Monday, April 23

FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 (GUIDE): Groups, Qualified Teams, Schedule

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

World Cup fever is just around the corner; and we’ve accumulated every little detail we could on the 32 teams that will go head-to-head upcoming June.

Hover here if you are looking for the schedule.

Group A:

Teams: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay

Russia

Russia won the bid to host the 2018 World Cup ahead of Portugal/Spain and Belgium/Netherlands, and thus secured an automatic qualification to the tournament.

It’s the hosts’ eleventh World Cup campaign and their second consecutive appearance in the biggest stage.

Previous appearance: 2014 

Best finish: 4th (1966) 


Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is one of Asia’s most dominant footballing teams – with three AFC Cup trophies to it’s name. However, they haven’t translated the same level of success in the inter-continental level.

The 1992 Confederations Cup runners up failed to get past the first round in their last three World Cup campaigns.

Previous appearance: 2006 

Best finish: Round of 16  (1994) 


Egypt

Another huge continental powerhouse in the group is Egypt – with seven continental titles to its name. The African football team has even ranked as high as ninth in the FIFA rankings.

In spite of their incredible domestic record, Egypt has only made two previous appearances in the World Cup.

This time around, however, they had their talismanic forward Mohamed Salah to carry the team to their third World Cup campaign, thereby ending their 28 year long wait for an appearance in the finals.

Best finish: First Round (1934, 1990)

Previous appearance: 1990


Uruguay

The South American giants will look to challenge for the biggest prize this summer, after a disappointing round of 16 exit last term.

PSG forward Edinson Cavani played the most instrumental role in their qualification, with his ten goals helping him top the goalscoring charts in the qualifiers.

Best finish: Winners (1930,1950) 

Previous appearance: 2014


Group B:

Teams: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran

Portugal

The reigning European champions booked an automatic qualification in the World Cup finals with a 2-0 victory in the final game against Switzerland.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Andre Silva were crucial in their success in the qualifiers, with the duo scoring 24 goals between themselves.

It is likely to the formers’ final appearance in the World Cup (at least at the best of his condition), so the European side will look to give him the farewell he deserves at Russia.

Best finish: Third place (1966) 

Previous appearance: 2014


Spain

The 2010 World Cup winners were dismaying in their World Cup defense, with two early defeats at the hands of Chile and Netherlands ending their campaign in the first round.

However, there is a new-installed belief within the European giants – who have a strong and formidable side to compete in Russia as one of the favorites.

Best finish: Winners (2010)

Previous appearance: 2014


Morocco

Morocco will make their 5th appearance in the World Cup this summer after spending a 20 year hiatus since 1998. Khalid Boutaïb was key to end the dreadlock with his four goals contributing to the African side’s qualification.

Their domestic track record however, has been relatively better in the last twenty years. They finished runners up in the African Cup of Nations in 2004.

Previous appearance: 1996

Best finish: Round of 16 (1996) 


Iran

Another national side making their 5th appearance is Iran. The Asian side finished above South Korea in their qualification campaign with 22 points, seven points clear at the top.

It is their second consecutive appearance in the World Cup, having exited from group stages in the previous edition.

Previous appearance: 2014

Best finish: Group stages (1978,1998,2006,2014)


Group C:

Teams: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark

France 

European giants France faced a major setback at their own turf in the 2016 Euro Cup final. However, the young side must have learnt their lessons as they look to make their maturity count in the grandest of stages.

With the likes of budding stars such as Kylian Mbappe and Antoinne Griezmann along with some of the best defenders as well as midfielders in Europe, France are considered as one of the favorites to win the tournament.

Whether they can make their sixth consecutive appearance in the finals count remains to be seen, but they will seek vengeance after a disappointing campaign last term.

Previous appearance: 2014

Best finish: Winners (1998) 


Australia

The Kangaroos defeated Honduras in a spectacular fashion in the playoffs, as Mile Jedinak scored three vital goals to spur them towards victory.

It is their fourth consecutive appearance in the World Cup finals, while they have only cleared the first round in one occassion.

Last appearance: 2014

Best finish: Round of 16 (2006)


Peru

The South American side won against the Kiwis in the inter-continental playoffs, through the help of goals from Christian  Ramos and Jefferson Farfan.

What particularly surprised the football world though, was their finish above Chile in the CONMEBOL qualifications. The victory over New Zealand helped them book their first World Cup campaign since 1982.

The Peruvians perhaps had waited enough for their fifth appearance in the World Cup finals.

Best finish: Quarter-finals (1970)

Last appearance: 1982


Denmark

Spurs star Christian Eriksen played a vital role in the Danish side’s victory over Republic of Ireland in the second round of UEFA qualifications.

