FIFA 2018: The Groups Are In

It comes every four years. It recognizes 211 national associations in men’s soccer. It is the most watched sports event internationally. The Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup is the sports event for the summer of 2018. Next year, the World Cup will be hosted in Russia and will reunite the entire world in their shared sport: soccer.

“The FIFA World Cup cannot be compared to the Super Bowl or the World Series. However, it is at the Olympic level of sports,” sophomore Isabella Lopez said.

To qualify for the FIFA World Cup, a country must be enrolled under FIFA. 210 national associations were organized by the six FIFA confederations, and competed in tournaments to contend in the qualifying rounds. Of the 210 countries, only 31 can be chosen to advance. Russia, being the host country of this World Cup, is automatically placed in the groupings. The final draw is located below:

Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay

Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, IR Iran

Group C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark

Group D: Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria

Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia

Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden, Korea Republic

Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England

Group H: Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan

It is evident that there is no group that has as difficult match-ups as some group had during the last World Cup in 2014. The “top” nations that have had a lead over the years have nothing to worry about because the groups were organized and arranged quite evenly. Group A has the lowest-ranked teams, allowing for Russia to have a greater probability to open the World Cup with a win. Group C features Peru, who has not participated in a World Cup since 1980, as well as France—which has younger players on the team and is expected to excel this World Cup. Group C contains the teams that hold the most potential to win the cup besides the past winners: Germany and Spain.

“FIFA next year seems pretty interesting. The groups are set up in a weirdly fair way, so we’ll see how it goes,” freshman Brian Sarria said.

The last World Cup, occurring in 2014, showcased Germany and Argentina in a head-to-head contest to win the golden title. Considered to be one of the best soccer players in history, Lionel Messi was and remains on the Argentinian team. However, Germany was able to pull through in the second extra time and Mario Götze scored the game-determining goal. Both of these valued teams and players will participate again in Russia.

FIFA has evened out the playing field for all nations in Russia. The action begins in the 12 arenas with mascot Zabivaka. Competition will begin June 14 and continue through July 15 in Moscow. [powr-poll id=76d83a30_1512917735511]