32 Teams, 12 Stadia and 8 Reds – The 2018 World Cup

32 Teams, 12 Stadia and 8 Reds – The 2018 World Cup
July 6, 2018 Chris Rowland


The 2018 World Cup is almost upon us. Regardless of your thoughts on international football, the World Cup usually holds something of interest for us, if only for the Reds involved.

It all kicks off – hopefully not in THAT sense – on Thursday 14th June, when hosts Russia play Saudi Arabia at 16.00 in Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. Not necessarily a start to set the pulse racing, but there are a few clashes in the groups which might – Spain v Portugal, England v Belgium, and any game involving a little Egyptian called Mo, if he’s fit. He’s been named in Egypt’s squad.

Reds at the World Cup:

There are eight Reds who have been selected for their countries, with another, Adam Lallana, on stand-by. Fekir would have made it nine.

They are:

England: Jordan Henderson, Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez may well have been selected but for their injuries.

Brazil: Roberto Firmino

Senegal: Sadio Mane

Egypt: Mohammed Salah (subject to fitness)

Croatia: Dejan Lovren

Belgium: Simon Mignolet

Serbia: Marko Grujic

Compare that with our top 6 rivals:

Man City: 16 Ederson Walker Mendy Danilo Stones Delph Sterling De Bruyne D Silva B Silva Kompany Fernandinho Gundogan Otamendi Aguero  Gabriel Jesus

Man Utd: 12 De Gea Romero Rojo Jones Lindelof Young Matic Pogba Fellaini Lingard Rashford Lukaku

Spurs 12: Lloris Trippier Rose Alderweireld Vertonghen Sanchez Dier Alli Eriksen Dembele Kane Son

Chelsea 12: Courtois Caballero Cahill Rudiger Christensen Moses Loftus-Cheek Azpilicueta Kante Hazard Willian Giroud

Arsenal 6: Ospina Monreal Elneny Ozil Welbeck Campbell

Koscielny is injured.

That means Reds enjoying an extended summer break are:

Loris Karius Andy Robertson Alberto Moreno Nathaniel Clyne Joel Matip Ragnar Klavan Virgil Van Dijk Gini Wijnaldum James Milner Danny Ings Dominic Solanke Ben Woodburn Danny Ward Naby Keita Fabinho. Plus Gomez and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

The Groups

Top 2 qualify.

A – Russia Saudi Arabia Uruguay Egypt

B – Portugal Spain Morocco Iran

C – France Australia Peru Denmark

D – Argentina Iceland Croatia Nigeria

E – Brazil Switzerland Serbia Costa Rica

F – Germany Mexico Sweden South Korea

G – Belgium England Panama Tunisia

H – Poland Senegal Colombia Japan

The Fixture Schedule

Group Stages: (all times indicated are BST)

Thursday, 14 June, 16:00 – Russia v Saudi Arabia, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow.

Friday, 15 June, 13:00 – Egypt v Uruguay, Rostov-on-Don.

Friday, 15 June, 16:00 – Morocco v Iran, St.Petersburg.

Friday, 15 June, 19:00 – Portugal v Spain,

Saturday, 16 June, 14:00 – Argentina v Iceland, Spartak Stadium, Moscow.

Saturday, 16 June, 11:00 – France v Australia, Kazan.

Saturday, 16 June, 17:00 – Peru v Denmark, Saransk.

Saturday, 16 June, 20:00 – Croatia v Nigeria, Kaliningrad.

Sunday, 17 June, 13:00 – Costa Rica v Serbia, Samara.

Sunday, 17 June, 16:00 – Germany v Mexico, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow.

Sunday, 17 June, 19:00 – Brazil v Switzerland, Rostov-on-Don.

Monday, 18 June, 13:00 – Sweden v South Korea, Nizhny Novgorod.

Monday, 18 June, 16:00 – Belgium v Panama, Sochi.

Monday, 18 June, 19:00 BST – Tunisia v England, Volgograd.

Tuesday, 19 June, 16:00 – Poland v Senegal, Spartak Stadium, Moscow.

Tuesday, 19 June, 13:00 – Colombia v Japan, Saransk.

Tuesday, 19 June, 19:00 – Russia v Egypt, St.Petersburg.

Wednesday, 20 June, 13:00 – Portugal v Morocco, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow.

Wednesday, 20 June, 16:00 – Uruguay v Saudi Arabia, Sochi.

Wednesday, 20 June, 19:00 – Iran v Spain, Kazan.

Thursday, 21 June, 13:00 – Denmark v Australia, Samara.

Thursday, 21 June, 16:00 – France v Peru, Ekaterinburg.

Thursday, 21 June, 19:00 – Argentina v Croatia, Nizhny Novgorod.