The Dane scored a hattrick in a 5-1 win over the Irish side, with Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen and former Arsenal striker Nickolas Bendtner scoring the other two.

It will be Denmark’s 5th appearance in the World Cup finals.

Previous Appearance: 2010

Best finish: Quarter-finals (1998)


Group D:

Teams: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria

Argentina:

Argentina were on the brisk of an untimely exit from their World Cup campaign, before their well-known little magician inspired them out of their misery.

It is Lionel Messi’s final chance of redemption, after losing to Germany in the World Cup final last term. The Barcelona star also missed a penalty in the Copa America final against Chile leading to their defeat.

Whether the Argentine will make the most of his final attempt to win a medal is yet to be seen, but his legacy will remain in the pages of the history books forever.


Iceland:

Iceland are one of the rising teams in Europe as they look to make their first World Cup appearance in the summer.

The small European country shocked the World in Euro Cup 2016, when they kicked England out from the tournament. One player important to their rise is Everton star Gylfi Sigurdsson who scored 4 goals in the qualifiers.

No Previous Appearance


Croatia

Croatia enter the Group as a Pot 2 side, after a win over Greece in the second round of the qualifications.

One player who the Croatians will certainly miss is captain Darijo Srna who captained them for a better part of last decade before he retired in 2016.

Previous Appearance: 2014 

Best finish: Third (1998) 


Nigeria

The African giants will make their sixth appearance in the World Cup finals. Their primary target would certainly be to fend off competitions from Iceland and Croatia to make it to the round of 16.

Chelsea star Victor Moses will certainly be the key to any of their success, who also won 2018 NFF Player of the Year award this February.

Previous Appearance: 2014

Best finish: Round of 16


Group E:

Teams: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

Brazil

The crown-jewels of the international football, Brazil will mark their 21th World Cup finals campaign in Russia. Needless to say, no other team has made as many appearances.

The South American side have enjoyed a pretty solid qualification campaign and their pre-World Cup form shows they are ready to take the stage by storm in the summer.

Previous Appearance: 2014

Best Finish: Winners (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)


Switzerland

Switzerland have showed solidity in their defensive organizations in the past World Cups, and it is likely to be the same this summer.

In fact, they were the first side to get eliminated from the competition despite not conceding a single goal in 2006. The European side lost to Ukraine in the penalty shoot-outs after failing to score any of their penalties.

Previous appearance: 2014

Best finish: Quarter-finals (1934,1938,1954)


Costa Rica

Costa Rica finished second in their qualifiers group, ahead of United States. Marco Urena was particularly handy in their success with 3 goals in the final qualifiers stage.

The Costa Ricans shockingly finished as winner ahead of Italy and England in the World Cup finals last term, and went all the way to the quarter-finals of the competition.

Previous appearance: 2014

Best finish: Quarter-finals (2014)


Serbia

The Serbian national team will showcase their latest Puma kits in the summer when they return to the World Cup action after twelve years.

Newcastle striker Aleksandar Mitrovic was key to their success in the group stages scoring six in the qualifiers group stage. The forward struggled to find his way to Rafa Benitez’s squad in the Premier League and consequently, finds himself on loan in the Championship with Fulham. It will perhaps be a perfect occasion for him to prove to his critics in the best platform for any footballer.


Group F:

Teams: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea

Germany

The reigning World Cup champions are no doubt the favorites again as they continue to blend youth and experience at the top-most level.

Such is the strength of the German side that Joachim Low played his second fiddle squad in the FIFA Confederations Cup last term and yet, managed to win it.

The World Cup crown hasn’t been defended by any team since a long time, but Germany are well-equipped to do so this summer.

Previous appearance: 2014

Best finish: Winners (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)


Mexico

Mexico are one of the most regular teams in the World Cup from Americas, but they haven’t been able to get to the last four in any of their 16 appearances.

The Russian World Cup will mark their seventh consecutive World Cup campaign, and the North American side will be looking to surpass their previous records in the competition.

Best finish: Quarter-finals (1970, 1986)

Previous appearance: 2014


Sweden

The Swedish side ended their 12-year wait for a place in the World Cup finals in some spectacular fashion.

The 1958 World Cup runners-up defeated one of football’s most successful national sides, Italy in their way to the qualification to everyone’s surprise. Jakob Johansson scored the historic goal that paved the way for the Swedish side.

Best finish: Runners-up (1958)

Previous appearance: 2006


South Korea

Another Asian side to join the list of big-names in the World Cup is South Korea.

The Asian side will play their 10th World Cup tournament in the summer, hoping to emulate the same level of success as they did in 2002 when they reached semi-finals.

