEFA.
208 countries entered for the 2018 World Cup, but there is only space for just 32 teams in Russia. To qualify a total of 871 games were played between 12 March 2015 and 15 November 2017 with 2,469 goals being scored.
The 32 teams to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, their FIFA rankings, and how they performed in Brazil are:
- Argentina (4) – Finalist – Runner-up in Brazil
- Australia (43) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
- Belgium (5) – Quarter finalist in Brazil
- Brazil (2) – Semi finalist- 4th place in Brazil
- Colombia (13) – Quarter finalist in Brazil
- Costa Rica (22) – Quarter finalist in Brazil
- Croatia (18) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
- Denmark (19) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 2010
- Egypt (30) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 1990
- England (12) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
- France (7) – Quarter finalist in Brazil
- Germany (1) – Finalist – 2014 World Champions in Brazil
- Iceland (21) – First World Cup Finals appearance
- Iran (31) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
- Japan (44) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
- Mexico (16) – Knocked out in the round of 16 in Brazil
- Morocco (48) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 2010
- Nigeria (41) – Knocked out in the round of 16 in Brazil
- Panama (49) – First World Cup Finals appearance
- Peru (10) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 1982
- Poland (6) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 2006
- Portugal (3) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
- Russia (65) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
- Saudi Arabia (63) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 2006
- Senegal (32) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 2002
- Serbia (38) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 2010
- South Korea (62) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
- Spain (8) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
- Sweden (25) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 2006
- Switzerland (11) – Knocked out in the round of 16 in Brazil
- Tunisia (28) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 2006
- Uruguay (17) – Knocked out in the round of 16 in Brazil
Of the 32 teams playing in Russia, 20 of them are returning after the previous tournament in Brazil in 2014, which means 12 teams that played in Brazil won’t be in Russia, but 12 teams new teams are. New since Brazil are Denmark, Egypt, Iceland (first World Cup Finals appearance), Morocco, Panama, (first World Cup Finals appearance), Peru, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sweden and Tunisia. Nigeria is the only African side to return to the World Cup Finals after Brazil, while Brazil was the first team to qualify.