Friday, 22 June, 13:00 – Brazil v Costa Rica, St.Petersburg.

Friday, 22 June, 16:00 – Nigeria v Iceland, Volgograd.

Friday, 22 June, 19:00 – Serbia v Switzerland, Kaliningrad.

Saturday, 23 June, 13:00 – Belgium v Tunisia, Spartak Stadium, Moscow.

Saturday, 23 June, 16:00 – South Korea v Mexico, Rostov-on-Don.

Saturday, 23 June, 19:00 – Germany v Sweden, Sochi.

Sunday, 24 June, 13:00 – England v Panama, Nizhny Novgorod.

Sunday, 24 June, 16:00 – Japan v Senegal, Ekaterinburg.

Sunday, 24 June, 19:00 – Poland v Colombia, Kazan.

Monday, 25 June, 15:00 – Uruguay v Russia, Samara.

Monday, 25 June, 15:00 – Saudi Arabia v Egypt, Volgograd.

Monday, 25 June, 19:00 – Spain v Morocco, Kaliningrad.

Monday, 25 June, 19:00 – Iran v Portugal, Saransk.

Tuesday, 26 June, 15:00 – Australia v Peru, Sochi.

Tuesday, 26 June, 15:00 – Denmark v France, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow.

Tuesday, 26 June, 19:00 – Nigeria v Argentina, St.Petersburg.

Tuesday, 26 June, 19:00 – Iceland v Croatia, Rostov-on-Don.

Wednesday, 27 June, 15:00 – South Korea v Germany, Kazan.

Wednesday, 27 June, 15:00 –  Mexico v Sweden, Ekaterinburg.

Wednesday, 27 June, 19:00 – Serbia v Brazil, Spartak Stadium, Moscow.

Wednesday, 27 June, 19:00 – Switzerland v Costa Rica, Nizhny Novgorod.

Thursday, 28 June, 15:00 – Senegal v Colombia, Ekaterinburg.

Thursday, 28 June, 15:00 – Japan v Poland, Volgograd.

Thursday, 28 June, 19:00 – England v Belgium, Kaliningrad.

Thursday, 28 June, 19:00 – Panama v Tunisia, Saransk.


Knockout Stages:

Reds through to knockout stages: Henderson Alexander-Arnold Lovren Mignolet Firmino

Reds coming home: Salah Grujic Mane

Saturday, 30 June, 15.00 – Last 16, France v Argentina, Kazan.

Saturday, 30 June, 19:00 – Last 16 – Uruguay v Portugal, Sochi.

Sunday, 1 July, 15:00 – Last 16 – Spain v Russia, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow.

Sunday, 1 July, 19:00 – Last 16 – Croatia v Denmark, Nizhny Novgorod.

Monday, 2 July, 15:00 – Last 16 – Brazil v Mexico, Samara.

Monday, 2 July, 19:00 – Last 16 – Belgium v Japan, Rostov-on-Don.

Tuesday, 3 July, 15:00 – Last 16 – Sweden v Switzerland, St.Petersburg.

Tuesday, 3 July, 19:00 – Last 16 – Colombia v England, Spartak Stadium, Moscow.


Friday, 6 July, 15:00 – France v Uruguay, Nizhny Novgorod.

Friday, 6 July, 19:00 –  Brazil v Belgium, Kazan.

Saturday, 7 July, 15:00 – Russia v Croatia, Sochi.

Saturday, 7 July, 19:00 – Sweden v England, Samara.


Tuesday, 10 July, 19:00 – Belgium v France, St.Petersburg.

Wednesday, 11 July, 19:00 – Croatia v England, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow.

Saturday, 14 July, 15:00 – third v fourth play-off, St.Petersburg.


Sunday, 15 July, 16:00 – Final, Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow.

The Stadia 

12 stadiums across Russia will host the 64 matches that comprise the 2018 World Cup.

The largest venue is the 81,000-capacity Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, where the opening game will be held on 14 June and also the final, 31 days later.

Group matches: Russia v Saudi Arabia (Thursday, 14 June, 16:00 BST), Germany v Mexico (Sunday, 17 June, 16:00 BST), Portugal v Morocco (Wednesday, 20 June, 13:00 BST), Denmark v France (Tuesday, 26 June, 15:00 BST).

Knockout matches: Last 16 – winners of Group B v runners-up of Group A (Sunday, 1 July, 15:00 BST), semi-final 2 (Wednesday, 11 July, 19:00 BST), final (Sunday, 15 July, 16:00 BST).

Spartak Stadium, Moscow

Where the Reds went in last season’s group stage.

