World Cup 2018 in Russia – Complete Review

Although it might have drawn some controversy when its host nation was announced, Russia 2018 looks set to be one of the most exciting FIFA World Cup tournaments for quite some time. We are pleased to provide the most accomplished betting guide and information for the 2018 World Cup, we have in-depth analysis and integral information regarding the bookmaker bonuses, odds and live streaming of matches.

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The current final tournament schedule has been in place since 1998, with 32 national teams playing matches over a period of approximately one month. The World Cup schedule is split into two halves; the Group Stage, followed by the Knockout Stage.

For the Group Stage, eight groups of teams are selected, with each group containing four teams. Team groups are formed by seeding eight individual teams to form eight separate groups. This is decided by use of a formula. This formula has been developed by using FIFA World Cup Rankings, as well as other statistical information such as the recent performance of seeded teams. Once these eight teams have been selected, each group is then populated with three more teams by a random draw.

Each team is initially scheduled to play three different matches throughout the Group Stage, ensuring they play against every other team in their seeded group. The top two teams from each group then advance to the Knockout Stage of the competition. A point system is used to create rankings for performance in the Group Stage of the tournament.


For football fans who enjoy a punt, there’s few better things than FIFA World Cup Betting offers and promotions. Most of the leading online UK bookmakers offer exciting World Cup free bets and bonuses, with much to entice both new and existing customers.

For existing customers of online bookmakers, FIFA World Cup Betting brings many perks over conventional football betting. For a start, many bookmakers unveil enhanced odds on certain matches, particularly those held near the end of a tournament. There’s also huge potential returns to be had for those who take a punt on accumulator bets. This type of bet will be familiar to most football fans, while betting insurance is an easy way to ensure you receive your stake back, even if the outcomes you’ve forecast don’t come to pass. Essentially, you bet for free with no risk.

For new customers to online bookmakers, there’s even more freebies to be had. For the newcomer, FIFA World Cup Betting bonuses are thick on the ground. Many UK online bookmakers offer lucrative promotions to first-time customers, including the chance to triple-initial deposits to massively increase betting potential. Yet more bookmakers offer matched bet bonuses, in-play odds bonuses, not to mention complimentary Acca insurance to help secure betting outgoings and minimize overall losses.



You will find that on this site we have prepared for you the best bookmakers to bet with, but are also a lot of fun.  If it’s your first time betting on the World Cup at any individual bookmaker, make sure you’ve followed the on-screen instructions in order to pocket any potential FIFA World Cup Betting bonus. Once you’re fully registered and have eligible funds in your online account, you can then look to place a bet. While it’s possible to bet on the outcome of individual matches in the Group Stage of the competition prior to the tournament kicking off, you’ll need to wait until the outcome of these games before being able to make precise bets on the Knockout Stage of the tournament.

If you’re keen to start betting before the tournament commences and take advantage of the best odds, you’ve plenty of options when it comes to bet types. In terms of the Group Stage of the competition, you can bet on the overall winner of Groups A-H, as well as bet on the outcome of which two teams may qualify from each group. There are also more general bets that apply to the wider competition. Popular bets include betting on the outright winner of the competition, as well as the top goalscorer of the tournament. You can also look to bet on which two teams will make the final of the competition, while further bets can be made on which teams will reach the quarter-final and semi-final stages of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.


The Group Stage of the competition will commence with Group A on June 14, with host nation Russia playing against Saudi Arabia. On June 15, Egypt will play against Uruguay. Group B matches will then follow, with Morocco playing Iran on June 15, followed by Portugal playing against Spain later that same day. On June 16, France take on Australia, while Argentina take on Iceland. Later that day, Peru play against Denmark, while Croatia play Nigeria.

Group E matches kick off on June 17, with Costa Rica taking on Serbia. Germany take on Mexico that same day, with Brazil playing against Switzerland later that evening. On June 18, Group F sees its first match with Sweden taking on South Korea, while Group G also commences play with Belgium taking on Panama, followed by Tunisia playing against England. The initial matches of the Group Stage round off with Poland versus Senegal on June 19, followed by Columbia playing against Japan that afternoon. The Group Stage continues until June 28, with each of the 32 qualifying national teams playing against other teams from their group.

