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The World Cup may only come around once every four years, but it delights football fans around the globe and remains the most viewed sporting event in the world. Russia 2018 will once again captivate audiences. Over a billion soccer fans tune into the event and we are all be glued to the screen following every minute of the action.
Take a look at the outright betting odds, which are available with the majority of bookmakers in the UK, including William Hill and Ladbrokes. There are also many bonuses and free bets available at the tournament.
Here at BettingTop10, we’ve taken a look at some of the more interesting World Cup facts ahead of the forthcoming event.
The World Cup in Russia promises to be the highlight of the 2018 sporting calendar, with numerous nations in with chance of lifting football’s ultimate prize.
Five-time winners Brazil are amongst the favourites for the tournament, whilst France, England and Croatia are also well-fancied.
32 nations started the World Cup, but the biggest surprise is the absence of Italy from the competition. The Azzurri missed out on their first World Cup finals since 1958 after a 1-0 aggregate defeat to Sweden in the play-offs.
The Netherlands and Ivory Coast are other notable absentees, whilst Panama’s progression to their first-ever finals at the expense of the USA was also a major shock.
The 2018 World Cup is the first time Russia has ever hosted this event and their 11th appearance at the finals. Their highest finish was 4th place in 1966.
The highest scoring game in World Cup history was in 1954, when Austria defeated Switzerland 7-5.
Over three billion people – almost half of the world’s population – tuned in to watch the 2014 World Cup and those figures could be surpassed this time around.
Whichever nation wins the World Cup in Russia is likely to see a baby boom nine months later, with people celebrating their team’s victory in the most passionate way possible!
Russia 2018 will be the 21st staging of the FIFA World Cup, with the inaugural tournament being held in 1930 and won by Uruguay.
There have been just eight winners of the tournament, with Spain capturing their first title back in 2010. England and France are the only other two sides to have won the tournament on just one occasion.
The highest attendance for a crucial World Cup final match was in 1950 with the Estadio de Maracana pulling in 174,000 spectators. Sadly, the majority of them watched the Selecao lose to Uruguay. There are several interesting World Cup facts surrounding this tournament including it was the first time that the trophy was named after Jules Rimet. This was also the first tournament held since 1938, with the previous two cancelled due to World War II and it’s the only one that wasn’t decided by a straight final.
There are several World Cup facts relating to goalscorers throughout the history of the tournament, but Miroslav Klose is the man who stands head and shoulders above the rest. The German, who hung up his boots in 2014, remains the all-time leading goalscorer in this tournament with 16 goals in total. He played an incredible 137 times for his country, scoring 71 goals in the process and his final act was helping his side lift the trophy in Brazil.
The previous record was held by Ronaldo, who fired 15 goals for his country, breaking the previous record at the 2006 tournament when firing his side into the quarter-finals via a straightforward 3-0 success against Ghana.
The highest English goalscorer in the tournament is Gary Lineker, who fired in ten goals during twelve World Cup appearances – not a bad strike rate! He leads the way by some distance, with 1966 hero Geoff Hurst second in the rankings having notched five.
Roger Milla is a name synonymous with World Cup facts and he made history when becoming the oldest goalscorer in the tournament at the age of 42. He netted in both the 1990 and 1994 tournaments representing Cameroon, but his participation was in doubt until the country’s president rang up the coaching staff and insisted that Milla was included in the squad. It’s a record which is unlikely to ever be surpassed.
2018 World Cup top goalscorer odds
Brazil are the only nation to have featured in every World Cup. Italy aren’t far behind, having only failed to qualify for three tournaments including the 1930 staging (although they did offer to host it) and just falling short of qualification in 1958 and this World Cup. Equally, Germany did not enter the inaugural competition and were not invited to the 1950 staging of the event, which was held in Brazil.
During the 1986 tournament shirt-swapping was banned, as FIFA did not wish players to bare their chest following the conclusion of the match. Despite this, former England international Steve Hodge still owns the jersey worn by Diego Maradona when scoring the controversial ‘Hand of God’ goal to knock the Three Lions out of the tournament.
It’s set to be another fascinating tournament and there is always the possibility of history being re-written once again.