FIFA World Cup 2018: From Germany's shot at history to Panama's debut, look at some interesting facts and figures of mega event

For the next one month, the world of football will be gripped by the World Cup, which is taking place in Russia. A total of 32 nations will be taking part in the event, where Germany will look to defend their title against strong contenders like Brazil, France, Argentina and Belgium. This is the 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup, the first one was held in 1930 in Uruguay.

FIFA World Cup 2018. Reuters

FIFA World Cup 2018. Reuters

The mega event in Russia will take place in 12 stadiums across 11 cities. Moscow is the only city to have two stadiums – Luzhniki and Spartak – where the matches will take place. Overall, an estimated five lakh estimated tourists will be in Russia for football's biggest extravaganza.

The tournament takes place every four years with the last edition being held in Brazil. Germany won the title for the fourth time beating Argentina in the final. Overall, Brazil clinched the title most number times – five, the latest one came in 2002. Italy, who also won the trophy four times did not qualify for the Russia event. Other big footballing nations that did not make to the main event are the Netherlands. All the World Cups have either won by a South American country – 9 or a European nation – 11. Germany will try to become the first country after Brazil to win back-to-back trophies. The South American nation did it in 1958 and 1962.

For the first time, Panama have qualified for the FIFA World Cup. Only three African nations have reached the quarter-final stage of the World Cup – Cameroon in 1990, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010. Morocco have the most foreign-born players – 17 in their squad.

The English Premier League champions Manchester City have the maximum number of players in the 2018 World Cup with 16, followed by Real Madrid with 15 and Barcelona with 14 players.

Germany's Miroslav Klose holds the record of the maximum number of goals scored in World Cups – 16. Among the players playing the World Cup in Russia, Thomas Muller has the most goals with 10. France's Just Fontaine holds the record for the most goals scored in a World Cup – 13, in 1958  while Russian striker Oleg Salenko has scored more goals than any other in a single World Cup match – five goals against Cameroon in the 1994 World Cup. Gerd Muller, the German star striker, was the last player to score 10 or more goals in a World Cup.

The most goals in a single World Cup match came in 1954 when Austria beat Switzerland 7-5.

Lothar Matthaus of Germany has most number of appearances in World Cup with 25 matches while the record of most number of minutes played in World Cup belongs to Italy's Paolo Maldini – 2,217. Germany's Helmut Schon has been in-charge of most number of World Cup match – 25. He has also won the most number of World Cup matches – 16.

According to FIFA, so far, 2.4 million tickets have been sold for the 64-game competition, which will kick off on Thursday when the hosts Russia will take on Saudi Arabia in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. The United States, who did not qualify for this year's event, have recorded highest ticket sales apart from the hosts with the number being 88,825.

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Updated Date: Jun 14, 2018 15:46 PM

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