The FIFA World cup for 2018 began on June 14, 2018, and ended on July 15, 2018. The tournament, which takes place every four years, was designated to take place in Russia after it was given a chance to host the games on December 2, 2010. It is the first time the tournament is held Europe since the year 2006.
Criteria for Host Selection
In January 2009, the criteria to select the 2018 FIFA World cup began with nine countries interested, among them Russia, Indonesia, Mexico, the United States, England, the Netherlands, Australia, Japan, and Spain. Mexico withdrew, and FIFA rejected Indonesia since the country had not submitted a letter supporting its bid. Japan, the United States, and Australia gradually withdrew, and eventually, four nations remained. A 22-member bench presided over the selection process by holding a meeting in Zürich on December 2010. Upon voting, Russia won the bid during the second round of voting, joining the list of countries that have hosted the World Cup.
The host, Russia, is the largest country in the world with a surface area of an eighth of the total inhabited land across the globe (17,125,200 square kilometers). Its capital city is Moscow, and the country is one of the most populous in the world. The country is rich in mineral and energy resources making it one of the leading producing countries of natural gas and oil in the world. It is also a leading producer of nuclear weapons. Russia is a member of several organizations worldwide including the United Nations Security Council, World Trade Organization, Commonwealth of Independent States, and Shanghai Cooperation Organization, among others.
Qualifying for the FIFA World Cup is not an easy thing, with 210 teams competing for 31 open spots (as the hosting nation, the Russian team automatically qualify). Brazil became the first country to secure qualification to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Panama and Iceland have qualified for the games for the very first time while Egypt has appeared for the games after being absent for 28 years.
As the host, Russia was able to pick fourteen cities as possible host cities including Moscow, Kazan, Samara, Sochi, Kaliningrad, Yaroslavl, Saransk, Novgorod, Yekaterinburg, St Petersburg, Nizhny, Krasnodar, Volgograd, and Rostov-on-Don. Aside from the host cities, Russia proposed sixteen stadiums, three of which would be renovated while thirteen will be newly constructed. Russia would later lower the number of stadiums from sixteen to fourteen in October 2011. On September 29, 2012, the final list of host cities and stadiums was announced with Yaroslavl and Krasnodar being dropped while the stadiums down from fourteen to twelve. Though the number of stadiums reduced to 12, several concerns came up on their completion with Sepp Blatter stating that the number of host stadiums would be 10. Visits to Moscow, Sochi, St Petersburg and Kazan by the FIFA inspection team was termed satisfying. FIFA and members of the local community came up with official names for the venues of the tournament on October 8, 2015. The FIFA committee announced a detailed schedule on July 24, 2015, and a comprehensive program for the games on July 24, 2015.
Future World Cups
The 2018 World Cup in Russia will be followed by the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and the 2026 World Cup jointly hosted by the US, Mexico, and Canada. The Qatar games will be the second time the World Cup has been hosted in Asian and the first time hosted by a Muslim nation. The 2026 games will be the second jointly-hosted World Cup after the 2002 games in South Korea and Japan.