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2018 FIFA WORLD CUP : Top 10 Essential Facts You Must Know (Now Includes 2014 )

Updated on May 18, 2016

World Cup 2018 In Russia

The World Cup

The 2018 World Cup finals will be played in Russia. Every four years this magnificent tournament is played and every country that has qualified hopes to win it. Millions of people around the world dream about being the champions of world football. That's what makes it all so magical. Unfortunately the reality of winning this competition is not so random. I'll look at the competition from 1986 to 2014. The reason is that since 1986 the format has been the same: group stages, the second round, the quarter-finals, the semi-finals and the final. Since 1970 there have been 12 tournaments and only 6 countries have won the World Cup. Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Italy, France and Spain.

Making The Final

Since 1970, Italy have reached the final an amazing 6 times out of the 11 tournaments. They won twice and lost 4 times. Brazil have reached the final 4 times and won 3 of those. Germany have reached 6 finals. They have won twice as West Germany, and once as unified Germany. Argentina have got in the final 4 times and won two of those. France have won one and lost one. Finally, Spain have a 100% record; played one, won one.

Unluckiest Country

Holland take the award for unluckiest team as they have been in 3 finals and lost them all


Germany have been losing semi-finalists 3 times, which means they have been in the top 4 finishing position 9 times out of the 12 competitions, including the last 4 world cups. Uruguay, Poland, Italy and France have all been losing semi-finalists twice. Brazil have been losing semi-finalists three times.

Penalty Shoot-Outs

Since being introduced, in 1986, as a way of resolving games ending in a draw, penalty shoot-outs are arguably the most tense and exciting way of finding a winner. In the 8 tournaments since 1986 there have been 25 penalty shoot-outs to decide games. Twice they have decided the outcome of the World Cup final. Italy involved in both losing to Brazil in 1994 and beating France in 2006.

Penalty Shoot-Out League

Topping this league are Germany with 3 shoot-outs, winning them all. Argentina and Brazil are second. They have won 3 and lost 1. France have won 2 and lost 1. England have been dumped out of the cup 3 times by this method and, having never won, have the worst record.

World Cup League Table

I made a World Cup league table based on the following premise.

1 point : losing quarter finalist.....2 points : winning quarter-finalist.....5 points : losing semi-finalist.....10 points winning semi-finalist.....20 points : losing finalist.....40 points : winning finalist.

Since 1986 (12 tournaments) when quarter-finals were introduced, it reads as follows.

1-Germany 195...2-Brazil 146...3-Argentina 129...4-France 92 & Italy 92...

6-Spain 55...7-Holland 47...8-England 10...9 Portugal 7

The remaining places are made up of teams only making one appearance. From now on I will only concentrate on these premier countries.

In recent times, from 1998 to 2014, the table is as follows.

1-Germany 110...2 Brazil 93...3 France 85...4-Italy & Spain 53...

6 Netherlands 46...7 Argentina 35...8 Portugal 7...9 England 2.

(Previously 1998-2010 it read)

1-Brazil 86...2-France 84...3-Italy 53...4-Spain 53...5-Germany 48...

6-Holland 39...7-Portugal 7...8-Argentina 3...9-England 2

Playing In Europe

Using the same criteria the tables are very interesting when considering whether the competition is held in Europe or outside Europe.

Europe : 1-France 84...2-Germany 61...3-Italy 60...4-Argentina 34...5-Brazil 33

6-England 8...7-Holland 7...9 Portugal 7

Outside Europe : 1-Germany 134...2-Brazil 113...3-Argentina 85...4-Spain 55

5-Netherlands 40...6-Italy 32...7-France 8...8-England 2

Most surprising is Brazil are not happy playing in Europe, nor are France playing outside of Europe. Since updating Germany swap to first place past Brazil and Argentina swap 3rd with Spain.

Playing The First Games

Brazil have won every one of their 8 opening games. Germany have won 7 and drawn 1. Argentina won 7 and lost 1. Italy won 3 opening games, drawn 3 and lost 2. Holland have played 6 won 4 and drawn 2. England next having played 7, won 2, drawn 3 and lost 2. France played 6 of which they have won 3, drawn 2 and lost 1. Spain have played in all 8, winning 2, drawing 2 and losing 4. Portugal have played 4, won 2, drawn 1 and lost 2.

Group Stages

Since 1986, Brazil have won their group every time. Germany came second in their group in 1986, but have won every one since.

Argentina and France have been eliminated in the group stages, twice. Italy three times.

Englands, in the 7 tournaments they have entered, have qualified from their group to the next round 6 times.

Who Will Win The World Cup 2018

See results

The World Cup Superbundes-SerieApremiership Liga

Over the 11 tournaments, all these countries have played each other at some stage in the World Cup finals with the exception of a few. Here I can reveal who is the best overall. It is based on the 90 minute game plus extra-time. I am not including winners of penalty shoot-outs.

Germany are the leaders having gained 24 points

France have played the other teams, sometimes twice, on 9 occasions and have only lost once. They have won 5, drawn 3 and lost 1. They get 18 points.

Argentina go ahead of Brazil with 17 points.

Brazil have played the others 13 times winning 4, losing 5 and drawing 4. They get 16 points.

Italy are 5th with 11 points and Spain have 10 points.

Holland, Portugal and England have 9,8 and 7 points respectively.

The 2018 Winners

It's not easy to pick the winner of the World Cup. There are too many variables such as injury, sending-offs, bad referee decisions, the draw, penalties and the other wonderful things that make up the game of football. One thing is for certain, there will be a wonder goal, there will be a new player that increases his worth by a few million pound, there will be footballing magic by Brazil.


Obviously since this article was wrote the 2014 world cup has taken place, hence the article needs updating as there were some shocking results during the final campaign. Now it has been updated


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