Group matches: Argentina v Iceland (Saturday, 16 June, 14:00 BST), Poland v Senegal (Tuesday, 19 June, 16:00 BST), Belgium v Tunisia (Saturday, 23 June, 13:00 BST), Serbia v Brazil (Wednesday, 27 June, 19:00 BST).

Knockout matches: Last 16 – winners of Group H v runners-up of Group G (Tuesday, 3 July, 19:00 BST).

St. Petersburg Stadium, St. Petersburg

Group matches: Morocco v Iran (Friday, 15 June, 16:00 BST), Russia v Egypt (Tuesday, 19 June, 19:00 BST), Brazil v Costa Rica (Friday, 22 June, 13:00 BST), Nigeria v Argentina (Tuesday, 26 June, 19:00 BST).

Knockout matches: Last 16 – winners of Group F v runners-up of Group E (Tuesday, 3 July, 15:00 BST), semi-final 1 (Tuesday, 10 July, 19:00 BST), third v fourth play-off (Saturday, 14 July, 15:00 BST).

Nizhny Novgorod Stadium, Nizhny Novgorod

Group matches: Sweden v South Korea (Monday, 18 June, 13:00 BST), Argentina v Croatia (Thursday, 21 June, 19:00 BST), England v Panama (Sunday, 24 June, 13:00 BST), Switzerland v Costa Rica (Wednesday, 27 June, 19:00 BST).

Knockout matches: Last 16 – winners of Group D v runners-up of Group C (Sunday, 1 July, 19:00 BST), quarter-final 1 (Friday, 6 July, 15:00 BST).

Mordovia Arena, Saransk

Group matches: Peru v Denmark (Saturday, 16 June, 17:00 BST), Colombia v Japan (Tuesday, 19 June, 13:00 BST), Iran v Portugal (Monday, 25 June, 19:00 BST), Panama v Tunisia (Thursday, 28 June, 19:00 BST).

Knockout matches: None.

Kazan Arena, Kazan

Group matches: France v Australia (Saturday, 16 June, 11:00 BST), Iran v Spain (Wednesday, 20 June, 19:00 BST), Poland v Colombia (Sunday, 24 June, 19:00 BST), South Korea v Germany (Wednesday, 27 June, 15:00 BST).

Knockout matches: Last 16 – winner of Group C v runner-up of Group D (Saturday, 30 June, 15:00 BST), quarter-final 2 (Friday, 6 July, 19:00 BST).

Samara Arena, Samara

Group matches: Costa Rica v Serbia (Sunday, 17 June, 13:00 BST), Denmark v Australia (Thursday, 21 June, 13:00 BST), Uruguay v Russia (Monday, 25 June, 15:00 BST), Senegal v Colombia (Thursday, 28 June, 15:00 BST).

Knockout matches: Last 16 – winners of Group E v runners-up of Group F (Monday, 2 July, 15:00 BST), quarter-final 4 (Saturday, 7 July, 19:00 BST).

Ekaterinburg Arena, Ekaterinburg

Group matches: Egypt v Uruguay (Friday, 15 June, 13:00 BST), France v Peru (Thursday, 21 June, 16:00 BST), Japan v Senegal (Sunday, 24 June, 16:00 BST), Mexico v Sweden (Wednesday, 27 June, 15:00 BST).

Knockout matches: None.

Kaliningrad Stadium, Kaliningrad

Group matches: Croatia v Nigeria (Saturday, 16 June, 20:00 BST), Serbia v Switzerland (Friday, 22 June, 19:00 BST), Spain v Morocco (Monday, 25 June, 19:00 BST), England v Belgium (Thursday, 28 June, 19:00 BST).

Knockout matches: None.

Volgograd Arena, Volgograd

Where England make their debut.

Group matches: Tunisia v England (Monday, 18 June, 19:00 BST), Nigeria v Iceland (Friday, 22 June, 16:00 BST), Saudi Arabia v Egypt (Monday, 25 June, 15:00 BST), Japan v Poland (Thursday, 28 June, 15:00 BST).

Knockout matches: None.

Rostov Arena, Rostov-on-Don

Group matches: Brazil v Switzerland (Sunday, 17 June, 19:00 BST), Uruguay v Saudi Arabia (Wednesday, 20 June, 16:00 BST), South Korea v Mexico (Saturday, 23 June, 16:00 BST), Iceland v Croatia (Tuesday, 26 June, 19:00 BST).

Knockout matches: Last 16 – winners of Group G v runners-up of Group H (Monday, 2 July, 19:00 BST).

Fisht Stadium, Sochi

Group matches: Portugal v Spain (Friday, 15 June, 19:00 BST), Belgium v Panama (Monday, 18 June, 16:00 BST), Germany v Sweden (Saturday, 23 June, 19:00 BST), Australia v Peru (Tuesday, 26 June, 15:00 BST).