Previous appearance: 2014

Best finish: Fourth Place (2002)


Group G:

Teams: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England

Belgium

The Red Devils will look to reap the fruits of their Golden Generation under the stewardship of Roberto Martinez.

The Belgian national side possesses a plethora of talent within it’s ranks including Chelsea star Eden Hazard, City midfielder Kevin de Bruyne and United hitman Romelu Lukaku.

Previous appearance: 2014

Best finish: Fourth place (1986)


Panama

Panama are playing their first World Cup in June, and would surely be keen to make an impression at the big chance they are about to get.

While their hope to make it to the next round would be minimal, they will look to enjoy themselves against the very best in the business.

First World Cup appearance.


Tunisia

Tunisia have been on and off the World Cup finals for quite a while now. Their last appearance was back in 2006, when they couldn’t get through the group stages.

In fact, they have never made it past the first round in their previous four attempts. Fifth time lucky, perhaps?

Previous appearance: 2006

Best finish: Group stage (1978,1998,2002,2006)


England

England will be without their highest World Cup scorer, Wayne Rooney this time, who retired back in 2016.

Nevertheless, the most experienced side in the group would be confident to ensure their position in the next round and reimburse the fans who couldn’t get any chance to support the team properly back in Brazil.

Previous appearance: 2014 

Best finish: Winners (1966)


Group H:

Teams: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan

Poland

Poland avoided potential-difficult opponents in the finals as they had a possibility of getting joined by Spain, Mexico and Nordic nations.

Instead, they find themselves with a decent fighting chance to progress to the next round. Robert Lewandowski will be crucial in any of their challenge this summer, with the striker looking to add to his tally of 51 goals for the nation.

Previous appearance: 2006 

Best finish: Third place (1974,1982) 


Senegal

Senegal last competed in the World Cup back in 2002, in which they reached quarter-finals making several headlines. Liverpool star Sadio Mane would look to emulate similar success at Russia.

Their qualification, however, hasn’t been free of controversy. Second-placed Burkina Faso and South Africa both opposed FIFA’s decision to annul the original result – a 2-1 win for the host in the final fixture. The opposition didn’t come to fruition though, and the side will make their second appearance in the World Cup.

Previous appearance: 2014

Best finish: Quarter-finals (2002)


Colombia

Colombia enjoyed a great World Cup campaign in Brazil – thanks to a starring role played by James Rodriguez.

The South American nation will look to make a similar impact again, albeit expectations will be higher this time around. Radamel Falcao is back to his goal-scoring best for Monaco and a little dent in James Rodriguez’s progression as a player seems to have faded away.

Previous appearance: 2014 

Best finish: Quarter-finals (2014) 


Japan

The Asian powerhouses will re-join Colombia in the group for the second time running. Their last encounter had ended in a humiliating 4-1 defeat – a vengeance certainly is in order for the Samurais.

Japan have been consistent name in the World Cup finals since their first appearance back in 1998, but have only progress through group stages twice.

Previous appearance: 2014

Best finish: Round of 16 (2002,2010) 


Schedule

Thursday, June 14

Russia v Saudi Arabia


Friday, June 15

Egypt v Uruguay

Morocco v Iran

Portugal v Spain


Saturday, June 16

France v Australia

Argentina v Iceland

Denmark v Peru

Croatia v Nigeria


Sunday, June 17

Costa Rica v Serbia

Germany v Mexico

Brazil v Switzerland


Monday, June 18

Sweden v South Korea

Belgium v Panama

Tunisia v England


Tuesday, June 19

Poland v Senegal

Colombia v Japan

Russia v Egypt


Wednesday, June 20

Portugal v Morocco

Uruguay v Saudi Arabia

Iran v Spain


Thursday, June 21

France v Peru

Denmark v Australia

Argentina v Croatia Nizhny


Friday, June 22

Brazil v Costa Rica

Nigeria v Iceland

Serbia v Switzerland


Saturday, June 23

Belgium v Tunisia

Germany v Sweden

South Korea v Mexico


Sunday, June 24

England v Panama

Japan v Senegal

Poland v Colombia


Monday, June 25

Saudi Arabia v Egypt

Uruguay v Russia

Iran v Portugal

Spain v Morocco


Tuesday, June 26

Denmark v France

Australia v Peru

Nigeria v Argentina

Croatia v Iceland


Wednesday, June 27

South Korea v Germany

Mexico v Sweden

Serbia v Brazil

Switzerland v Costa Rica


Thursday, June 28

Japan v Poland

Colombia v Senegal

Panama v Tunisia

England v Belgium

Share.

About Author

I come from a small country in Asia; currently living the dream. A part-time journalism student and a big football fanatic. Email me - barun@soccerath.com

Leave A Reply