Cliqz makes you a World Cup expert: fun facts about FIFA World Cup 2018

You want to impress family, friends or colleagues with your football expertise? No problem: We gathered interesting and curious facts about the World Cup in Russia.

Björn GreifEditor

With a surprising 5-0 win over Saudi Arabia in the opening match, World Cup hosts Russia got off to a dream start to the tournament. The 70th in the FIFA World Ranking now has a good chance of surviving the group stage for the first time in their fourth World Cup appearance and moving into the round of 16. Until 1991 Russia was part of the Soviet Union, which celebrated its greatest success with a 4th place at the 1966 World Cup in England.

For many smaller football nations the Olympic motto is also valid at the World Cup: “it’s not the winning but the taking part that counts”. After all, there have only been 8 different title holders in 20 World Cup tournaments to date. Thirteen times the world champion was either Brazil, Germany or Italy.

With our World Cup widget in the Cliqz Browser for Windows and Mac you won't miss a single goal and you’ll always be well informed. It provides you with all relevant match information such as kick-off times, groups, fixtures and (live) results. Just open a new tab and click on the soccer ball icon in the upper left-hand corner. Or just follow this link to

Below you will find even more interesting and fun facts about the FIFA World Cup:

  • Brazil is the only nation to have participated in every FIFA World Cup. With 20 participations to date, the South Americans have won 5 world championship titles, making them record holders. They are followed by Germany, Italy (18/4 each) and Argentina (16/2). Mexico have taken part in 15 World Cups but always left empty-handed.
  • Iceland and Panama qualified for the World Cup for the first time. Panama’s president declared October 11th, the day of successful qualification, a national holiday. 66,000 Iceland fans are said to have applied for World Cup tickets. This corresponds to 20 percent of the population of the island state – “Huh!”
  • Egypt are back in the World Cup for the first time since 1990, thanks to a last-minute goal from national hero Mo Salah, who received 5% of the vote in Egypt’s last presidential election, even though he was not even nominated.
  • Peru are back at the World Cup for the first time since 1982, overcoming the longest lean period of any team that has ever qualified before.
  • South Korea is playing its tenth World Cup and thus has the most participations of all Asian nations.
  • Nigeria qualified for the World Cup six times since its debut in 1994 – more often than any other African country.
  • This year’s World Cup host Russia has never been beyond the group stage. However, in 1966, the former Soviet Union achieved 4th place.
  • Italy did not qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1958.
  • The USA are not qualified for the World Cup for the first time since 1986. This is particularly annoying for Fox Sports, which paid more than $400 million for the English-language broadcast rights in the United States for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.
  • Aside from Italy and the USA, other football-loving nations are also not represented at this year’s World Cup, including Algeria, Cameroon, Chile, Ecuador, Ghana, Ireland, the Netherlands, Turkey and Venezuela.
  • The World Cup will be held for the 21st time in 2018, but for the first time in Russia.
  • For the first time the World Cup will take place on two different continents: Asia and Europe.
  • The matches will be played in twelve stadiums at eleven host cities in Russia: Moscow (two stadiums and final venue), Saint Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Kazan, Samara, Volgograd, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Rostov-on-Don, Kaliningrad and Sochi.
  • The distance between the most western (Kaliningrad) and the most eastern venue (Ekaterinburg) is almost 2500 km (1550 miles), roughly the distance between Moscow and London. Between the most northern (St. Petersburg) and most southern venue (Sochi) lie more than 1900 km (1180 miles), which corresponds approximately to the distance between Moscow and Munich.
  • This year’s World Cup mascot is a wolf called Zabivaka, which means “the one who scores” or “little scorer” in Russian.
  • With an estimated cost of 10 billion euros, the World Cup in Russia is considered the most expensive tournament in the history of the FIFA World Cup.

Within the next week we will add more interesting and fun facts about the world’s biggest sporting event. Stay tuned!