Knockout matches: Last 16 – winners of Group A v runners-up of Group B (Saturday, 30 June, 19:00 BST), quarter-final 3 (Saturday, 7 July, 15:00 BST).


The Squads

Just some of the strongest ones.


Goalkeepers:Manuel Neuer, Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Kevin Trapp.

Defenders: Jerome Boateng, Matthias Ginter, Jonas Hector, Mats Hummels, Joshua Kimmich, Marvin Plattenhardt, Antonio Ruediger, Niklas Sule.

Germany celebrate winning the 2014 World Cup against Argentina at the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, July 13, 2014. 

Midfielders: Julian Brandt, Julian Draxler, Leon Goretzka, Ilkay Gundogan, Sami Khedira, Toni Kroos,  Sebastian Rudy, Mesut Ozil.

Forwards: Mario Gomez, Marco Reus, Timo Werner, Thomas Mueller.

No place for Leroy Sane, Jonathan Tah, Max Meyer or Bernd Leno.


Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda, Alphonse Areola.

Defenders: Djibril Sidibe, Benjamin Pavard, Adil Rami, Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, Presnel Kimpembe, Benjamin Mendy, Lucas Hernandez.

Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Blaise Matuidi, Corentin Tolisso, N’Golo Kante, Steven Nzonzi.

Forwards: Kylian Mbappe, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Florian Thauvin, Thomas Lemar, Nabil Fekir.

No place for Anthony Lacazaette, Anthony Martial, Kingsley Coman or Moussa Sissoko.

Dimitri Payet and Laurent Koscielny are injured.


Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois, Simon Mignolet, Koen Casteels.

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld, Thomas Meunier, Thomas Vermaelen, Jan Vertonghen, Dedryck Boyata, Vincent Kompany.

Midfielders: Marouane Fellaini, Axel Witsel, Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Leander Dendoncker, Thorgan Hazard, Youri Tielemans, Mousa Dembele.

Forwards: Nacer Chadli, Michy Batshuayi, Yannick Carrasco, Adnan Januzaj, Romelu Lukaku, Dries Mertens.

No place for Christian Benteke, Kevin Mirallas or Steven Defour.


Goalkeepers: David de Gea, Pepe Reina, Kepa Arrizabalaga

Defenders: Jordi Alba, Nacho Monreal, Alvaro Odriozola, Nacho Fernandez, Dani Carvajal, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Cesar Azpilicueta,

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Isco, Thiago Alcantara, David Silva, Andres Iniesta, Saul Niguez, Koke, Marco Asensio,

Forwards: Iago Aspas, Diego Costa, Rodrigo Moreno, Lucas Vazquez.

No place for Alvaro Morata or Cesc Fabregas.


Goalkeepers: Anthony Lopes, Beto, Rui Patricio.

Defenders: Bruno Alves, Cedric Soares, Jose Fonte, Mario Rui, Pepe, Raphael Guerreiro, Ricardo Pereira, Ruben Dias.

Midfielders: Adrien Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Joao Mario, Joao Moutinho, Manuel Fernandes, William Carvalho, Andre Silva, Bernardo Silva.

Forwards: Cristiano Ronaldo, Gelson Martins, Goncalo Guedes, Ricardo Quaresma.


Goalkeepers: Alisson, Ederson, Cassio

Defenders: Marcelo, Danilo, Filipe Luis, Fagner, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Miranda, Pedro Geromel

Midfielders: Willian, Fernandinho, Paulinho, Casemiro, Coutinho, Renato Augusto, Fred

Forwards: Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Roberto Firmino, Douglas Costa. Taison.


Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero, Willy Caballero, Franco Armania

Defenders: Gabriel Mercardo, Cristian Ansaldi, Nicolas Otamendi, Federico Fazio, Marcos Rojo, Nicolas Tagliafico, Marcos Acuna, Javier Mascherano

Midfielders: Eduardo Salvio, Lucas Biglia, Giovani Lo Celso, Ever Banega, Manuel Lanzini, Maximiliano Meza, Angel Di Maria, Cristian Pavon

Forwards: Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero


Goalkeepers: Jack Butland (Stoke), Jordan Pickford (Everton), Nick Pope (Burnley).

Defenders: Trent Alexander-Arnold, Gary Cahill, Fabian Delph, Phil Jones, Harry Maguire, Danny Rose, John Stones, Kieran Trippier, Kyle Walker, Ashley Young.

Midfielders: Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Jordan Henderson, Jesse Lingard, Ruben Loftus-Cheek.

Forwards: Harry Kane, Marcus Rashford, Raheem Sterling, Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck.

Standby: Lewis Cook, Tom Heaton, Adam Lallana, Jake Livermore, James Tarkowski.