20 Stats Ahead of the 2018 World Cup

0 – Hosts Russia have never made it out of the group stage of a World Cup in their three tournaments since the breakup of the USSR.

1 – Morocco conceded just one goal in their eight qualifying matches.

2 – Iceland and Panama will both be making their World Cup debuts in Russia.

4 – Iran and Tunisia have both failed to make it past the group stage in all four of their previous World Cups.

5/1 – Germany and Brazil are the joint-favourites to win the 2018 World Cup.  Unsurprisingly these two are also the most chosen team among World Cup tips.

5 – Mexico’s Rafa Marquez could become the first player to captain a nation at five different World Cups.  He currently holds the record himself.

9 – There will be nine nations in Russia that didn’t qualify four years ago (Denmark, Egypt, Iceland, Morocco, Panama, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Senegal & Tunisia).

16 – Poland’s Robert Lewandowski, Sweden’s Marcus Berg, Denmark’s Christian Eriksen, Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed Al-Sahlawi and United Arab Emirates’ Ahmed Khalil were the joint-leading goalscorers in qualification.

25 – Mexico have lost the most matches in World Cup finals.

32 – Peru were the final team to qualify for this summer’s tournament.

41 – Brazil were the highest-scoring nation in qualifying.

70 – Brazil have won more matches at World Cup finals than any other nation.

100% – Defending champions Germany were the only nation to win all of their qualifying matches.

106 – Germany have played more matches at World Cup finals than any other nation.

120 – Argentina have collected the most cards over the history of the competition (111 yellows, 9 reds).

224 – Germany have scored the most goals at World Cup finals.

872 – There were 872 matches in all in qualifying.

1982 – Peru are making their first appearance at a World Cup since 1982.

2010 – South Africa are the only host nation to fail to progress past the first round at any previous tournament.

348,580 – With a population of 348,580, Iceland will be the smallest nation to have ever participated in a World Cup after this summer’s tournament.