World Cup 2018
So, it’s officially time to get excited about the World Cup 2018!
The qualifying stages are underway and betting has already begun. With the drama surrounding this World Cup already, it’s sure to be one to remember!
In this World Cup betting guide, we bring you all the facts, betting tips, strategies and need to know details. Not only is this the single most exciting sporting event in the world, but fortunes are made and lost each and every time it is held.
Most people won’t either win or lose a fortune at the World Cup 2018, but will instead enjoy a good old fashioned punt and hopefully walk away with a few extra quid in their pockets!
With this guide, you’re World Cup 2018 betting strategies will be that much more informed. Enjoy!
World Cup Odds, Betting Guide – & More
Welcome to this complete World Cup 2018 betting guide!
The World Cup is the granddaddy of all football tournaments on earth, the one where the undisputed kings of football will be crowned for another 4 years.
The World Cup is always lively, full of drama, ups, and downs, screaming goals and unforgettable moments. Football fans around the world work themselves into a frenzy as it approaches and progresses and World Cup results come out, feeling the full spectrum of highs and lows as their respective nations battle it out to become the undisputed champions of the world.
The World Cup also has a rich history, and some even view it as a story in and of itself. Every cup is a chapter in the book, but the book itself is much bigger than any one tournament.
We’ll cover the fascinating story of the World Cup from its inception to the present day. We’ll highlight some of the most memorable moments the tournament has ever produced and give you the inside scoop on what’s likely to happen in the upcoming World Cup in 2018.
Before we get into all of that, however, let’s take a snapshot assessment of the World Cup in 2018.
If this one’s anything like the previous ones, it’s going to be utterly unmissable!
The FIFA World Cup 2018 At a Glance
The World Cup in 2018 will take place in Russia – and already the drama has kicked off (pun intended).
With Western nations engaged in geopolitical shenanigans with Russia as the boogie man, it’s been a constant worry about whether or not the tournament will take place at all.
With a large chunk of Russian athletes banned from the Olympics for doping and Russian fans condemned at the Euro Tournament for acts of hooliganism and violence this year, it’s a constant ‘hanging by a thread’ type situation, adding even more fuel to the fire of the epic drama that always is the World Cup.
As if the situation couldn’t get any more volatile, FIFA’s president Sepp Blatter resigned in disgrace after it was revealed that he was engaged in corruption at the highest levels. This only compounded the suspicions that surrounded the controversial selection of Russia as the host country. Talk about a story, and that’s before the actual football had even begun!
Yet the show must go on, and it’s full steam ahead as the World Cup qualifying draw has already happened in St. Petersburg and the qualifying games have already commenced. With an average of 2.97 goals scored in them so far per match, it’s been packed with action already. The odds have been set and it’s time to get betting!
So what about location? What many don’t know about Russia is that there are two ‘sides’ to it, one largely known as European Russia, the other as Asian Russia. All of the World Cup games will take place on the Western, European side of Russia in cities like St. Petersburg, Moscow, Kaliningrad, Sochi, Samara and several others.
Despite that, there have been calls by prominent black footballers to boycott the tournament due to concerns about racism in the country. Phew! Talk about pushing all the hot buttons at once!
Yet, the qualifying rounds have already begun, with the 210 teams battling it out for their place in the finals. There’s been talk and rumour of expanding the total numbers of teams that qualify from 32 to 40, but so far no moves have been made and it seems to be largely rumour, sparked by the UEFA president Michel Platini. How this would affect the odds if it did occur is unknown.
Qualifiers will go on until mid-November November 2016, and then the first battle lines for the finals will be drawn. Only 31 teams will make it, as host country Russia qualify by default according to World Cup Rules.
So there you have it, a quick snapshot of this politically charged, exciting World Cup that’s sure to outdo all the amazing tournaments before it. There have been some surprises in the qualifiers already, and in true World Cup fashion, you just never know what’s going to happen next or when the final whistle has blown.
Oh, and if you plan to actually go to any of the matches, Russia is waving all visa requirements for the duration of the tournament. They’ve cut the red tape at the ribbon and ticket holders, footballers, team members like coaches and the countless other people who make the World Cup happen are able to travel to Russia visa-free.
World Cup – History
As if this World Cup isn’t fascinating enough, there’s a rich history and tradition surrounding the World Cup in general. It’s as if it has a magical aura surrounding it, one which sucks us in, spellbinds us and causes us to feel we have a personal stake in it. All of this is much to the dismay of many football fan’s wives around the planet, but there’s little they can do, such is the hypnotic power of this awesome tournament!
Here are some fun facts about the history of the World Cup to bring you up to speed:
- The first tournament was held in 1930 when founder Jules Rimet, the third president of FIFA, decided it was time to stage an international football tournament. Little did he know it would surpass his wildest dreams and morph into a tradition that goes on to this day.
- The original tournament had only 13 teams participate in it and was held in Uruguay. They have since won the tournament twice. Uruguay always has decent World Cup odds, even though their glory days are behind them.
