The world cup is an international football competition contested by the senior Men's national team members of the Federation Internationale de Football Association. (FIFA). It is contested every four years. The current format for the Competition involves a qualification phase to determine which team qualifies for the tournament phase. 32 teams including the host nations partake in the Competition. The World Cup started in 1930 and since then we have had 20 world Cup competitions, the tournament have been conducted every four years except in 1942 and 1946 because of the Second World War. Since 1930, only 8 countries have had a taste of the glory of this prestigious football tournament: Brazil being the highest with 5titles, Germany the defending champions and Italy with 4titles each. The inaugural winners Uruguay and Argentina with 2titles each: England, France and Spain with one each.
The world cup is the most popularly watched Football tournament with enough prestige and the next one kicked off on the 14th of June this year In Russia.
This will be the first World Cup to be conducted with VAR (Video Assistant Referee). This is a computer based system of refereeing that helps the human referees take certain decisions that requires primitive attention.
Most national teams are going into this competition in 'red-hot' form following the latest FIFA country rankings with Brazil, Germany, France, Belgium and probably Argentina considered as the likely favorites by the opinion of many. But despite this, this is a game where anything can happen. The Nigerian Super eagles on the other hand are considered by many as the African favorites to win the trophy judging from the quality of players they have and their performance during the qualification phase.
Let us now take a glance at some statistics and records of players and teams that are participating in the World Cup.
STATISTICS AND RECORDS
-Thomas Muller of Germany is the current highest goal scorer of the competition with 10goals in 14World Cup matches to his name. It is weird however, how he is with much gap above the two most influential footballers of this generation; Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal who has 3goals and 2assists in 13WorldCup games and Lionel Messi of Argentina with 5goals and 5assists in 15World Cup games to their names. Meanwhile, Klose of Germany is the all-time highest goal scorer of the competition with 14goals.
- Manchester City Football Club of England is the club to send the highest number of players to the World Cup, a total of sixteen players
- Barcelona of Spain is the only club to have a player in each of the eight groups of this World Cup
- Brazil is the only national team to have played in every World Cup since its inauguration in 1930
- Rafael Marquez of Mexico will be joining an elite group of players that have been to five World Cup competitions, players like Gianluigi Buffon, Antonio Carbajal and Lotharmatthaus are the only ones to achieve this fit.
Meanwhile, as the World Cup was about to start after the qualification phase was concluded, the whole world was shocked, as some reputable teams and players couldn't get a spot in the competition. Maybe because the teams failed to qualify or managerial decisions to drop some players. Italy for instance that have won the trophy for an European record of four times will not be going to Russia as they failed to qualify, Nertherlands who were the runner up and third place finishers in the 2010 and 2014 World Cups respectively failed to register a spot. Chile, South American giants and Ghana 4times winners of The AFCON will all be staying at home.
Other players in the other hand who put out amazing forms and statistics during the season eventually lost a place in their respective team's 23man World Cup squads for the tournament. Argentina's Mauri Icadi (Seria A's top scorer), Marcos Alonso of Spain (Premier League's TOTY), Mario Gotze who scored the winning goal for Germany in the 2014 World Cup final against Argentina in Brazil, Leorey Sane of Germany and a few others couldn't make it to Russia
Finally, with the World Cup remaining to finalize the 2017/2018 football season and the race for the prestigious soccer accolade; Ballond'or still on, we expect to see many countries and players put up good works and outstanding individual performances in Russia.
Happy watching as you enjoy the 2018 FIFA WORLD CUP.
Compiled and analyzed by: Bonaventure Onwem