FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia : Schedule, Stadiums, Groups & Teams

Yes it’s still way too early but the FIFA world cup 2018 which will be held in Russia had begun it’s preparations way back in 2015. The biggest sport competition of the world may be at least another year away but here are the complete schedule, groups fixtures and stadiums, so read on.

Starting from the schedules, to which team will find it easy and qualify to the knockout stages and which teams will have make the most of their chances. Let us start with schedule guide released by FIFA. The kickoff time will be updated shortly.

2018 FIFA World Cup – Schedule, Groups & Teams:

2018 World Cup Group Stage

Group A

GP W L D GF GA GD Pts
Russia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Saudi Arabia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Egypt 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Uruguay 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Thurs., June 14 Russia vs. Saudi Arabia 10 am ET Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow)
Fri., June 15 Egypt vs. Uruguay 7 am ET Ekaterinburg Arena
Tues., June 19 Russia vs. Egypt 1 pm ET Saint Petersburg Stadium
Wed., June 20 Uruguay vs. Saudi Arabia 10 am ET Rostov Arena
Mon., June 25 Uruguay vs. Russia 9 am ET Samara Arena
Mon., June 25 Saudi Arabia vs. Egypt 9 am ET Volgograd Arena

Group B

GP W L D GF GA GD Pts
Portugal 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Spain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Morocco 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Iran 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Fri., June 15 Morocco vs. Iran 10 am ET Saint Petersburg Stadium
Fri., June 15 Portugal vs. Spain 1 pm ET Fisht Stadium (Sochi)
Wed., June 20 Portugal vs. Morocco 7 am ET Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow)
Wed., June 20 Iran vs. Spain 1 pm ET Kazan Arena
Mon., June 25 Spain vs. Morocco 1 pm ET Kaliningrad Stadium
Mon., June 25 Iran vs. Portugal 1 pm ET Mordovia Arena (Saransk)

Group C

GP W L D GF GA GD Pts
France 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Australia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Peru 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Denmark 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sat., June 16 France vs. Australia 5 am ET Kazan Arena
Sat., June 16 Peru vs. Denmark 11 am ET Mordovia Arena (Saransk)
Thurs., June 21 France vs. Peru 7 am ET Ekaterinburg Arena
Thurs., June 21 Denmark vs. Australia 10 am ET Samara Arena
Tues., June 26 Denmark vs. France 9 am ET Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow)
Tues., June 26 Australia vs. Peru 9 am ET Fisht Stadium (Sochi)

Group D

GP W L D GF GA GD Pts
Argentina 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Iceland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Croatia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Nigeria 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sat., June 16 Argentina vs. Iceland 8 am ET Spartak Stadium (Moscow)
Sat., June 16 Croatia vs. Nigeria 2 pm ET Kaliningrad Stadium
Thurs., June 21 Argentina vs. Croatia 1 pm ET Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
Fri., June 22 Nigeria vs. Iceland 10 am ET Volgograd Arena
Tues., June 26 Nigeria vs. Argentina 1 pm ET Saint Petersburg Stadium
Tues., June 26 Iceland vs. Croatia 1 pm ET Rostov Arena

Group E

GP W L D GF GA GD Pts
Brazil 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Switzerland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Costa Rica 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Serbia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sun., June 17 Costa Rica vs. Serbia 7 am ET Samara Arena
Sun., June 17 Brazil vs. Switzerland 1 pm ET Rostov Arena
Fri., June 22 Brazil vs. Costa Rica 7 am ET Saint Petersburg Stadium
Fri., June 22 Serbia vs. Switzerland 1 pm ET Kaliningrad Stadium
Wed., June 27 Serbia vs. Brazil 1 pm ET Spartak Stadium (Moscow)
Wed., June 27 Switzerland vs. Costa Rica 1 pm ET Nizhny Novgorod Stadium

Group F

GP W L D GF GA GD Pts
Germany 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Mexico 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Sweden 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
South Korea 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Group of Death: Mexico drawn into one of the World Cup’s toughest groups
Which MLSers will make a deep run in World Cup?
Sun., June 17 Germany vs. Mexico 10 am ET Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow)
Mon., June 18 Sweden vs. South Korea 7 am ET Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
Sat., June 23 Germany vs. Sweden 10 am ET Fisht Stadium (Sochi)
Sat., June 23 South Korea vs. Mexico 1 pm ET Rostov Arena
Wed., June 27 South Korea vs. Germany 9 am ET Kazan Arena
Wed., June 27 Mexico vs. Sweden 9 am ET Ekaterinburg Arena