The Last 16 matches will commence from June 30 and wrap up on July 3, with Quarter-Finals commencing on July 6 and rounding off on July 7. The Semi-Finals will be held across July 10 and July 11, while the Third-Place Play-Off will be held on July 14. The winning teams from the two semi-final matches will come together to play the ultimate final match on Sunday July 15 to decide the outright winner of the 2018 World Cup.


The Knockout Stage of the competition is a single-elimination tournament, with each team that has progressed this far playing against each other in single matches. Unlike the previous stage which implements a point system to decide rankings and overall winners, the Knockout Stage utilises extra time and penalties to ensure a clear winner is decided at the end of each match.

The Knockout Stage commences with the final 16 teams left in the competition playing off against another team. The outright winning team from one group is pitted against the runner-up team from another group in these initial Knockout matches. These matches end with a winning and losing team, with the winning team progressing to the quarter-finals. Semi-final matches then follow, with third-place matches then taking place. Ultimately, the final match takes place to decide the overall winner of the World Cup tournament.


The FIFA World Cup was one of the first major sporting events to carry a mascot, with World Cup Willie debuting at the England 1966 competition. As a general rule, World Cup mascots tend to sport signature features of the host country, with playful designs usually targeted for a younger audience and with an eye on merchandising. The 2018 FIFA World Cup Mascot was unveiled in late October 2016 after an open call for submissions and subsequent internet vote singled out an anthropomorphic wolf called Zabivaka as a mascot for the 2018 tournament mascot.

Created by Ekaterina Bocharova, a student designer, Zabivaka takes its name from the Russian for “one who scores”. This cute wolf character not only sports the logo and lettering of the 2018 tournament, but also comes adorned in blue, white and red – the colors of the Russian national football team. More than a million people participated in the final internet voting round to select a winner from a shortlist of potential mascot candidates, with Zabivaka securing more than half of the overall vote. The logo for the 2018 tournament was first unveiled in 2014 by Russian cosmonauts aboard the International Space Station. A new typeface, Dusha, was created specifically for the logo, with artwork that symbolises Russia’s expansive history of innovation, achievement and artistic prowess.


During the 2018 World Cup, there will no less than dozen venues across Russia playing host to matches. Although initial proposal bids called for more venues across more host cities than was settled upon, the final shortlist includes several newly built and upgraded stadiums across many major cities in and around European Russia.


The two biggest stadiums in Russia, Saint Petersburg Stadium and Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium, will both play host seven matches each. Luzhniki Stadium boasts an impressive capacity of 81,000 spectators, while Saint Petersburg Station offers a capacity in excess of 68,000. Several new stadiums were commissioned for construction to support the Russian 2018 World Cup bid. The Cosmos Arena in Samara, the Kazan Arena and Nizhny Novgorod Stadium will all see their newly finished facilities put to use, with six matches played at each. The Fisht Olympic Stadium in Sochi will also play host to six matches.

Playing host to five matches apiece are Moscow’s Otkrytiye Stadium and the newly built Rostov Arena in Rostov-on-Don. Kaliningrad Stadium, another newly built stadium, will host four individual matches, as will the Mordovia Arena in Saransk. The Volgograd Arena and Yekaterinburg’s Central Stadium will both also host four matches, with both venues having seen major renovations for the occasion.


General rules apply to participating teams in the Russia 2018 Football World Cup. Firstly, all teams participating are required to play all allocated matches until they are eliminated from the tournament. Any team who decides to withdraw from the competition faces significant fines and penalties. Player eligibility is also another key consideration that needs special attention. All players of any national team must hold nationality of his team country. All players should also fit selection criteria laid out in the FIFA Statutes.

Laws of the Game guidance lays out the rules of play for matches throughout the tournament. These rules are laid out by the International Football Association Board and determine that each match lasts 90 minutes, with a half-time interval of 15 minutes. It also dictates that any extra time required will consist of two play periods lasting 15 minutes each, with a short interval of five minutes separating normal playing time and any extra time required. If there is no clear winner after extra time periods, penalty kicks will be used to determine the outcome of the match.

Additionally, any disciplinary matters are handled in compliance with FIFA Disciplinary Code. All participating teams will have already agreed to comply with this code upon entry into the competition.


