1. 2018 will be the 21st FIFA World Cup, 88 years after the initial tournament in Uruguay (1930) and for the first time in Russia.
2. 32 countries will compete in the 2018 World Cup, with Iceland and Panama making their debuts in the competition. Slovakia were the last team to make it past the group stage on their debut in 2010.
3. The tournament will take place in 12 stadiums across 11 cities. Moscow is the only city with two arenas (Luzhniki and Spartak).
4. Since 1986 (included), the world champion came first in the group stage.
5. Other than South Africa (2010), all hosts have reached the second round. In 30% of cases (6/20), they have been champions (the last was France in 1998).
6. All World Cups have been won by European (11) or South American (9) sides.
7. Brazil has won the World Cup more than any other side, with 25% of the titles (5/20). It is also the only country to have competed in every competition.
8. There have only been four times when a team has won all of their games at a World Cup (Uruguay, 4/4 in 1930), Italy (4/4 in 1938) and Brazil (6/6 in 1970, 7/7 in 2002).
9. Germany will hope to be the first national team to win back to back World Cups since Brazil in 1962. Only Brazil (5) have more titles than Germany (4).
10. The last two reigning champions were knocked out in the group stages: Italy in 2010 and Spain in 2014.
11. Portugal are aiming to be the fourth team to win the European Championships and the World Cup consecutively, like West Germany (Euros 72, World Cup 74), France (World Cup 98, Euros 00) and Spain (Euros 08, World Cup 10, Euros 12).
12. Italy failed to qualify for the first time since 1958, being the only one of eight teams to have won the competition who won’t compete in Russia.
13. Mexico has qualified without winning the trophy more than any other country (16 times).
14. Switzerland are the only country to avoid conceding in a World Cup campaign, with no goals conceded in 4 games in 2006.
15. 11 of the 62 games England have played in World Cups have ended 0-0, more than any other team.
16. Brazil has had the most red cards in the history of the competition (11), with Argentina (10) and Uruguay (9) not far behind.
17. Peru, who competed in the first World Cup, will play in the competition for the first time since 1982, the longest absence of any side that will be in Russia.
18. The record for most goals in the competition
stands at 171 (in 1998 and 2014), while that with least goals from 64 games is 145 (in 2010).
19. Germany has scored the most goals in the last three World Cups (14 in 2006, 16 in 2010, 18 in 2014).
20. The most goals in a single World Cup match occurred on June 26, 1954: Austria beat Switzerland 7-5.