2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™

Fan Guide

32 nations. 64 games. 1 goal. The 2018 FIFA World Cup™ in Russia is the 21st edition of the single biggest tournament for the single biggest sport on the planet, and the first to be held in Eastern Europe.

All games are live on FOX Sports and FOX Sports app. Download Full Schedule to catch all the action!

Everything you need to know about the World Cup

New to the FIFA World Cup™? Not sure who to watch or to root for with the USMNT out of the picture? Don’t worry. From Stu Holden’s 50 Greatest Players To Watch in Russia to our video breakdowns of all 32 teams in the field, we’ve got you covered with everything you need to know about the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

And for a little bit of history? Check out our countdown of the 100 Most Memorable FIFA World Cup™ Moments to learn about the legendary players, teams and games that changed the Beautiful Game on its biggest stage.


THE GROUPS

The 32 qualified teams were drawn into eight groups of four at the FIFA World Cup™ Draw, the biggest tentpole event ahead of the tournament. Each team play their three group opponents once, with the top two teams advancing to the knockout stage.

Group A

Group B

Group C

Group D

Group E

Group F

Group G

Group H

Where is the US Men’s National Team?
The U.S. men’s national team’s Road to Russia ended in heartbreak after it’s 2-1 defeat in Trinidad & Tobago on the final day of qualifying. The USMNT’s dropped from 3rd to 5th place in ‘The Hex,’ and ensured it will miss the FIFA World Cup™ for the first time since 1986.
US Men’s Team Page


TOURNAMENT FORMAT


GAMES TO WATCH

FINAL

Germany vs Mexico

The two favorites in Group F face off in what should be a thrilling opener for both teams. Mexico have lost all three previous World Cup meetings against the Germans, who also beat El Tri in the Confederations Cup semifinals this past summer.

FINAL

Portugal vs Spain

What an opener in Group B! The last two European champions go head-to-head as Cristiano Ronaldo will meet several of his Real Madrid teammates. The winner of this one will be in pole position to win the group.

FINAL

England vs Belgium

There’ll be a familiar feel to this Group G battle as Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku will look to lead Belgium’s pack of Premier League stars against England. The winner of this third and final match will likely decide the group.

FINAL

Argentina vs Iceland

Everyone’s favorite underdog begins its maiden World Cup voyage against none other than Lionel Messi’s Argentina. And in a well-balanced Group D, starting out with a win will be critical for each team’s chances to progress. Can Messi & Co. avoid an upset to Euro 2016’s giant killer Iceland?


WHO TO FOLLOW

THE FAVORITES THE STARS

THE VENUES

Kaliningrad Stadium
Volgograd Arena
Ekaterinburg Arena
Fisht Stadium
Kazan Arena
Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
Luzhniki Stadium
Samara Arena
Rostov Arena
Spartak Stadium
St. Petersburg Stadium
Mordovia Arena

HISTORY

CHAMPIONS

Year Winner Runner-Up Host
1994 Brazil Italy USA
1998 France Brazil France
2002 Brazil Germany Korea/Japan
2006 Italy France Germany
2010 Spain Netherlands South Africa
2014 Germany Argentina Brazil

See Full List

AWARDS

Year Golden Ball Golden Boot Goals
1994 Romario Hristo Stoichkov 6
1998 Ronaldo Davor Suker 6
2002 Oliver Kahn Ronaldo 8
2006 Zinedine Zidane Miroslav Klose 6
2010 Diego Forlan Thomas Muller 5
2014 Lionel Messi James Rodriguez 6

See Full List


QUALIFICATION

Russia, as hosts, were the only nation that qualified automatically for the 2018 World Cup. All other FIFA member associations were eligible to enter the qualification process.

CONCACAF — North, Central America & Caribbean

35 Teams
3.5 Qualify

The best three teams in Concacaf’s preliminary competition qualify directly to the World Cup. The 4th-place finisher plays the 5th-best team in Asia in a two-legged inter-confederation playoff for an additional berth.

AFC — Asia

45 Teams
4.5 Qualify

The best four teams in Asia’s preliminary competition qualify directly to the World Cup. The 5th-place finisher plays the 4th-best team in Concacaf in a two-legged inter-confederation playoff for an additional berth.

CONMEBOL — South America

10 Teams
4.5 Qualify

The best five teams in South America’s preliminary competition qualify directly to the World Cup. The 6th-place finisher plays the winner of Oceania’s qualifying competition in a two-legged inter-confederation playoff.

CAF — Africa

53 Teams
5 Qualify

The Confederation of African Football’s Preliminary Competition offers five berths at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™.

OFC — Oceania

11 Teams
.5 Qualify

The winner of Oceania’s preliminary competition plays the 5th best team in South America (Conmebol) for a spot in the World Cup.

UEFA – Europe

54 Teams
14 Qualify

Europe’s Preliminary Competition offers the highest number of berths at the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™: thirteen in total.


THE DRAW

The official FIFA World Rankings determine which Pot each country is allocated to. Teams in Pot 1 are drawn first, with host Russia automatically assigned Group A. Then Pot 2 teams are drawn into groups at random, followed by Pot 3 and Pot 4.
No group can contain more than 1 country per confederation, except for UEFA (Europe), which can have up to two teams in the same group (i.e. Brazil cannot be drawn with Colombia).