Before the final World Cup draw itself, a qualifying stage is implemented in order to whittle down the number of potential participating teams to the required 32. These qualifying rounds take place across six geographical zones, with the relevant confederations of these regions overseeing them. However, FIFA informs each of these confederations how many entry places can be awarded to their respective region, based upon the performance and ability of teams from this region. Qualifying tournaments can begin several years prior to the actual World Cup tournament. As a general rule, the host nation of the upcoming World Cup receives qualification to play in the final tournament, without having to qualify.

Once the qualification stage is over, the eligible 32 national teams picked to compete enter the final tournament. This final tournament is split into a Group Stage and followed by a Knockout Stage. Eight teams are selected to create groups for the Group Stage, with the remaining 24 teams drawn at random and assigned to a group until eight groups of four teams have been selected. In more recent years, rules have been put in place to ensure that each group contains more of an even split of teams from various regions and confederations. For example, no group can contain more than two teams from Europe, or more than a single team from another football confederation.

Preparation for the World Cup 2018

After being awarded the rights to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup in December 2010, Russia quickly commenced work to prepare itself for the tournament. Initially, the hosts proposed a total of 16 stadiums would be used for the tournament, with matches taking place across 13 individual cities. Several changes were made to these plans before a final decision of 11 host cities and 12 stadium venues was settled upon. Five of these stadiums are completely new venues, while several more of the chosen venues are undergoing massive upgrades.

In addition to these match venues, upgrades and construction projects are taking place elsewhere to support the infrastructure of the 2018 tournament. Saransk airport is seeing huge renovation projects at one of its terminals, while a new airport, Platov Airport, is being constructed in Rostov-on-Don to enhance the transport infrastructure for the competition. Russia has also introduced a temporary relaxation on visa requirements for those wishing to attend the tournament. In the period immediately prior and during the 2018 competition, fans will be able to visit the country without having to apply and pay for a visa beforehand.


The FIFA World Cup has long been financed by lucrative sponsorship deals with some of the biggest brands in the world. In the past, the likes of electronics giant Sony, industry-leading airline Emirates and many more household names have lent their support to the footballing tournament with sponsorship deals worth hundreds of millions of pounds. Sony’s contract alone was worth a staggering £183 million in a deal spread out over several years.

Sponsors are generally split into two broad camps, with the more household names and brands falling in the first tier, while lesser-known agencies fall into the second tier category. Regardless of the prominence of a business and its success, sponsoring the World Cup is seen as a lucrative venture that yields impressive returns and helps boost brand identity across the globe.

FIFA also finances independently, with the bulk of its revenue coming from selling the television broadcast rights to its games to networks. Merchandising also plays a key role in financing, with apparel, ticketing and video game releases offering three particularly lucrative income streams.

FIFA Partners

FIFA World Cup™ Sponsors

Regional Supporters


Scandal has always plagued the FIFA World Cup. The most recent tournament, the 2014 competition held in Brazil, was rife with the usual criticisms encountered a the World Cup. Many of the initial matches and subsequent rounds came into question, with results contested and the fairness of referee decisions called into question. Like other tournaments of previous years, favoritism of one team over another was cited as a regular problem. It was the host nation, this time Brazil, that was often seen as the beneficiary of this favoritism. There was also the usual incidence of disallowed goals, often a decider of match wins, drawing much criticism and generating plenty of controversy.

The Brazil 2014 World Cup was also plagued by fan violence and breaches of security at several stadiums. Even before the tournament kicked off, the preparedness of Brazil as a host nation was called into question. The development of stadiums and facilities encountered severe delays and experienced cost overruns, while the safety of said venues was also called into question.

The 2018 World Cup has come under particular scrutiny, largely due to the decision to make Russia the host nation of the tournament. The decision has drawn many protests about Russia’s record of discrimination against LGBT individuals, while an incidence of racist abuse and attacks has led to further concern over the suitability of Russia as a host.

In 2015, allegations of corruption were made against Russia and their conduct during the bidding process for the 2018 World Cup. This led to a criminal investigation into corruption, which generated much media interest. Continued attention on doping of Russian athletes and sporting teams has refused to subside, although no scandal has yet proved enough to strip Russia of its right to host the 2018 tournament.

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