- The desire to hold the World Cup was sparked by the fact that football was being dropped from the Olympics in Los Angeles in 1932.
- The second World Cup was held in Italy in 1934. It was the first to put in place the qualifying process. Italy won the tournament and reigning champions Uruguay boycotted it due to lack of European teams playing.
- Uruguay again boycotted the third World Cup, this time, because it was being played in Europe, specifically France. Italy held onto their title and remained the kings of football for longer than they expected due to some tragic events on the horizon.
- Sadly, in 1942 the World Cup was canceled as war broke out in Germany and across Europe. The 1946 tournament also had to be canceled because when the second World War ended in 1945, there simply wasn’t enough time to plan it, nor was there the will to host it by any country.
- Yet all dark periods pass and the World Cup sprang back to life in 1950 in Brazil. Reigning champs Italy did show up and take part, despite the fact that many of their national players had been killed in a tragic air accident in 1949. This World Cup also saw the return of the original champions, Uruguay, who vanquished foes Brazil on their own territory in an epic battle which ended 2-1.
- The 1954 World Cup, held in Switzerland, was the first to beam out across the world on TV. This would ultimately take football to a new level. West Germany emerged victorious over Hungary.
- 1958 saw FIFA forced to revise the rules after a political confusion saw Israel qualify without playing a single match. This World Cup is where the legendary Brazilian footballer Pele emerged, scoring two cracking goals in the final and leading Brazil to the victory.
- The World Cup is never without drama, and the 1962 tournament in Chile is no exception. A massive, 9.2 magnitude earthquake, the largest ever recorded, struck before the World Cup qualifications began and damaged the stadium, forcing developers to scramble and fix it before the tournament started. Brazil won again, retaining their title.
- In true World Cup fashion, disaster and drama struck the 1966 cup when the trophy itself was stolen in host country England. Thankfully, a dog named Pickles discovered it, hitting the headlines around the world. Home team England won this year, the first and only time they have ever won the World Cup.
- In 1970, Brazil did the unthinkable and won their third consecutive World Cup, making their mark on football history forever. They were awarded the Jules Rimet trophy for their achievement.
- The 1974 tournament was relatively dismal compared to the flamboyance and all out shenanigans of the previous ones. Hosts, West Germany took the trophy, and in a shock upset, barely known Poland defeated reigning champs Brazil to take third place.
- In 1978, Tunisia and Iran entered the World Cup for the first time, and Tunisia became the first ever African country to win a World Cup game, winning 3-1 over Mexico. Host team Argentina won, sending the Dutch home with second place prizes.
- In 1982 the World Cup expanded to allow 24 teams to compete. Hosted in Spain, a number of new teams made an appearance including Cameroon and New Zealand, proving the World Cup was becoming a truly global phenomenon. In true style, a heated argument broke out during the France and Kuwait game when Kuwait stopped playing due to a whistle blown in the crowd, allowing France to score. Italy took the World Cup yet again.
- In 1986 the World Cup made its way back to Mexico and saw several more new teams join the ranks including Canada and Iraq. This was the tournament in which Argentine player Diego Maradona scored his now infamous ‘Hand of God’ goal against England. Argentina went on to win the trophy against West Germany in the final.
- 1990 saw the tournament held in Italy. In characteristic style, a major drama unfolded when Chile, down to Brazil, got disqualified after a firework was thrown onto the pitch and the goalkeeper, Rojas faked an injury by cutting his own face with a razor blade he had in his glove. The entire plot was discovered and Rojas was banned for 12 years. This time, West Germany took revenge and beat Argentina in the final to become champions.
- 1994 became the first World Cup in history to be decided by penalties. In a nail-biting final, Brazil defeated Italy. For Argentina, Maradona’s tenure ended in disgrace mid-way through the tournament as he tested positive for drugs, and tragedy struck as Colombian defender Andreas Escobar was murdered after his own goal saw Colombia eliminated from the tournament.
- In the 1998 World Cup in France, the tournament expanded yet again allowing 32 teams to compete in the finals. Iran set a staggering record beating the Maldives 17-0 in the qualification round. In the end, France was victorious and was crowned champions.
- For the first time, in 2002, the World Cup was held in Asia and was hosted jointly by Japan and South Korea. Australia topped Iran’s record for widest margin of victory after they slaughtered Western Samoa 31-0. In the end, it would be another notch on the belt for Brazil, who beat Germany 2-0 and secured their fifth World Cup title.
- In 2006 the tournament returned to Germany. It was a relatively drama-free affair for a change, except for the red card received by the French captain Zinedine Zidane in the final. After a 1-1 draw, Italy went on to take the title again after a tense penalty shootout.
- 2010 saw the World Cup hosted on African soil for the first time. In South Africa, Spain would take the title of champions for the first time.
- In 2014, the last World Cup, the tournament was held in Brazil and saw Germany defeat Argentina in the finals to become current reigning champions. There was a little drama as players struggled with the crushingly hot temperatures, leading to the introduction of cooling periods.
