A Brief History
On April 6, 2018, we eagerly await the 2018 version of the premier event in professional Football/Soccer, The World Cup! This year the event will be conducted in Europe (Russia) from June 14, 2018 to July 15, 2018. All matches will take place in stadiums located in European Russia (except 1) in order to facilitate travel between venues. Who will win?
Last time around in 2014 the German National Team was victorious, their 4th World Cup victory (the others being 1954, 1974 and 1990), posting a record performance of an Elo rating of 2205 points. Germany beat host nation and favorite Brazil in an epic fashion in the semi-finals of 2014, a battle of undefeated giants. Germany went on to beat Argentina 1-0 in the final, becoming the first European team to win a FIFA World Cup in the Americas. Can they repeat the feat? Quite possibly, as Germany is a slight 19/4 favorite over perennial favorite Brazil, at 5/1. France, Spain and Argentina (10/1) round out the teams with a realistic chance of winning. The Germans are also the favorite to make it to the finals. Sorry American “soccer” fans. There is no USA men’s team this time.
Newcomers to the biggest event in sports are Panama and Iceland joining the other 32 teams in the big tournament. The Championship game will be held on July 15, 2018, in Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Held since 1930 every 4 years, Brazil has 5 Championships to runner up Germany and Italy’s 4 victories apiece. Of the 20 tournaments, only 5 other teams have ever won a FIFA World Cup. (Argentina, Uruguay, England, France and Spain are the other 5 previous winners.)
Not only are the games played to packed stadiums, the television audience is also enormous, numbering in the billions for the 64 games. The championship game alone will probably get close to a billion television watchers worldwide. (Take that, Super Bowl!)
Unfortunately, FIFA (Federation Internationale de Football Association), the governing body of International Football (soccer to Americans) was wracked by a scandal that surfaced in 2015 when the United States opened a criminal case against several FIFA executives, alleging bribery and corruption. Other nations also opened criminal cases and many FIFA officials and sporting companies were convicted of crimes with many cases still outstanding. Still, the organization of and governing of the 2018 World Cup seems to be running as scheduled with no particular threat of problems related to the criminal cases (that we know of.)
(Note: The women’s national teams compete for the FIFA World Cup every 4 years on odd numbered years one year after the men’s competition.)
Question for students (and subscribers): So who do we predict to win? We think Germany will pull off the incredibly difficult feat of repeating as champions. Their first match up is with Mexico, a decent team but not expected to cause the Germans a lot of sweat. Who do you think is going to win? Share your best World Cup predictions with your fellow readers in the comments section below this article.
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Radnedge, K. 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Official Book. Carlton Books, 2018.
Stay, Shane. The World Cup Book 2018: Everything You Need to Know About the Soccer World Cup. Meyer & Meyer Sport, 2018.