The 21st edition of the World Cup starts today in Russia with the opening ceremony starting at 3:30 PM. 30 minutes later, Russia and Saudi Arabia would kick off the actual football at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium. The stadium would also host the all-important final match on the 15th of July.
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Read on for some fascinating 1-10 tidbits about World Cup history by the numbers
1. One is for Brazil. They are the only country to have participated in all tournaments.
Along the way, they have played 104 matches, won 70 of those, losing 17 and drawing 17. They have scored 221 times, conceding 102 goals.
2. Two is the number of teams who would be making their debut at the 2018 World Cup.
The two countries are Panama from Central America and Iceland from the European Union.
Iceland is also the smallest nation to participate in the World Cup with a population of under 350,000 people.
3. Three is the number of countries that had waited for 20 or more years to qualify for the 2018 World Cup since they last participated.
Egypt last qualified for a World Cup in 1990; incidentally, they also have the longest gap between World Cup appearances. It took them 54 years to qualify for a World Cup after participating in 1934.
Peru was last at the World Cup in 1986 while Morocco’s last match at a World Cup was in 1998, exactly 20 years ago.
4. Four stands for the number of times countries have won the World Cup four times. That record is shared between Italy and Germany the defending Champions.
5. Five stands for the number of players sent off during the final match of the World Cup.
The most famous was the one shown to Zinedine Zidane after he head-butted Marco Materazzi on the chest in the 2006 final between France and Italy.
Argentina’s Pedro Monzon was the first to be sent off in a final match. It happened in the 1990 final between Argentina and Germany. His teammate Gustavo Dezotti was red-carded a few minutes later in the same match.
Argentina ended the match with 9 men losing to Germany.
6. Six is for the number of players who have scored 4 goals in a single match at the World Cup.
- Ernest Wilimowski of Poland scored 4 times against Brazil in the first round of the 1938 edition but still ended up on the losing side as Brazil won 6-5.
- Ademir scored 4 times when Brazil thrashed Sweden in 1950.
- Sando Kocsis netted four goals in 1954 when Hungary defeated Germany
- Just Fontaine of France scored 4 goals when France defeated Germany in a third-place match in 1958.
- Eusebio da Silva scored 4 when Portugal defeated North Korea 5-3 in the quarter-finals in 1966
- Emilio Butragueno scored 4 times for Spain as they defeated Denmark in the second round in 1986.
7. Seven is the number of countries to have won the World Cup.
Only Brazil (5), Germany (4), Italy (4), Argentina (2), Uruguay (2), England, Spain and France (1 each) have won the trophy in the 88-year history of the competition.
8. Eight stands for the most hat-tricks scored in a single tournament.
This was in the 1954 edition held in Switzerland.
9. The number of matches Louis Suarez missed after the infamous biting incident at the 2014 World Cup.
The incident occurred during a Group D match against Italy. The Uruguay striker, unable to control himself, bit defender Giorgio Chiellini on the left shoulder.
He was banned for 4 months by FIFA from all footballing activities. This meant he had to miss 9 league matches and 9 international matches for Uruguay.
10. Ten is the number of goals scored by one team in a single match at the World Cup.
Hungary achieved this when they defeated El Salvador 10-1 in their Group 3 match at the 1982 tournament in Italy.