The World Cup is finally here and I could not be more excited as I prepare to watch for this next month. This year Russia will be hosting beginning June 14 till July 15th. If you're a big soccer fanatic like I am; then here are some things you may want to read up on to find out more about this year's cup. You probably have already heard about some of these but I was surprised to hear , #8 Russia will be spending close to 12 billion on the Cup. But even if you're not a soccer fanatic and just want to read up on some facts if you plan to watch the games but are not an avid viewer then keep reading!
1. First time a cup is hosted in Eastern Europe
In the past most of the world cups have been held in South America and Western Europe. But for the first time ever it will be held in Eastern Europe.
2. Matches in 11 different cities
12 stadiums and 11 different cities will host the games; 9 of which were built for the sole purpose to host the games.
3. This is Iceland and Panama's first ever World Cup
For the first time ever both of these countries have qualified for the Cup. It's a great accomplishment and such an incredible moment for both to have made it this far. In fact, on the day Panama qualified the president announced it a national holiday.
4. The first game will be played by the two lowest ranking teams
Russia and Saudi Arabia are considered the two lowest ranking teams of all the countries playing in the Cup this year. Naturally, the host country always opens up the games and it just so happens that it's between the lowest ranked teams.
5. Italy and the US did not qualify this year
ICYMI: Italy and the United States did not qualify for this year's cup this is the first time for both teams since the late 1900's that either team has not qualified. You probably heard about the US since it was all the rave last fall, I was disappointed but hopefully we will see both in Qatar 2022.
6. 64 matches in just under a month
It can be overwhelming to keep count of all the games. Luckily, there are schedules to help you keep track so you don't forget and you'll always know when your favorites are playing!
7. No british referees will officiate
This will be the first time since World War II that a world cup will be held with out a British referee. This news comes out of the tension between the two countries after Britain accused Russia of poisoning ex-RUssian spy Sergei Skirl and his daughter in England. Britain followed up by discharging 23 Russian diplomats.
8. Russia will spent close to $12 billion on this year's CupGiphy
More than a million visitors are expected to make the trip to Russia to witness the World Cup games. 9 stadiums created to hold the matches the country has undergone some major landscape changes to make this years cup possible. The country has had to make some major adjustments in their budget to plan for the matches especially raising ticket prices to account for these changes. It's no wonder their spending almost 12 billion!