Dear Mummy, everywhere I look there are people donning flags and talking about the World Cup! Excitement is building for the most talked about global competition. We tuned in on the opening ceremony to watch Robbie Williams sing his heart out before the first game of the tournament between Russia and Saudi Arabia.
We’ve unashamedly jumped on the World Cup bandwagon and this is the first time I’ve been able to enjoy watching the football so I brought my mummy up to speed with some fun facts about the tournament. She doesn’t know much about football, so found this quite interesting!
Did you know…
1. The World Cup is the pinnacle of football, showcasing the crème de la crème and top of the crop!
2. This is the first time in FIFA World Cup history that Russia are playing host, from June 14 to July 15, 2018.
3. The World Cup takes place every four years (last time I was too young to watch)
4. The tournament is held in one country over the course of about a month, with billions of people watching worldwide. 3.2 billion people (almost half of the world’s population) tuned in to watch the 2014 World Cup.
5. Fifa stands for: Fédération Internationale of Football Association and they are the governing body of football.
6. There are hundreds of qualifying matches that narrow the field down from 209 national teams to the 32 that make the final tournament.
7. The highest scoring game in World Cup history was in 1954, when Austria defeated Switzerland 7-5.
8. The World Cup has been played 20 times, Brazil holds the most titles with five. Italy and Germany are close behind with four each.
9. The World Cup is comprised of eight groups, each containing four teams. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the second round. In the group, each team plays the other one time. A win will get you three points, a draw will get you one and a defeat will get you zero.
10. The knockout format will see a team that finishes top of their group play a team that has finished second in theirs. If you win you go through, if you lose you go home. Win four knockout games in a row, and you’re the world champions.
11. Extra-Time: If a knockout game is tied after 90 minutes, then the game will go to extra time. That involves 30 extra minutes where a winner can be decided. If a team is leading at the end of extra time, then they’ll progress.
12. Penalties: If the scores are level after 120 minutes of action, the game goes to a penalty shootout to determine who progresses to the next round, or if the final is level after 120 minutes, to decide who lifts the trophy. The shootout sees each team take five penalty kicks and whoever has scored the most at the end of the five kicks go through. If the score is level after five kicks, it goes to sudden death, where each team gets an extra kick. If one team scores, then other misses—or vice-versa—the team that scores will go through.
13. The World Cup final has only ever been decided on penalties twice, both times involving the Italian national team.
So there you have it! Will you be supporting your favourite team this year or watching Love Island? Decisions decisions. It’s my first World Cup so I will be watching through my hands… I can’t stand suspense! Come on England!
Love Bella x