Group G

GP W L D GF GA GD Pts
Belgium 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Panama 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tunisia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
England 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Hours after helping Seattle past Vancouver, Roman Torres honored in Panama
Mon., June 18 Belgium vs. Panama 10 am ET Fisht Stadium (Sochi)
Mon., June 18 Tunisia vs. England 1 pm ET Volgograd Arena
Sat., June 23 Belgium vs. Tunisia 7 am ET Spartak Stadium (Moscow)
Sun., June 24 England vs. Panama 7 am ET Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
Thurs., June 28 England vs. Belgium 1 pm ET Kaliningrad Stadium
Thurs., June 28 Panama vs. Tunisia 1 pm ET Mordovia Arena (Saransk)

Group H

GP W L D GF GA GD Pts
Poland 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Senegal 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Colombia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Japan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Tues., June 19 Poland vs. Senegal 7 am ET Spartak Stadium (Moscow)
Tues., June 19 Colombia vs. Japan 10 am ET Mordovia Arena (Saransk)
Sun., June 24 Japan vs. Senegal 10 am ET Ekaterinburg Arena
Sun., June 24 Poland vs. Colombia 1 pm ET Kazan Arena
Thurs., June 28 Japan vs. Poland 9 am ET Volgograd Arena
Thurs., June 28 Senegal vs. Colombia 9 am ET Samara Arena

Round of 16

Sat., June 30 1C vs. 2D 9 am ET Kazan Arena
Sat., June 30 1A vs. 2B 1 pm ET Fisht Stadium (Sochi)
Sun., July 1 1B vs. 2A 9 am ET Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow)
Sun., July 1 1D vs. 2C 1 pm ET Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
Mon., July 2 1E vs. 2F 9 am ET Samara Arena
Mon., July 2 1G vs. 2H 1 pm ET Rostov Arena
Tues., July 3 1F vs. 2E 9 am ET Saint Petersburg Stadium
Tues., July 3 1H vs. 2G 1 pm ET Spartak Stadium (Moscow)

Quarterfinals

Fri., July 6 1A/2B vs. 1C/2D 9 am ET Nizhny Novgorod Stadium
Fri., July 6 1E/2F vs. 1G/2H 1 pm ET Kazan Arena
Sat., July 7 1F/2E vs. 1H/2G 9 am ET Samara Arena
Sat., July 7 1B/2A vs. 1D/2C 1 pm ET Fisht Stadium (Sochi)

Semifinals

Tues., July 10 1A/2B/1C/2D vs. 1E/2F/1G/2H 1 pm ET Saint Petersburg Stadium
Wed., July 11 1F/2E/1H/2G vs. 1B/2A/1D/2C 1 pm ET Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow)

Third-Place Match

Sat., July 14 3rd Place Match 9 am ET Saint Petersburg Stadium

Final

Sun., July 15 World Cup Final 10 am ET Luzhniki Stadium (Moscow)

Chances of Qualifying to Knockout Stages:

Germany, France, Brazil, Portugal, Poland, and Spain should progress through to the next round. The aforementioned teams have been drawn in relatively easier groups and can top the group as well. Ghana and Belgium should qualify given the prowess in the qualifiers.

Teams that will face an uphill task:

Despite such a star studded team, Argentina’s dependence on their little magician Messi, might prove costly. Italy will feel lucky to have been drawn in an easy group but their recent showings have lacked conviction. Host Russia could find them out of the tournament as they are having a lean patch of form since the Euro Qualifiers.

Potential Winners:

Current champion Germany, France, and Brazil are hot favorites and are playing beautifully as a team. Belgium could once again be considered as the dark horse with Spain regaining their dominance after a fruitful showing in the Qualifiers.

Senegal and Ghana could pull off major surprises if they qualify to the last 8 stage. However, Chile and Portugal will also be desperate to prove their critics wrong.

Leo Messi Vs Cristiano Ronaldo – FIFA World Cup Statistics

There is no better rivalry than the one between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Perhaps, this is the best rivalry ever to take place keeping in mind the one between Pele and Maradona, simply because the former hung up his boots when the latter was ready to take the centre stage.

Coming back to the modern day legends, Messi and Ronaldo seems to break every record and the two make each other deadly and devastating. Here are few stats which shows which of the two has the edge till now.

Leo Messi Vs Cristiano Ronaldo World Cup Stats:

Cristiano is two years elder to Messi, but both of them hogged the limelight post 2004. Cristiano already stunned the experts after his 2004 Euro exploits, but Messi was still trying to make the starting eleven. In 2006 World Cup, Portugal had a decent run and finished fourth, whereas Argentina bowed out to Germany.

Messi looked way more matured than his age and his display against the Germans was impressive. In the tournament, Messi appeared in three matches scored one and set up another. Cristiano on the other hand looked a bit subdued but played brilliantly against England and Germany. However, he could only score a single goal in his six appearances.

By 2010, both of them were destined to be the greatest of the game. Portugal pinned their hopes on Cristiano, and Argentina had their own Messiah. After a poor start, Ronaldo was heavily criticized for underperforming. This fueled the Madeira born and despite being knocked out early in the tournament, he produced his best. Cristiano was involved in almost every Portugal attack and scored one and assisted another.