So, as you can see, the World Cup is rarely without drama. From cheating to theft to murder to drug suspensions and more, this is so much more than just a football tournament – it’s a carnival and a storybook in and of itself.
Some of the greatest moments in sporting history have happened at the World Cup. Will the upcoming one live of to expectations? If the World Cup qualifiers are anything to go by, we’re in for a treat!
Did you know: Brazil has appeared in every World Cup since it began in 1930. They also hold the record for most World Cup wins with 5 cups in the trophy cabinet. Brazil is almost always favourites in the odds, and if not, are a close second or third.
How the World Cup Works – From Kickoff to Final Whistle
Now that we know a little about the history of the world’s biggest football tournament, let’s take a look at how it actually works.
As you saw in the history section, there have been multiple expansions and rule changes since the first tournament, giving us the current format we have today.
Here’s how things stand today, and how the 2018 cup will play out:
First, 210 teams from around the world fight for their place in the finals in the regional qualifying stages.
Teams from Europe battle it out for 13 places, South American teams battle it out for 4.5 places, CONCACAF teams (including USA, Barbados, El Salvador, etc) play for 3.5 places, African teams play for 5 places, Asian teams play for 4.5 places, and Oceania teams play for 0.5 places.
The number of places up for grabs depends on global ranking. World Cup odds are also decided partly based on this.
These qualifiers are already underway and many fantastic games of football have been played already. Only 31 teams will make it through the group stages to join hosts Russia in the finals. It’s already been a highly charged tournament with plenty of memorable moments.
So how are groups selected and what happens thereafter? Groups are selected in a random draw held by FIFA. Once groups are drawn up, how things proceed depends on which region you’re talking about.
In Europe, games are played with the group winner going through automatically. 8 of the best-performing runners up then play in a two-legged playoff in a battle royale for their place in the finals. This is always a very exciting time in the world cup for the nations concerned as it truly do or die time in a quest to reach the World Cup final.
In South America, each team plays each other home and away. The top 4 teams qualify automatically, and the 5th place team gets the 0.5 qualification, facing the winner of the Oceania region for a single place in an intercontinental match.
CONCACAF teams play in a complex and convoluted 5 round playoff. In the end, the top 3 teams qualify and the 4th place team plays against a team from the Asia regional games in an intercontinental playoff.
In Africa, 3 rounds see 40 nations battle it out for 5 places. The top 20 from the second round end up in 5 groups comprising 4 teams each. Only group winner qualifies for the finals.
Asian teams see 40 countries play over 3 rounds, windling things down to 2 groups of 6 in round 3. Group winners and runners-up automatically go through, while teams finishing 3rd play a 2 legged playoff with the winner going through to an intercontinental match against a team from CONCACAF for a place in the finals.
Oceania sees a 3 round group stage cutting things down to 2 groups of 3 in the 3rd round. Group winners face off in a playoff to proceed to an intercontinental match against a South American team.
After the qualifiers and intercontinental matches have been played, 32 teams proceed to the finals. There are two stages in the finals: the group stages, and the knockout stages.
In the group stage, there are 8 teams of 4 each. There’ll be one ‘seeded’ team in each group, decided by FIFA according to rankings. This team will be the one to beat in each group. The other teams are selected at random. The draw is set up so that no group can contain more than 2 European teams or more than 1 team from each of the other 5 FIFA designated ‘zones’. This is done to ensure equal representation in the knockout rounds which come later.
Every team will play least 3 matches during the group stages. These are fraught with excitement and often heated. A win gets 3 points, a draw gets 1, and a loss gets 0, just like league play. The top 2 teams in each group proceed to the knockout stage, which is when the real World Cup excitement begins. World Cup odds are dynamic and change as results pour in even at this early stage.
Once the knockout rounds begin, there can be no draws. Extra time and penalties will decide each and every match with the winner proceeding and the losing team packing up and heading home. There will be 16 teams when the knockout rounds begin.
After the round of 16, we enter the quarterfinals with 8 teams left. The excitement at this stage is palpable and the intensity of the games goes into overdrive as an atmosphere of feverish competition descends upon the already charged tournament.
From the quarter-finals, only 4 teams will make it to the semis. After these are played, we are left with the final match in the World Cup where 2 teams will play to the death to be crowned world kings of football for 4 years.
There are betting opportunities at every stage of the World Cup, from the first qualifiers through to the finals. While casual football fans tend to start paying attention after the group qualifiers, they are missing out on endless opportunities to profit from the games that take place before the world turns its full attention to the World Cup. World Odds are often best at the early stages – for example, a German win, which is likely, is currently selling at 11/2!
See the ‘World Cup Betting Strategies’ section below for more details on how you can profit from these early games, or any game throughout the duration of the world’s most watched sporting event.
Did you know: The winners of the World Cup don’t only get to go down in history, but also get to take home a whopping $35 million. That has to be taken in content, however, because during the 2014 cup FIFA took in more than $4 billion. Not bad!