Messi on the other hand looked out of sorts and the Argentine could only provide an assist in his five games. Maradona and Messi were heavily criticized for Albiceleste’s performance. This worked as a blessing in disguise as the next World Cup saw one of the finest individual performances.

Argentina did not show ruthless efficiency in the qualifiers and looked for another setback. In their first game against Bosnia and Herzegovina, the argentines looked depleted until Messi curled a brilliant left footer to seal the tie. The little man was again required to step up when Argentina faced Iran. Iran put up a commendable performance before Messi struck another outstanding left footed shot on target. The game against Nigeria followed the same pattern where the little man scored twice to win the game. Messi’s pass against Belgium opened the scoring and led Argentina through. Netherlands game was a tight one and after shootouts, Argentina went through. The only game where Messi could not emulate his form was in the final against Germany. The magician was left shattered after giving such a swashbuckling performance.

Cristiano Ronaldo had a stark contrasting World Cup to that of Leo Messi. Plagued by his career threatening knee injury, the Portuguese talisman looked nowhere around his Real Madrid form. Drawn against Germany in the group stage, Portugal produced one of their worst displays as they lost 4-0. Cristiano Ronaldo did not look fit and the whole team crumbled around him. Against USA, it was Ronaldo’s curling cross that helped them salvage a point. Portugal had to beat Ghana mercilessly to qualify for knockout stage. Woodwork and squandered chances kept Ronaldo and Portugal at bay, where he could only score once.

The World Cup has not brought out the best out of Cristiano yet, and with age playing a factor, it would be hard for him to deliver. One should not challenge the resilience of the man, and with his recent 2016 Euro success, he might go all cylinders blazing. Leo on the other hand might kick his luck for not winning the cup in 2014. It will be hard for the diminutive Argentine to emulate such form again.

Conclusion:

Overall, Messi has appeared 15 times in World Cup where he scored five and assisted another three. Ronaldo, in his 13 caps could only find the back of the net 3 times and created two more. Clearly, Messi seems to have enjoyed superiority over his arch rival till now.

FIFA World Cup 2018 : Midfielders Who Can Dazzle the Game

The game of football is often decided by one piece of ingeniousness. It is inevitable that a forward will produce such moments, but often than not there is one midfielder who can dazzle and shimmer at the greatest stage of all.

Players Who Can Dazzle in FIFA WC 2018:

Here we look at some of the highly rated midfielders who can register themselves in the history books.

Isco (Spain):

A blend of Zidane’s calmness, and Iniesta’s twist and turns; Isco has grown into one of World’s best free roam players. In Zidane’s first season Isco was never a starter and looked set for a move away from the capital. However, the following season Isco repaid Zidane’s faith when he was given the role just behind the striker.

He has been phenomenal since then. Isco produced one of the finest performances against Atletico Madrid dropping deep to help out the central midfielders and dribbling his way out of trouble. Spain will bank heavily on Isco as Iniesta is well past his prime, and no one has yet matched Xavi’s brilliance. Spain can change their formation and give Isco a more central role. Alongside Thiago Alcantara they will form a formidable pair if played together.

Kevin De Bruyne (Belgium):

An elegant number 10 with a blistering right foot, De Bruyne has been inspirational for Pep’s Manchester City. There is no doubt whatsoever regarding his mastery, and his fizzing set-piece deliveries make him a complete midfielder. He can shoot from range and has the vision to pick put teammates in a better position.

Belgium’s squad boasts of World class players, but they were disappointing in the 2014 quarter final against Argentina. Belgium will look to build a team around De Bruyne and Eden Hazard. The latter will operate from the middle and with Romelu Lukaku in number 9, they can yield a sensational goal scoring spree.

Paul Pogba (France):

His recent 100+ million euros transfer to Manchester United took the World by surprise. He might not have produced performances justifying the cost, but there is no doubt regarding the tall and lanky Frenchman. Pogba can operate as a box-to-box midfielder and his diagonal balls are a treat to watch. He has the perfect blend of skill and tenacity to get past players, and can kick the bejesus out of the ball from both his feet.

France will bank on him alongside Dimitri Payet and Blaise Matuidi. Poga when given an advanced central midfield position can produce stellar performances. However, he will be under the pump after a hefty move, and a disappointing final of Euro 2016.

Bernardo Silva (Portugal):

There is no better player in the World right now in terms of dribbling other than Bernardo Silva. The Portuguese has been a revelation under Jardim’s Monaco where he has excelled as a traditional number 10. He can breeze past players with little pace but truckload of skills.

He missed his chance when he was injured just before Portugal’s Euro success, but this around he will surely make it count. The days of Cristiano Ronaldo dependency seems to be over as Bernardo Silva will look to forge a formidable midfield with Ronaldo up front. Portugal will make sure Silva plays in his typical position where he does not need to track back all the time. Renato Sanchez and William Carvalho will take up the initiative of playing the dirty game.